Saturday, May 19, 2018

Bloodbath in Gaza

THE CHIEF American warlord tells his Zionist puppet that his “greatest hope is for peace”. While Donald Trump lords it in occupied Palestine, Arabs are butchered by Zionist thugs on the Gaza Strip.
While millions of people throughout the world take to the streets in solidarity with the Palestinian people, outraged at the American decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, Donald Trump becomes the inaugural recipient of a “Defender of Jerusalem” award for his services to Zionism.
Trump chose a well-known Texan religious nutter to deliver a prayer at the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem. Pastor Robert Jeffress, who is a member of Trump’s ‘Evangelical Advisory Board and White House Faith Initiative’ is a well-known bigot who believes all Jews, Catholics, Muslims and Hindus will go to Hell when they die. Though he preached for Trump and his family at a private service on the president’s Inauguration Day in January 2017, this was too much for even some of the Zionists to put up with and the worthy pastor now claims that his comments have been “taken out of context”.
Back in Tel Aviv the Zionist leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, basks in the reflected glory of his master, whose name has now been adopted by Beitar Jerusalem, a top Israeli football club whose Arab-hating fans brag about their violence, pitch invasions, and racist chanting and claim that they are the “most racist in the country”.
Soon Netanyahu’s people will also have the dubious pleasure of walking across “Donald Trump” square in what the Israelis like to call their “eternal capital”. But they may be walking over rubble, shrapnel and broken glass if the Israelis continue with their provocations — like the attacks on alleged Iranian targets in Syria that led to an exchange of missile fire between Syria and Israel that nearly plunged the region into all-out war last week.
It seems that Netanyahu, who was holding talks with Putin in Moscow at the time, heeded the Kremlin’s call for restraint. But who can say what Netanyahu will do on another occasion?
The Palestinian tragedy began when British imperialism first occupied their land in 1918 and encouraged Zionist immigration through the Balfour doctrine. British imperialism encouraged Zionist settlers who were used to help the colonial authority put down the Arabs. But the Zionists turned on Britain after the Second World War to fight for a Zionist state. In 1948 British colonial rule ended and the State of Israel was proclaimed. The first Arab-Israeli war began. It has never ended.
That war led to the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of around a million Palestinian Arabs by the Zionists. Those Palestinian refugees and their descendants have never given up their right to return to their homes.
Past UN resolutions provide the basis for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. first of all Israel must totally withdraw from all the occupied territories seized in 1967, including Arab East Jerusalem and Syria’s Golan Heights.
The Palestinians must be allowed to establish a state of their own on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Palestinian refugees whose homes are now in Israel must be allowed to return or, if they so wish, receive appropriate compensation in exchange.
The US imperialists believe they call the shots in the Middle East today. They believe that all resistance can be crushed by brute force. But imperialist violence always leads to an equally violent resistance. Imperialism’s refusal to recognise this has led to the spiral of violence in the Middle East that began in 1948 as a regional war, to a conflict that now spans the whole world. The Zionists believe that under the American umbrella they can do what they like to the Palestinians. They think US power will last forever. But that’s what the Shah thought and look what happened to him…

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Condemning the murderous attack of the Israeli army against the people of Palestine

The Communist and Workers' Parties decisively condemn the attack of the Israeli army in the Palestinian territories in the Gaza Strip that has caused a bloodbath, murdering in cold blood unarmed demonstrators, men, women, and children.
The provocative decision of the Trump administration to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the US Embassy there over and against the general international outcry, has completely unbridled the aggressiveness of Israel, that continues the illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories and continues massacring the Palestinian people.
The governments of the countries that assume a stance of equal distances, identifying the victim with the offender, have great responsibilities. The position of the European Union  that, while an organized massacre of the Palestinian people is occurring, is calling “all sides to show restraint” and is upgrading its relations with the Israeli state, is unacceptable.
The Communist and Workers' Parties express our solidarity and our support to the Palestinian people and to its just struggle in favour of its own independent and sovereign Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with its capital in East Jerusalem. We continue our struggle and we call the peoples to strengthen their demonstrations so that the murderous military intervention of the Israeli Army in the Palestinian territories ceases and to revoke the decision of the USA to move its Embassy in Jerusalem.

Parties that sign:

SolidNet Parties
  1. Communist Party of Albania
  2. PADS
  3. DPT Bahrain
  4. Communist Party of Bangladesh
  5. Communist Party of Britain
  6. New Communist Party of Britain
  7. AKEL
  8. Communist Party of Bohemia & Moravia
  9. Communist Party of Finland
  10. German Communist Party
  11. Communist Party of Greece
  12. Hungarian Workers Party
  13. Tudeh Party of Iran
  14. Communist Party of Ireland
  15. Communist Party of Israel
  16. Communist Party (Italy)
  17. Socialist Movement of Kazakhstan
  18. Communist Party of Malta
  19. Communist Party of Mexico
  20. Socialist Party of Latvia
  21. Communist Party of Pakistan
  22. Palestinian Communist Party
  23. Paraguayan Communist Party
  24. Romanian Socialist Party
  25. Communist Party of the Russian Federation
  26. Union of Communist Parties  - CPSU
  27. Communist Party of the Soviet Union
  28. New Communist Party of Yugoslavia
  29. Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain
  30. Communist Party of Sri Lanka
  31. Communist Party of Turkey
  32. Communist Party of Ukraine
  33. Communist Party of Venezuela

