Monthly Archives: September 2009

Congratulations to Fidel Castro on his award from Zambia

It’s always food to see alternative values to those current in the world of high finance. Human values were appreciated by the President of Zambia as he presented Fidel Castro with his country’s highest award citing Cuba’s tremendous support for health care and education which is benefiting countries in Africa as well as South America and the Caribbean.
Hugo Chavez made the point in his speech at the UN that only socialism can save this planet. He noted Obama’s words but wondered why he didn’t act on them by stopping the savage blockade on Cuba for example. Chavez drew on Fidel’s comment on our endangered species.

We’ve all lost the will to live under Capitalist Labour

So Alastair Darling has added to the melee in advance of the Labour Party Conference. “The leadership has lost the will to live” he intones. Let me tell you Alastair so have many of the rank and file of the British public who have watched New Labour take over the Tory mantel as champions of Capitalism. Those in the fortunate position to do so still command the ability to negotiate enormous salaries and pensions. Those who don’t lose jobs and pensions. One law for one group another for the rest. Who says the class system is dead as Blair used to claim as he saw to it which side he was going to be on. Clearly he is on the winning side while the rank and file of those that Labour once claimed to champion pay the bill.
I moved out of the Labour Party, away from New Labour, because their policy of privatisation of everything you can think of is so appalling. Of course those remaining in the ranks have lost the will to live. The problem is that people have no alternative among the large parties.
The Socialist Labour Party aims to field a substantial number of candidates at a General Election. Such was its success at the European elections that New Labour is pleading for the SLP not to stand. The answer would be “yes” if New Labour adopted The likelihood of that happening at the Labour Party Conference, even the mention of the “S” word, remains extremely remote.

Honduras. Zelaya returns

The ousted former President Zelaya returned secretly to Honduras to be with the people on Independence Day. He was forced to take refuge in the Brazilian embassy while riot police were mobilised to control the crowds who turned out to greet him. There appears to bean appetite for socialism in the Latin American world but clearly the old world order is goig to put up resistance with US backing as in Colombia. Whether he can resume control remains to be seen.
Reflections of Fidel

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Blackwater is still in use. Where though?

The Nation Magazine wonders why Blackwater is still engaged now Obama is President. An article gives chapter and verse of one horrific story involving one of their armed convoys.
The U.S. appears to be using private companies as their front line in other areas such as Colombia from where they hope to keep a lid on the emergence of elected socialist governments. Venezuela is being criticised for buying armaments fron Russia, but with such a threat on its doorstep this is hardly surprising, unwelcome as it is that nations struggling with poverty should spend heavily on weaponry.
Of course Britain conducted foreign policy through private agencies such as initially peaceful traders like the East India Company. Under such arrangements there are no rules of engagement so anything goes. Not that rules have effect in the conduct of wars, but there remains the possibility of a war crimes trial. Does this cover eventualities involving mercenaries?

Plastic bullets. Still in use. Still killing.

