Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Communist Party of the Russian Federation Joint Statement


The authorities in Kazakhstan are again demonstrating their anti-democratic and anti-communist character. They incubate the plans to ban the Communist party of Kazakhstan. First the party’s activity was suspended under a contrived pretext. It was done to prevent it from participating in the parliamentary elections. Now just because the party didn’t participate in the elections it is under the threat of being banned. Communist and Workers’ parties resolutely protest against persecutions of the Communist party of Kazakhstan and demand that its banning should be prevented.

We express our solidarity and support of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan!

Communist Party of the Russian Federation
Communist Party of Ukraine
Communist Party of Belarus
Communist Party of Armenia
Communist Party of Azerbaijan
United Communist Party of Georgia
Party of Communists of Republic of Moldova
Transdniestrian Communist Party
Party of Communists of Kyrgyzstan
Communist Party of Abkhazia
Communist Party of South Ossetia
Communist Party of Estonia
Communist Party of Latvia
Communist Party of Lithuania

Also the parties:

PADS, Algeria
WP of Belgium
CP of Britain
NCP of Britain
CP of Bohemia and Moravia
CP of Greece
CP of India
Tudeh Party of Iran
Lebanese CP
Socialist People's Front, Lithuania
CP of Luxembourg
PPS de México
New Communist Party of the Netherlands
Palestinian CP
Philippine Communist Party [PKP-1930]
Communist Workers' Party of Russia - Revolution Party of Communists [RKRP-RPC]
New Communist Party of Yugoslavia
CP of Sweden

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Searchlight: The magazine they couldn't ban


By Andy Brooks

FEW ON the left, or indeed the extreme right, will have not heard of Searchlight. Back in 1975 when the National Front and their skinhead gangs were trying to kick their way to power Searchlight magazine was launched to expose the racist and neo-Nazi movements that were inciting racist violence on the streets. In the 1970s a number of anti-fascist movements rose to the challenge including the Anti-Nazi League and the Campaign Against Racism and Fascism (CARF). They have come and gone, much like the National Front. But Searchlight has continued to expose racist lies and the neo-Nazis who orchestrate their hate campaigns.
 A few years ago Searchlight launched Hope not Hate, a broad-based campaign that successfully mobilised unions, Labour politicians and the glitterati against the British National Party (BNP) and the English Defence League (EDL) in a campaign that played a major part in the BNP’s defeat at the last local elections.
            Sadly Searchlight and Hope not Hate have now parted company following an acrimonious row between the editor and the magazine’s founder, Gerry Gable, over the running of the magazine.
            Though there was clearly a clash of personalities the row clearly reflected concern in the Searchlight corner that Hope not Hate was embracing an exclusively “New Labour” perspective that could seriously jeopardise efforts to sustain the broad campaign needed to counter the BNP and the growing menace of the EDL.
            While the departure of the editor and a number of key writers, late last year, caused some minor delays, no monthly edition of Searchlight was lost, though recent editions were delayed and the most recent edition covers both February and March. But now the magazine is back on track packed with articles and investigations into the murky world of racism and fascism in Britain and around the world. It reports on the latest divisions within the BNP, the publishing networks of the “New Right” and carries detailed reports on race crime in Britain as well as a useful round-up on developments in the rest of Europe and the United States.
            Movements like Hope not Hate and Unite Against Fascism, as well as numerous local campaigns up and down the country, all have an important role in struggle to keep hate off our streets. But one of the vital roles of Searchlight over the years has been to expose the hidden agenda of the people leading the attempt to spread racism amongst working people in the name of a bogus “British nationalism”. They’re wolves in sheep’s clothing posing as racists when they are really neo-Nazis, who privately do little to mask their hatred of Jews or their admiration of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich.
            Every month, for 37 years, Searchlight has exposed the far right in Britain and abroad. It carries out investigations, reports on fascist activity and supports community-based anti-fascist organisations. It is the first port of call for activists, academics and journalists. Check it out yourself by ordering a copy from your local bookshop or send £24 for an annual subscription to: Searchlight, PO Box 1576, Ilford IG5 ONG.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