Other Parties
  1. Union of Communists in Bulgaria
  2. JVP Sri Lanka

    Tuesday, May 15, 2018

    We denounce the new attacks against the Communist Party of Ukraine


    The undersigned Parties condemn the outrageous and unprecedented attack of the Ukrainian authorities against the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU) and its Leader on 8th May, 2018. The search of the CPU offices followed the violent entry and search of the authorities in the house of the CPU Leader, Petro Simonenko.
    It is not by chance that these attacks have taken place on the eve of the 9th of May, the Day of the Antifascist Victory of the Peoples to which the Ukrainians had a significant and heroic contribution.
    These developments in Ukraine are the outrageous escalation of continuous intense attacks and persecution of the Ukrainian communists that started right after the coup d’etat over the democratically elected government in 2014 that also led to the rise of neo-nazi and ultra-nationalist groups at all levels of the political and social spectrum of the country.
    At this difficult moment, we express our solidarity with the members and leadership of the Communist Party of Ukraine and will use all fora to denounce these acts.

    The undersigned Parties:

    SolidNet Parties
      1. Communist Party of Albania
      2. Communist Party of Australia
      3. Party of Labour of Austria
      4. Communist Party of Bangladesh
      5. Workers' Party of Belgium
      6. Brazilian Communist Party
      7. New Communist Party of Britain
      8. Communist Party of Canada
      9. AKEL, Cyprus
      10. Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (Czech Rep)
      11. Communist Party in Denmark
      12. Communist Party of Finland
      13. French Communist Party
      14. Unified Communist Party of Georgia
      15. German Communist Party
      16. Communist Party of Greece
      17. Hungarian Workers' Party
      18. Communist Party of India
      19. Communist Party of India (M)
      20. Tudeh Party of Iran
      21. Communist Party of Ireland
      22. Communist Party of Israel
      23. Communist Party of Luxembourg
      24. Communist Party of Malta
      25. Communist Party of Mexico
      26. New Communist Party of the Netherlands
      27. Communist Party of Norway
      28. Philippine Communist Party (PKP-1930)
      29. Communist Party of Poland
      30. Portuguese Communist Party
      31. Romanian Socialist Party
      32. Communist Party of the Russian Federation
      33. Union of Communist Parties-CPSU
      34. Communists of Serbia
      35. South African Communist Party
      36. Communist Party of Spain
      37. Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain
      38. Communist Party of Sri Lanka
      39. Communist Party of Sweden
      40. Communist Party of Turkey
      41. Communist Party of USA
      42. Communist Party of Venezuela
      Other Parties
      1. Socialist People's Front (m), Lithuania
      2. Communist Party, Switzerland

      Friday, May 11, 2018

      When the Army debated democracy

      by Carole Barclay

      ON THE face of it St Mary’s in Putney looks like just any other heavily restored medieval parish church. But it’s a different story inside because back in 1647 this was where the representatives of the New Model Army opened a discussion of how they saw the future after the defeat of the Royalists during the Civil War.
      Oliver Cromwell, the Puritan leader who would later lead the republic that followed the execution of Charles Stuart in 1649, presided over the sessions that are now known as the ‘Putney Debates’. Here Colonel Thomas Rainsborough argued with General Henry Ireton over future voting rights. Rainsborough, who supported the democratic ‘Leveller’ movement, called for universal manhood suffrage. Ireton, who later married Cromwell’s daughter, was a ‘grandee’ who believed this was a recipe for anarchy and that only those with a stake in the country – landowners, merchants and shopkeepers – had a legitimate right to vote.
      Rainsborough famously said: “For really I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he” and his words are now immortalised on the wall of the church. Below is a small exhibition that tells the story of the church, which goes back at least to the 13th century as well as the background to the Putney Debates, which took place towards the end of the bourgeois revolutionary upsurge that ended the rule of a tyrant to found the short-lived Republic of England or Commonwealth as it was styled in English. You can see the late Tony Benn and other politicians and scholars talk about the relevance of the Putney Debates in a 12 minute video in the room or listen to audio presentations on the debates.
      St Mary’s is an Anglican church just five minutes from Putney station. It’s open throughout the week and there’s an excellent cafĂ© at the entrance! 

