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International Solidarity with Iranian Protests after Murder of Mahsa Amini.

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At least 35 dead in eight nights of protests, Iran state media report.” Guardian.

Iranian Women at the Frontline of Change

By Aghileh Djafari Marbini, Hosnieh Djafari Marbini and Sue Lukes

(Aghileh is a Labour Party member and an Iranian political activist. Hosnieh is a Labour Councillor and her city’s migrant champion. Sue is a Labour Party and human rights activist.)

The unlawful death of Mahsa Amini is an example of the violence that prevails against the Iranian people and Iranian women in particular by their own government.

Mahsa and her brother were visiting family in Tehran but were from the city of Saqqez in the Kurdistan region. On September 13th, 22-year-old Mahsa was arrested by the Iranian regime’s notorious morality police because her headscarf was not sufficiently covering her hair. Mahsa’s brother was told she would be taken to a detention centre to undergo a ‘briefing class’ and released shortly afterwards. However, she arrived at Kasra Hospital shortly after and died on Friday September 16th, after being in a coma for three days. What happened between the arrest and her arrival at the hospital is not clear.

Read full article via link.

Fourth International:

Woman! Life! Freedom! (also on Anti Capitalist Resistance).

A SHORT REPORT ON IRAN’S CURRENT PROTESTS.

LAYA HOOSHYARI

In the years that the people of Iran have lived under the flag of tyranny of the Islamic Republic, they have faced all kinds of repressions and violence. With the inauguration of Ibrahim Raeesi as president in 2021, the executioner of the 1990s who led the murder of thousands of militant activists, including socialists and feminists, the level of repression has become even more than before.

Women, especially women of ethnic groups, religious minorities, the working class and urban poor, are among the groups that have experienced the greatest amount of oppression. Each of these groups is facing various economic, social and political crises, and at the same time, their very daily life is marked by resistance. Women are experiencing a myriad of oppressions, of which the mandatory hijab is one of the main forms.

….

What is the essence of the recent protests? One can find this in the slogans that have been used by the protesters around the country: Women! Life! Freedom! I will kill those who killed my sister! Death to the Dictator! (Islamic Republic) Emancipation is our right! Our power is our collectively! Bread! Work! Freedom! …

20 September 2022

While many on the left are already standing with the Iranian protesters, from (in the UK) Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Labour MP, the writers of the above article on Labour Hub, to groups like Anti-Capitalist Resistance and the AWL, other part of the left have difficulty in coming out in support for the women in in Iran. Gender theorists like Judith Butler, who has defended the veil as a form of ‘resistance’ and ‘agency’, those who claim that feminist opposition to the covering stems from “white saviour” colonialism are finding it hard to come to terms with the Iranian revolt. The British Socialist Workers Party, which has defended and continue to defend the hijab as a choice, and that “It’s really about the freedom of wearing it or not wearing it.” have the same difficulty.

How can they react to demonstrators who defy the head-covering, some of whom publicly burn the hijab? How can they explain that this is not about ‘choice’ but a religious legal system which imposes its rules on everybody, and has the claim to divine truth and the ambition to be a model for the whole world?

The problem remains: those who think ‘modest dress’, including covering the hair, though in some Islamic opinion the full body must be covered modestly, is not just a good thing, an option, but a religious duty, do not think it’s a ‘right to choose.’ but a duty before god. When they have a legal system to back their faith up in commands that originate from something unseen, whose words are transcribed in a book only believers hold as a guide to life, and they find that not everybody agrees to change their behaviour, how many will stand up for those with a different view?

]

Iran’s legal system and the morality police (gašt-e eršād)that enforce ‘modest dress’, are not individual choices. The are part of the foundation of the Islamic Republic. They are there to make Islamic Law and the Iranian system of Velayat-e faqih—or guardianship of the Islamic jurist— real. The compulsory hijab extends to non-Muslim women.

When Ayatollah Khomeini came to power some on the left, not least in Iran itself, argued for the need to stand in solidarity with the ‘anti-imperialist’ regime. The nature of that theocratic dictatorial state has long been settled, not least after its bloody crackdown on the left in 1998.