"Occupy Wall Street" and the American Revolution

Thomas Paine

by Chris Mahin

AS THE “Occupy Wall Street” movement continues, it may be helpful to look at history to see how those fighting for change have mobilised in earlier times. One such example is the American Revolution of the 1770s.
The American Revolution of the 1700s shows the tremendous importance of introducing new ideas into the fight against the powerful.
In 1763 Britain took control of Canada after defeating France in the French and Indian War. The Parliament in London soon began taking steps that pushed the residents of Britain’s 13 American colonies toward rebellion.
First the British government barred the colonists from settling west of the Appalachian Mountains (this was the Proclamation Line of 1763).
Then the Parliament passed laws requiring the colonists to pay for the French and Indian War (the Stamp Act, Tea Tax, and other measures were designed to raise money to defray the cost of that war).
These steps enraged many colonists. No longer in need of British military protection against the French in Canada, they were much less willing to tolerate interference by the British government in their affairs. The colonists refused to pay the Stamp Tax and Tea Tax because their colonial legislatures had not been consulted before those measures became law. They cited a principle which the English Parliament had forced the English king to agree to in 1628 – “No taxation without representation”.
However, at first, most colonists did not favour independence. The colonists considered themselves loyal subjects of the British king, George III, who they believed was being misled by his ministers. The colonists simply wanted to change their relationship with Britain’s central government personified by the Parliament in London.
Between 1765 and the end of 1775 many protests erupted in America against different aspects of British rule. These protests included instances of bitter street fighting (the Boston Massacre of 1770) and wholesale destruction of property (the Boston Tea Party of 1773). They culminated in full-scale, bloody battles in which hundreds died (Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill).
But despite all the militancy and violence of those 10 years of protest, as long as the colonists believed only that the British government’s policy was wrong while accepting the “right” of a king to rule them, they could not break with Britain. They didn’t even try.
This was a classic case of a revolution not being able to move forward because the fighters in the revolution, while militant, were being held back by their old ideas. The situation would not change until something happened to shake up the thinking of the American people. Fortunately, something did.
On 10th January 1776, Thomas Paine, an English radical who had lived in America for only 14 months, published a pamphlet called Common Sense.
In simple, readable language, Paine tore apart all the arguments in favour of American loyalty to the British Crown. He insisted that one honest man is worth more than all the kings who ever lived. He painted an inspiring picture of what the world would be like with an independent America to serve as an example to everyone fighting for freedom in every part of the world.
Common Sense challenged some of the basic assumptions that people in the 13 colonies had lived by for their entire lives.
Paine gave the colonists a cause – independence for America and opposition to kings and aristocrats everywhere. “The cause of America is the cause of all mankind,” he declared.
Because Paine’s ideas were, for his time, qualitatively new, they sparked great debate. His small pamphlet was circulated widely. Some 120,000 copies of Common Sense were sold in its first three months and 500,000 copies were sold in the first year after its publication.
As Common Sense was distributed throughout the 13 colonies, public opinion began to change. One by one the state delegations to the Second Continental Congress began to support the idea of proclaiming the independence of the 13 colonies from Britain.
Finally in July 1776 the Second Continental Congress voted for the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America. This vote was a direct result of the publication and widespread distribution of Common Sense.
Perhaps those involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement can learn lessons from the American Revolution of the 1770s.
Like the revolutionaries of 1776, we live at a time when people have been hard hit by the status quo, but don’t fully understand what it is that has hit them. This means that we have to act like Thomas Paine; we have to change people’s thinking. We have to convince the American people to give up their old ideas and accept some new ideas so they can win the fight that they are waging against hunger and misery in this country.
The fundamental idea that we have to get across to people can be stated fairly simply:
We do not have to live like this. Today, no human being in the world “has” to be hungry. Today, the human race possesses the productive forces (computers and robots) and the scientific knowledge to guarantee that everyone could live a healthy and cultured existence. The only thing preventing that from happening is the strangle-hold that 445 billionaires have over the world’s economy and politics. Today, it is possible to unite our efforts against the billionaires and millionaires, end their control over society, and create a new society.
Like the people who made sure that copies of Common Sense reached every corner of the 13 colonies, we have to transmit our message far and wide. We have to ensure that there is as wide a debate as possible about the role of the corporations.
If we do that, we can begin to change the thinking of the American people – and help change history.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Monday, March 05, 2012

The Truth v British Justice: the long hard struggle of the Bloody Sunday families

By Theo Russell
Setting the Truth Free: the inside story of the Bloody Sunday Justice Campaign, by Julieann Campbell. Liberties Press, Dublin, rrp £13.99.

