Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Chinese President Xi Jinping's New Years Message 2014

"Our ultimate goal is to in pushing forward the reform is to make the nation more prosperous and strong, society more fair and just, and people's lives better"
"The universe is boundless, the stars shine bright. Seven billion people share our world. People should help each other. People in the same boat should row together. We should seek common development."
"The Chinese people are working hard to achieve the Chinese Dream. It is our hope that people in other countries can achieve their dreams too."

Scotland's First Minister 2014 New Year message

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Russell Brand talks revolution with Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight

Russell Brand. Someone Ive always found fascinating throughout his career from his earliest drug addled forays in shows like Re:Brand and his self-predicted and obsessive rise to Hollywood star status. I like him, even though I kind of dont want to.

His politics are honest, but confused. Misogyny masquerading as sexual hedonism, and being pally with the former slave owner, the Dalai Lama, certainly isnt as progressive as most liberals think it is, and Brand certainly falls into the category of liberal. And like many liberals, he believes his liberal idealism is revolutionary.

But beyond that, for all his wealth and fame, Brand still holds within his consciousness and his conscience that alienated, intelligent, angry, rebellious young working-class lad that he was. His undoubted eloquence, intelligence and charm, as usual manages to over-ride his contrived, trivial, foppish personae, and his anger is genuine, and comes from hard personal experience.

As usual, even if you dont like him, what he is saying is worth listening to and taking seriously. And it is good that he says it. Over a decade ago, even in the darkest depths of his junkie days, Brand was saying one day he would be internationally famous and would use his fame to attempt to bring about a revolution. Brand clearly hasn't given up on his vision, and Messiah complex aside, Brand is a welcome deviation from the usual vacuous celerity script...

Monday, 21 October 2013


The UK has one of the highest cold-weather mortality rates in Europe. 25-30,000 people, mostly elderly, die each and every winter as a result of not being able to heat their homes.

These deaths are blood on his hands, on the hands of all the power companies and their executives, and all of our politicians who connive in this together, this greatest transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich in this island's history. 30,000 excess deaths every winter. Just consider that. If this was anywhere else in the world, they would call this genocide. This year it could be your grandparents, your parents. Or you.

And, of course, Scotland takes the disproportionate brunt of this. As a oil and resource rich nation, one of the richest in Europe, Scotland should never see one of it's people go cold, let alone die. Yet that wealth is squandered by callous Westminster governments and tax-dodging corporate parasites whilst our 1 in 4 of our children lives in poverty and countless thousands of our elderly make the fateful choice between food or fuel.

This is a crime against humanity. And parasites like Chris Weston are laughing in our faces as they bleed us dry.

For those of us in Scotland, we have a way out. We have to vote YES to independence in 2014 and start to build a new Scotland, a nation fit for its people.

For you in England, well, you keep voting tory or Ukip, and carry on blaming your disabled neighbour, your muslim workmate, or the single parent down the road, whilst the politicians and bosses tear apart your welfare state, your NHS, your schools and your resources and flog them of to line their pockets.

British Gas: Fat cat boss Chris Weston refuses to give up £2MILLION bonus despite massive price hike

 While hard-up families are forced to choose between heating or eating this winter, Weston will be warm and well-fed
Fat cat: Chris Weston will be just fine this winter
Fat cat: Chris Weston will be just fine this winter
Pensioners and the poor have been warned they face a bleak winter after British Gas hit homes with crippling price hikes.
But as hard-up families are forced to choose between heating or eating, the fat cat boss of the profit-laden firm will be warm and well-fed as he rakes in up to £2million in bonuses.
And despite the rises of 10% that could plunge millions into poverty, managing director of British Gas owner Centrica, Chris Weston, refused to waive any of his payout.
The increases will slap another £131 a year onto typical bills – meaning households will have to find a record £1,471 to heat and light their home.
The sky high hikes, planned for ­Novemeber 23 as we head into the heart of winter, last night sparked fury.
Unite general ­secretary Len McCluskey branded the move “cruel”. He said: “People will be ­terrified about the winter.
“Never mind the dilemma about heating and eating, with the cost of both running so far ahead of incomes, the most needy won’t be able to do either.
"The big six energy firms need reining in by the ­Government, not words empty of action.”
Fuel Poverty Action’s Clare Welton added: “British Gas’s steep price rises will send a shiver down the spine of millions of their hard-up customers, particularly in the knowledge Centrica reported £1.58billion operating profits this year.”
Adam Scorer, of Consumer Futures, said: “The price increases means millions will go into the winter genuinely afraid of the costs of keeping warm.
“Fuel poverty is already close to epidemic proportions and it is set to become even more commonplace.”

