Picket Irish Embassy , 17 Grosvenor Place, London SW1X
Saturday 15 August 2-3 pm
● No Extradition of Liam Campbell to Lithuania!
● Abolish the Diplock Courts in the North of Ireland!
● Abolish the Special Criminal Courts in the South!
● Free Brendan McConville and John Paul Wotton!
● Political Status for all Irish Republican POWs!
Liam Campbell was arrested in Dundalk on December 2, 2016 on a warrant issued by Lithuania and endorsed by the High Court in Dublin. Many Irish Republicans have been extradited from the Free State to the six counties in the recent past. When extradited they face the same inhuman torture, beatings and forced strip searches and anti-Irish bigotry from Loyalist screws endured by all Irish POWs there.
Liam Campbell is facing extradition to Lithuania pending an appeal against the 13th July order on 19th January 2021. If extradited and found guilty, he faces a sentence of 20 years. The IRPSG campaigned for Liam Campbell’s brother, Michael, in 2012 and 2013; we put a motion defending him to the 2013 Labour Representation Committee AGM.
In October 2013 Michael Campbell was acquitted of all charges in Lithuania because the court believed he was framed by MI5. His lawyer, Ingrida Botyriene, said:
“A person cannot be sentenced for a crime committed by state officials. He was acquitted because the court found that what he was accused of was a provocation. It was just an activity of the state security services. Michael Campbell was set up in a ‘sting’ operation by MI5, the Irish and Lithuanian intelligence agencies and jailed in Lithuania on 21 October 2011 for 12 years. The spooks had in fact initiated the arms deal on which he was convicted. He would never be involved in arms deals and would never go to Lithuania for such an affair if he had not been provoked by secret agents.”
The same judgement should apply to Liam now as the circumstances are exactly the same. Liam Campbell wrote to the IRPSG in 2011:
“I am held here in Maghaberry prison by the Brits. They want to extradite me to Lithuania, a country I was never in. So, I am here for two and a half now where I have no rights as an Irish man up in front of a Brit judge in my own country”.
This latest attempt to extradite Liam comes after a legal battle lasting nearly 12 years in the High Court in Dublin.
Abolish the Diplock Courts in the North and the Special Criminal Courts in the South
The Northern Ireland Emergency Provisions Act 1973 abolished the right to jury trial in many serious criminal cases, it authorized “preventive” incarceration without probable cause, abolished the right to silence, relaxed standards for admission of coerced confessions, and permitted reliance on the uncorroborated testimony of so-called “supergrasses”, anonymous witnesses who were allowed to testify from behind screens. This was the foundation of the infamous Diplock Courts, which sit today without a jury.
In 1993, the UN Human Rights Committee, a panel of experts established to monitor every country’s implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, said the Special Criminal Courts (SCC) established under the Offences Against the State Act of 1939 in the Republic of Ireland was not “justified”. In 2000, the committee repeated its concerns, and called for Ireland to “end the jurisdiction of the Special Criminal Court.” Amnesty International repeated its previous opposition to the courts in 1999 in its submission to the government initiated review of the Offences Against the State Acts, and the Special Criminal Court.
They urged that “the government make a proclamation to disestablish the Special Criminal Court, because the circumstances specified by international standards that might justify the operations of such a court are not apparent in Ireland. …Amnesty International considers that under international standards and the law of Ireland, the onus is upon the government to demonstrate that special courts are essential in current circumstances in the words of the law because “the ordinary courts are inadequate to secure the effective administration of justice, and the preservation of public peace and order”.
The Irish Council on Civil Liberties (which was co-founded by former Ireland President Mary Robinson in 1976) has repeatedly called for the abolition of the Special Criminal Court, and opposed its expansion in 2009, from a relatively narrow focus on state security-related trials to organised crime.
And it repeated its stance in June 23 2020; “The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), ahead of the mooted renewal of the Offences Against the State Act next week and the Dáil debate tomorrow, renews our call for repeal of the Act and with it the abolition of the non-jury Special Criminal Court.” They went on, “There is no jury at the Special Criminal Court and it accepts secret evidence from gardaí. This is in violation of our right to a fair trial, our right to trial by jury and our right to equality before the law. ICCL has opposed both the Act and the Courts since their introduction to deal with a terrorist threat in 1972. We continue to strongly oppose these emergency measures which have now become the norm in dealing with organised crime.” In February 2016 Fine Gael voted with the Fianna Fáil-led government in passing the bill retaining the SCCs, but Labour joined Sinn Féin in voting against it.
But on June 25 2020 Aine McMahon reported in the Belfast Telegraph that: “Sinn Fein has not opposed the renewal of Irish legislation that empowers the Special Criminal Court for the first time in its history. The legislation has been used in trials of dissident republicans and gangland criminals in a three-judge criminal court that has no jury in order to avoid any potential intimidation of members. The party have long been opponents of the non-jury court – similar to the Diplock-style courts in Northern Ireland – and have previously voted against the legislation.” The lure of office turns our former revolutionaries even further to the right, endorsing state repression against former comrades by a ‘justice’ system condemned by civil rights groups nationally and internationally, including the United Nations. The main focus of the IRPSG will continue to be campaigning for Irish Republican POWs in the North and South of Ireland.
The undersigned organizations condemn the threatened annexation of wide swathes of West Bank territory which was due to begin on July 1st, and to be finally announced on July 4th, but has now been delayed seemingly because of contradictions within the Netanyahu/Gantz unstable, uneasy coalition in power in Israel, and also apparently with their external partners-in-crime in the United States government. The various genocidal nationalist factions in power in the Zionist state, and the Trump administration are all in favour of this annexation as part of the so-called ‘Deal of the Century’. But they are still wrangling about the details behind closed doors, trying to produce some formula for the annexation that will not blow up in their faces in a new round of struggles waged by the masses of oppressed Palestinians.
The annexation project has continuity with the ‘peace process’ put together at Oslo under Clinton and the Labour Zionists Rabin and Peres in the early 1990s. The division of the West Bank into areas A, B, and C with the latter fully under control of the Israelis, with only ‘area A’ under the control of the stooge ‘Palestinian Authority’ under Arafat and now Abbas, and ‘area B’ as a buffer between them, was itself a salami-slicing of the West Bank and a preparation for future annexation. So far from the ‘Peace Process’ of the liberal Zionists and their helpmates in the West, the Clintons etc, being an alternative to the annexations and advocates of ‘transfer’ on the Zionist right, in reality the plans dovetailed with each other and Oslo paved the way for annexation. As was seen clearly by some of the most far-sighted Palestinian thinkers like the late Edward W. Said, who condemned the collaboration of Arafat with the Oslo process as comparable to the collaboration of the Vichy regime with the Nazi occupation of France in WWII.
The comparison is quite valid. Political Zionism always was a genocidal project, which modelled itself on the colonial-settler projects spawned by British expansionism in the early capitalist era, where the settlers took the country off the indigenous population of the territories they colonised, and subjected them to enslavement and extermination. The Zionist apologists who claim that the persecution and discrimination against Jews in the late Medieval period and the beginnings of anti-Semitism in the modern era somehow excuse that, overlook this affinity with the other colonial movements that drove that. This was always a movement, right from the start, that aspired to oppress and eliminate the Arab inhabitants of the territory it coveted.