THE 38-year struggle for justice for the victims of the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre, like the Guildford Four and Birmingham Six campaigns, exposed the true nature of British justice – upholding class bigotry and colonial oppression.
Julieann Campbell, the niece of one of the victims who works for the Bloody Sunday Trust and Free Derry Museum, has brought together a mass of material in a remarkable new book that reveals just how hard that struggle was.
After the shootings and Widgery Report the families and wounded were branded as terrorists, received loyalist death threats, and faced constant army raids and harassment.
Even in 1997 relative Gerry Duddy was still stopped and searched at British airports, while he and Troops Out Movement stalwart Mary Pearson received multiple death threats from the National Front.
It was only after the release of the Guildford Four in 1989 that the families realised justice was possible and began to organise. Sinn Féin had run annual commemorations, but was happy to hand the campaign back to the families.
But campaigner and journalist Eammon McCann said that after the British Parliament accepted Widgery: “In my secret heart I couldn’t see any mechanism whereby that could be overthrown.”
The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), the biggest nationalist party in Derry, and the political establishment in Dublin, shunned the campaign for years. In 1992, when every Irish TD (Member of Parliament) and senator was invited to the launch of a new book by Eammon McCann in Dublin, only one independent TD responded.
            That year Irish president Mary Robinson laid a wreath for victims of the IRA bomb in Enniskillen, but refused to meet the Bloody Sunday relatives. When they lobbied her Dublin residence they were followed and intimidated by the Garda (police) and hecklers shouted “are you still killing children?”. The Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Charlie Haughey and head of the Catholic Church Cathal Daly also shunned the families.
            In 1994 Prince Charles, Colonel-in-Chief of the Paratroop Regiment, which was responsible for the massacre,, visited Derry in an embarrassing fiasco and was forced to cancel his planned walkabout. Even in 1996 his private secretary wrote to the families advising them to “move on”.
            In 1995 the tide began to turn when Irish Taoiseach John Bruton appointed an official to liaise with the families. That year Jane Winter of British-Irish Rights Watch found the infamous memo from Edward Heath to Widgery, advising him Britain was “fighting not only a military war but a propaganda war”.
In 1997 a detailed study by Professor Dermot Walsh of Limerick University demolishing the original Widgery transcript was submitted to the British and Irish governments.
That year 40,000 marched at the Derry commemoration, pressure from US politicians mounted, and two senior Irish government officials began work on another damning assessment  of Widgery. Some of the Bloody Sunday soldiers began to speak out.
But it can be argued that a new inquiry, and the Irish peace process, only became possible after Labour took power in 1997. Martin McGuinness, interviewed for the book, praises Tony Blair for recognising a new inquiry as an important part of the peace process.
The new inquiry was announced in January 1998, and in Tony Doherty’s words: “Blair may have gone on to do a lot of terrible things in the world, but from our point of view it was the right thing to do and a very brave thing to do.”
            The inquiry caused huge stress for the families who had to re-live that terrible day, experience humiliating questioning, and were forced to commute to hearings London for two years. In the 10 years before the Saville report was published many more of the relatives and wounded had died.
            When ex-Prime Minister Edward Heath testified in 2003 he denied trying to influence Widgery and refused to apologise. Relative Kay Duddy described his “how dare you speak to me like this” attitude as infuriating.
”Soldier 027”, who testified that “there was no justification for a single shot I saw fired,” paid a price for his honesty, living under a witness protection scheme to after threats from ex-Paras who mistakenly assaulted and hospitalised his landlord.
            But most of the soldiers had either “forgotten” everything or denied any wrongdoing. As relative Paddy Nash said: “In London for the soldiers, you didn’t know where to put your rage… we saw what I call genuine sorrow maybe once or twice.”
            Head of the British Army General Michael Jackson, the senior commander at Bloody Sunday, said he had written a list identifying every victim as a gunman or bomber “in the early hours” when he had been “rather tired”.
At the last hurdle delays to publishing the report and the fear of “redactions” after inspection by MoD and MI5 personnel, led the relatives to launch a new campaign, “Set the Truth Free”. The slogan was carried on every front page of the Derry Journal and Derry News until Saville delivered.
When Saville finally published the report on 15th June 2010 there was jubilation and enormous relief in Derry. David Cameron’s apology, shown on a screen to the crowds outside Derry’s Guildhall, was met with a huge cheer.
But key figures such as Heath and General Jackson escaped significant blame, and the report still maintained one victim, Gerald Donaghey, had been carrying nail bombs, despite evidence to the contrary. Bloody Sunday witness Joe Mahon asked: “What about Gerald Donaghey? They got their pound of flesh.”
            The relatives know Saville wasn’t everything they wanted, which includes prosecuting the soldiers. Liam Wray says: “The Prime Minister had to apologise, the Parachute Regiment will always carry that badge of shame. But judging by the news we see with the British Army in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, that’s the true sadness, they haven’t learned from any of it.”
Joe Mahon adds: “Will the army learn? Yes, they will learn to cover things up better. They’ll learn no moral lessons from Bloody Sunday.”
For anyone who spent years marching for justice for the Bloody Sunday families, and for any student of recent Irish history, this book is a must read.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

