Tuesday, April 13, 2021

No US-Ukraine war on Donbas and Russia

Joint statement 

initiated by Solidarity with Novorossiya & Antifascists in Ukraine


The right-wing government of Ukraine, supported by the US, has been at war with the people of the independent Donetsk and Lugansk republics in the Donbas for seven years. More than 14,000 people have been killed, according to the United Nations. The people of Donetsk and Lugansk live under a blockade by Ukraine and its Western allies. Workers in Ukraine suffer repression, joblessness and price hikes while their government sells off the country to Wall Street.
    On April 3, a Ukrainian military drone strike killed 5-year-old Vladik Shikhov and wounded his 66-year-old grandmother in Aleksandrovskoye, Donetsk. On April 4, another Ukrainian drone strike wounded a civilian in Nikolaevka, Lugansk. On March 22, a 71-year-old pensioner was killed by sniper fire near the capital of Donetsk. Many members of the anti-fascist People’s Militia have also been killed while defending residents.
    Since January, Ukraine has been building up its military forces on the front line of the conflict. It uses prohibited weapons, targets civilians, schools and homes in violation of international law and regional ceasefire agreements. Battalions of troops affiliated with neo-Nazi groups have been sent to the region, replacing regular Ukrainian Army troops. But the Ukrainian and U.S. governments and mainstream media blame Donetsk and Lugansk for taking steps to defend themselves, and threaten Russia for pledging to protect the people there if Ukraine invades.
    The Biden administration, as the Trump administration did before it, wants to stop the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project that would allow Germany and other Western European countries to purchase Russian gas. Children, elders and other civilians in Donetsk and Lugansk are considered expendable targets by Kiev and Washington as they try to provoke a crisis to give them an excuse to further NATO military expansion and punish Russia.
    In recent days, the US and NATO have been warning of a Russian military buildup near the Ukrainian border, but never mention that one of the largest US Army-led military exercises in decades has begun and will run until June: Defender Europe 2021, with 28,000 troops from 27 countries operating in a dozen countries from the Balkans to the Black Sea. This is where the real danger of war is coming from.
     We say no! People in the U.S. don’t want war with Russia to protect the profits of Big Oil and U.S. banks. We don’t want the U.S. proxy regime in Ukraine to kill our sisters and brothers in Donetsk and Lugansk. We don’t want U.S. troops to be sent to fight and die in another needless conflict. We need an end to racist police brutality and anti-Asian violence. We need money for jobs, housing, healthcare and schools, not war.
    End U.S. aid to the Kiev regime! End all U.S. wars and sanctions! Shut down NATO and bring the troops home!

Endorsers:

Individuals:

  •  Jose Maria Sison: Chairperson Emeritus of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle
  •  Phil Wilayto: Coordinator, Odessa Solidarity Campaign
  •  Berta Joubert-Ceci: Coordinator, International Tribunal on U.S. Crimes against Puerto Rico
  •  William Camacaro, Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle
  •  Sharon Black, Peoples Power Assembly
  • John Parker, Harriet Tubman Center for Social Justice, Los Angeles;
  •  Joe Lombardo, National Co-Chair, United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC)
  • Professor Vijay Singh, editor, Revolutionary Democracy journal, New Delhi (India)
  •  Bridget Dunne, Solidarity with the Anti-Fascist Resistance in Ukraine (UK)
  •  Theo Russell, International Ukraine Anti-Fascist Solidarity (UK)
  •  Andy Brooks, General Secretary, New Communist Party of Britain
  •  Gedrius Grabauskas, Chairperson, Lithuanian Socialist Front
  •  Donatas Shultsas, Chairperson, Lithuanian Union on Human Rights; 
  • Heinrich Bücker, Coop-Anti-War-Café Berlin
  •  Panagiotis Papadomanolakis, Editor, GuernicaEu (Greece)
  •  Gerry Downing, Socialist Fight (UK) 

Organisations: 