Read the full story at:  http://www.mirror.co.uk/money/city-news/british-gas-boss-chris-weston-2464376#ixzz2iO2wigMz 

Sunday, 20 October 2013

We Remember Brother Muammar Gaddafi - 2 Years Since NATO Lynched Libya's Freedom

Two years ago today Muammar Gaddafi was murdered on the orders of the British and US state. As Gaddafi died, so did Libyan freedom and it's people's prosperity, its's women forced back under the veil, it's black population hunted, lynched and expelled, its nationalised industries sold off to western companies, its once free education and health system left in tatters.

Here Gaddafi is pictured with one of his grand-children. Cameron and William Haguehad her killed too. Along with two of her siblings and her father. No one actually knows the full number killed by NATO bombs and death squads. It is estimated to be 30,000 with several thousand still missing.
The British Left, from Class War to the SWP and StWC, stood back and cheered.

"I would be quite happy to see western planes bombing the fuck out of Saif Gaddafi and his cronies." - Ian Bone, founder of anarchist group Class War.


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

World In Action - Violence With Violence - The Battle of Welling Oct16 1993 and the Criminalistion of Anti-fascism.

On the 20th Anniversary of the Oct 16 1993 'Battle of Welling', it is well worth revisiting this early attempt at criminalising militant anti-fascists. This episode of ITV's World In Action starts out looking at the spate of racist murders that blighted the early 1990's, but then goes on to blame anti-fascists for creating a culture of violence by taking the fight back to the fascists and putting the scum on the run. 

Other than Red Action and Anti-fascist Action, the programme also focuses on Class War and the now-defunct Panther UK (both factions, confusingly labled "Militant faction" and "Non-militant faction". The reformist faction (labelled "Militant faction") was a puppet of Militant tendency. The others were the black nationalist militants who broke away hoping to emulate (rather than just cash in on the legacy of) Malcolm X, the Black Panthers and Marcus Garvey. However, both groups soon slipped into oblivion - where are they now? 

Also featured/promoted is "Red" Ken Livingston and the careerist/collaborationist Labour Party liberals and "black nationalists" of Marc Wadsworth and Lee Japser's Anti-Racist Alliance. 

Recommended viewing...

20 Years Ago - October 16 1993 - ITN News report on the "Shut down the BNP" Welling demo 1993

Sunday, 15 September 2013

US, UK funding al-Qaeda Child Prostitute "Jihadists for the Nikah" in Syria.

The US's child prostitute "martyrs" in Syria. The US and UK arm and fund al Qaeda and other Salafist extremists in Syria. They then themselves use their funds to recruit young girls, still children, into prostitution.

These young girls are being recruited to go to Syria as a "Jihad for the Nikah", essentially child prostitutes for Salafist fighters, according to reports.

So, how do you feel about this, SWP, Workers Power, et al? Is this really what you think a revolution looks like? (Presumably the Weekly Worker and Sparts might be okay with it?)

"Umm Al baraa, a Tunisian minor aged 13 is ranked in 3rd place at the level of its participation in Jihad for the Nikah in Syria, according to the Lebanese newspaper "El Khabar.

It is worth noting that in 2013, we hear about "jihad of nikah" about these women that are available to jihadists, through a simple unspoken agreement limited in time.

An act whereby they contribute to the jihad, offering their bodies under the seal of the religious law "halal" and thus hope to see the gates of Paradise open before them."


"Illegitimate children of halal prostitution
Recruited by radical Islamist organizations, nearly forty young Tunisian, both naive and exalted, joined the front in Syria, where they are supervised by the Salafists. Their role is not to fight, but to sacrifice in the name of "jihad of nikah" ... that is to say, to satisfy the rest, or rather sexual appetites, warriors. When they are pregnant, they are returned to their families at home, they become a new "social problem." Children born or unborn have no status, and point customary marriages (contracted to make lawful sexual relations with jihadists) have value or under the Act or for a deeply conservative society. A hitherto unprecedented situation in Tunisia, which is reminiscent of the thorny issue of children of Algerian maquis."
Translated by Google from http://www.jeuneafrique.com/Article/JA2740p052.xml0/

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Syria: Lies the imperialists told us

Syria: Lies the imperialists told us - PARTY FOR SOCIALISM AND LIBERATION (USA)

