Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cuba -- 50 Years of Revolution

by Andy Brooks

THE OLD ERA ended in Cuba in 1958. The revolutionary movement led by Fidel Castro and his guerrilla army swept away the hated Batista regime ending decades of corruption and American domination. Today the Cubans are celebrating the 50th anniversary of people’s power – and not just on the island of socialism.
A new biopic about Che Guevara hit the screens in January to critical acclaim in Britain and throughout the world. And we will get a further taste of the Cuban experience in a festival organised by Cuba50 that will run throughout the year. Events, large or small, will take place across the country featuring some of Cuba’s brightest talents in a dazzling celebration of the island’s rich artistic, musical and cultural heritage.
In London it began last month with an exhibition of vintage and contemporary photos from the archive of the Magnum photo agency including classic portraits of Fidel and Che as well as images taken during those heady days in Havana in 1958 when the Batista regime was overthrown.
The small collection on display, some 40 images, is naturally mainly of interest to snappers and specialist collectors, but it is well worth the trek from Barbican station just to see how the eye of the Magnum photographers capture the moment on the streets. Buildings and monuments remind us of the past but only the camera can capture the moment of reality. Passion and banality is equally frozen in time – the past preserved in black and white for all eyes to contemplate.
This is just the start. Cuba 50 is supported by the Cuban Ministry of Culture, Cuban Embassy, Cuba Solidarity Campaign and a number of unions, tourist and business interests. Further details can be obtained on their website or writing to:
Cuba 50 c/o Unite218 Green LanesLondon N4 2HB
The Magnum exhibition is open Wednesday to Friday from 11.30am - 4pm and it carries on till the end of the month. Ring the bell to gain admission at:
Magnum Print RoomMagnum Studios,63 Gee StreetLondon, EC1V 3RS

Friday, January 16, 2009

Capitalism does not have the answers!

by Eric Trevett

“Not since the First World War has our banking system been so close to collapse,”
Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England.

“We who have looked to the self-interest of the lending institutes to protect shareholders’ equity, myself especially, are in a state of shock and disbelief,”
Alan Greenspan, former Chair of the United States Federal Reserve.

THE ECONOMIC and political crisis of capitalism once again proves the validity of the Marxist critique of capitalism. Those in the labour movement who contended that capitalism had found a way of becoming crisis-free and that boom-and-bust was a thing of the past have been proved wrong.
The present crisis may well prove to be the most profound in the history of the capitalist system. The capitalist media try to find a scapegoat to blame for this crisis. They point to greedy bankers and even Prime Minister Gordon Brown has been held responsible. But the real reason for the crisis is endemic to the capitalist system itself.
The crisis affects every capitalist country in the world, irrespective of whether they have capitalist or social democratic governments. The proof of this is the fast rising unemployment throughout the system with notable concerns going to the wall, giving rise to a further concentration of power to a shrinking elite.
Some people are amazed when told that the crisis results from too much production, too many goods, which the purchasing power of the market is unable to absorb. There simply is not enough purchasing power in the population.
Further proof of this is to be found in the sharp competition between enterprises resulting in sharp cuts in the price of commodities. At one time the rising price of oil up to about $150 a barrel was an exception to the general malaise. But that was caused by speculators and the price of a barrel has now sunk to under $40 a barrel, with the Middle East oil producers discussing cutting production in an effort to maintain prices and profits.
The letters of regret we had from gas and electricity companies that they were having to raise their prices substantially due to a sharp rise of fuel have not been followed by letters rejoicing that they are now able to cut the price of their products substantially.
The argument that the freeing of market forces would lead to a balancing out of supply and demand has also been exposed by the present crisis. Indeed the banks and motor corporations have turned to public funds to avoid bankruptcy. That means that taxation from the working classes is to be allocated to big business ventures.
The working class is to be even more philanthropic than those Robert Tressell wrote about in the book, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.
In the Unites States especially this development of bailing out the motor car industry is viewed with horror because it seems to smack of socialist legislation. Of course it’s no such thing and it undermines the argument against social ownership.
Capitalism needs a constantly expanding economy to realise maximum profits and to help establish political stability. Now there is contraction in the economy tens of thousands of workers are losing their jobs and half a million families are more than three months in arrears with their mortgage repayments.
Many of the recently made unemployed are from high salaries jobs and enjoyed big bonuses and lavish expense accounts. They thought they had secure jobs but the harsh realities of capitalism have ended that belief. They are workers and as such should be encouraged to participate in the struggles of the working class generally and its organisations. the answer, of course, is socialism
The answer to capitalism in crisis is, of course, socialism. To achieve that that capitalist state machine has to be replaced by a working class state machine. In the communist movement we put the issue more sharply: that the dictatorship of the capitalist class must be ended and the dictatorship of the proletariat established in its place.
Communists do not believe the state to be neutral; the capitalist state serves the interests of the capitalist class and the working class state serves the interests of the working class – and other sections of the population by putting an end to the exploitation of one person by another and landlordism.
Before socialism can be established there is much to be done in the field of organisational and ideological work. The working class has suffered some setbacks in the recent past. The defeat of the miners and the decimation of the engineering industry has weakened the trade union movement and undermined class consciousness.
But now there is growing anxiety among working people with growing discontent with the capitalist policies of the three major political parties.
There is not enough righteous anger over the domestic policies of privatisation and against the foreign policies, including the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan and the obstacles that British and US imperialism have put up against effective solidarity with the Palestinian people.
The labour movement should take advantage of the opportunities arising from the capitalist crisis to rally the working class with a renewed commitment to achieve a socialist society.
Fascists are also active in Britain, aiming to take advantage of the situation to introduce a much more dictatorial system to defend capitalism. In Germany the most reactionary sections of the capitalist class used the fascists to maintain their power, with the persecution of trade union and labour activists and any progressive elements – and of course the Jewish communities.
An important part of the work of the labour movement is to actively oppose the fascists whenever and wherever they make their play. The struggle against racism is necessary in the struggle for working class unity around a revolutionary perspective.
To further strengthen the socialist movement we should fight to restore Clause Four to the Labour Party constitution, with the additional amendment that the transfer of power from the capitalist state to the workers’ state is an essential prerequisite to build a socialist society.
Today the governments of capitalist countries are desperately trying to find ways to resolve the crisis. One method being discussed is printing more money. We should remember that this was tried in Germany in the 1920s and it led to massive devaluation of the mark, so that is not the way forward.
From the working class point of view we should not be satisfied to find a way out of the crisis for a system that is obsolete. Our aim should be socialism.
History has proved that socialism cannot be attained by spontaneous struggle alone. It is necessary to build a party dedicated to leading, uniting and helping the working class to ensure its freedom to exploitation and social poverty.
The New Communist Party has obviously got a role to play in achieving this and on that basis we appeal for support in building our party and increasing the circulation of its paper, the New Worker.