  • Anti-Imperialist Front
  • Socialist Unity Party (U.S.)
  • Struggle-La Lucha newspaper
  • Borotba (Ukraine-Donbass)
  • Communist Party of the Donetsk People’s Republic
  • Union of Political Emigrants and Political Prisoners of Ukraine
  • Women In Struggle-Mujeres En Lucha
  • Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
  • Workers Voice Socialist Movement (U.S.)
  • International Action Center
  • No Pasarán Hamburg (Germany)
  • Anti-NATO Group Berlin-Brandenburg (Germany)
  • “Frente Unido América Coordinamento Ucraina Antifascista (Italy)
  • "Latina" Berlin (Germany)
  • Communist Revolution Action – KED (Greece)
  • Liaison Committee for the Fourth International (LCFI)
  • Frente Comunista dos Trabalhadores (Brazil)
  • Tendencia Militante Bolchevique (Argentina)
  • Socialist Workers League (U.S.)
  • Trotskyist Faction/Consistent Democrats (UK)
  • Socialist Solidarity Party of Bangladesh
  • Molotov Club

Ex-Minister savages top politicians in explosive memoir

 

 by Max Gorbachev

 

 In the Thick of It: The Private Diaries  of a Minister by Alan  Duncan. Publisher:  William Collins, 2021.  Hardback: 512pp; RRP £25.00, Kindle: 512pp; £12:99.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been called an “embarrassing buffoon” and a “clown” in a memoir penned by former government minister Alan Duncan. In the Thick of It, the book which the media called one of the most “explosive political diaries ever to be published”, covers Duncan's final years in the government.
    The author, Alan Duncan, served as minister of state for Europe and the Americas as well as Boris Johnson's deputy when the latter was the head of the Foreign Office between 2016 and 2019. He resigned in protest when Johnson become the leader of the Conservative Party.
    In one of the excerpts recently published in the Daily Mail, the former Tory politician details his row with Johnson, who served as Foreign Secretary between 2016 and 2018. Duncan claims that Britain's top diplomat summoned him over a press report about diplomats treating Johnson as “an international joke”. Duncan writes that Johnson believed his deputy was behind the report.
    “We had a stand-up confrontation – he had completely popped” the ex-minister wrote. “Why don't they take me seriously?”, Johnson asked. “Look in the f**king mirror!”, Duncan replied, adding that in the ensuing row he told Johnson to admit that the allegations in the article were true and that he was, indeed, a “joke”.
Duncan then chastises his colleague calling him an “ill-disciplined, shambolic, shameless clot”, a showman and “an international stain” on Britain's reputation. The former minister alleges that Johnson knew none of the details of Brexit and claims some officials shared his opinion of Johnson.
    "[Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said] Boris doesn't appreciate that diplomacy is not about nice conversations with your friends: it's about engaging with those who are awkward", Duncan wrote. Who Else is mentioned in the memoir?
    The former minister didn't stop at Boris Johnson. He castigated many of his colleagues – current and former officials:
    Former Prime Minister Theresa May is said to have been Duncan's friend since university. The ex-minister, however, did not mince words when speaking about her. Duncan writes that she led “a government of walking dead” with a “Cabinet of zombies” after the 2017 snap election, which saw the Conservative Party lose its majority in parliament.
     “A frightened rabbit … cardboard cut-out. You never know what's churning away beneath her undemonstrative demeanour. Her social skills are sub-zero”, Duncan wrote about May.
    Home Secretary Priti Patel was dubbed “a nothing person” and “a complete and utter nightmare”. Duncan writes she was not popular among officials when she served as secretary of state for international development. “They hate Priti, mainly because she seems to hate all of them”, he wrote.
    Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond was criticised for his failure to keep the Tories' campaign promise not to increase taxes. “He has no feeling whatsoever for people on low incomes, and is a Spock-like trampler over anyone else's sensitivities”, he wrote. Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove was branded “an unctuous freak” and “a whacky weirdo”. Alan Duncan’s memoir is set to be released on 15th April.
Sputnik