      Thursday, May 10, 2018


      by Daphne Liddle

      THE LOCAL elections on Thursday produced little change in most councils despite titanic efforts on the part of Labour activists to sustain the growth shown in last year’s general election.
      The main change has beenthe collapse of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) vote, mainly to the benefit of the Tories — showing that the racist and xenophobic policies of May’s government, as exposed by the cruel Windrush scandal, have attracted former UKIP voters back to the fold they originally emerged from.
      In spite of this, in pure numbers Labour has gained many more seats throughout the country, if not councils. It has done better mostly in the areas where it was already strong, in the inner cities.
      Labour aims of taking Tory safe seats in London — in Westminster, Wandsworth and Kensington-and-Chelsea — failed but did make some impression. In Westminster Labour took three seats from the Tories; in Wandsworth they took seven seats and in Kensington-and- Chelsea they took just one.
      It should have been more in the borough that suffered the Grenfell fire disaster after that council’s abject failure to prevent the disaster in spite of many warnings from tenants and total failure to address the urgent needs of the survivors after the tragedy. But many of the bereaved and angry survivors have been moved out of the borough and so were unable to vote against the council that wrecked their lives. Labour’s high hopes of taking Barnet council from no-overall-control were dashed as the Tories won control. This is an area where local residents had hoped to put a stop to multi-billion-pound luxury housing developments — which are at the expense of demolishing existing council estates and driving low income households out of the borough.


      It is also an area where allegations of anti-Semitism within Labour had made an impact on local Jewish voters. Mass media throughout the country have hardly mentioned Jeremy Corbyn in the last few months except in the context of these allegations, which have yet to have a fair hearing in the process drawn up by Shami Chakrabarti. Meanwhile the Labour leadership, in a vain effort to appease the anti-Corbyn media, have been suspending and expelling life-long anti-fascist and anti-racist activists on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations. Ironically a majority of those accused of anti-Semitism are themselves Jews.
      It is not healthy for the Labour leadership to allow the Tory-supporting British Board of Jewish Deputies to chase Labour-supporting Jews out of the Labour Party, whilst at the same time the Board tolerates far higher levels of real anti-Semitism within the Tory party. It is very demoralising to many Labour activists.
      Implementation of the Chakrabarti process would provide fair hearings for all. Labour did win one significant prize in gaining control of Plymouth and it wrested control of Trafford, in Manchester, to a position of no-overall-control.
      Meanwhile trials of demanding that voters bring identification documents to be allowed to vote in five areas have provoked anger and outrage amongst voters who turned up to vote without such documents.
      The main issues appeared to be in Bromley and Woking where, along with Gosport, people had to show one piece of photo ID or two from a list of other documents. In the other two test areas, Swindon and Watford, only a polling card was required.
      In Bromley the area most affected was Crystal Palace — the most working class and the most ethnically diverse area of the borough. Tallies by the opposition Labour group found at least 13 people turned away from just one ward, Crystal Palace. There were also reports of some voters being angry and abusive to polling station workers when asked to show ID.
      In Woking there was some confusion reported as to what ID could be shown, with one man saying he was initially told a photo rail pass was not allowed, even though it was listed amongst the accepted documents. The Government intends to roll out the need for voter ID nationally as a means to prevent voter impersonation; but the levels of attempted voter impersonation are negligible. And the policy will have a serious impact on low income voters who do not have either a passport or driving licence.
      It is a policy that will definitely have much more impact on low income and ethnically diverse communities. It is racist and anti-democratic. These election results have restored some confidence to the Tory leadership and shown Labour activists that there is still a lot to do. But Labour is still gaining in real terms. The hard work is paying off in the face of ruing class very dirty tricks. There is no cause for Labour to lose confidence.