They overlook the specifically Jewish chauvinism that drove the Zionist movement from its beginnings in the later 19th Century, when it went about seeking sponsors among archaic great powers and modern imperialists alike, finally managing to get the support of the British Empire. The 1917 Balfour Declaration; the handing over of Palestine to a third-party colonial movement ultimately to expel its native population was among British imperialism’s most insidious crimes. Thus when we talk about the genocidal character of Zionism, we are talking about it in the same breath not only as National Socialism and the Hitler movement in Germany, of which it is like a mirror image, but also as the genocidal creation of the United States through the destruction of native Americans, of Australia through the destruction of black native Australians, and other such acts of barbarism.
In that regard, for us all of Israel is occupied territory; we, like the Palestinian people themselves, affirm that the inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza, the Palestinians in exile elsewhere, and the so-called Israeli Arabs, are all Palestinians, they are the majority native population and they unconditionally have the right to self-determination over the whole territory of historical Palestine. The Jewish settler population have no choice but to accept this basic democratic principle and learn to coexist on the basis of complete equality. In democratic terms, this logic is inescapable.
In a way the creeping annexation of more Palestinian territory involved here recognises the objective unity of Palestine and creates a situation where the Jewish majority in cleansed Israel becomes more and more tenuous. With that, the genocidal rage of much of the settler population becomes more and more severe.
This could erupt in monstrous atrocities against the Arab population and a renewal of the Nakba, the mass expulsion of the Palestinian people. Or conversely, it could result in renewed mass struggle for equality by the unified Palestinian people, across the 1967 Green Line and the various lines drawn by the Israelis and their collaborators across the occupied territories. In all these cases, what is needed is active solidarity from the working class in the Western countries, and throughout the Middle East, in that mainly Arab region also who will have a special role to play in uniting with the Palestinian working class.
The objective need is for a programme of permanent revolution across the Middle East, taking in hand the numerous democratic questions that are unresolved in that region, of which the question of Zionism, Israeli colonialism and the dispossession of the Palestinian people is obviously the most pressing. For it obvious that in its oppressed and dispossessed situation, the Palestinian working class and poor do not have the power to deal with the Zionist state on their own: they need the militant aid of the regional, centrally Arab, proletariat of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and also the Persian proletariat of Iran, among other oppressed peoples in the region. The question of democracy in general, over the whole region with its underdevelopment and long history of despotism can only be fully resolved with the proletariat in power on a regional, federal level, through a federation of revolutionary workers states, and the end of the Nazi-Zionist state through the struggle for a multi-ethnic Palestinian popular council of Arab and Hebrew workers.
The other crucial strand of this is the need for active solidarity from the workers movement in the West, in countries like the United States and Britain that arm Israel to the teeth against the Palestinians and against other forces in the region seeking liberation from Zionist aggression. This is an extremely difficult task right now because of the very powerful position of the Israel lobby in most of these countries. This was shown graphically by the massive Zionist-led campaign to destabilise and destroy the very moderately pro-Palestinian leadership of Jeremy Corbyn in the British Labour Party over the last several years.
There is an additional level of complexity and difficulty for socialists and revolutionaries in many advanced countries, particularly in Europe and North America, in delivering solidarity with the Palestinians. Not only do they have to deal with the ‘normal’ attitude of ‘their’ bourgeoisies to a liberation struggle against one of its allies, but they also have to deal with a specific faction within the ruling class, which based on its Jewish origin and an ethnocentric Zionist variant of bourgeois politics, regards Israel as ‘its’ state and fights just as hard for the interest of Israel as it does for the interests of the imperialists country in which it resides.
This unique overlap of the ruling class of Israel with that of other imperialist countries creates a situation where it is doubly difficult, in current conditions, to deliver real, meaningful solidarity with the Palestinians in those countries as distinct from those engaged in ‘simpler’, more conventional struggles against one’s own ruling class, such as in Ireland or Vietnam in the past. Nevertheless, there is no evading this question, and the international movement has the right to insist that its sections in Israel’s imperialist allied countries address this difficult problem in their political material and agitational work.
Frente Comunista dos Trabalhadores – Brazil
Socialist Equality Council – Bangladesh
Socialist Worker League – United States
Tendencia Militante Bolchevique – Argentina
Trotskyist Faction of Socialist Fight – Great Britain
Pandemic and market pressure luring consumers to their death
By Humberto Rodriguez
Why are half of the planet’s deaths in the US, Britain, and Brazil? By the time we wrote these lines, the disease caused by the Coronavirus had already killed more than half a million people worldwide. 10.5 million people had contracted Covid-19, according to official statistics provided by governments.
Of those officially killed by Covid-19, the U.S. has 130,000; Brazil, 60,000; Britain has 44,000. Officially, these three countries were where the greatest number of fatal victims of coronavirus occurred. Together, they are responsible for almost half of the planet’s dead. These three nations are not the most populous on the planet. But the three governments are among the main denialists of the severity of the health crisis.
If the pandemic ended now, which will not happen, a world historic tragedy would already have happened. But in three nations the tragedy is quantitatively and qualitatively greater.
In Great Britain, with just over 60 million inhabitants, less than 1% of the world’s population, it has almost 10% of the dead. Brazil has 210 million inhabitants, corresponding to 3% of the world’s population, has more than 10% of the dead on the planet. But that is just the visible tip of the iceberg.
Data provided by rigorous public universities in Brazil state that the actual numbers of infected and killed in this country would be seven times higher than the official statistics presented by the very suspected Bolsonaro government. In some states of Brazil, such as Ceará, for example, the number of deaths due to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome increased 46 times compared to 2019. This margin of difference exists due to lack of testing, underreporting of deaths and infections and the attempt of the government to minimize the problem. In the end, as every tragedy has its leaders, irresponsible governments consciously conduct few tests and try to hide bodies as Bolsonaro has been doing since the beginning of June.
Most dramatic is the case of the richest nation in the world. A certificate of multiple bankruptcy and the unrecoverable decay of American imperialism was given during the pandemic. The U.S. has less than 5% (328 million) of the world’s population and more than 20% of deaths from Covid-19 so far. The worst tragedy in the United States, after WWII and becoming the world imperialist hegemon, was the Vietnam War, lost humiliatingly to one of the poorest countries in Asia. The number of U.S. deaths lost in the pandemic is already more than double the number of U.S. deaths in Vietnam (58,000). Trump knows it will cost him re-election. Perhaps it will engender a new war, internal or external, to save his political career.
Chile and India
The other two countries ruled by the right whose policies triggered the pandemic, Chile and India, with these three, account for half of the deaths officially computed on the planet.
Chile has one of the highest per capita infection rates. She followed the model of rich countries, but realized most of her citizens are poor. “There are areas of Santiago where I was unaware of the magnitude of poverty and agglomeration,” said Jaime Mañalich, the Health Minister who had to resign.
In India, the fascistic government of Narendra Modi took advantage of the pandemic to establish a rigid state of siege and a suspicious fund, PM Cares, which he never accounted for, not of what he distributed and even less what he raised.