Biden renews struggle for US dominance

Joe Biden called on American workers to back him in his successful fight to topple Donald Trump. The march of the most reactionary and racist elements of the US ruling class and the degenerates they mobilised to build the Trump movement has been stopped – at least for the time being – by the mass movement that grew from the Black Lives Matter movements and the rage on the street at the Trump government’s indifferent response to the COVID-19 pandemic that is sweeping through the USA.
    Now in the White House, Biden has begun to tackle the coronavirus plague that was criminally ignored by the Trump administration and is launching a massive two-trillion-dollar plan, the biggest since the New Deal, to create new jobs and provide living wages to workers in marginalised communities.
    In the global arena however, Biden clearly wants to continue where his predecessor, Barack Obama, left off – to restore US hegemony throughout the capitalist world and lead a global imperialist front to confront Russia and People’s China.
    The American Establishment hasn’t abandoned the dream of world domination that it once called the “new world order” or “globalisation”.
    Biden says he wants America to lead “by the power of our example”, but what this means in reality is simply using its military and economic might to force other countries to do the bidding of US imperialism.
    The US-led economic blockade of Cuba, Iran and Democratic Korea continues, and new sanctions have been imposed on Russia and China. American dollars prop up puppets in Ukraine and the Caucasus and the reactionary separatist movements in Hong Kong and China.
    Now the greedy eyes of the hawks in Washington are once again focusing on Ukraine. The US imperialists are supporting the Kiev puppet regime’s bid for NATO membership.
    The Kremlin says that any Ukrainian move to join the imperialist alliance would destabilise the whole region. But Russian warnings have, as usual, been ignored.
    Tension is rising along the cease-fire line in eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainians are stepping up their provocations in breach of the Minsk agreements that were supposed to end the fighting and pave the way to a negotiated settlement that would recognise the legitimate rights of the people of the Donbas.
    Ukrainian forces using prohibited weapons are targeting civilians, schools and homes in violation of international law and regional ceasefire agreements. Only last week a Ukrainian drone strike killed a five-year-old boy and wounded his 66-year-old grandmother.
    In preparation for the escalation of hostilities the Kiev regime has begun to release neo-Nazis, previously arrested for crimes such as murder, torture and robbery, to join the hard-core fascist units that prop up the puppet regime. On the front-line the Ukrainians are deploying heavy weapons, tanks and artillery, and similar movements are clearly evident on the other side. The armies of the Donbas people’s republics are also on full alert amidst reports of a Russian mobilisation along the frontier.
    The imperialists think that they can scupper the soon-to-be-completed Russian natural gas pipeline to Germany by provoking a new war in the Donbas. But they are playing with fire. A major offensive by the Kiev regime against the Donbas people’s republics could swiftly lead to direct and deadly confrontation between NATO and Russia.

Monday, April 05, 2021

Trouble north of the border

The feud between the current and former leaders of the Scottish National Party has bitterly divided the Scottish nationalist community. Nicola Sturgeon has fended off the drive to force her to resign over what she, or her husband, did or did not do over the Salmond affair. But it the row clearly has damaged her credibility as First Minister of Scotland while leaving Alex Salmond politically wounded but not down and out.
    Salmond, who led the Scottish government from 2007 to 2014, has rallied his followers behind the banner of his new Alba Party which he hopes will propel him back into the Scottish parliament when the Holyrood elections take place in May.
    Meanwhile Scottish Labour sits on the side-lines unable to exploit the splits within the nationalist camp while having little to offer to the Scottish electorate apart from old Blairite clichés that Scottish workers turned their backs on years ago.
    The establishment of the Scottish Parliament in 1999 led to a semi-autonomous “devolved” Labour- Lib Dem coalition government that used their powers to pass some modest reforms beneficial to the working class. But toeing the Blairite line meant they were easily undercut by the nationalists who won many Scottish workers over with a reform package that was tagged on to their long-standing demand for independence
    In 2011 the Scottish National Party secured a majority of seats in the Scottish Parliament. Following the collapse of the Scottish Labour Party in the 2015 general election the nationalists have been successful in deluding many people that they are a left‑wing party. But they’re not. Like the Liberals of the 19th century they will support some popular demands to win the workers’ vote. But they are an essentially a liberal bourgeois party. They campaign for independence because they believe that the Westminster parliament stands in the way of Scotland’s integration within the European Union – though that is out of their reach for the moment.
    Though the nationalists have also taken much of the Tory vote in Scotland there are clear divisions within the ranks of the Scottish bourgeoisie on the question of outright independence. Some believe it is unattainable and others that it is undesirable at a time of global capitalist crisis. Scottish banks relied on the Bank of England to bail them out in the 2008 slump and some fear that an independent Scotland would not be able to weather the storm when the next crash comes.            Nevertheless independence would free the Scottish working class from an increasingly oppressive and intrusive Westminster government.
     Independence, in itself, does nothing to preserve national traditions and culture or strengthen working class power. In the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, self-governing administrations comprised of local exploiters have presided over the virtual demise of all their heritage and culture while introducing labour laws and practices even worse than those implemented by the mainland Tories since 1979.
    But independence would open up the prospect of a genuinely left-wing Scottish Labour government. The organised workers of Scotland — the trade unions — would still have to fight for such reforms but they would be easier to win than trying to wring them from Westminster.
    The New Communist Party has long recognised the rights of the Scottish people to full national self‑determination. We support Scottish demands for the right to preserve and develop their culture and national identity. We support their right to possess and control all the physical and other resources present on their land and territorial waters.
    There can be no doubt that Scotland can hold its own as an independent state. If and when that question is again put to the Scottish electorate the New Communist Party will support a vote for independence.

