Saturday, May 27, 2023

US imperialism sets the agenda at the Group of Seven

Once upon a time the Group of Seven (G7) had some purpose – at least for the leaders of the Western world – in providing a platform for the masters of imperialism to present a common economic front to challenge the Soviet Union and the Third World during the Cold War. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990 the G7, like the Trilateral Commission and the World Economic Forum that meets in Davos, was used by the Western powers to by-pass the United Nations in their bid to rule the world at the turn of the century. 
That American dream brought death and destruction to the Balkans and the Arab world until finally brought to a halt on the streets of Baghdad and Aleppo. No-one talks about the “New World Order” these days – not even at the G7 which claims to uphold the shared values of what they call pluralism, liberal democracy, and representative government. 
These mythical “values”, which are simply a mask to cover the oppression and exploitation of capitalism at home and abroad, have few takers beyond the heartlands of the Western world that lives off the backs of the Global South it seeks to plunder and exploit.
The G7 now is simply another forum for US imperialism to set out its agenda to the leaders of the other imperialist powers – Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Italy and Canada – that do the bidding of whoever is in the White House at the time.
No Western get-together can be without the presence of Vladimir Zelensky and this year’s G7 in Hiroshima was no exception. Zelensky turned up in person – invited, it is said, at the initiative of the British government – to appeal for more guns and money to keep his war with the Russians going.  Zelensky says that escalation is the key to victory but he’s hardly a military expert. And in any case everybody knows he is merely parroting the wishes of the Biden administration in Washington.
This is Biden’s war. And as retired Italian general Marco Bertolini pointed out the other day, if Western arms supplies to Ukraine had stopped “the war would have ended a year ago and would not have cost hundreds of thousands of lives”. 
Zelensky says he’s a “servant of the people”. That was the name of the TV comedy show he starred in when he was still an actor. It’s now the name of Zelensky’s own political platform. And it’s true, Zelensky is a servant of the “people”. But they are clearly not Ukrainians. 
The people Zelensky serves are the Americans behind Joe Biden – the venal and aggressive war-party of American industrialists, bankers and landowners that still believes in world domination. 
There is, of course, division and opposition to the Ukraine war within the American ruling class. We see it in the dissident voices of investigative journalists, politicians, retired generals and diplomats that even include Nixon’s scheming foreign minister, Henry Kissinger. We also see it amongst the Republican opposition.
The two Republican front-runners set to challenge Biden at the next election are former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Both are opposed to Biden’s proxy war. And they’re not the only ones.
This is why Boris Johnson has gone to Texas. He’s in Dallas trying to sway leading Republican politicians, donors and businessmen away from what the war-lobby see as a deviant line from the Trump camp.
Sadly the dead hand of the bourgeois gurus, the social democrats and the bogus left that also serve imperialism has stifled open debate on the Ukraine conflict in the media and more importantly, within the labour movement itself. 
Communists like us, working with other genuine left anti-war forces, can make the difference, and indeed we must, to build the campaign to halt the British role in the war and build solidarity with the fighting people of the Donbas.

Poland: the road to tyranny

 by Konrad Rękas

Some scholars describe Poland's current political system as “illiberal”, i.e. as preserving the external appearances of neo-liberal parliamentary democracy, but with a limited level of human and civil rights. This analysis seems incomplete. Poland is not an exception to the Western system, some relic of an own authoritarian past or a freak of local populist authoritarianism. On the contrary, the example of Poland can be used to trace the evolution that will almost certainly be shared by other countries subject to the neo-liberal domination of the United States and the UK.

Dismantling the last vestiges of parliamentarism and the rule of law is an inherent feature of the present stage of imperialism. They become redundant, as historically they only secured the smooth functioning of capitalist mass production, which is no longer needed today in the realities of global financialised capitalism. The ruling class now has no need for social consensus or the acceptance of left-wing parties and trade unions that give a certain scope of freedom of expression and organisation.

Poland shows that in the next phase of imperialism there will be an attempt to strengthen it through authoritarianism – a mono-party system (now poorly concealed by the false division into ‘ruling party / parliamentary opposition’) and possible references to populist and outright fascist content, while of course maintaining neo-liberal slogans and phraseology.