“On the day PM Cares was created, a huge humanitarian crisis began to occur in India – millions of migrant workers, some of India’s poorest people, began fleeing the cities after Modi imposed a sudden blockade across the country. For weeks, they walked hundreds of miles, hungry and thirsty, to reach their villages. Over a hundred died. It was thought that the government would spend at least some of the money helping those forced to travel, but that did not happen”
In the middle of the process, the Modi government even recreated a border dispute with China, apparently to distract from the tragedy and scandal. As Modi’s measures did not alleviate but accentuated popular suffering, making living conditions more precarious and increasing the pandemic’s spread, under pressure, Modi, as suddenly as he imposed the lockdown, announced the end of mandatory confinement in early June. As a result, overpopulated India has become the new epicenter of coronavirus in Asia. Confirmed infections, despite scandalous underreporting and almost no testing, have doubled every eighteen days, more than in the USA, Brazil and Russia. “If the speed of the outbreak persists, the country should pass U.S. statistics in six weeks,” predicts Ashish Jha, Professor of Global Health at Harvard University. In response, almost like he is copying the three musketeers of the Atlantic Right, Modi declared: “Transmission is under control, recommending the practice of yoga as a strategy to increase immunity.” Read more at: https://veja.abril.com.br/mundo/india-o-novo-epicentro-do-coronavirus/
Criminal Denialists, Agents Of Capital
All health systems in capitalist countries have been put at risk or overwhelmed by the pandemic. Even, at first, also the health system of the Chinese State. However the Cuban workers state resisted, and also sent medical aid to 70 countries. In turn, it is not by chance that the USA, Brazil and Great Britain are where the most catastrophic numbers are recorded. Their rulers are uncompromising defenders of the capitalist market against social intervention by the state. Therefore, they deny the severity of the pandemic and the need for social distancing, the only measure capable of mitigating the lack of capacity of health systems to defend the population against the virus. The three rulers made several sneers at the seriousness of the problem that epitomise this genocidal policy. On March 5, asked how he would deal with the virus, Boris Johnson said:
On April 23, Trump recommended injections of disinfectant to kill the virus. On June 20, at his first re-election rally, he said:
“Testing is a double-edged sword. We’ve tested 25 million people so far. Probably 20 million more than any other country. Here’s the bad part: when you do so many tests, you find more people, you find more cases. So, said to my people: decrease the tests, please”
Bolsonaro has made so many scandalous statements:
“A lot of what they say is fantasy, this is not a crisis” (10/3); “What’s wrong is hysteria, as if it were the end of the world. A nation like Brazil will only be free when a certain number of people are infected and create antibodies” (17/3); “ “It’s not going to be a little flu that’s going to bring me down, okay?” (20/3); “The people were deceived all this time about the virus” (26/3); Are some going to die? Go, wow, I’m sorry. It’s life.” (27/3); [when Brazil already had 5,000 dead replied:] “So what? I’m sorry. What do you want me to do?” (28/4). Since the country recorded 35,000 deaths by Covid-19, the Bolsonaro government has been hiding data on the pandemic.
During the pandemic, governments in Britain, the US and Brazil have shown contempt, negligence, and exploitation of the disease against their populations. It is clear that if these countries are responsible for almost half the pandemic dead, if the population of these countries suffer more than in others, this is due to governments of the far-right, radical defenders of capital against any protection of the lives of workers.
These governments are not, as they appear, just crazed. Their irrational and unscientific statements show that decaying capitalism renounces rationalism and science. Trump, Johnson and Bolsonaro massacre with impunity because this is beneficial to their bourgeoisies: the masterminds of this crime. In the case of Bolsonaro, it serves the Brazilian ruling classes, but above all the great Anglo-Saxon and Zionist imperialist bourgeoisie.
Capital, the father of all modern tragedies
Strict social distancing until a vaccine comes is impossible under capitalism. But, unlike Trump, Johnson and Bolsonaro, the majority of bourgeois governments did some social demagoguery. Many leaders declared life more important than profits. Some carried out, for a few weeks, proper quarantine. Some used the justification of social distancing to attack strikes and protests, and stifle social and political resistance. But after a while, everyone tried to save profits at the expense of lives.
Online commerce has soared, but cannot meet the needs of the capitalist market. Shop reopening was imposed at the pandemic peak, with hospitals collapsed, though it meant more infections and deaths, when the World Health Organization (WHO) said the worst was to come. In the USA, reopening trade was fatal for many. The New York Times records:
“The number of cases is increasing in much of the United States, including in several states that were the first to reopen. As the number of people hospitalized and the percentage of positive people are also increasing in many of these places, the increase in cases cannot be explained only by the increase of tests … And as some places reimpose restrictions, others continue to reopen their economies. .. in some states that reopened early, case levels increased again. ”
We do not refer to the vast majority of harassed wage earners returning to work, especially under the blackmail of unemployment multiplied by the crisis and pandemic. Nor do we require any parsimony of that feeling of reuniting with friends of those who were confined for months. So little parsimony in relation to individual or family consumption itself. The workers created everything, everything, all consumer goods and dreams they are entitled to. There is also a good portion of conscientious workers who seek to preserve themselves by staying home as much as they can. To none of these cases we will refer here. In fact, on parsimony, we stand with Oscar Wilde who once said:
“Sometimes the poor are praised for being thrifty. But recommending them parsimony is as grotesque as it is insulting. It’s like advising a man who’s starving to eat less. For a field or city worker to use parsimony would be absolutely immoral. A man should not be ready to show himself capable of living like a poorly fed animal. ” (The Soul of Man under Socialism, 1891).
With the reopening, thousands of people went to the malls and the market to buy, or simulate the circuit of consumers putting themselves in contact, becoming infected, ill and dying. They were lured like fish to the hook, despite having some awareness of the risks. They go blindly to their deaths. Why? Common sense is often used to criticize consumerism. In this concept, it is the victim’s, the consumer’s, fault. This criticism is moralistic. The blame is not on the workers, as duplicitous bourgeois morality says. Just as the drug addict is not to blame for addiction, but the drug trafficking system that seduced and stimulated addiction. Not even the most perverse capitalist escapes the fetish of capital. Governments are determined by the great capitalists who, in turn, are determined by capital.
“In a social formation in which the production process dominates men, and not men the production process, they are considered by their bourgeois conscience as a natural need as evident as the productive work itself.” (O Capital, p. 156, Editora Boitempo).
To understand this suicidal tendency, we must go to the root of the problem: the commodity fetish. In explaining the process of capitalist production, in chapter 1 of Capital, Marx clarifies that it is a mistake to believe that the commodity is use value and exchange value. In fact, the commodity is use value and “value”, a value born before exchange. The substance of value is work and its measure of magnitude is working time. The form of value of the product of labour is the most abstract but also the most general form of the bourgeois mode of production “[…] it is taken by the natural and eternal form of social production” (ibid, p. 155).
Later, when he explains the fetishistic character of the commodity and its secret, Marx says that the mystical character of the commodity is not in its use value or in the content of the determinations of value. The enigmatic character of goods arises from the social relationship established between them as products of human labour. These products, when they take the form of goods, become sensitive things, suprasensitive, and assume for men a relationship between things. The commodity fetish is not a fantasy, superstition, illusions detached from reality, but illusions fabricated by reality. The fetish of merchandise, money and capital are real illusions. The monetary fetish, for example, makes money bewitch men by acting as “a natural thing endowed with strange social properties”” (p. 157), as equivalent to the value of any and all socially produced goods.