      Mass challenge to the Military and Taliban alliance in Pakistan

      By Shafiq Ahmad

      A new Pashtun movement has erupted in Pakistan, mobilising hundreds of thousands of people across the country, with tens of thousands attending its public meetings. The state apparatus and the entire ruling class, including all establishment political parties, are trembling at the sight of this huge movement, which originated from the most backward areas of the country – where it was least expected.
           The Pashtuns were once known as Pathans or Afghans during the British Raj. Over 30 million live in Pakistan and another 14 million over the border in Afghanistan.
      The new movement started with the killing of 28-year-old Naqeeb Ullah Mehsud in Karachi by a notorious police officer, Rao Anwar, on 13th January. Naqeeb Ullah belonged to the Mehsud tribe of North Waziristan and was a shopkeeper in Karachi when he was shot dead by the police under mysterious circumstances. According to his Facebook posts he seems like a fun-loving boy who liked tribal dance and songs.
       On the other hand, Senior Superintendent of Police Rao Anwar is famous for land-grabbing and the use of extortion and murder to settle personal disputes. According to reports, he has killed at least 444 people between 2011 and 2018, but not a single inquiry has been made against him. Rao Anwar was also involved in the killing of Murtaza Bhutto in 1996. It is common knowledge that this brutal police officer works for the secret services of Pakistan and is their main instrument to get things done. According to reports, he is also close to Asif Ali Zardari, the former president and leader of the Pakistan People’s Party, as well as real estate tycoon (meaning land-grabber) Malik Riaz, the richest man in Pakistan.
      For Rao Anwar, this killing was business as usual but, contrary to his plans, his actions have sparked a huge movement among Pashtuns in Pakistan. After the murder, initial protests were held in Karachi in which Pashtuns, mainly from the Mehsud tribe, came out to protest against this act of brutality. After that, a long march left D I Khan [Frontier Region Dera Ismail Khan] near Waziristan on 26th January and reached the capital, Islamabad, on 1st February, demanding justice for Naqeeb Ullah and capital punishment for his killers. The long march was led by a 24-year-old, Manzoor Pashteen.
      The protesters called this long march the Mehsud Tahafuz (Protection) Movement, but soon Pashtuns from other tribes joined and in the next few days it was named the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM). When these protesting tribesmen reached Islamabad they got a huge response and a sit-in was organised, which continued for 10 days. More than 15,000 people came to attend this sit-in, and fiery speeches were made against the state and its atrocities towards tribal people and Pashtuns in general.
      The protesters’ main demands included the arrest and execution of Rao Anwar and his accomplices; the end of state repression in all tribal areas of Pakistan and of Pashtuns generally; the removal of army checkpoints, where ordinary people are humiliated on a daily basis, waiting for hours in queues to go to their homes; the end of the discriminatory Watan Card (a special Identity card issued to internally displaced people because of terrorism) and for clearing all landmines planted by the army in tribal areas, which have maimed and killed many innocents, including children. Finally, one of the core demands was to produce 32,000 ‘missing’ persons, who have actually been abducted by the army on spurious charges of suspicious activity.
      North Waziristan is one of the seven tribal agencies of Pakistan, which are called FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas). These areas on the border of Afghanistan were used by British imperialism as a buffer zone against Afghanistan and Russia when they drew the Durand Line in 1893. After Pakistan’s so-called ‘independence’ in 1947, the status of these areas did not change and they remain one of the most backward parts of the country. The laws and constitution of Pakistan are not applicable and basic facilities are scarce, including schools, hospitals and even water. When the Americans started an imperialist ‘Dollar Jihad’ against the Soviet Union in the 1980s, these areas were used as a launching pad to send jihadi fighters into Afghanistan to undermine the people’s government with the support of the Pakistani state. Later, in the so-called War on Terror since 2001, these areas were used as safe havens for the Taliban and other Islamic fundamentalists, whilst US Imperialism used drones to attack their former friends.
      Although US imperialism and the Pakistani state were apparently waging a war against the Taliban and Islamic fundamentalism, in reality this was a war against the ordinary people of these areas in which Islamic fundamentalists were accomplices of the Pakistani state and US imperialism. All these crimes of the Pakistani state and US imperialism are now coming to the surface through the efforts of the new Pashtun movement.
      The leader is Manzoor Pashteen, who has become a mass figure amongst Pashtuns in just two months. In his speeches and video messages he simply describes the atrocities of the Pakistani state and army in so-called operations against Islamic fundamentalism. In one incident children and women were killed in an aerial bombing by the Pakistan air force, to which he was an eyewitness. But when he reached a nearby city safely next day and read the newspapers it was reported that several ‘terrorists’ had been killed in an air raid. He has also revealed that the homes of ordinary people were destroyed and/or looted by army personnel. In his speeches he has also related incidents in which army officers were seen holding meetings with Taliban leaders that they were supposed to kill or arrest.
      He has also described the incidents of humiliation at army checkpoints in North and South Waziristan and other areas in FATA, where ordinary people are punished severely if they even speak up. The plight of families of thousands of ‘missing persons’ is also appalling. They wait for their loved ones for years but can never find out what happened to them. No cases are registered on behalf of such people and no government official knows their whereabouts. Their families don't know whether they have been killed by the army on fake charges of terrorism or are still alive, rotting in some undeclared prison.
      Manzoor Pashteen has raised serious questions about army ‘operations’ that have been going on in these areas for more than a decade now. He says that army officers are in complete collaboration with the Taliban and other Islamic fundamentalists and he is an eyewitness to many meetings between them,; and that it is common knowledge for people of these areas that many army officers and Taliban members are good friends. But ordinary people are suffering because of these operations and hundreds-of-thousands were displaced from their homes, becoming refugees in their own country.