The Untouchables?

 by Ben Soton

Line of Duty Series Six, BBC TV, seven episodes. Premiered on BBC One on Sunday 21st March, 9pm; also available on BBC iPlayer. Stars: Kelly Macdonald, Martin Compston, Vicky McClure, Adrian Dunbar. 

 In a recent television drama, a serving police officer murders a woman and dumps her body in a sack. The officer had previously been accused of indecent exposure, although seemingly trivial this often leads to more serious sex offences and even murder. His fellow officers do nothing about it and try to cover it up. A group of women organise a vigil to remember the dead woman and are attacked by the police. Just rewind for a second – this is not a television drama but real life.
    It is ironic that the BBC have produced a television drama on the subject of police corruption; namely the long-awaited Series Six of Line of Duty. The success of the drama is its constant ability to keep the viewer wondering about the identity of a mysterious character only known as ‘H’.
     The series revolves around three untouchables who work for a department know as Anti-corruption 12(AC12). They are the Gaffer, Superintendent Ted Hastings (played by Adrian Dunbar), Detective Sergeant Steve Arnot (played by Martin Compson) and Detective Inspector Kate Fleming (played by Vicky McClure).
     Like all untouchables they live dysfunctional lives; unable to form or keep relationships and often estranged from wives and family. On numerous occasions throughout the series the viewer has been asked to pose the question of whether these three are as untouchable as they appear. In Series Five it almost looks like Hasting is the elusive H.
   Over the previous five series the trio have uncovered corruption, murders, rape, collusion with criminals and paedophilia within the police force – the sort of thing that only happens in real life.
     The police force in this country is known for its institutional racism, corruption and complete incompetence. In 2019 a number of police officers in Basingstoke were recorded making racist comments and ridiculing victims of crime. Although they were dismissed from the Hampshire Police such attitudes were only the tip of the iceberg; the officers concerned were simply stupid enough to get caught.
    Series Six starts with Fleming having left AC12 and a bored Arnott trying to find work elsewhere in the force. After the murder of an investigative journalist and evidence that Fleming’s boss is up to no good AC12 tries to use her as an undercover asset. However, Fleming has divided loyalties. AC12 once again find themselves up against a secretive cabal of bad apples; a common theme of many recent conspiracy theorists.
    The idea of a deep state conspiracy was is a feature of Trumpian conspiracy theories such as those put forward by the likes of QAnon. But such theories contain an element of truth. The concept of the deep state, although misused by the far-right, emanates from the Marxist-Leninist theory of the state as an instrument of class rule. What separates this from the conspiracy theorists of the far-right is that change comes from ending the rule of the capitalist class – not by voting for an anti-elite demagogue, who is himself a member the elite or through the action of a few untouchables. The state including the police exist to serve the interests of the ruling class; there is no conspiracy about it.