In capitalism, the necessary objects of use become man-made goods. The producers of the goods are conditioned make social contact with each other by exchanging products from their respective jobs. The value form of the product of work is taken as natural and eternal. The goods that own the way of life of men who are controlled by them ,”relate to each other only as exchange values”. And “the value is only realized in the exchange, that is, in a social process.” (ibid, page 158). The cycle of capital is consummated with the exchange of goods. And people, as if obscured by clouds, move behind the goods. Even if this exchange is represented between the form of money and another commodity, commodities and money or capital, products of human labor, demand that men, putting their lives at risk, satisfy them, to complete the cycle. It is the way men produce their life that explains how they end up killing their lives. Much of the depression in quarantine during social isolation is due to the fact that people cannot make this movement or do not have the money to perform this movement, they feel excluded, frustrated. In addition to having the object, having it, regardless of its use value to the consumer, it is important to carry out the practice of payment, in cash or credit,
Fetishism of merchandise is distinct from consumerism. Consumerism, the compulsion to acquire individual consumer goods, is often confused as being equal to the fetish. But these are different elements. The fetish to which Marx refers is the inability to suppose a society based on relationships beyond that established by capital, value, money and credit. Therefore, one can get rid of the consumerist compulsion and still remain bewitched by capital, without believing that a post-capitalist, communist world is possible. So far beyond getting rid of this or that hated genocidal far-right government, which must be done without a doubt, it is also necessary to be disenchanted, to break the spell, in the revolutionary process of struggle for the seizure of political power by the workers , expropriation of private property and production control by popular councils. It is within this process that it can free itself from the phantasmagorical domain of the practical conditioning that capital exercises over humanity, leading it to barbarism and luring it to death. In other words, the social process of life will only get rid of this fatal spell, when men and women freely associate with each other, regain control of the product of their work in a conscious and planned way, eliminating the contradiction between social work and private appropriation, when the means of production are collectivized.
Communist Fight issue no 2 is now available as a PDF. It is not currently available as a hard copy due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but we do plan to print and distribute our journal as hard copy as and when circumstances allow.
This journal is a product of our commitment to maintaining a high-quality Marxist journal based on the politics of Trotskyism and the Liaison Committee for the Fourth International.
Particular attention is drawn to the article on page 17, titled The Death Spell by Humberto Rodriguez, a leading Latin American comrade of the LCFI, which contains a theoretical treatment of neoliberalism and the Covid-19 Pandemic, and how alienation and commodity fetishism is used to entice and pressure working class people to endanger their lives for capital.
Other articles, apart from the lead on Starmer’s New Labour, deal with the sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey, the upsurge of anti-racist and Black struggles beginning in the United States, and a Zionist witchhunting attack on Black Lives Matter and anti-racist militants.
More than 100 coal Miners in the town of Antracita in the People’s Republic of Lugansk (RPL), workers who had been on strike at the Komsomolskaya mine for a week since June 6, have won their demands and the company will pay them backpay due to them. After the ‘crackdown’ last week by RPL authorities, with about 25 arrests of miners and left-wing activists, the government has pledged not to prosecute the strikers.
This appears to be a considerable victory by miners in Eastern Ukraine against the oligarchs who own and control the mines. This is a local instance of class struggle between workers and capitalists that takes place within another international conflict between Russia and NATO imperialism (US – EU). The second conflict is permeated by the defense of national self-determination and resistance against the NATO-backed fascist elements who seized power in the 2014 Maidan coup.
The regime in the mainly Russian-speaking region has not hesitated to turn on its own working class with repression, from arrest and torture of some leading militants in the struggle, to interfering with social media and trying to block strike supporters from using it to organise support. The government of the Lugansk People’s Republic (RPL) used the excuse of the Covid-19 pandemic to try to prevent working class organisation and action.
We as Marxists and anti-imperialists obviously support the maximum international solidarity for workers in struggle against their capitalist oppressors everywhere that such resistance is waged, including in the Russian speaking regions that seceded from Ukraine in the aftermath of the pro-NATO, fascist dominated Maidan coup in 2014, that brought to power a regime in Kiev that sought to bring the whole of Ukraine, including its Russian-speaking population in the more industrial regions in the East of the country, into NATO and the European Union.
We note that while many of those who are making a big issue of supporting the Lugansk miners denounce the ‘separatism’ of the Russian-speaking republics, and therefore are implicitly supporting the regime in Kiev, formerly of Poroshenko, now of Zelensky, who appears to be Trump’s man, and are denouncing the Lugansk leadership for its repression of the miners. Well this repression certainly needs to be denounced. But workers need to be alert against some wolves in sheep’s clothing, we referred to those who opposed the self-determination of all eastern Ukrainian people, including the Komsomolskaya miners, and who supported a NATO coup d’état that carried out a bloody massacre of trade unionists in May 2014, where 48 militants were burned to death when the Trade Union House in Odessa was torched by a fascist-led mob of supporters of the pro-NATO Maidan movement.
In the conflict between NATO imperialism and its puppets and satraps, the supporters of NATO expansion into the former USSR, we are militarily on the side of those resisting NATO and US-led imperialism. But we give no political support to those bourgeois forces resisting imperialism. Indeed as is shown by the job cuts, closures and wage cuts that provoked this strike and occupation, the capitalist forces in Russia that support Putin and his own nationalist project of building up a stronger Russian capitalism, also oppress their ‘own’ working class and do not embody any systemic alternative to the imperialists who would like to conquer and subjugate them.
Indeed one of the key reasons for the continued drive to expand NATO into the former USSR is the belief that the proletariat of Russia, which was the driving force of the October Revolution, has not been sufficiently deprived of its class consciousness as to make impossible a revival of the Communism that the Western ruling classes dread. The conservative Russian nationalism of Putin does not reassure them; they consider his sort too weak. They want direct rule by their outright agents and puppet to endure that the Communist spectre is fully exorcised from Russia and the proletariat remains servile and powerless.
We seek the exact opposite; we seek the political revival of Communism in the former USSR through international solidarity with workers’ struggles even when the immediate oppressor is bourgeois forces that are currently at odds with imperialism. Why is that? Because the social force that materially and objectively has the real class interest in destroying imperialism is the class-conscious proletariat. We in Socialist Fight/Trotskyist Faction and the LCFI have been involved with anti-fascist and Communist groups since 2014 both internationally and in Ukraine itself, such as Borot’ba, and we call on these groups to organise a solidarity effort with this and future workers’ struggles that clearly opposes Maidan and the NATO- expansionist social-imperialism that would seek to use workers struggles in Eastern Ukraine to try to garner support for the worst enemies of the working class.
George Floyd was another worker murdered by the imperialist police state, the mortal enemy of blacks, workers and the oppressed of the world
The flagrantly racist May 25th murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis has set off an enormous wave struggles in the United States, at least as big as those in the 1960s that were the culmination of the Civil Rights movement against Jim Crow segregation, the legacy of the defeat of reconstruction after the US Civil War abolished slavery. This struggle is against the results of decades of racist reaction that began at the end of the 1970s, with the rise of Reagan, neoliberalism, and the prolonged movement of American society to the right that carried on under Clinton, with its expanded death penalty and mass incarceration of blacks, deepening more under George W Bush’s ‘War on Terror’ militarisation of the cops, hardly dented by the first black Democratic President Obama, culminating with the openly racist Trump since 2016.