      All these discussions have encouraged thousands of other people to come out and raise their voices over these atrocities, and to share their own stories about the ‘War on Terror’. Inspired by this movement, huge protests have been organised in the tribal areas of Bajaur and Landi Kotal, bordering Afghanistan. In Landi Kotal, 17 persons from a working-class family went ‘missing’ for many months following charges of terrorism. The women and children of this family were left in destitution and misery, without anything to eat or drink. Locals protested with MPs and other officials, demanding their return, but it seemed hopeless. But inspired by this movement, a huge protest was held in this backward area on the border. The protest ended when all those ‘missing’ were returned.
      A protest against army checkpoints was also held in Swat, in which around 200 people assembled on the main road. The first response from the state was the sending of death threats, alongside other measures, including registering a legal case against those who organised the protest. This was met with a fierce response in which a much larger protest was organised. In the end the state had to withdraw all its cases and the checkpoints were eased for the people of Swat.
      Last month, the PTM organised a long march from D I Khan to Quetta, with public meetings in Zhob, Qila Saifullah, Khano Zai and finally in Quetta, which is the capital of Balochistan. This got a marvellous response amongst Pashtun communities. Tens of thousands of people attended these public meetings, in which similar discussions attacking the brutal role of the army and the Pakistani state were held. In the small city of Zhob, the army tried to sabotage the public meeting by arranging a football match between two local teams, as well as a cultural festival. But the football teams refused to play the match and, despite all measures taken against it, the public meeting was attended by thousands of people.
       In Qila Saifullah, a case was registered against the leadership of the PTM but, because of pressure from the movement, the state authorities were forced to quash the case on an order of the High Court.
      In Quetta, the public meeting attracted more than 50,000 people from all over Balochistan. Ordinary people from other oppressed nationalities also attended this meeting, including Balochis and Hazara. A huge military operation is also underway against Baloch nationalists, in which hundreds of political workers have been killed and tortured and their mutilated bodies thrown in the rubbish by the Pakistani state. This operation is targeted more at ordinary people, including women and children, than at those waging armed struggle. There is a seething resentment against the Pakistani state amongst the Baloch masses and they are looking for ways to carry this struggle forward.
      Hazara in Quetta are also persecuted by Islamic fundamentalists with complete support from the Pakistani state. In a city where army checkpoints are present every kilometre, these terrorists kill Hazaras (a minority Shia Persian-speaking community) on a regular basis without ever being confronted or arrested.
      A Hazara woman also addressed the public meeting in Quetta, which shows the huge potential for this movement to link with other oppressed groups in Pakistan. The presence and mobilisation of women around this movement is a progressive development in this deeply conservative and backward society. The public meeting was followed by a mass sit-in by Hazaras in Quetta, following a recent killing of one of their number. It has now entered its fifth day.
      The long march will head to Karachi, which has undoubtedly the largest Pashtun population of all the cities in Pakistan. It will doubtless be greeted with enthusiasm and fervour.
      This movement has raised alarm bells in the halls of power, and the ruling classes are trying their best to quell a rising tide of anger and disgust. This tide is directed towards the barbaric Pakistani state, which is a stooge of US and other imperialist powers. Initially, the ruling class tried to stop the movement through its regular measures of filing cases of sedition and official threats – but they changed their tactics when they saw that these threats had the effect of throwing oil on a raging fire. In a recent press conference, the spokesperson of the Pakistani army, General Asif Ghafoor, called Manzoor Pashteen a "wonderful boy" and said that the army has held meetings with him and he has explained all the PTM’s positions. He said that he is ready to have further meetings. But all these ‘soft’ words have not yet made any effect on the movement – it is still raging forward. Alongside these amiable press greetings, venomous propaganda is being unleashed against the movement. It is falsely alleged that the leadership of the movement is being funded by the Indian secret service, the Revolutionary Afghan Women's Association and other enemies of Pakistan. No proof has been produced for these allegations, but the media is giving full coverage to these and to press conferences that spew hatred and poison against the leadership of the movement.
      The treacherous role of the media as a stooge of the ruling class can be clearly seen here. At first, it ignored the movement and tried to kill it through silence. Most people think the media can make or break any movement. It is true for bourgeois politicians, who have no base amongst the masses, and are raised in nurseries of the establishment and then propped up through the media. But for real movements of the masses the media is just another enemy to tackle. When the ruling class saw the movement growing despite being ignored they tried to give it coverage with their own misleading interpretations. Manzoor Pashteen was also interviewed on various TV channels in which the anchormen tried to tie him in knots. It was amazing to see people from opposing political parties taking identical reactionary positions on this mass movement; asking similar questions and casting doubts on its leadership.
      The most important aspect of this movement is that it has exposed the rottenness of all political parties in the country that are united in their chorus of abuse and slander. The parties in parliament have never spoken a single word against atrocities affecting tribal peoples, rather they are accomplices in unleashing hell on ordinary people. From left to right, the whole political spectrum has lost all credibility in the eyes of the masses. They no longer trust any of these parties. Although there was seething hatred against these army operations, there was no platform where people could raise their voice and wage their struggle. In such circumstances, the PTM has become the voice of the oppressed and this has angered all political parties with some base amongst the Pashtun masses.