Syria: Lies the imperialists told us

The unspoken assumption behind the U.S. war plans against Syria

AUGUST 28, 2013
Photo: Karla Reyes
By Brian Becker, National Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition
The criminal attack being planned against Syria is based on lies. They are not hard to expose.
The Syrian government was given a formal request on Saturday, Aug. 24 to grant access to a United Nations team of inspectors to the town in the outskirts of Damascus to determine if chemical weapons had been used. The Syrian government granted permission the very next day, Sunday, Aug. 25.
Obama administration officials then immediately declared that the inspections no longer mattered because the Syrian government had delayed UN weapons inspectors’ access to the site. In fact, top U.S.  officials called UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon on Aug. 25 (when Syria agreed that the inspectors could visit) demanding that he cancel the UN weapons inspections because they “were pointless.” (Wall Street Journal, Aug. 26)
The claim against Syria is ludicrous. The Syrian government would not have an interest in using chemical weapons knowing that it would be the trigger for NATO military intervention. The government was winning the war. The foreign-backed armed rebel groups could only win the war if the U.S. and/or NATO intervened directly.
Every imperialist attack and every imperialist-inspired regime change strategy requires a pretext and a public rationale. There needs to be a noble cause to justify the aggression. Since it is the 21st century rather than the 19th century, the politicians of western capitalism have to conceal and mask their predatory aims as they routinely bomb and kill people in the Middle East, Asia and Africa who resist allowing their lands and resources to fall under the domination of western corporations, banks and business interests.
“Public opinion” required a humanitarian motive for the bombing of Afghanistan in 2001, Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011 and Syria in 2013.
The greatest purveyors of violence in the world present themselves as the greatest purveyors of humanitarian interests in the world.
Syria is not threatening the United States nor is anyone in the Obama administration suggesting such a threat exists. Thus, the planned military strikes against Syria are a violation of the UN Charter and international law.
The UN Charter and self-defense
The Obama administration is playing a dangerous game, escalating a war that could have devastating regional and global consequences.
The United States and Syria are both members of the United Nations and signatories to the UN Charter.
The UN Charter makes it illegal for one member nation to attack another except in the case of self-defense.
The Obama administration’s calculations on why it can and should bomb Syria are not premised on the idea of “legality” but rather power and power alone. They believe that Syria is so small and vulnerable that it will not be able to defend itself or retaliate against U.S. targets.
But the UN’s Article 51, Chapter VII makes clear that Syria would have such rights in the event of an unprovoked armed attack: “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.” (Article 51, Chapter VII).
Syria’s presumed inability to retaliate is the unspoken assumption of the U.S. war planners and their cheerleaders in the mass media. War made easy!
The potential implications of an unprovoked attack on Syria are not even mentioned. The Obama administration implicitly promises the American people that only Syrians will bleed in this new “war.” With this promise they hope that the people of the United States will not rise up against the government that commits war crimes in their name.
During the next days people are going into the streets throughout the United States to say NO to another bombing campaign in the Middle East. Join and organize these demonstrations. The time to act is right now! Click here to join a demonstration in your area.
Content may be reprinted with credit to LiberationNews.org.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Egypt: Neo-Mubarakism, Nasserism, and Confusion.

An Egyptian AH-64 Apache attack helicopter flies over an anti-government protester in Cairo's Tahrir square. The suspension of Egypt's FMF would be a major blow to its procurement and maintenance programmes. (PA Photos)

In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood govt would have,and was, losing legitimacy and support off its own back and would have fallen without needing to be pushed by the army, which has only served to push MBs support firmly back behind it and defacto firmly against any potentially revolutionary trend that could have developed from within the opposition. 

MBs support is strongest amongst the urban poor. These people are now not just politically disenfranchised, but legally de-legitimized. Their only recourse is violence. The military putsch has made revolution harder, not easier; the masses are more divided, not less.

And crucially, what of the US troops in Egypt? Moved in barely a fortnight before the 4th of July coup? I keep coming back to this because I think it is central. There would have been no coup without a nod from the US. The US forces were moved there to secure strategic points if (when) the country slips into chaos as a result of this.

I think those that frame the military within the context of the Nasserist revolution minsunderstand the class nature of the state that movement established. It was not a workers and peasants state as in Russia or China, it was a national-revolutionary state, ie a state of the national bourgoisie. The army is the army of that state, and it represents the class interests of that state. As Nasserism gave way to Sadat and Mubarak, the state did not need to be replaced because the same class controlled it, just a different trend within that class, the comrpador bourgeoisie over time took over from the national-bourgeoisie. 40 years on, the state is not Nasserist, it is Mubarakist. And its military and security forces defends Mubarakist (ie comprador) interests, even at the expense of Mubarak himself (who was no loss, being on deaths door).

Am I misremebering when I say that the Egyptian military receives more funding from the US than any military in the region bar Israel? That itself should be enough to demonstrate that the military, under it's current leadership, is about as inclined towards revolutionary anti-imperialism as Israels is! He who pays the piper and all that...