Nazism

In Poland, these processes have been accelerated, especially as a result of the Russian-Ukrainian war, when surveillance, censorship and repression are carried out under the pretext of “fighting against Russian influence”. The Polish prosecutor's office and courts willingly refer to the law penalising “incitement to hatred on the basis of national, ethnic and racial differences” while recognising that it prohibits also criticising the Banderite ideology, which is only the Ukrainian form of Nazism.

These days the Polish courts regard “Banderite” as synonymous with “Ukrainian”. People are prosecuted for recalling the Volhynian Massacre (the mass genocide perpetrated by the Ukrainian Nazis on Poles, Jews and Ukrainian anti-fascists during the Second World War). They include Katarzyna Sokołowska and Andrzej Łukawski, who have been campaigning to commemorate the victims of Nazi crimes. Four residents on the Polish-Ukrainian borderland were arrested for trying to organise civic patrols to protect neighbours from attacks of aggressive Ukrainian immigrants bearing Nazi symbols. Although formally Nazi signs are prohibited in Poland, neither the courts nor the police react to their increasing presence, claiming that they are currently “justified by the Ukrainian defence against Russian aggression”. Protesting Poles face up to two years in prison.

peace prohibited

“Praising Russian aggression against Ukraine” now considered a crime in Poland and it’s used to stifle the anti-war campaigners like Henryk Mikietyn a 72-year-old pensioner and one of the former leaders of the Communist Party of Poland (KPP).

The KPP is banned in Poland, and the mere use of communist emblems can be punished. Groups referring to the heritage of communist Poland have taken part in anti-war actions under the banner the Polish Left Movement (PRL). This probably prompted the Court in Legnica to sentence Comrade Mikietyn to three months imprisonment conditionally suspended for a probationary period of two years. His mobile phone was confiscated as a “crime tool”. And under the supervision of a probation officer Mikietyn has to now do six months “voluntary service” in “an entity providing assistance to residents of Ukraine affected by the effects of the war”.

The blogger Najjjka was sentenced to five months restriction of freedom (ordered to do unpaid social work by the Court) for saying, quoting the Bible, that she would not allow Ukrainian Nazis into her home.

Similar judgments have been handed down in other cases in Krakow, Wrocław, Świdnica and in many other Polish cities. The prosecutor's office is now focusing on activists of the Polish Anti-War Movement (PRA), such as Piotr Panasiuk from Lublin, who describing the alleged “Bucha Massacre” as a Ukrainian hoax.

In addition to the police and the prosecutor's office, critics of Poland's unilateral involvement in the Ukrainian conflict are pursued by numerous non-governmental organisations, mostly financed by the Polish government and its Western sponsors.

Neither Amnesty International nor the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights took any action to defend those convicted and detained for criticising Nazism. On the contrary, the Helsinki Foundation publicly praised the new practice of the Polish Government as an example of the "fight against hate speech”!

the fight intensifies

Mateusz Piskorski PhD, a former MP and then founder and leader of the anti-imperialist, left-wing CHANGE party was arrested in 2016 and for three years he was held in prison without trial on charges of “cooperation with the Russian and Chinese intelligence”. He was released after intervention of the United Nations Working Group, which investigated the lack of rule of law in Poland. To this day, however, Piskorski is under strict police surveillance, he cannot leave the country, and his court case is pending.

Janusz Niedźwiecki, a human rights activist, has been in prison for the last two years accused of “espionage for China”.

Further amendments to the Polish Penal Code are on the cards including introducing criminal liability for the “unintentional form of espionage” (up to five years in prison), as well as for the crime of “disinformation involving the dissemination of false or misleading information” (up to eight years in jail). The scope of the Internal Security Agency (ABW), a branch of the secret police, will be significantly expanded.

It can therefore be assumed that the number of political prisoners in Poland can only increase in the coming months.


Sunday, May 21, 2023

No DU shells to Ukraine!