      These include the religious parties like the JUI (Party of the Islamic scholars) and the JI (Islamic Congress), which is the most notorious of all the Islamic fascist parties with links with all the other Muslim movements calling for the revival of Caliphate including the ruling  Turkish Justice and Development Party (AKP), Hamas in Palestine, Al Shabab in Somalia, Boku Haram in Nigeria and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. They also include the Pashtun nationalists of the ANP (Peoples National Party) and PkMAP (National People’s Party) that enjoy warm relations with the Pakistani State. They all see this new mass movement as a threat to their political fiefdoms and are using every measure to stop it.
       The leadership of the ANP has openly announced that it is against this movement and has ordered its members not to attend meetings of the PTM, otherwise strict action will be taken against them. These nationalists, who are mostly former social-democrats, abandoned their secular and anti-regime traditions long ago and have become an integral part of the ruthless Pakistani state. They also sit in governments at federal and provincial level, and have indulged in plunder and corruption like all the others.
      This has left genuine proletarians in these parties and ordinary people looking for an alternative avenue for expressing their feelings. In fact, there is no difference amongst these parties and Islamic parties on the right. The brutal murder of Mashal Khan, a student at Mardan University, last year on false allegations of blasphemy was an example of their treachery. He was opposing the corruption of university management, which is controlled by the nationalists of the ANP. These nationalists then planned his murder with the goons of IJT (an Islamic fundamentalist organisation), who carried out the deed on 13th April last year. All this had the complete backing of the Pakistani state, which has helped to get almost all the accused released through the courts. Many other examples of such betrayals can be cited, including a shameful agreement between the Taliban and Islamic fundamentalists and the ANP when it was in power in the Pashtun region of Pashtoonkhwa.
      Similarly, PkMAP is in a coalition with the right-wing PML(N), the Pakistan Muslim League of former premier Nawaz Sharif, an enemy of the working-class whom the PkMAP leaders hailed as a national hero.
      The betrayal of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is the biggest crime of all. This is the party founded by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the former premier hanged by military dictator Zia ul Haq in 1979. It started as a social democratic party similar to PASOK in Greece but it no longer represents the workers and peasants of Pakistan; rather it has become a tool in the hands of one faction of the state. The PPP has organised protests against the PTM in some areas but could only attract around a dozen people.
      Other such efforts have also met with the hatred of the masses. The JUI(F) – an Islamic fundamentalist party and a staunch supporter of the Pakistani state and US imperialism – has also called a public meeting in Peshawar to try to counter the mass meeting of the PTM but this will not be able to sabotage the movement, which is spreading like wildfire.
      The reactionary ruling parties of Pushtoonkhwa, the Pakistan Justice Movement and the Islamic Congress first banned public meetings in the city. They then proclaimed a state of emergency to counter the PTM's public meeting but mass protests forced them to end it. They will use administrative measures such as creating artificial traffic jams, road blockades and police checkpoints in the name of security to sabotage the public meeting in the provincial capital of Peshawar, but to little effect.
      All these measure show that this movement is gaining popularity amongst the masses and has become a real expression of anger and disgust against not only fake army operations and killings, but also poverty, hunger, unemployment, disease and illiteracy, which are a result of imperialist policies. Manzoor Pashteen has said that these brutal army operations have mostly affected the poor, whilst all those who had the means to escape to safety were less affected; and that the army and Taliban both target the poor and helpless, whilst wealthy and influential people were mostly unharmed. This shows that class plays a significant role even in suffering.
      The huge response of the masses has given enormous strength to this movement on the one hand but has posed important challenges on the other. The movement has so far spread to some of the most backward regions of the country, including the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the border with Afghanistan and the huge province of Balochistan. Now it is heading towards urban proletarian centres such as Peshawar and Karachi. It has attracted political workers from nationalist parties, students from various universities and ordinary people affected by fake army operations and Islamic fundamentalism. Many of these are from backward layers of society, which were at one time the bastion of reaction and areas of support for Islamic fundamentalism. The Pakistani state has relied on some of these elements in the past to wage wars in Kashmir and for imperialist intervention in Afghanistan, but now the tide has turned.
      This shows another important dialectical contradiction where the most backward layers have waged a war against the establishment with advanced slogans, exposing the real character of the brutal state. Meanwhile the so-called educated sections of society support the reactionary, right-wing parties of the ruling class.
      The comparison between recent sit-ins in Islamabad by the Pashtun Protection Movement (PTM) and the PTI (a right-wing opposition party led by former cricketer Imran Khan) also reveals this situation. The PTI sit-ins mostly consisted of people paid to be there, whilst the speeches merely slandered rivals, lacking a political programme. Participants of these sit-ins were mostly interested in the accompanying music and dance, the speeches were merely a boring interlude. These sit-ins received extensive media coverage and enjoyed the full support of the state, police and Islamists, who never thought of sending a suicide bomber to interrupt ‘un-Islamic’ music and dance.
      On the other hand, the sit-in by PTM, which continued in Islamabad from 1st–10th February, was all about real issues and a political programme to resolve them. No one paid the participants to attend; nor were they getting any cash handouts from a general for travel expenses or daily meals, as had occurred at a staged sit-in a few weeks ago by followers of the TLY, a Muslim fundamentalist movement sponsored by the Pakistani army that wants to establish Islamic Sharia law throughout the country.