Stop the Gaza Massacre!

ISRAELI forces are pounding the Palestinians as their deadly ground, sea and air assault on the Gaza Strip enters its second week. Over a thousand Arabs have been killed and thousands more wounded, mostly civilians like the 42 killed when a UN school was shelled by Israeli artillery on Tuesday.
Palestinian doctors say many families are in need of ambulances, but medical workers were struggling to reach casualties because they were being shot at by the Israelis. Iyad Nasr of the Red Cross in Gaza City said that the military operation has worsened the hardships created by the Israeli blockade over the last 18 months.
The United Nations says 13,000 people, over 2,000 families, have now been internally displaced because of the fighting, and that is just in the north of the Strip.
Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister, says that there is no crisis and that aid is getting through, but Christopher Gunness, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) spokesman, said her denials were absurd. “The organisation for which I work – UNRWA– has approximately 9,000 to 10,000 workers on the ground. They are speaking with the ordinary civilians in Gaza... people are suffering,” he said. “A quarter of all those being killed now are civilians. So when I hear people say we’re doing our best to avoid civilian casualties that rings very hollow indeed.”
Israel commandos backed by tanks and helicopter gunships are spreading terror across the towns and refugees camps in the enclave that shelters over a million and a half Palestinians but there’s no real plan to this invasion and their troops are acting in chaos and confusion. Hamas militiamen and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) commandos are putting up a fierce resistance in the streets and they say their fighters now control the agenda on the battlefield.
Palestinian partisans are trying to inflict as many casualties as they can on the Zionists while hoping to take some Israelis prisoner to use as bargaining chips when the guns eventually fall silent.
PFLP officer Abu Jamal said that the resistance movements are in a high state of unity and close communication and they are operating in full confidence of victory.
The resistance say they have taken two Israeli soldiers captive and Hamas fighters claim to have destroyed seven tanks and downed one helicopter gunship.
They put Israeli losses at 11 dead and 48 wounded in the fighting so far. Palestinian rockets are continuing to land deep into Israel hitting Israeli military bases and towns including Gedera, just 30 km south of Tel Aviv.
The resistance warn that others will be aimed at the Israeli nuclear research establishment in Dimona if the fighting continues.
The Israelis put their losses at six soldiers dead and 31 wounded including Colonel Avi Peled, the commander of the crack Golani Brigade who was seriously injured in fighting Monday night. They say nothing about prisoners but they admit that they have “lost contact” with one of their men.
The Americans blocked a Libyan-backed ceasefire proposal at the UN Security Council last weekend. But international efforts to stop the war are growing following the latest Israeli atrocities. Israel has agreed to halt the fighting for three hours a day to allow humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip and Hamas is now studying an Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire backed by the Americans and the European Union. deep concern
But most Arabs believe that the Israelis will carry on fighting until the new American president is sworn in later in the month and Barak Obama is saying nothing apart from expressing his “deep concern” until he enters the Oval Office on 20th January.
Once again the world sees the true face of Zionism in action against the heroic and long-suffering Palestinian masses. In Britain and throughout the world people are taking to the streets to demand an immediate end to the slaughter in Gaza and for the complete restoration of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian Arabs. Only then will the peace return to the Middle East.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Solidarity with the Palestinian people

We, communist and workers parties from all parts of the world, strongly condemn the repeated murderous air strikes by the Israeli air force on Gaza which resulted in the killing of over 340 Palestinians. By these brutal attacks and other crimes by the armed forces, the government of Israel try to achieve what was impossible by imposing the wall, the siege and blockade: to break the resistance of the Palestinian people.