The Kremlin warned Britain of the grave consequences of supplying Ukraine with depleted uranium (DU) shells. Some said this simply meant escalation. Others, the gurus of the bourgeois media who pose as ‘military experts’, told us that they posed no danger to Ukrainian civilians and that, in any case, this was just another empty threat from the Russians who would soon be on their knees following a Ukrainian spring offensive. What none of them foresaw was that the “grave consequences” that would follow would be the taking out of the DU ammo dumps and the possible release of deadly radiation into the air.
    That’s exactly what happened when a Ukrainian military depot was totally destroyed by a Russian ballistic missile this week. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says reports that radiation levels have risen in the aftermath of the Russian strike are wrong.
    Whether deadly gamma rays really were released when the warehouse went up is a matter of indifference to the hapless citizens of Khmelnitsky. They stampeded to the shops to buy iodine pills and are being told not to drink the tap water. They're seeing patrols going around the streets with radiation dosimeters after the explosion. They were not prepared to give their authorities the benefit of the doubt. Neither should we.
    Sadly Labour’s leaders and most of the trade union bureaucrats think otherwise. They spend their time thinking of new ways to take the UK back into the European Union and drivelling on about the “human rights” they believe can only exist under the rule of the bourgeoisie. These days many of those who pose as socialists have also become cheer-leaders for imperialism and its lackeys in Israel, south Korea and, of course, Ukraine.
    No treaty explicitly banning the use of DU is yet in force, however repeated UN General Assembly resolutions have highlighted serious concerns over the use of DU weapons. Needless to say, the UK, together with the USA, France and Israel, are the only states that have consistently voted against the resolutions.
    Sadly, the influence of the venal social-democrats and the bogus left stretches far beyond the union movement. Its dead-hand stifles debate in academia and within the traditional anti-war and peace movements in Britain.
    CND and the Stop the War campaign are in the doldrums precisely because they refused to take a principled stand when the Russians intervened to defend the people of the Donbas last year. But genuine communists, such as the New Communist Party, along with anti-imperialists and revolutionary socialists, stepped up their solidarity work in support of the Donbas people’s republics and the underground Ukrainian anti-fascist resistance.
    More people are now seeing through the lies of the imperialists and their willing tools in the peace and labour movement. Stop the War, which originally called for an end to the fighting on NATO’s terms, is shifting. CND to its credit has called on the Sunak government to put an immediate end to its use of DU. They say “inflicting it on the people of Ukraine is the last thing they need” – it’s the last thing we need too.

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Odessa Solidarity Campaign

 

Odessa Solidarity Campaign

“Supporting the antifascist people of Ukraine since 2016”

A project of the Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality
PO Box 23202, Richmond, VA 23223 USA - https://odessasolidaritycampaign.org
Ph: 1-804-644-5834 - Email: DefendersFJE@hotmail.com



Statement by the Odessa Solidarity Campaign on the 9th anniversary of the Odessa Massacre

Each year, the Odessa Solidarity Campaign has promoted actions on May 2 to mark the date in 2014 when a right-wing mob led by openly fascist organizations murdered at least 42 anti-fascists at the House of Trade Unions in Odessa, Ukraine.

The Odessa Massacre took place just a few months after the violent coup that replaced a pro-Russian president with a pro-U.S. one. Not surprisingly, the U.S. was heavily involved in promoting the coup.

Today Ukraine has an authoritarian government that openly collaborates with neo-Nazi organizations, incorporating them into its military and promoting the memory of Ukrainian fascists who shamefully collaborated with the World War II Nazi occupation of their country. The birthday of the notorious Nazi collaborator Stefan Bandera is now a national holiday. His image graces a national stamp. Major streets have been renamed in his honor and Bandera statues have replaced monuments to Soviet war heroes.

For years, relatives of those who were murdered on May 2, 2014, regularly visited the site of the massacre and kept repeating their demand for an international investigation into the atrocity, something  the Ukrainian government has never allowed. Today it is impossible for them to come into the streets without risking arrest or physical attacks.

The Odessa Solidarity Campaign was founded in 2016 to support the anti-fascist people of Odessa, and now Ukraine as a whole. That was the year we traveled to Odessa to stand with the Council of Mothers of May 2 as they defied threats of attack by the same fascist organizations that had murdered their daughters and sons. 

Today, as the world is inundated with pro-U.S. and pro-NATO propaganda about the war in Ukraine, we believe it is more important than ever to keep alive the memory of the Odessa Massacre and the fact that not all Ukrainians support the current reactionary government and its pro-U.S./NATO stance.