The murder of Floyd was captured in excruciating detail on a video as the white cop Chauvin knelt on his neck for nine whole minutes, so he died of asphyxiation. He narrated his own death, gasping “I can’t breathe” as the life was squeezed out of him. Two other cops participated in the murder by sitting on his legs as he was strangled; a fourth did lookout, menacing witnesses who protested. These thugs knew they were killing Floyd; there have been numerous similar murders by cops, infamously Eric Garner in July 2014 in New York, who was similarly throttled and also gasped “I can’t breathe” before he died.
This is common in the racist US; the ‘choke hold’ technique dates to the late 1970s when the post-Civil Rights racist offensive against US blacks gathered pace. The massive militarisation of US cops, giving them armoured vehicles and the like similar to those used by the US military, signify that the US bourgeoisie sees the US black, working class masses as enemies to be fought with similar methods as the wars it fights in the Middle East, Latin America etc. Trump’s ascendancy, fuelled by the support of backward white workers whose own defeats and impoverishment by neo-liberalism has thus far been successfully directed into scapegoating of minorities, posed this point blank.
He brazenly removed palliatives, such as ‘Community Policing’ investigations from the Obama period that gave some lip-service to trying to mitigate police racism. In doing so, he has finally torn off the sugar coating by which previous administrations have disguised their contempt for the black masses, and provoked what appears an even bigger anti-racist response than in the 1960s. One index of the sheer size and power of this movement is the response of many working class whites to it.
In the late 1960s, the black movement was part of the broader radicalisation triggered by the Vietnam War, and backward sections of the working class, for instance construction workers (‘hard hats’) were notorious for their hostility to it and their support for the reactionary demagogue Nixon. Hard hats got repeatedly into fights with anti-war protestors and black militants, whereas in the recent, much more racially integrated movement triggered by the George Floyd murder, many white youth and others have actively joined in the protests, and they have also been applauded by construction workers in New York.
Today’s civil rights movement is very powerful, but we can’t say it’s stronger than the 1960s. Even though the masses are ready and the struggle is real, the movement now lacks true leaders such as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and others. The Black Lives Matter is a strong force, but the movement itself is still an organic cry that is manifested sometimes in 20 different protests in different parts of the same city, in NYC for example. Basically, it lacks leadership and organization. And because of that, their struggle, their fight ends up collaborating to demagogic political campaigns such as the Democratic Party. Joe Biden’s numbers are higher than Trump´s now. The big question is, what can African-Americans really expect from the establishment, if they win?
42 US cities have been put under curfew by State Governors, Mayors and the like and Trump has threatened to use the US military to crush protests, using the understandable looting, itself fuelled by racialised impoverishment, which has accompanied some of the protests. Trump has threatened he will send in troops if elected officials do not use National Guard troops to ‘dominate’ and crush the movement.This has raised the question of dictatorship and fascism in the US. But it does appear to have backfired and even split the army brass: most notably military insider and Trump’s former Defence Secretary James Mattis roundly denounced Trump’s threats, and his current Defence Secretary was at pains to distance himself from the idea. This after his participation in Trump’s bible-wielding photo-op at a Washington Church, clearing completely legal protesters forcibly out of the way, an action that has now given rise to a lawsuit against Trump by the American Civil Liberties Union and Washington Black Lives Matter.
The radicalisation has been fuelled by the Covid-19 pandemic, which in the United States, as elsewhere, has disproportionately caused death and severe illness among oppressed ethnic groups, including the US Black population. Blacks have also borne the brunt of the economic depression that the pandemic has precipitated. Blacks are being laid off driven into penury in disproportionate numbers, being forced back to work in unsafe conditions in Trump’s drive to ‘save’ the capitalist economy over their corpses, and brutalised by racist police on top of all that.
This has produced a social explosion in the US, different from the gilets jaunes explosion in France, but with some important common elements. Its trigger was the George Floyd murder, but it was fuelled by the pandemic and caused by decades of racist, neoliberal offensive that devastated many lives. This upsurge, and the support for it by working class people, has the potential to unite the whole working class, which has up to now been divided by racism. The morbid expression of this was the rise of Trump, white supremacism and the ‘alt-right’. This can blow all that away.
The upsurge in the United States has enormous revolutionary potential, both within the US itself, and in terms of its potential to inspire revolutionary struggles around the world. For the struggle of US American blacks for real equality today is squarely directed against strategic features of US capitalism itself, which is the hegemon of imperialist capitalism worldwide. US capitalism cannot do away with the oppression of the black masses; capitalism cannot do without the huge inequalities of the world order where most of humanity is enslaved and impoverished to benefit Western imperialist ruling classes whose wealth was obtained through centuries of plunder.
Covid-19 is a by-product of climate breakdown induced by the inability of capitalism to plan resources for human need in a sustainable way that works with nature, as opposed to tearing it apart in the quest for profit. It brought this to boiling point. This is organic and inherent to capital; the only solution is to tear down capitalism itself. For that we need a revolutionary leadership that is able to consciously, and openly, lead the masses in the US and worldwide to overthrow capitalism and replace it with socialism: rational economic planning for social need.
Such a leadership must be created though the intervention of socialists in these struggles, through revolutionary regroupment, and recruiting and training a new generation of Marxists to replace those lost through neoliberal reaction and the terminal betrayals of Stalinism. Such a party must be armed with a programme of transitional demands, addressing both economic grievances and the many democratic questions posed by racist oppression, aimed at uniting all working class and oppressed layers into one big fist under the leadership of a revolutionary party, both on the national and international planes , to take state power from capital.
A key demand today, both in terms of basic democracy and the rights of black people, and the class organisation of the workers, is for an anti-racist working class militia, that must have a substantial representation of black militants, to defend the victims of police and other racist oppression and brutality. In terms of US social reality today, a revolutionary organisation would undoubtedly have a large proportion of black and other oppressed-group militants, a reflection the dynamics of its struggle to overcome the subjugation of the most oppressed, and potentially the most revolutionary, parts of our class.
Building a revolutionary leadership is not a simple task but requires both the highest level of theory, and the ability to sink roots into mass struggles like that in the United States. For that a revolutionary cadre must be developed from among the participants and potential mass leaders that these struggles never fail to throw up. The revolutionary working class organisations are building a revolutionary leadership out of those engaged in this struggle and many others as the only way to achieve the final liberation of humanity from such ferocious oppression.
Frente Comunista dos Trabalhadores – Brazil
Tendencia Militante Bolchevique – Argentina
Socialist Worker League – United States
Socialist Fight – Great Britain
Trotskyist Faction of Socialist Fight – Great Britain
(all the above are sections of the Liaison Committee for the Fourth International)
Grupo Fronteira Vermelha – Brazil
Akash Mirza, for Socialist Party – Bangladesh
Anna Brogan, left militant and black activist, London – Great Britain
Luciano Filgueiras – MovLuta – Movimento Compromisso e Luta – Brazil
Nigel Singh, independent left militant, Oxford – Great Britain.