The following was sent by the Troops Out Movement relating to the continuing availability and use of the plastic bullet with its legacy of killing and maiming civilians by police. The officer in charge justified their use. His view that innocent bystanders, including children and young people is disputed by commentators, some whom were present.
Letter from Jim McCabe husband of Nora, who was murdered by the RUC with a Plastic Bullet
For over 30 years, in the north of Ireland, we watched while our children, wives, and husbands were slaughtered and maimed with plastic bullets fired by the British Army and RUC (police).
The families campaigned relentlesslythroughout the world to have these lethal weapons banned.
Every major Human Rights group in Europe and the USA supported our call.
We were promised a new beginning with a reformed police service with emphasis put on respect for human rights and new policing methods.
In 2004, Jane Kennedy, the then security minister promised the phasing out of plastic bullets by Christmas 2005. What she did’nt say was that they would be replaced by another type of plastic bullet.
In January 2007 Chief Constable Hugh Orde expressed his regret at the loss of life by plastic bullets and reaffirmed the innocence of those killed especially the children. He also stated he did not intend to use them as a method of public order or crowd control. and said they would not be used in riot situations again.
On 13 July we atched in horror as the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) fired 17 plastic bullets in Ardoyne. They were again used on rioters in the Short Strand on Monday 31 August.
What happened to Hugh Ordes statement and his determination not to ever use plastic bullets again even in riot situations?
The firing of plastic bulets, even in difficult policing situations, is a recipe for disaster. It is only a matter of time before some one is killed and it will most probably be a child.
Recently in London there was very serious rioting between rival football fans and the police at the Westham versus Millwall match in which many people were hurt including some being stabbed. The police managed to restore law and order and not a plastic bullet was used or even contemplated.
The plastic bullet legacy has left 17 people dead, hundreds more injured maimed and disfigured many for life.
They have left a catalogue of carnage, grief and sectarian oppression.
The continued use of these weapons is an obstacle on the Road to Peace.
How can we ask young Nationalists to join a policing service when they may be ordered to fire these weapons given the alienation, bitterness, and mistrust they caused throughout Nationalist communities.
Good policing methods, especially dialogue at flash point areas before events escalate is a priority. The alternative to simply cope with riot by simply firing plastic bullets will set us back years.
These weapons have to be removed once and for all from our society.
Jim Mc Cabe

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Justice for the Shrewsbury Pickets

From the Socialist Labour Party
TUC Fringe Meeting speakers include
Ricky Tomlinson
Wednesday 16 Sept 2009, 7pm at the Casa Club, Hope St, Liverpool

After the 1972 Building Workers’ National Strike 24 Trade Unionists were tried at Shrewsbury in a hostile act perpetrated by a Tory Government to criminalise picketing. A number of these men were given severe prison sentences. Best known of them were Des Warren and Ricky Tomlinson, who became referred to as the “Shrewsbury 2.” Des died as a direct result of the treatment that was meted out to him during his lengthy incarceration.
Successive Governments both Tory and Labour, have remained unresponsive to the calls for these perverse judgements to be set aside, and for these men to be cleared. There is now a renewal of the campaign, even after all this time, and the death of some of those involved, to secure justice for these Trade Union Comrades.
The campaign is also calling for a Public Inquiry to expose the role of successive governments and the secret services in the events surrounding this important time in labour history.

Break down the apartheid wall

The following message and appeal has been sent from the long-suffering people of Bil’in. Caged in by an obscene wall which uses Palestinian land, destroying livelihood the people protest with non-violent marches. Met with tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, sound bombs and foul water they continue their campaign. The response is that the Israeli army comes by night and kidnaps young men.

Unite Against Apartheid

Tear down the walls in Palestine! Break the siege in Gaza!
NOVEMBER 9 – 16 2009.

The Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, its popular committees and member organizations call on activists to launch a week of global mobilization against the walls of apartheid in the West Bank and Gaza from November 9 to 16 2009
We call on all organizations, networks, institutions, unions and concerned media to mobilize during the 7th Week against the Apartheid Wall and to:
• Protest the overarching Israeli policy of ghettoization behind a system of walls that targets the Palestinian people, whether in Gaza or the West Bank, isolating them from each other and the Palestinians inside the Green Line.
• Protest the criminal repression of the people resisting these walls.
– Protest the inhumane siege on Gaza imposed to force its people to surrender their dignity and struggle.
– Protest the repression of the communities struggling against the Wall in the West Bank. The current wave of violence has reached alarming highs, and education and awareness raising around this issue is critical. Stop the Wall and Addameer have published Repression allowed, resistance denied, an extensive report on the repression of the grassroots movement against the Wall.
• Continue BDS efforts. Launch campaigns against companies building the Wall and complicit in the siege of Gaza. BDS campaigns have already made important inroads, especially against transportation giant Veolia’s project in Jerusalem and settlement builder Lev Leviev. Campaigns are being built up against those involved in the construction of the Wall, such as CRH which is involved in supplying concrete and Elbit Systems, which equips the Wall with sensors and other hi-tech equipment while at the same time producing the drones that kill Palestinians in Gaza.
• Put the Wall back on the agenda. Pressure your government representatives to follow their obligation to ensure the walls in Palestine are torn down and the siege on Gaza is ended. Governments have to respect the ICJ decision and not to aid the construction and maintenance of the Wall. They have to stop their complicity through silence in the siege on Gaza.
On November 9 1989 – exactly 20 years ago – the Berlin Wall fell. The event was celebrated as a victory of the ‘Free World’. Today, however, the same powers back the construction of walls which are destroying Palestine.
Five years ago – the International Court of Justice ruled that the Wall is illegal and has required that it be torn down and all laws and orders related to it be reversed. The Court has reminded the international community of its obligation not to render any aid or assistance to the Wall and to ensure the implementation of international law. To date, the international community has not promoted any tangible move towards the ruling’s implementation.
The hypocrisy must end – justice has to prevail.
Gaza has been imprisoned by walls and razor wire for 15 years. The wall and its no-go zone confiscate almost 25% of the prime agricultural land of the starving Strip. About 15% of Gaza’s farmers are barred from working their farmlands, while tens of water wells and about 50% of livestock shelters and other related industry in the east part of the Gaza strip have been destroyed. Many farmers have been killed while tending to their land or have been displaced and forced into overcrowded urban centers.
In the West Bank, the Apartheid Wall carves out today’s Bantustans. It curves around settlements, which continue to grow despite disingenuous talks of a “settlement freeze.” So far its path has isolated 78 Palestinian villages, trapping them between walls, settlements and/or the Green Line while stealing land, water and other resources from hundreds more. Jerusalem remains isolated by the Wall and settlements, and an increasing number of Palestinians have found their homes demolished or taken over by settlers.
In response, the international community has put a veil of silence over these crimes – yet another Nakba for the Palestinian people.
In spite of this, Palestine resistance to the Wall has grown. Protests have been a weekly undertaking in a number of West Bank villages. In an attempt to uproot what they have termed “a dangerous phenomenon”, Occupation forces have employed increasing violent means against protesting communities, in particular youth. In barely more than a year, 6 have been shot and killed by soldiers, hundreds have been injured and dozens arrested in the villages struggling against the Wall.
Gaza has seen much worse. In response to their resilience under siege, the people of Gaza have faced an overwhelming military onslaught. More then 1,500 were killed as a result and thousands more injured this past winter when Occupation forces laid waste to the small costal territory.

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Bringing hatred onto the agenda

Luton’s football hooligans were allowed to walk on the streets of Birmingham yesterday when the organisers of the English and Welsh Defence League promised their drunken supporters “a great day out”. Banned from Luton, police claimed that they had no powers to ban free speech. No counter protest was planned so this left young Asians, Muslim or otherwise, exposed to taunts, glasses and bottles from the visitors.
Many – well over 1,000 – letters were sent to the Home Secretary with copies to West Midland Police and the City Council’s appalling Rudge all to no avail. The message to a large section of the community is that they are here under sufferance. Both police and council claim they are striving for a cohesive society.Their failure to act will lead to anything but.
The EWDL distance themselves from fascists and the BNP, yet their message is the same. They try to talk about “Islamic extremists” but their literature talks about Islam as a whole. We also know that among society at large is an inability to distinguish between different groups in the Asian community. Following 9/11 it was a Sikh who was targetted for assassination in the US. Make no mistake the intended message of the EDWL does not intend anyone to make a distinction. It is avowedly racist, propped up by their apologists among the police and councillors. Thus was Adolf Hitler appeased.

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Chavez on tour

Hugo Chavez’ tour of Arab nations has received little notice in the western press. Channel 4 mentioned he was in Libya at their anniversary celebrations but treating it as a huge joke. Here was a line up of the preposterous, noting the presence with Mugabe. The Al Jazeera correspondent seemed alone. Her report is of interest in my view. Clearly the Arab world does not dismiss what is happening in South American countries. Chavez is taken seriously because of his opposition to Israel’s behaviour towards the Palestinians.
The news channel Russia Today also gave extensive coverage to Chavez treating him with rather more respect than the western press. Chavez spoke with sincerity making points such as as a socialist he wanted to see equality between women and men which he felt was not happening as it should.

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