We are asking that all freedom-loving people everywhere please post this message on your websites and social media sites along with the above graphic that was created by a young Ukrainian to promote the anti-fascist message. Please make the graphic your Facebook image for the day and share it on your Instagram, Tic-Toc and Twitter accounts.

And as for the war itself, we call on the U.S. and NATO, which are responsible for provoking this devastating confrontation, to stop sending arms to Ukraine and stop using the Ukrainian people as cannon fodder in their proxy war against Russia.
 

Remember the Odessa Massacre!
U.S. Out of Ukraine!
NATO Out of Existence!


If you or your organization post this message and/or graphic, please let us know:

ODESSA SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN
PO Box 23202, Richmond, VA 23223 - USA
Phone/Text: 1-804-644-5845
Email: DefendersFJE@hotmail.com

Web: https://odessasolidaritycampaign.org

No grounds for complacency

Last week’s local elections were bad news for the Tories. The Conservatives lost control of more than 40 councils in the poll which Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer says has set them "on course for a Labour majority at the next general election".
    It was certainly good for Labour but there’s no grounds for complacency. Labour ended up nine per cent ahead of the Tories picking up more than 500 seats and winning control of 22 more councils on the night. But the swing is nothing like the astronomical levels recorded by the pollsters at the beginning of the year and though the Conservatives lost over a thousand council seats nearly half of them went to the Liberal Democrats and the Greens.
    Though there’s still a year or more to go until the next general election if nothing changes a nine per cent swing will not be enough to give Labour an overall majority in the House of Commons. Starmer says Labour isn’t interested in cutting a deal with the Liberal-Democrats or the nationalists but this hasn’t stopped speculation in Westminster and in the bourgeois media about a coalition to avoid a hung parliament.
    The Liberal Democrats did join hands with the Tories to form a coalition under David Cameron. But it ended in tears at the 2015 general election with loss of 48 seats in the House of Commons, leaving them with only eight MPs. Nevertheless the Lib-Dems would still like to be king-makers if Starmer won’t play ball, Rishi Sunak might have no choice.
    Though local elections generally reflect national issues local issues sometimes benefit campaigns like the Canvey Island Independence Party that increased their share of seats on their local council. But unlike the Scottish or Welsh nationalists the only “independence” they want is that of their old Canvey district council in Essex.
    Needless to say the left posers who call themselves part of an imaginary “revolutionary left” were well down with the also-rans in this election. The reality is that these “alternative left” parties are rejected time and again by the same working class their programmes claim to advance. There isn’t even a remote possibility of any of them taking office as the rhetoric and wild promises of these parties do not reflect reality.
    The glittering display of pomp and circumstance for the coronation of King Charles at Westminster Abbey may have thrilled the royal fans and the gaping tourists who delight in these spectacles but it did nothing to change the lives of the millions of working people trying to cope with the cost of living crisis.
    In ancient days the slaves were kept quiet with free food and entertainment in the arenas and circuses whose ruins can still be seen across what was once the Roman Empire. When the going was good even the barons and their feudal church would provided feast days, religious holidays and sports for the peasants who tilled the land that kept the lords in clover. But the workers get nothing from the capitalists.
    The incompetence, greed and indifference towards the unemployed and the homeless sums up all that is rotten within the British ruling class.
    We don’t want the ‘austerity-lite’ of Starmer & Co. We don’t want a mealy-mouthed compromise with the worthless Liberal-Democrats that the liberal bourgeois pundits who pose as friends of the working class are now advocating. What we want is an end to austerity and the restoration of trade union rights. Saving the NHS, capping rents and building cheap council homes, raising wages, getting rid of the need for foodbanks, saving our schools, restoring the right to independence for the disabled, restoring proper care for the elderly and restoring legal aid to bring justice for all – restoring the public sector, cutting the defence budget and taxing the rich to make them pay for the crisis of their own creation will pay for all of this and more.
    Getting rid of capitalism and replacing it with socialism is the ultimate objective of working people. Getting rid of austerity and replacing it with social justice must be the immediate objective of the working class.



Tuesday, May 02, 2023

Defend Diane Abbott!