The policy of genocide and state terrorism by the Israeli government, supported and endorsed by the powerful imperialist forces in the USA and EU and accepted by some Arab reactionary governments is a new provocation against the peoples and the worldwide solidarity movement. We call on the workers, women, youth and other sectors, all anti-imperialist and peace loving forces to mobilize against the criminal attacks and policy by the Israeli government, to demand immediate stop and sanctions against Israel. To develop immediate solidarity actions and humanitarian support for the Palestinian people.

Our parties express firm solidarity with the resistance against the aggressions, with the progressive, anti-imperialist and communist forces in Palestine and Israel, with all those fighting for the establishment of an independent State of Palestine within the borders of 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Free and independent Palestine!

Algerian Party for Democracy and Socialism
Workers' Party of Belgium
Communist Party of Britain
New Communist Party of Britain
Communist Party of Chile
Socialist Workers´ Party of Croatia
Communist Party in Denmark, KPiD
Communist Party of Finland
Unified Communist Party of Georgia
German Communist Party - DKP
Tudeh Party of Iran
Communist Party of Israel
Party of the Italian Communists
Communist Party of Malta
Party of the Communists, Mexico
Popular Socialist Party of Mexico
New Communist Party of the Netherlands
Philippine Communist Party (PKP-1930)
New Communist Party of Yugoslavia
Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain
Communist Party of Sweden
Syrian Communist Party
Communist Party of Turkey
Communist Party of Uruguay

Support Frederic Kanoute!

World Federation of Trade Unions

To: Spanish Football Federation

The World Federation of Trade Union representing 65 million members from 95 countries all over the World expresses its full support to Sevilla striker Frederic Kanoute, who is facing a fine from the Spanish football federation for revealing a T-shirt expressing support for Palestine during a match.
Kanoute lifted his Sevilla shirt over his head after scoring in the match against Deportivo La Coruña on Wednesday to display a T-shirt on which the word "Palestine'' was printed in several languages.
He had the right to express his support to the Palestine people. A crime is being committed in Gaza with more than 700 people killed until now and the international community is doing nothing to stop it.
Frederic Kanoute deserves congratulations because he has humanity and he is showing solidarity. The WFTU demands from the Spanish Football Federation to immediately stop their actions against Frederic Kanoute and to respect the right of football players to express their opinion. We are on his side.

Send protest letters to: Spanish Football Federation E-mail: Fax: +34 914 959 801
U.E.F.A. Email: Fax: +41 (0) 848 01 2727 / F. Kanoute:

9th January 2009

World Peace Council call on Gaza

WPC statement of urgency!

No to the Israeli invasion to Gaza -Stop the massacre of the Palestinian people!

The World Peace Council (WPC) expresses its vehement condemnation of the yesterday’s invasion of Israel into the Gaza strip in Palestine. The Israeli cruelty has no end. After the week long bombardment of innocent children, women and civilian population, the heavy armed war machinery of Israel is escalating further its aggression with a ground invasion. The hundreds of dead Palestinians, the thousands of injured by Israeli bombs are crimes against humanity and have to be put to court as such.

The Israeli regime would not be able to commit those brutal attacks without the full support of the US administration (outgoing and incoming one). The position expressed by the Czech EU- Presidency (about “defensive character of the invasion”) shows the criminal complicity of the European Union, which is far away from being more human or even less a counter pole of the USA.

The government of Israel is counting also on the internal differences and contradictions amongst the Palestinians and the Arab world. This is the moment of highest responsibility and unity against the troops of invasion and occupation. We call upon all the peace loving forces in the region to unite against the imperialist plans in the Middle East, against the “procurator” of Imperialism in the region, the reactionary and inhuman Israeli regime.

We express our deep respect and solidarity to the forces struggling for peace inside Israel and we salute their brave protests and demonstration in Tel Aviv and other cities.

The World Peace Council is calling upon the Security Council of the UN and its Human Rights Council in Geneva, to prove their minimum respect to the founding Charta of the UNO and the Universal declaration of Human Rights, by condemning clearly the Israeli aggression and imposing an end to the invasion and the occupation of the Palestinian Territories, which is the first cause for all the suffering of the Palestinian People since 60 years now.

In this moment the peoples of the world have to react with massive political protests and actions against the injustice and genocide of the Palestinian people. The WPC calls for increased solidarity and humanitarian aid of all means and will take respective initiatives in the coming days.

The Secretariat of the WPC

World Peace Council, WPC Statement of Urgency
Wednesday 7th January 2009 ,
10 Othonos St. 10557 Athens Greece
Tel: +30-210- 3316326 Fax: +30-210-3224302