Between late July and September 1988, the Iranian authorities forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed thousands of prisoners for their political opinions and dumped their bodies in unmarked individual and mass graves. Minimum estimates put the death toll at around 5,000.

Since then, the authorities have tormented the relatives by refusing to tell them when, how and why their loved ones were killed and by keeping their remains hidden. To reinforce secrecy, they have also destroyed mass grave sites and forbidden commemorations.

By refusing to acknowledge the killings and fully disclose the fate and whereabouts of the victims, the authorities have committed the crime of enforced disappearance under international law.The anguish caused to families by this ongoing crime constitutes torture.

Update: London Protest:

Written by Andrew Coates

September 24, 2022 at 12:22 pm

Chris Williamson and his ‘Resist’ Movement Join Scargill’s Socialist Labour Party.

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“Lenin recognised the need for a vanguard political party — and I believe the SLP could fulfil that role.”

There are really serious things happening in the world, from Ukraine’s battle against the Russian invasion, to the fight for democracy against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Here in Britain we have the deeply depressing Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng budget today.

Sometimes you need a laugh.

Viz and PE have been overtaken by the Morning Star, the ‘People’s Daily’ independent of the Communist Party of Britain and run by the co-op.

It is time to back a new party in the elections

Announcing his intention to join the rival Socialist Labour Party established by Arthur Scargill in 1996, CHRIS WILLIAMSON argues that the time is now right to advocate a mass vote for parties that run against Starmer’s Labour from the left

“Britain’s democracy is a sham, but I believe the political vacuum could be filled by a rejuvenated Socialist Labour Party (SLP), the alternative party founded by Arthur Scargill in 1996.

I have lost count of the number of people who have said to me that what we need is “a socialist Labour Party.”

That is why Resist’s steering committee unanimously recommended to our members that we should join the SLP, and in a poll of Resist’s membership last month, 89 per cent voted in favour of the move.”

……

Britain’s most popular Vegan after Morrissey continues,

It is 110 years since Vladimir Lenin published his seminal pamphlet about the situation in tsarist Russia, What Is to Be Done.

We need to ask ourselves the same fundamental question — what is to be done in 21st-century Britain?”

NOTE, “Lenin’s work What Is To Be Done? was written at the end of 1901 and early in 1902. Published as a separate work in March 1902 ” (Hat tip GC).

Trade union militancy is also on the rise as a reaction to the cost-of-living catastrophe that has been facilitated by Nato’s proxy war against Russia in Ukraine.

Lenin recognised the need for a vanguard political party — and I believe the SLP could fulfil that role.

Corbyn showed that there is an appetite for a socialist alternative and I think the SLP has the potential to mount a serious challenge to the political duopoly.

It won’t be easy of course. The first-past-the-post system favours the mainstream parties, but the political duopoly has been broken before — and it can be broken again.

More recent attempts by parties like Respect, Tusc, and the SLP for that matter, floundered because the timing wasn’t right.

my plea to all Morning Star readers is to join us in this endeavour to build the Socialist Labour Party into a serious electoral force.

You can join us in Liverpool this Sunday at the Liner Hotel, which is a minute’s walk from Lime Street Station, when we will be formally announcing our intention to join the SLP.

Before one says, je te pisse à la raie, most of us are already pissing ourselves laughing..

Socialist Labour Party Election Results.

Election year# of total votes% of overall vote# of seats won
1997[15]52,109 Increase0.2% IncreaseSteady
2001[16]57,288Increase0.2% IncreaseSteady
2005[17]20,167 Decrease0.1% DecreaseSteady
2010[18]7,196 Decrease0.0% DecreaseSteady
2015[19]3,481 Decrease0.0% SteadySteady
2017[19]1,154 Decrease0.0% SteadySteady
2019494 Decrease0.0% SteadySteady

In 2019 the SLP stood only one candidate, Kevin Cranney in Hartlepool. He got an encouraging 1,9% of the vote in the General Election that is 494 ballots, which stands up well to recent TUSC results..