Rising prices and soaring inflation. Doctors, teachers and railway workers on strike for higher pay. Tens of thousands of young people marching through London to demand action on climate change. Yet for Sir Keir Starmer top of the agenda is the suspension of Diane Abbot from the Parliamentary Labour Party for some ill-chosen words on racism that she subsequently retracted. 
     The veteran black Labour MP perhaps unwisely sent a letter to the Observer that some claimed downplayed the Holocaust or was even anti-semitic. Starmer certainly thinks so.
In fact all that her letter in the Observer said was “Tomiwa Owolade claims that Irish, Jewish and Traveller people all suffer from “racism” (“Racism in Britain is not a black and white issue. It’s far more complicated”, Comment). They undoubtedly experience prejudice. This is similar to racism and the two words are often used as if they are interchangeable.
    "It is true that many types of white people with points of difference, such as redheads, can experience this prejudice. But they are not all their lives subject to racism. In pre-civil rights America, Irish people, Jewish people and Travellers were not required to sit at the back of the bus. In apartheid South Africa, these groups were allowed to vote. And at the height of slavery, there were no white-seeming people manacled on the slave ships”.
    There’s confusion between “prejudice” and “racism” and silly talk about “redheads” while any reference to the “prejudice” against Jewish people is incomplete without reference to the Holocaust.
    Prejudice and racism are, of course, not quite the same. But one often leads to the other. Adolf Hitler hated Jews but he didn’t talk about extermination during the Nazi rise to power in Germany after the first world war. But there’s a certain inevitability once you establish the creed of the “master race” and state that Jews were “sub-human” enemies of the entire human race.
    Yes Diane Abbott’s letter is insensitive, crass and historically wrong. But it’s certainly not anti-semitic.
    The left social-democratic Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) network points out “ No individual has suffered more from racism over her 40 years as an MP than Abbott and to even think of characterising her as racist is grotesque political chicanery”.
    Or as Caribbean Labour Solidarity rightly says: “Whether you agree with the formulation of Diane’s letter...or not, we must be clear that this is not the real issue at stake here. She has been suspended from the Labour Party for being a socialist who opposes the class-collaborationist position of the Starmer leadership. We may wish to discuss with Diane the terms in which we discuss the nature of racism, we do not doubt her commitment to the struggle against racism in all its manifestations. We cannot say the same about Keir Starmer. She has apologised and withdrawn the statement. Let that be the end of the matter. We demand that she be reinstated forthwith”.
    Starmer & Co now seems determined to purge Labour of all the remaining Corbynistas including the tiny band of Labour MPs who still support the former Labour leader in the House of Commons. But Starmer should beware. Diane Abbott is a highly respected London MP. Kicking her out of the Labour Party will cost Starmer votes – not just in her north London constituency and not just amongst the Black ethnic minority communities either.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Sweden: swapping Kurds for NATO