Alex Dillard, socialist activist, California – United States.
Curtis T, youth and socialist activist, Monrovia – Liberia
Mohammad Basir Ul Haq Sinha, President, Inter Press Network, Dhaka – Bangladesh
Fernando Gustavo Armas, militant of Revolutionary Socialism, Argentina.
Fernando Matos Rodrigues, Anthropologist and ICS Researcher, New University of Minho, Basic Housing Laboratory.
Frederico Costa, Professor and Director of the Teachers’ Union at Ceará State University – Brazil
Mário Maestri, Historian – Italy
Maurício de Oliveira, teacher of public education in Ceará – Brazil
Fernando Moyano – Socialist Militant – Uruguay
Emmanoel Lima Ferreira, professor at the Regional University of Cariri – Brazil
On 21 May the Trotskyist Faction formally adopted a constitution to guide our present and future political work. It is available as a separate page on this site here. Obviously it is based on the constitution of the now defunct unitary SF group that was wrecked in the early part of this year, but it has been adjusted to remove some rather grandiose features that were out of proportion to the modest size of that group.
We adopted it as a sign of our seriousness about building a revolutionary working class organisation with a dynamic, democratic method of functioning. We consider that revolutionaries should take pride in adhering to the norms that we advocate, of party democracy, and of full and reasoned political debate for the purpose of formulating effective revolutionary responses to the complex problems we face today.
On this first of May, the working class faces the terrible pandemic conditions of Covid-19 which has unleashed a latent world capitalist crisis. This situation has causes the worst death toll since World War 2. Its causes are linked to the antagonistic relationship with nature that capitalism has imposed upon humanity through its drive for profit above all considerations of sustainability and rationality, which has so destabilised the climate as to threaten human existence. As well as the immediate danger of large numbers of the vulnerable, the sick, the disabled and the aged dying or being incapacitated from the disease, workers and the oppressed face an unprecedented danger of loss of livelihood and in many places even mass starvation from the huge economic crisis of capitalism that the pandemic has crystallised.
In the imperialist countries, economies are being kept afloat by massive government borrowing which will be a source of acute economic convulsions even after the pandemic for many years to come. After the credit crunch and near financial collapse of 2007-2010, the poor were victimised by a decade of savage austerity and attacks on the social wage to an unprecedented degree. After this crisis similar things will be posed and the ruling class will likely again come for the working class to make them pay for the crisis. Though this will be more dangerous for the ruling class as it is increasingly clear to the masses that the cause of the massive weakness in health systems that have made the pandemic so much worse for the population is rooted in the previous vicious austerity attacks. That gives hope that militant working class resistance can emerge to confront the entire logic of capitalist profit that stands behind this crisis.
In oppressed and semi-colonial countries the situation is much worse and more threatening, as the public health systems are much poorer, when they exist at all, than in the imperialist countries. In Africa, in much of semi-colonial Asia, in Latin America and Oceania, quarantines and lockdowns have often been harsher and enormous numbers are suffering huge hunger and deprivation as the meagre benefits that many survive on in the imperialist countries simply do not exist. Huge numbers of workers in the informal or black economy have no income at all during the quarantine and are struggling to avoid starvation. As well, semi-colonial countries face imperialist aggression which continues despite the pandemic, as with Trump’s continuing attacks and threats against Iran, the bombing of the population in Somalia, recently resumed, and the sending of US warships to threaten Venezuela amid phoney allegations of drug trafficking from the US narco-lords. A particularly frightening example is occupied Palestine, where the Israeli occupiers have brazenly attacked medical facilities set up to treat Palestinian victims of the pandemic. Thus the Israeli genocidal drive against the Palestinian people is intensified, exploiting the pandemic as a weapon.
The Trump threats of aggression against China, the pretext being the preposterous lie that Covid-19 was produced in a Chinese laboratory, is another example of imperialist aggression against nations from the Global South that do not fit in with imperialisms world domination. We call for defence of underdeveloped and non-imperialist capitalist nations such as Iran, China, Venezuela, Somalia against imperialism as well as defending the remaining workers states of Cuba and North Korea against imperialism and counterrevolution.
In Argentina, the “progressive” Peronist government of Alberto Fernández, who took a series of statist measures in the face of the pandemic. Today he is surrounded by right-wing governments, some directly of coup origin. In the name of its economic protectionism, the Alberto Fernandez government unilaterally distances Argentina from Mercosur, which is hegemonized by neoliberal economic trends, while seeking to negotiate the issue of debt inherited from Macrismo that the Alberto Fernandez government itself assumed. even without investigating it. This also includes the possibility that in the face of an unpayable debt, Argentina will definitely go into default. Today, in front of quarantine, workers face the blackmail of the employers on the reduction of wages to keep their jobs with the complicity of the union bureaucracy. It is in this context that Alberto Fernandez has managed to agree on governance – and in some cases co-opt – to the bureaucracy of the trade union centrals. All in a context where the pseudo-Trotskyist left is unable to advance in an independent regroupment of the working class.
Bolsonaro’s neo-Nazi government leads the Brazilian population to their deaths. The coronavirus became an incidental ally in the class war. The phenomenon of Bolsonarism is a type of colonial Nazism, born in the country with the deepest slave tradition of the bourgeois era. The government is supported politically by generals and socially by bankers, benefiting them from positions and capital like no other in history. Bolsonaro will only fall if one of these two powerful social actors drops his thumb. But all fractions of capital agree with the economic policy inspired by the Pinochet dictatorship. Brazil’s military summit organizes, organically and officially, the Southern Command of the US Army. The government also relies on the police and police forces (militias), which are more numerous than the armed forces. The country has a long tradition of death squads that acted even during the PT governments against landless, homeless and indigenous people.
Bolsonarism does not exist as a national, centralized and partisan force, but the militiaman leads a Nazi movement without a party, assisted by the Trump administration and strategists like Steve Bannon. The mass base of Bolsonarism, which articulates their social consensus, is the sectors linked to the informal economy, where petty bourgeois tendencies, even with consumption levels below the proletariat, are enhanced by individualization and entrepreneurship. There, the ideology of prosperity and neo-Pentecostalism, the Universal Church and other sects that are associated with the governing Bolsonarist sect develop from the ideological instance. But the aspirations of the governing nucleus have not yet converted the Brazilian state into a fascist state. Workers’ organizations have not been wiped out. The unions did not suffer state intervention. The proletariat has not been physically repressed on a large scale, mass arrests, tortures and deportations are not taking place as in times of classical fascism. A system of administration that is profoundly dominant of the masses has not yet been imposed to prevent independent action and organization by the proletariat.