      All participants of the PTM sit-in made sacrifices to stay there and were interested in the speeches made from the stage, as well as in  devising further strategies for their struggle. One of the most enthusiastic responses from the audience was to the speech delivered by Comrade Umer Riaz, who not only supported the demands of the PTM but also exposed the class character of state. This speech was met with rousing applause and all the participants in the sit-in (especially the youth) greeted the speech passionately. The media completely ignored this sit-in and there were threats of a police crackdown or a terrorist attack, both of which would have had state backing.
      But later on, the sit-in was occupied by reactionary elements and leaders of reactionary political parties, who were allowed to speak from the stage. These leaders were coming to calm down the movement and direct it towards legal, parliamentary or other such futile methods. But all these approaches have so far failed and the movement is advancing past them.
      This has also posed important questions for the leadership, concerning how the movement should proceed. At the moment there are all kinds of currents in the movement (both left- and right-wing) and it has no clear, ideological base. Because of the presence of many political workers from nationalist parties from Pashtun areas where the PTM movement began, nationalist ideas are dominating. Some of the leaders are former social democrats. They now represent the right-wing of the movement, who put forward a narrow, nationalist line that will isolate the movement and could lead to its downfall. The main leadership has so-far discouraged such tendencies but they are still present.
      In the public meeting in Zhob, a small city in Balochistan, when one of the speakers said that we are waging a battle against Lahore, referring to the imperialist role of Punjab, Manzoor Pashteen said that our battle is not against Lahore but against GHQ ( the General Head Quarters of the Army), referring to the role of the generals. The presence of Balochis and Hazaras at the public meeting in Quetta also shows that this movement has the ability to unite all the oppressed nationalities of Pakistan.
      In the PTM protests and sit-ins in Karachi, Sindhis, Mohajirs (Refugees) and people of other oppressed nationalities have come to the stage and expressed their feelings against state oppression. This shows a way forwards that can unite oppressed people from Karachi to Giglit-Baltistan on the same platform and wage a united struggle against the imperialist state, dominated by a Punjabi ruling elite.
      Another weak aspect of the movement is that it invites all political parties to attend their meetings, even though they are trying to sabotage it. These political parties do not represent the real aspirations of the masses and are rotten to the core. These parties are an important tool of the state to keep the masses oppressed and subjugated. Rather than seeking the friendship of these corrupt leaders and their parties, it is important to look towards movements of the workers and peasants spread around the country.
      Even in Pushtoonkhwa and Balochistan, thousands of workers from the public and private sectors are raising demands almost every day. Recently, there have been huge movements of school teachers, young doctors, hospital workers, nurses, factory workers, Public Works Department workers, civil servants and many others in Pushtoonkhwa and Balochistan. There are similar movements in Punjab, Sindh and Gilgit-Baltistan. Huge movements of peasants and small farmers in Punjab have also risen to the surface recently. All these movements are natural allies of the PTM and will give it strength by supporting its demands. But for that, it is important to get rid of all reactionary political parties and ban their organised participation in the public meetings. It is also important to support these movements of workers and peasants in various sectors and extend our solidarity to them.
      A huge movement against the privatisation of public sector departments is also going on in important departments such as WAPDA (the electricity department), PIA (Pakistan International Airlines), railways, steel mills and elsewhere. Solidarity with these movements will also strengthen the class character of the PTM and will make it a movement of the Pakistani proletariat. Only the working class can ensure the complete freedom of the oppressed nationalities from the imperialist state and has the potential to wage a decisive battle for freedom, not only from national oppression, but also class exploitation and wage slavery.
      The next stage will inevitably open these ideological discussions inside the movement and the battle of ideas will begin. Our comrades have intervened in this struggle from the very beginning and are explaining their positions to the masses everywhere. They were present in all PTM meetings thus far and are making preparations for the public meetings in the future. Comrades in Peshawar University have organised several student bodies on one platform and are preparing a joint delegation of students to attend public meetings. They have unconditionally supported the demands of PTM but have also asked to add their own demands. One of the main student demands is that checkpoints and the presence of the army, the paramilitary Pakistani Rangers and the police should end in all education institutes.
      They further demand that the ban on students unions should immediately be lifted, and elections be held in all universities and colleges. Managing the security of these institutes should be undertaken by elected representatives of students, because the army and other state institutions have failed to protect students from terrorists time and time again. The incident at the Army Public School and many others are proof of this incompetence, and of collaboration between the state and terrorists. These students also demand that education should be free for everyone in the country and that private educational institutes should be nationalised.
      Comrades representing workers’ organisations are also participating in these public meetings and have highlighted the importance of linking the movement with the working class. The next May Day is an important occasion when the PTM can extend solidarity to workers of the country and announce a joint struggle against this rotten state.
      At this point, it is important to understand the class structure of the state. So far, the leadership of the PTM has said that they want to wage their struggle through legal and constitutional means – but the demands raised by PTM are not feasible under the current state apparatus. The present state of Pakistan represents the interests of the Pakistani ruling class, along with those of the USA and other imperialist powers. Within the confines of this state and its laws and constitution, it is impossible to bring peace and prosperity to the masses.