by Evgeny Glebov

NATO has a lot to gain from Sweden's entry into the transatlantic military bloc. Sweden is one of the few Western countries that has maintained it own strong industrial manufacturing sector and its own military industry. Swedish weapons are modern and effective and are listed on the world market.
    Geography is also important: Sweden's accession would turn the Baltic and North Seas into NATO lakes. Russia still has small areas along the Baltic coast of the Kaliningrad enclave and the St Petersburg region. But even without conflict Swedish accession to NATO would still pose problems to Russian shipping. In fact the Swedish, Danish, Norwegian press, for example, are already openly discussing how to cause economic damage to Russian shipping in peacetime.
    And it's very easily done. Why do the Swedes and Finns need to raise their navies to NATO standards? The answer is to conduct coordination and general naval exercises with the Western alliance. Why?
    Well large sections of the sea will inevitably be closed for these exercises, and commercial vessels will have to bypass these sections, get stuck in straits, stand in line for pilotage, etc, etc. And note – all of this without any formal hostile activity.
    Covert hostile reconnaissance and sabotage penetration, including underwater, will also be facilitated.
    It is also important to note that the Swedes, who have been neutral for more than two centuries, are not simply abandoning it. They are going to immediately join the most aggressive military bloc on the planet. It is a very sad signal for the countries not only of the Non-Aligned Movement, but also for the "multi-vector" states in general.And what prevents such a pleasant prospect for NATO? The Turkish-Kurdish conflict.
    It stretches back to the Middle Ages. The story is long and complex, and even the presentation of that part of it that began in the last quarter of the twentieth century is a topic for several dissertations. So many troubles and claims have accumulated between the Turks and the Kurds that the end of this conflict is still not in sight. Both sides committed many atrocities in the struggle, all still bitterly recalled across the generations.
    Sweden’s involvement is through its long-standing Kurdish community. Kurdish refugees have been settling there since the 1960s, and now they have become an economically strong and politically influential part of Swedish society. Many ethnic Kurds are citizens of Sweden. They have their deputies in parliament. They enjoy authority and influence. And they willingly help their compatriots in Turkey and other countries. Money (and weapons, too), goods, shelter and propaganda.
    Of course, seeing the prospect of Sweden joining NATO, and the dependence of the final decision on Turkey's vote, the Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan did not fail to take advantage of the opportunity.
    He set a condition – the Swedes must stop all activities of the Kurds hostile to the Turks in their country. It is clear, to begin with, that he overstated Turkey’s requirements as much as possible for bargaining purposes. But Erdoğan will be quite satisfied with simply reducing the political and economic role of the Kurdish community in Sweden, depriving it of representation in the Swedish parliament, the Riksdag, and deporting those who are listed as terrorists in Turkey (that is, all members of the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) and the Kurdistan National Liberation Front). Many of them are Swedish citizens, by the way.
    That will however mean that the Swedes will have to restrict democracy, violate the rights of their citizens and hand over at least several hundred people to the tender mercies of the Turkish state.
    The Swedes will have to choose between the economic, military and geopolitical benefits of NATO or the demands of democracy and humanism. What will they do?
    You don't have to be Nostradamus to guess the answer. The Swedish government will, of course, try to soften the blow. It will “let” the Kurdish deputies lose their seats in the next election. It will adopt laws solely for the sake of “democracy” and “competition” to deprive the Kurdish community and the Kurdish refugees of the special advantages they current enjoy in Sweden.
    The most odious militants in Turkish eyes and those who were publicly proud of fighting the Turks will be expelled. Turkey will get all sorts of preferences and advantages in trade both with Sweden and with other NATO countries. And Greta Thunberg will be left to grieve about the Kurds…

NO BRITISH DU SHELLS TO UKRAINE!

UK is supplying depleted uranium (DU) shells to Ukraine to be used by the Challenger tanks Britain is sending. DU ammunition was first deployed by the United States in the 1990 Gulf War. In that war and the 2003 Iraq War 300 metric tons of DU weapons were used, and 10 metric tons were used in the 1999 NATO military action in Yugoslavia. DU weapons were also used by the US military in Syria in 2015.
    Significant increases in horrific birth defects, leukaemia and other cancers, kidney damage, and mental illness in children have been recorded in areas where the munitions were used.
    In 2001, the World Health Organisation (WHO) completed a scientific review that concluded that depleted uranium is both chemically and radiologically toxic.
    The DU used in battle is spread throughout the environment including the soil and water tables, and remains radioactive for more than 4.5 billion years.
    The rich Western countries which dominate and control the UN and its bodies have promised to clean up the DU in Iraq, but have failed to deliver.
    It is likely that the people of the former Yugoslavia and Iraq will be living with the tragic consequences of the use of DU for generations to come, unless the rich nations come forward to finance environmental cleansing and monitoring on a massive scale.
    But we can try to stop DU weapons being used in yet another NATO-backed war, a war which the entire NATO alliance is prolonging with billions in arms deliveries and active support for the Kiev regime through intelligence and undercover forces operating in the country.
    We are calling on the British government to reverse its decision to send depleted uranium shells to Ukraine, and ensure that DU ammunition already sent to Ukraine is not used in battle.


Look for the Golly...

