Friday, April 26, 2019

Comedy Club Ukraine

Ukraine's incumbent President Petro Poroshenko has been soundly defeated by 41-year-old comedian Volodymyr Zelensky in the final round of the country's presidential election. Zelensky won 73 per cent of the vote whilst Poroshenko lagged well behind with just 25 per cent.
Poroshenko, a one-time member of a bogus Ukrainian social-democratic party, claims to be an ‘independent’. His rival Volodymyr Zelensky is a popular comedian of Jewish origin whom his enemies claim is a pawn of a Ukrainian media baron.
Poroshenko is an immensely rich Ukrainian oligarch who loyally did the bidding of US imperialism, which propelled him into power in the first place. His deeply unpopular regime relied on the fascist thugs who overthrew the legitimate government in 2014. He pursued confrontation with Russia and vowed to crush the people’s governments in the Donbas in a bloody but ultimately futile campaign that has left the country destitute and broken. And at the end of the day his millions counted for nothing in the poll that swept a popular comedian with no political experience whatsoever into power last weekend.
The elections were by no means ‘free and fair’. Anti-fascist movements have been driven underground and communists prevented from standing under “de-communisation” laws passed by the Poroshenko regime. But the vote clearly showed that most Ukrainians do not support the rabid nationalists and Nazi militias that have propped up the Poroshenko regime for the last five years. It also reflects a genuine desire to end the conflict in the Donbas and restore normal relations with the Russian Federation.
Zelensky, like most of his compatriots, is a Russian-Ukrainian, who says he wants to continue the drive to get Ukraine into the European Union and NATO whilst restoring old ties with Russia by genuinely adhering to the Minsk Agreement that was supposed to end the conflict in the east. But his newly formed ‘Servant of the People’ party, the name of Zelensky’s satirical TV show, currently has no seats at all in the Ukrainian parliament. That may change if he runs a slate in the general election later this year. In meantime he will have to work with the corrupt parliamentary factions that represent Ukraine’s rival oligarchs in the Kiev parliament.
Although the Russians are prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt the Kremlin is clearly going to wait and see what Zelensky does in high office. At the moment he can do very little.

Together Against Trump

Donald Trump wasn’t welcome the last time he came here. We certainly don’t want to see him again. It isn’t just because he’s a moronic climate-change denier with sexist, chauvinist and bigoted anti-immigrant views. It’s because he is the Supreme Commander of the most oppressive country in the world.
No US president should be invited to Britain until US imperialism ends its occupation of south Korea and closes its ring of nuclear bases that target Russia and People’s China. No US president should be welcomed in Britain until the Americans end their support of the fascist regime in Kiev and the Saudi intervention in Yemen, pull out of Syria and Iraq, and drop sanctions against Cuba, Iran, Venezuela and Democratic Korea. No leader of US imperialism should be fĂȘted in Britain until America ends its support for Zionist Israel and recognises the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.
Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of the capital last year to show him what we think. Give Trump more of the same when he comes to London in June.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Defend Julian Assange!

The arrest of Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London last week is another despicable crime of British imperialism. The founder of WikiLeaks was dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London by the police on Thursday after Ecuador’s president, Lenin Moreno, revoked his political asylum. Assange had spent almost seven years in the building after being welcomed there by the previous president, Rafael Correa. Now he’s in Belmarsh charged with jumping bail and under a previously secret US indictment – a development which Assange predicted and stated as his reason for going into the embassy in the first place.
Assange, an Australian citizen living in Sweden, came to Britain following rape allegations that he strenuously denied. Assange was avoiding an arrest that he feared would lead to his deportation to the USA, where he faces charges that will put him behind bars for many years to come. The then progressive government of Ecuador offered him asylum and Assange took refuge in their embassy in London when the British government moved to send him to America. But Assange was denied free passage to leave the country.
Seven years later reactionary forces willing to do the bidding of US imperialism are back in charge in Ecuador. The Moreno regime handed Assange over to the police in exchange for around $4.2 billion worth of IMF loans/aid. No wonder former Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa called Moreno the "worst traitor" in his country's history for handing the WikiLeaks chief over to the Metropolitan police.
In the past the bourgeois media told us that information technology was transforming our lives for the better. The internet, Twitter and other social networking services were hailed as forces for individual freedom of expression and valuable tools of “democracy” when they were used to foment reactionary violence in Iran, Ukraine and throughout the Arab world.
But it’s a different tune when the boot is on the other foot. When WikiLeaks releases embarrassing documents, when the crimes of imperialism are exposed by ‘hactivists’ for all the world to see, the internet becomes ‘irresponsible’ and the most craven bourgeois pundits start calling for censorship, government control and the prosecution of those who have dared to break the ruling class consensus.
Russia is condemned for allegedly manipulating social media to influence elections in the heartlands of imperialism, and WikiLeaks reviled for releasing tranches of documents that expose the crimes of imperialism and the dirty work of their intelligence agencies.
Assange’s ‘crime’ has been his refusal to play the bogus ‘human rights’ game and turn a blind eye to the crimes of imperialism. He worked together with former US soldier and whistle-blower Chelsea Manning to expose war-crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the notorious ‘Collateral Murder’ video that shows American helicopter gun-ships mowing down innocent civilians in Baghdad under the cover of fighting ‘terrorism’.
Manning spent around seven years in prison for exposing war-crimes. She’s now back in jail for refusing to testify to a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks. Assange faces even worse retribution if he falls into American hands.
Jeremy Corbyn says that Julian Assange should not be extradited. The Labour leader said: “The extradition of Julian Assange to the US for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan should be opposed by the British government.”
Corbyn is calling on the May government to oppose the attempt to put the 47-year-old WikiLeaks founder on trial in America for obtaining classified information from former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. This call must be echoed throughout the labour movement.
Free Manning! Free Assange!