      The crisis of the capitalist system at an international and local level is deepening the crisis in the economy and destabilising the status quo. The war between various imperialist powers across the region is bringing more destruction and misery down upon ordinary people. The issues faced by the masses of FATA and other Pashtun areas of the country are the inevitable result of this crisis. This crisis has also provoked the Pakistani ruling class to start a spiteful and vicious campaign against Afghan refugees living in Pakistan. The state not only ravaged their country through imperialist intervention but also used refugees as a tool to beg for financial aid from the rest of the world. Whilst the coffers of the state were filled with ‘aid’ from international donors, the refugees were living a miserable life in destitution and poverty. Now a malicious campaign has started in which Afghans are being humiliated and arrested just for being Afghans.
      The Durand Line drawn by the British imperialists, dividing the Pashtuns, is also being strengthened by the state, which is enacting more measures to divide families. The Pashtun nationalists have abandoned their rhetoric of ‘Pashtun unity’ across the divide and are enriching themselves across the border. Pashtun unity is not possible under capitalism.
      The only way out of the current morass of drone attacks, fake army operations, nationalist oppression, poverty, misery and unemployment is to wage a struggle against all the forces of reaction on class lines. It is important to identify the enemies and friends of this movement, and to draw clear battle lines between them. All sections of the ruling class, Pakistani state and political parties are enemies of the movement in one way or another. Neither the judiciary, bureaucracy nor any other department of the state can offer any solution.
      The mass movement began as a protest against the killing of 28-year-old Naqeeb Ullah Mehsud in Karachi by Senior Superintendent of Police Rao Anwar, on 13th January.
       Rao Anwar’s princely reception at the Supreme Court and the treatment of his case show the real intentions and character of the state. He is an important tool of the state, which will try its utmost to protect him. Even if he is removed under the pressure of the movement, hundreds of similar police officers are waiting to fill his place. In this country, every police station has an officer like Rao Anwar, willing to protect the interests of the ruling class by terrorising common people. To get rid of these elements it is necessary to get rid of the state and the capitalist system.
      The imperialist powers are also enemies of the Pakistani masses and there should be no illusions in any of them. Some people will say that we should not offend everybody at the same time and take one step after another. But this will harm the movement, as we have seen in many other cases in which nationalist movements have become proxies in the hands of Imperialist powers that use them for their own interests. It is important to condemn all kinds of imperialist intervention that support this brutal state and have propped it up from the beginning for the imperialists’ strategic needs in the region. US imperialism in fact started and sponsored this menace of Islamic fundamentalism and later paid the Pakistani state to carry out its fake army operations. Now they are fighting over their own interests but can never be friends to the oppressed, nor can they ever bring peace or prosperity. The merest glance at Afghanistan reveals that US imperialism has failed miserably there, economically, strategically and militarily.
      The real friends of this movement are the working classes of Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries of the region. If the leadership of this movement fails to acknowledge these ideological lines it will stumble into a quagmire of deceit and betrayal. Hopefully, this will ultimately pave way for more radical and advanced movements, and a leadership with a clearer approach towards these questions.
      At the moment, many activists in the movement are trying to organise on city and district levels – but organisation is always based on the goals and ideology of the movement. If the PTM’s objectives are not clarified, it will remain loose and confused. In the coming days there will be attacks on the movement from within and without, which is why it is important to get organised on clear ideological lines to defend the movement against these attacks.
      The PTM must draw clear class lines and reach out to the workers.
      Participation in upcoming general elections is also an important tactical question and should be addressed with care. Many opportunists would like to use this platform for their political careers and will emphasise participation for personal gain. Such careerists are dangerous for the movement and might try to sell it out. But to use parliament as a means to achieve the aims of the movement is a different question. For that, a clear understanding of the state and parliament in class society is necessary. In this system, reforms are not possible through constitutional amendments nor by passing resolutions in parliament. It is important to overthrow this whole rotten system and class society, even to achieve the smallest reforms for the masses. Elections and parliament can be used to spread one’s voice to wider layers of society, but to create illusions in these methods would be criminal.
      The movement faces many challenges. Its response to these will determine its future.
      How the movement addresses these questions will determine its future. But whatever happens, it is certain that the mighty Pakistan military and Taliban alliance is challenged, the status quo has been shaken and revolutionary politics are reborn in the country. This is a huge step forwards and will lead to the re-emergence of radical ideas on a much wider scale. The vacuum opened by the rotten political parties of the status quo will be filled by a new, ideological battle between the left and right. The Marxists-Leninists will intervene in this battle with full force and will try to reach wider layers of the working class. Meanwhile, we will also strengthen our ranks on the basis of our revolutionary socialist ideas. We will highlight every strength of the movement against the state and use all our forces to defend it, but will also point out its weaknesses to avoid any mistakes. Furthermore, we will try to link with the other movements of the working class. In this way, we will build our forces to deliver a decisive war against this outdated capitalist system and blood-soaked state through a socialist revolution.
      The capitalist system in Pakistan and across the world has reached a blind alley and is destroying the lives of millions of people. Only through revolution it can be laid in its grave, the masses liberated from state brutality, terrorism, poverty, hunger, misery, illiteracy and disease. Only then can the people breathe a sigh of relief and live in peace and prosperity.