...the Golly on the jar” was the jingle when Robertson’s used a “golliwog” to promote their jams and marmalade. Generations of kids collected the golliwog tokens needed to get a seemingly endless series of enamel Golly badges.
    Back in the news following a row over their display in a south Essex pub we’re told – at least in some quarters – that these rag-dolls are “loveable” mementos from the “good old days”. In fact these hideous frizzy-haired dolls with their bulging eyes and bright red lips are nothing more than offensive racist caricatures of black people.
    The landlord of the White Hart Inn in Grays wonders what all the fuss is about when the police followed up complaints about his collection of gollywogs displayed behind the bar – including two hanging from a beam above. He denies there’s any racist motive behind the display of his wife’s collection of these dolls. He says "a mountain has been made out of a molehill" and that the dolls were "part of our history".
    It certainly is part of our history – but not one that there’s anything to be proud of. The gollywog comes from the American slave-owning past seen through the spectrum of pre-war British colonialism, the “white man’s burden” and “lesser breeds without the law”.
    We have, of course, moved on from those days. The Empire has gone along with the colonial and racist ideology that was taught in our schools to justify its existence. The racist and Nazi movements that flourished in the 1970s have been marginalised by mass action on the street. Even the golliwogs have gone. They were eventually removed by Robertson’s in 2002. But the fact that there’s any discussion about this at all in the bourgeois media shows we’ve still got a long way to go.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Smear campaigns are here again

Last week, the Labour Party tweeted a photo of a smiling Prime Minister alongside the words: “Do you think adults convicted of sexually assaulting children should go to prison? Rishi Sunak doesn’t”. A follow-up accuses Sunak of not wanting to jail gun owners who possess the weapon with intent to harm and another appears to accuse the prime minister's family of benefiting from a 'non-dom' tax loophole, after the Tories raised taxes for working people.
    Tory MPs have rushed to defend their leader denouncing Labour for the “gutter politics” of these attack ads that are focusing on the Tory leader in the run-up to next month’s local elections. Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey says "I think it's wrong when people attack individuals personally, particularly over subjects which are so sensitive, which are so important to the British people". Even some Labour MPs have expressed doubts about the new social media campaign including John McDonnell, the former Shadow Chancellor. McDonnell, who likes to pose as a left-winger, piously says "this is not the sort of politics a Labour Party, confident of its own values and preparing to govern, should be engaged in. I say to the people who have taken the decision to publish this ad, please withdraw it. We, the Labour Party, are better than this".
    But the Labour leader is unrepentant. Sir Keir Starmer says "I make no apologies for highlighting the failures of this government. They've broken our NHS, they've broken our economy. And this argument that because they've changed prime minister five times, that somehow the prime minister doesn't bear responsibility for 13 years of grief for many, many people, I just don't think stacks up...behind these adverts is a basic truth - that they have broken our criminal justice system, broken our NHS, and broken our economy".
    We need not trouble ourselves with the bleating of the Tories and the Liberal Democrats. These were the people, after-all, who had no qualms in targetting Jeremy Corbyn as an anti-semite and a supporter of terrorism throughout his leadership of the Labour Party. But adverse comments from Labour MPs, no matter how misguided they may be, have to be taken seriously.
    It’s not a question of personal attacks or taste. The political power invested in the leaders of the mainstream parties inevitably makes them fair game for public scrutiny and
    smear campaigns by their very nature are invariably in bad taste. What they achieve is, however, debatable.
    No one doubts the power of the media when it focuses on the foibles of the high and mighty. The truth is nobody likes them. When politicians are exposed for departing from the bourgeois moral standards of the day or as venal corrupt chancers they go down and rarely come up again. But when one falls another always takes their place.
    Denigrating Sunak may make a change from attacking Corbyn but it’s no substitute for genuine election pledges that reflect the demands of the labour movement as a whole.
    Smear campaigns only work up to a point. This one may put some off voting Conservative at the next election but it won’t in itself bag more votes for Labour. Disaffected Tories are more than likely to turn to the Lib-Dems or even the Greens rather than Labour. And at the end of the day they do little to mobilise your own supporters at election time.
    To do that Labour should restore the ‘Welfare State’ and defend the health service, champion the unions fighting for higher pay, lift the limits on councils to let them build vast new estates to end homelessness. All of this could be paid for by restoring the tax levels and the public sector existed until 1979 and cutting the wasteful arms expenditure that is crippling the economy. This is what Starmer should do. But he won’t.
    Labour hasn’t won a general election since 2005. Now there’s a surprise...
















Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Freedom for Palestinian political prisoners and for the internationalist fighters: Illich Ramírez Sánchez and George Ibrahim Abdallah!