No Redemption -- images of the miners' struggle

Josie Smith. a retired disabled miner arrested outside his back gate. Photography by Keith Pattison

The history of the National Union of Mineworkers is one of struggle and sacrifice. Only two weeks ago trade unionists returned to Saltley Gate to  commemorate  the 40th  anniversary of a key victory during the 1972 miners' strike and hear former miners leader Arthur Scargill pay tribute to the Birmingham workers who joined the mass picket that closed the gates of the coal depot and forced the Tory government to back down and meet the miners’ demands. But we also remember the hardship and sacrifice of the mining communities during the epic strike in the early 1980s  when the NUM was brought to its knees through the indifference and  hostility of the right-wing in the TUC and the determination of the Thatcher government to scrap the mining industry in this country.
            Large-scale mining may have gone but the memory of the communities that sustained the industry and the union that Scargill once led is preserved in images and documents of the time.       
            Past Pixels was set up in 2009 to make images of working class struggle more widely available to a newer generation and over the past three years it has carved a niche for itself with a series of greeting cards dedicated to the memory of the miners and their union.
            A new set of cards and posters has now come out to coincide with the opening of “No Redemption”, an exhibition of photographs by Keith Pattison, at the National Coalmining Museum in Wakefield this month.
            In August 1984 Keith Pattison was commissioned by Sunderland’s Artists’ Agency to photograph the strike at Easington Colliery for one month. Instantly engaging with the struggle, he stayed there on and off for eight, till the strike ended in March ’85, working behind the lines to record events from the miners’ point of view.
            Making, as the documentary filmmaker John Grierson said “creative use of actuality”, Pattison framed a narrative sequence of images from the optimism of August, through the deepening pessimism of winter right to the final vote to return to work.
            These photographs concentrate not on the much publicised violence of the strike, but on how the village dealt with no money, a mostly hostile press and media and the overwhelming opposition of the State. Pattison found a community which rallied together to support each other – women and children feature strongly in these images – and he shows it against the landscape which shaped it; street corners, back lanes, crowded meeting rooms, all dwarfed by the colliery. Twenty-six years on, as government cuts begin to bite and unemployment grows, as youth and students take to the streets and are met by the might of police power, these images speak directly of resistance under siege.
There’s a short commentary about the image of the back of each card and Past Pixel cards can be ordered online at or from an increasing number of retail outlets. Further information about all the cards can also  be obtained  by writing directly to: Past Pixels, PO Box 798, Worcester, WR4 4BW