The SLP leader, one Arthur Scargill, called a “would-be labour dictator” by his opponents such as the Weekly Worker lot, was not known in the past for his tolerance to any rival leadership or competing groups in his little band. They have an interesting history with Stalin Society stalwart Harpal Brar, on their executive in the early years of the new millenium, whose little band was booted out, formed the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) in 2004, and whose members are now are the main cadres of George Galloway’s Workers Party of Britain.

The Communist Party of Britain (Provisional Central Committee), of the Weekly Worker, publisher of another Arthur who writes on this Blog, were also in the SLP till the formation of the Socialist Alliance around the same time.

There is also the, sadly not widely known, tale of the SWP break-away, the Revolutionary Democratic Group, which, amongst other alliances, had been involved with Spiked’s forerunners, the RCP in the ‘Red Front’ and which passed some years inside the SLP as the ‘Republican Group’. Steve Freeman’s League Against the Corn Laws/Republican Socialist Party may well still be around.

Whether the SLP micro party has changed, Scargill is 84 years old, remains to be seen.

Nothing as yet on the ‘Resist Movement’ tip-top site, whose ‘latest news’ dates to 2021.

Resist Movement latest news

But those who’d like a further laugh will soon be able to treat themselves here:

Resist announces their intentions to join the Socialist Labour Party

1 waiting Scheduled for 25 Sept 2022

This Sunday(25th Sept) in Liverpool at The Liner Hotel, Resist will be announcing their intentions to join the Socialist Labour Party, as a real alternative to mainstream UK political parties.

Seasoned observers note that Resist had got caught up in the gender wars…

Written by Andrew Coates

September 23, 2022 at 10:52 am

Russian Protests Against Ukrainian War Escalation Erupt. Left Stands in Solidarity while Stop the War Coalition is Silent.

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In his just published L’épreuve et la contreépreuveDe la Yougoslavie à l’Ukraine the French journalist and veteran left-winger Edwy Plenel begins his defence of internationalism, “Un nouvel impérialisme menace la paix du monde, et il est russe.” The reality of the Russian invasion of Ukraine forces us to look at this straight in the eye.

One of the founders and mainstays of Mediapart, he dubs this an “imperialism of revenge”, born of the resentment of nations who have lost their leading place in the world and who turn their wounds into aggression against other peoples and states. It is equally driven by a mission, to defend a conservative and identitarian world-vision, an alternative to Western decadence. Russia is also a nuclear power, run by a man and his clan of oligarchs, which has swung from authoritarianism to dictatorship. In the present international balance of power, Plenel, who began his career in the 1970s working for the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire paper, Rouge, declares, countering Russian aggression means having to deal with NATO (“composer avec OTAN” Page 37).

L’épreuve et la contreépreuve merits its own review. But for the moment these lines offer some clear lines of thought: Russia invaded Ukraine. Internationalists should oppose it root and branch. As Plenel says on Mediapart, (En défense de l’internationalisme 12th of September).

Being in solidarity without conditions or reservations with the resistance of the Ukrainian people to the Russian invasion does not prevent us from fighting the disasters for which the powers that support Ukraine militarily, the United States in the first place, are responsible. But these disasters can never justify abandoning the Ukrainian people today to be under the yoke of Putin’s Russia, just as the Syrian people were left under the boot of the Assad dictatorship.

“Il faut aider l’Ukraine, y compris militairement, dans l’espoir de mettre fin aux ambitions de l’impérialisme Russe.” (Page 106) Ukraine must be helped, including militarily, in the hope of putting an end to the ambitions of Russian imperialism.

Putin faces domestic opposition:

Pleney’s views, in outline, are widely shared on the European left.