The undersigned communist and workers parties and anti-imperialist organisations, on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with Political Prisoners on 17th April, express our solidarity with all Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails, as well as with the internationalist fighters for the Palestinian cause: Illich Ramírez Sánchez and George Ibrahim Abdallah.
In this sense, we reiterate our demand for the respect of human rights and the immediate release of all Palestinians illegally detained for fighting against the policy of extermination and occupation of the Zionist regime.

Likewise, we raise our voice for the freedom of the internationalist fighters:

George Ibrahim Abdallah, of Lebanese nationality, a Lebanese resistance militant and activist for the Palestinian cause, who was arrested in Lyon, France, in 1984 and sentenced without evidence to life imprisonment in 1987. In 2003 the justice system authorized his release, but the pressures of Zionism and US imperialism have kept him kidnapped for more than 39 years in prisons in France.

Illich Ramírez Sánchez, of Venezuelan nationality, member of the Communist Youth of Venezuela (JCV) in his youth, who joined the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine while studying at the Patricio Lumumba University, Moscow. He was kidnapped in 1994 in Sudan and sentenced in 1997 in Paris. He has been held for almost 29 years in French prisons and is denied his legitimate right to be repatriated to his country of origin, as allowed by international treaties such as the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Person, signed in Strasbourg, France on 21 March 1983.

We take this opportunity to reiterate our condemnation of the genocidal policy of the Zionist State of Israel against the Palestinian people, as well as our firm solidarity with the Palestinian cause and their legitimate struggle against the Zionist occupation, the right to self-determination and the return of Palestinian refugees to their lands.


Freedom for all Palestinian political prisoners!

Freedom for George Ibrahim Abdallah!

Freedom and transfer for Illich Ramírez Sánchez!

Long live free Palestine!




SolidNet List
  • Communist Party of Albania
  • Party of Labour of Austria
  • Progressive Tribune, Bahrain
  • Communist party of Bangladesh
  • New Communist Party of Britain
  • Egyptian Communist Party
  • Hungarian Workers' Party
  • Communist party of Kurdistan-Iraq
  • Workers Party of Ireland
  • Jordanian Communist Party
  • Lebanese Comuunist Party
  • Communist Party of Norway
  • Palestinian Communist Party
  • Palestinian Peoples Party
  • Communist Paty of Poland
  • New Communist Party of Yugoslavia
  • Communists of Serbia
  • Communist Party of the People of Spain
  • Communist Party of Swaziland
  • Communist Party of Venezuela
Other Organisations 
  • Swiss Party of Labour
  • Pôle de Renaissance Communiste en France
  • Partido Comunista Obrero Español (PCOE)
  • League of Young Communists USA (LYCUSA).
  • Socialist Party Malaysia.
  • Youth of the Jordanian Democratic Popular Unity Party.
  • Australian Communist Party.
  • Palestinian Popular Struggle Front.
  • Palestian youth struggle union.
  • Youth sector and students in the progressive Tribune. Bahrain
  • Youth of the Jordanian Communist Party.
  • The National Revolutionary Democratic Youth Organization "Kifah" in Tunisia.
  • The National Social Democratic Party Tunisia.
  • Leftist Youth Front of Slovakia.
  • Labor Democratic Approach Party Morocco.
  • Youth Democratic Workers' Path Part Morocco.
  • Sahrawi Youth Union.
  • The Young Communist League of Kenya.
  • Yemeni Socialist Youth Union.
  • Movement we can Mauritania.
  • Student office of the We Can Mauritania movement.
  • Iraqi Democratic Youth Union.
  • Iraqi feminist uprising movement.
  • General Student Union in the Republic of Iraq.
  • Kobaba Iraqi Feminist Organization.
  • Party of Communists USA (PCUSA).
  • League of Communist Youth of Yugoslavia" For SKOJ.
  • Revolutionary Socialist League (Kenya).
  • Socialists of Slovakia
  • Giovani Comunisti (Young Communists) – Italy.
  • Moroccan Progress and Socialism Party.
  • Moroccan Socialist Youth.
  • Communist Youth of Denmark.
  • Communist Party of Kenya.
  • The Palestinian Progressive Youth Union.
  • Organization of the Left Cultural Forum in Iraq.
  • Anežka Michnová from feminist organization SdruŽeny, Czech Republic
  • Union of Palestinian Communist Youth (P.C.Y)