Thus, the social force capable of overthrowing the militia president would be the numerous Brazilian working class. But the hegemonic political directions of the proletariat are deeply conciliatory and bourgeois for 15 years of class collaboration. The leaderships of the PT, PCdoB, PSOL, CUT, MST, MTST support their conciliation policy in the fact that the working class is on the defensive, due to the economic recession (unemployment) and now by the pandemic. Among these contradictions lies the strength of the Bolsonaro government. Without popular resistance at the height of the capital’s offensive, the Planalto Palace became the headquarters of a laboratory of the world extreme right. Not by chance, it was in Brazil and not in Mexico or Indonesia, equally populous semicolonies, where the coronavirus exploded with the greatest mortality among backward and dependent capitalist countries. All of this leads us to believe that in Brazil the government is not mistaken, but it would have already consciously assumed the massacre of the population. Against this government and this tragedy we defend an anti-fascist workers’ united front policy that brings together its mass organizations for the struggle. The immediate fight is in defense of broad labor rights, by guaranteeing jobs and wages in the quarantine that is economically guaranteed by the State and employers.
In Bangladesh the working class are those minimally educated people who engage in “manual labor” with little or no prestige. Unskilled workers in the class— dishwashers, cashiers, maids, and waitresses— usually are underpaid and have no opportunity for career advancement. They are often called the working poor. Garment workers are often forced to work 14 to 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. During peak season, they may work until 2 or 3 am to meet the fashion brand’s deadline. Their basic wages are so low that they cannot refuse overtime – aside from the fact that many would be fired if they refused to work overtime.
Minimum Wages in Bangladesh is expected to reach 8000.00 BDT/Month by the end of 2020, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations. In the long-term, the Bangladesh Minimum Wages is projected to trend around 10000.00 BDT/Month in 2021, according to our econometric models. on the other hand The tea garden workers of Bangladesh lead a poor life due to their low income (less than US$1 for a day’s work from sunrise to sunset), which is much lower than that of the Indian tea garden workers. As a result, the workers are not able to consume sufficient food and nutrition.
Health safety condition of labour class in Bangladesh is not so good It is estimated that over 11,000 workers suffer fatal accidents and a further 24,500 die from work related diseases across all sectors each year in Bangladesh. It is also estimated that a further 8 million workers suffer injuries at work – many of which result in permanent disability. Although little research has taken place in Bangladesh, it is internationally recognized that most occupational deaths and injuries are entirely preventable, and could be avoided if employers and workers took simple initiatives to reduce hazards and risks at the workplace.
In Britain workers are facing a right-wing populist Tory government, led by Trump-ally Boris Johnson that has become a byword for cavalier disregard of public health, initially boasting of a strategy of promoting ‘herd immunity’ through allowing the disease to rampage through the population. The Prime Minister even managed to infect himself as a result of this strategy. They have been forced to partially retreat by intense popular pressure, and to institute a widespread lockdown with school and shop closures and an incomplete state-funding of the wages of some laid off workers and underwriting of small businesses, though this was done reluctantly and is full of holes. The Labour Party’s former left social-democratic leadership was recently ousted after an election defeat that was in part engineered from within, by its own neo-liberal right-wing, and is now in practice an echo of the ruling Tory party over most issues. The workers movement needs to regroup around a revolutionary programme by means of political clarification within the large layer of disillusioned Labour supporters who may well regroup around expelled left figures like Chris Williamson, and to prepare to fight against a likely renewed austerity once the pandemic is over.
In light of the above, the following revolutionary groups of the working class send greetings to the exploited classes and their organizations internationally, as well as to all the oppressed peoples and strata of the population on the occasion of May 1, on this international day workers of protest and resistance this year 2020, as part of the strategic struggle for the international socialist revolution.
Frente Comunista dos Trabalhadores (Brazil)
Socialist Fight (Great Britain)
Socialist Party (Bangladesh)
Socialist Workers League (United States)
Tendencia Militante Bolchevique (Argentina)
Trotskyist Faction of Socialist Fight (Great Britain)
The Trotskyist Faction of Socialist Fight gives full support to Steve Hedley, Assistant General Secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), against the vicious attacks by the Tories and the Murdoch press propaganda machine.
Steve Hedley has been suspended from his position after he recently made ‘offensive’ remarks on Facebook. Replying to another comment on a Facebook post, he said: “I don’t want to offend you, but if Bojo pops his clogs, I’m throwing a party.” He later added: “I hope the whole Cabinet and higher echelons of the Tory party have been touching various bits of him.” These remarks followed Johnson’s admission into St. Thomas’s Hospital on 5th April after his Covid-19 symptoms worsened.
The Murdoch press, who have been fawning over themselves in their support for Johnson for years, described Steve Hedley’s comments as ‘vile’. These attacks from these gutter rags are not new. The propaganda against the RMT has been going on for years with attacks on Bob Crow who always confronted the government and its media lackeys, simply because the RMT is one of the last remaining militant trade unions representing its workers. As a direct result of this attack on him in the Murdoch Press, the bureaucrats in the RMT have capitulated to this right wing attack suspending Steve from his position pending a disciplinary investigation.
In a joint letter/statement on 10th April sent to the RMT membership, President Michelle Rodgers and General Secretary Mick Cash said: “Steve Hedley’s comments do not represent the views of this trade union and are wholly unacceptable.” He added: “The comments have attracted widespread negative media coverage which has led to an extraordinarily large volume of complaints, from both RMT members and the public, through social media and also directly to the union and our staff with unprecedented levels of hostility.” A spokesman for the RMT said: “Following a meeting of the union’s National Executive a decision has been made to suspend senior assistant general secretary Steve Hedley with immediate effect while a formal investigation takes place into his conduct.” We suspect that the majority of members actually support Steve Hedley, and it is they alone who should democratically decide who represents them, not the right wing establishment and the union bosses kowtowing to pressure from Murdoch et al.
Some people may have mixed views on the remarks made by Steve Hedley, as to whether his personal remarks in a personal social media post were ‘offensive’ and in keeping with someone in his position as a representative of a trade union. What is offensive are the Tories attacks on the working class. Where is the outrage about someone who is homeless dying on the streets every 19 hours, the reliance on food banks and 4 million children languishing in poverty in the fifth richest nation, the cut in 17,000 hospital beds since 2010, or deliberately allowing people to succumb to COVID-19 with lack of testing and adequate provision of PPE to frontline NHS staff? These are the issues that should animate people, not this faux outrage against someone who expressing his personal views on someone that has been a champion for the ruling class with their attacks against the poorest in society.
The attacks on the working class in this country are integral to the class project of the Tories, this is not new. When Nye Bevan delivered his most famous speech, on the eve of the creation of the NHS at the Belle Vue Rally in Manchester on 4th July 1948, he said “So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin,” he went on. “They condemned millions of people to semi-starvation. I warn you young men and women, do not listen to what they are saying, do not listen to the seductions of Lord Woolton. They have not changed, or if they have they are slightly worse.” His own bitter experiences growing up in Wales led him to have a deep hatred of the Tory party; a party that consistently objected to the forming of the NHS and the ‘Welfare State’ in the first place. Bevan was not wrong then and Steve Hedley is not wrong now. We do not give sympathy to those that are waging war, an ideologically driven class war, against the workers and poor of this country.
These recent attacks from the right wing and the gutter press come on the back of a deliberate targeting of the RMT, which has been brewing for some time. It was no coincidence that Steve Hedley was violently attacked outside a London pub on 14th July 2018 by fascist Tommy Robinson supporters. Steve and his kind of union militancy represent organised labour, and also have a history of fighting racism and homophobia. These attacks from the right on the RMT have been drip fed in the media, whether it was Bob Crow going on holiday, which incidentally came from Boris Johnson himself when he wrote an article for the Telegraph in 2014, or the attack on Steve Hedley accusing him of anti-Semitism in November 2019 with calls for him to resign when a video surfaced of him berating Richard Millett – a hardened Zionist, in a speech attacking the oppression of the Palestinians in 2011.