The National Union of Miners has submitted this motion to the Labour Party Conference:

Motion Title: Ukraine
Motion ID: 1287
Conference notes:

  1. That Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to tens of thousands of deaths; nine million fleeing Ukraine and ten million internally displaced; horrendous war crimes and human rights abuses by Russian forces.
    Conference believes:
  2. That Russia’s war, waged by a power that oppressed Ukraine for centuries, is unjustified, unprovoked imperialist aggression.
  3. For the sake of democracy and resisting growing authoritarian tendencies globally, Ukraine must win.
  4. That Western governments have not yet given Ukrainians sufficient weapons to liberate their country and bring peace to Ukraine.
    Conference condemns all who would seek to exploit the cost-of-living crisis to undermine support for Ukraine.
    Conference resolves:
    To declare solidarity with the people of Ukraine and their labour movement who are resisting the invasion.
  5. That Labour will campaign for:
    a. A free united Ukraine, with any peace deal determined by the people of Ukraine.
    b. Increased military aid necessary to enable Ukrainians to free their country, including modern tanks, aircraft and artillery.
    c. Justice for victims of war crimes, including POWs killed.
    d. Lifting of restrictions on refugees fleeing Ukraine.
    e. A socially progressive reconstruction in which trade unions and civil society are properly recognised and can democratically participate.
  6. That the party will also:
    a. Promote Ukrainian trade union fundraising appeals for aid
    b. Encourage CLPs to invite Ukrainian labour movement speakers.
    c. Call a National Day of Action, ‘Labour Supports Ukrai

There are those who take a different view.

On the Stop the War Coalition’s site Chris Nineham, Vice-Chair of the Stop the War Coalition, author of Capitalism and Class Consciousness: the ideas of Georg Lukács and supporter of the revolutionary Marxist group, Counterfire, has not been silent.

For those who wish to see why the marginalisation of the Stop the War Coalition has happened there is no better place to start than here.

THE RUSSIAN PRESIDENT’S STATEMENT MAKES CLEAR THAT WE ARE NEARER TO GREAT POWER NUCLEAR CONFRONTATION THAN AT ANY TIME FOR GENERATIONS.

 

Never Lose Sight of Western Responsibility.

Vladimir Putin’s announcement of a new mobilisation of reservists and his statement that Russia is prepared to use ‘various means of destruction’ if Russia is threatened, marks an alarming new escalation in the terrible war in Ukraine and must be condemned. It makes chillingly clear once again that we are nearer to great power nuclear confrontation than at any time for generations.

It is without doubt a recognition of major military setbacks for Russia as the Ukrainian’s autumn offensive has forced Russia into humiliating retreats, particularly in the north of the country.

It also shows in the starkest possible way that the current Western strategy of backing the Ukrainian army by pumping vast amounts of weapons into the country, huge numbers of troops into the region and by economically isolating Russia is inflaming the war and risking further catastrophe.

Never Forget The Cost of Living Crisis:

Truss has been leading the calls for increased military spending across the NATO alliance to pay for a Western war against authoritarianism, “The free world needs this economic strength and resilience to push back against authoritarian aggression and win this new era”. She has launched a new review of British foreign policy and committed Britain to spending a record 3% of GDP on defence – more than any other European country – till the end of the decade. This of course at a time when many people will be facing the prospect of not being able to heat their homes or feed themselves this winter.

Never Forget Ordinary People.

Ordinary people in Ukraine, Russia and the wider region cannot possibly benefit from this dreadful conflict. Whether the war grinds on for months or years more or whether it suddenly flares up into a terrifying wider confrontation, it will be they who suffer most.

But this war is blighting the lives of millions around the globe. It has caused life threatening food shortages in countries across the global south. It is a major contributory factor to the inflationary crisis we are all facing. Now once again politicians and commentators are nonchalantly discussing in the media the possibilities it raises of nuclear conflagration.

It is up to all of us to do everything to try and end this madness and to challenge the idea that there can be any winners in this war.

,

Socialist Worker gives their outline on the debate about Ukraine at Labour’s Conference.

Left wing MPs earlier this year withdrew support for a Stop the War Coalition statement opposing Western involvement in the war in Ukraine.

Now the right are confident that they can pass a motion supporting the West’s Nato military alliance in Ukraine. Another motion by the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign calls for the West to escalate the war by pouring in more weapons.

Meanwhile no left wing ­organisation is proposing any anti‑war motion. And no Labour MP is speaking at Stop the War’s annual conference fringe meeting.

This the Stop the War at Conference:

Written by Andrew Coates

September 22, 2022 at 11:40 am