Johnson’s dislike of the RMT has been simmering since last November when there were calls for action to be taken against the union for its planned 27 day strike against South Western Railway in December over safety concerns in operating trains without guards with the imposition of driver only operations. The government’s response after its December election win was to deliver a Queen’s speech that contained 30 bills, which included further anti-strike legislation. The proposed legislation will ensure a minimum level of service on various modes of public transport, including trains and buses, has to be maintained during strikes. The Tories have a majority of 80 MPs, which allows them to continue their full frontal attacks on the working class, an extension of where Thatcher and Major left off. The speech includes for the first time ever new legislation that effectively bans strike action. The upholding of the right of workers to withdraw their labour and the improvement of conditions in the workplace is an abomination for the Tories, who see it as something to be crushed.
Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, stated that “It is a basic right for workers to be able to get to work,”….. “The ability of a few people to prevent everyone from being able to earn a living has to come to an end. The new law will prevent London being brought to a standstill, with all the additional environmental damage done by people reverting to cars. There will be a bare-bones service provided, preventing ordinary workers being effectively held to ransom.” The safety of the public and workers is being used as a subterfuge to smash the union under a pretext of the environment and the rights of other workers. This attack on the last vestiges of union and worker militancy is in keeping with the Tories’ drive towards the Singapore model come post Brexit, which this Queen’s speech was all about.
Support for Steve Hedley has been widespread amongst comrades on the left, who can see that this is another step on the journey by both the Tories and the neoliberal Blairites who have now reclaimed the Labour Party as their own. The attacks on Steve is part of a concerted attack on the left by Tories and Blairites, and their capitulators and agents in the unions. An open letter has been submitted to the Morning Star, which has been refused publication by its editor, Ben Chacko. This can only be interpreted as further capitulation to right wing pressures and shows how the trade union bureaucracy, even the ‘lefts’, act as agents of the bosses in the workers movement when the chips are down. Indeed Steve Hedley is being punished by the ‘left’ bureaucracy – whose house organ is the Morning Star – not for the first time – for going further than worthies like Cash and Rodgers are prepared to go in opposing the bosses.
We reprint below the response by Ukrainian Anti-Fascists and Communists to a 3 April letter of solidarity from Communists and and Anti-Fascists from the UK and elsewhere.
Below that we reproduce the joint letter itself. It was addressed to the Communist Party of the Donetsk People’s Republic and Borotba as a jointly signed letter by all those who have supported the Solidarity with the Fascist Resistance in the Ukraine campaign in London in recent years
It was initiated by the New Communist Party through the umbrella campaign , and endorsed by our international tendency, the Liaison Committee for the Fourth International (LCFI). Our British LCFI Section, the Trotskyist Faction of Socialist Fight, signed this, together with our sister British LCFI section, also currently known as Socialist Fight, as well as three overseas sections of the LCFI, from Brazil, Argentina and the United States. Also signing were the UK Posadist group.
It is a source of pride that our small currents stand out as those who have kept the flame of solidarity alive on this important political struggle against reaction in this period.
From: Редакция сайта “Вперед” Sent: 13 April 2020 06:02 To: New Worker Subject: Re: Solidarity with Ukrainian anti-fascists
We send solidarity greetings from the UK to all those living under a fascist-infested illegitimate government in Ukraine, defending and building the anti-fascist people’s republics in the Donbas, and to the hundreds of thousands forced into exile by political repression, attacks by fascist gangs and economic austerity.
Although we have had no recent Ukraine anti-fascist solidarity actions, we have by no means forgotten your struggle and the sacrifices you are making.
We were intending to begin organising another Ukraine anti-fascist solidarity protest in London in the near future, but unfortunately events in the form of the Covid-19 pandemic have overtaken us.
All of us have been working hard on other political issues, including helping to organise a very successful meeting attended by 400 people in central London on March 3rd which exposed the lies, tampered and falsified evidence being presented at the current MH17 trial in The Hague.
Ever since the February 22 2014 Ukraine coup we have been aware of the illiegal nature of that regime change, the open involvement of actual fascists in the government, police and armed forces, the complete suppression of democratic rights and freedoms in Ukraine, and the physical attacks on political parties, trade unions and even the courts.
We have not forgotten the heinous crime at the Odessa Trade Union House on 2nd May 2014 and the many other outrages perpetrated by the fascist bands, and we have not forgotten the criminal, barbaric ‘Anti-Terrorist Operation’ launched in April 2014, unleashing all-out war against civilian anti-fascist protestors in Donetsk and Lugansk.
We know that the fighters of the people’s Donbas and Lugansk People’s Militias are making daily sacrifices in the front-line trenches, and that civilians – women and men, children and the elderly – are being killed and injured every day in attacks by the Ukraine armed forces and the fascist brigades.
In our solidarity work for the anti-fascists in Ukraine we are also faced with confronting the lies and whipped up hysteria against the Russian Federation and Vladimir Putin, which have continued for almost a decade.
We have no illusions about the capitalist, oligargic nature of the Russian Federation, but we reject the attempts to portray it as totally undemocratic, and we call for an end to the trade sanctions the constant western interference designed to economic instability and provoke protests. And this coming from governments which kiss the feet of the reactionary fuedal monarchs of the Middle East, and instigate coups and regime change from Brazil and Bolivia to Hong Kong.
Above all we are aware of the vital support given by the Russian Federation to the Donbas people’s republics, the generous hospitality extended to large numbers of Ukrainian exiles, and its open condemnation of the fascists in Ukraine.
We also applaud the the sacrifices made by the Russian volunteer fighters in the Donbas, by the Russian Federation’s armed forces to defend the popular front government in Syria, and the strong support the Russian Federation has extended to Cuba and Venezuela.
This anti-Russian hysteria has created a poisonous atmosphere in which anyone challenging the lies and false flag operations of of US-EU-NATO imperialism risks being labelled as a Russian asset, in a repeat of the anti-communiist witch-hunts of the 1950s.
Unfortunately many progressives, social democrats, trade unionists, and even the anti-fascist and anti-racist organisations on Britain, have fallen for this demonisation, even though it is clearly a repeat of the lies and fake news used against Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gadaffi and Hafez al Assad. This has prevented them from even discussing the most dangerous revival of fascism in the whole of Europe.
Once again we renew our support and solidarity with your organisations, which will continue as long as it takes until democracy has been restored throughout Ukraine, and communists, socialists and anti-fascists are allowed to operate freely again.
Andy Brooks New Communist Party of Britain
Ian Donovan Trotskyist Faction of Socialist Fight
Gerry Downing Socialist Fight
Bridget Dunne Solidarity with the Anti-Fascist Resistance in Ukraine (SARU)
George Shaw Posadists in Britain
As well as:
Frente Comunista Dos Trabalhadores (Brazil)
Tendencia Militante Bolchevique (Argentina)
Socialist Workers League (USA)
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