That is not to say that there are no progressive/Nasserist elements in the military. But if there are, they are keeping very quiet. And by pushing the MB into militant opposition, the Mubarakist/imperialists are forcing potential secular-revolutionary/Nasserist/progressive forces further into the neo-Mubarakist/Mubarak-lite lead camp, under the protective umbrella of the Mubarakist military.

If the people will no longer accept being ruled in the old way, and the ruling class can no longer rule in the old way, then stirring sectarianism, division, violence and instability amongst the people, is preferable to those who do rule, than is the prospect of facing a people uniting for revolution.

So for those anti-imperialists getting themselves worked up about the last week in Egypt, it is usually a good rule of thumb that when it comes to analysis of international political developments, if you suddenly find yourself backing the same team as both the SWP/ISO and Tony Blair, its probably well worth considering retracing your steps and figuring out just where you took that wrong turn...

Saturday, 6 July 2013



Badgers are being killed off in pilot culls in West Somerset and Western Gloucestershire.

Cattle can get tuberculosis off badgers. Badgers get TB off cattle. Cattle can get TB off each other.

TB is a horrible disease that thrives in overcrowded conditions.

TB used to be rife among people in this country. TB sufferers had to be kept well away from other people in isolation hospitals.

With this in mind, it is interesting to look at the living conditions of cattle in England today.

Cattle are crowded together in large sheds much of the time. Shed floors soon become coated with excrement and urine.

Periodically, cattle sheds are hosed down. The excrement and urine washed into slurry pits. If one falls into a slurry pit, one is soon overcome by the fumes.

The farmer pumps up the slurry into a mobile tanker and transports it to his fields. He then spreads the slurry over his fields.

When the weather turns fine, the farmer turns his cattle out on to his fields to eat the grass.

It is from cattle reared under these conditions that milk is obtained.

Not surprisingly, the cattle contract TB and have to be put down along with any other cattle with whom they have come in contact.

Farmers will not blame their own filthy farming methods. They blame the badgers. They bring pressure to bear in rural areas to have the badgers put down.

Hence the pilot culls of 70% of the badger population in West Somerset and Western Gloucestershire."

From 'Finsbury Communist' No 582, July 2013

~ From 'Finsbury Communist' No 582, July 2013

Friday, 5 July 2013

4th of July: The New Egyptian Revolution? Or Same Boss, New Clothes?

Now, I don't claim to have any particular deep insight into what is happening in Egypt. I don't think too many people do. Including, I would suggest, most of the people on the streets of Cairo.

But I do believe that what are witnessing a series of "pantomime revolutions" where mass protests are being used and manipulated by forces behind the scenes to provide cover for national, regional and international class interests that have nothing to do with the people on the streets.

So, as far as facts go, what do we know so far?

- End of June 400 US troops move into Egypt, according to some reports to secure the Sinai region and the border with Israel.

- The US bankrolling the Egyptian Army to the tune of billions of dollars.

Reports of US Apache gunships over Cairo.

Then the protests kick off again organised by the National Salvation Front and Tamarod (Rebellion) which from what I can tell contains a few minor leftist groups such as the SWP's 'Revolutionay Socialists" franchise, the CP of Egypt (none of which appear to carry any real social weight), along with much larger and better funded liberal, social-democratic, 'soft' Mubarakist and pro-western groups (which immediately puts me in mind of the western-backed 'Kasparov front' in Russia).

- The military is often considered as a repository for Nasserist support, but to what meaningful extent?

- Then the coup happens on 4th July - significant date.

Morsi and MB were no threat to imperialism per se, but it is certainly not without significance that their government was developing good relations with China and Iran. Morsi's first international visit was to China.

Reading Stratfor's coverage (a good source in terms of imperialist interests) they seem very comfortable with it.

US and UK govts are not saying anything much, which would suggest they are comfortable.

Syria's Assad, understandably, welcomes the coup as the end of political islam in Egypt.

China says it respects the wishes of the Egyptian people - which could suggest they back Morsi as the elected president. Or it could suggest they support the mass supported coup. Or that they are happy to work with whoever is in charge, because they have little to no say in anything that is happening.

RT coverage was pretty much hostile to the coup, which may suggest that this reflects Russia's position.

What is certain is that the masses of Egypt are not really calling the shots. Not even close. Without conscious revolutionary leadership, these protests, no matter how massive, are just large angry crowds. Nothing more.

Now, my first instinct yesterday was to be happy with the Muslim Brotherhood being removed. There are progressive elements within the military and within the NSF. But on reflection it would appear that this is the US clearing house after getting rid of their populist stooge. The US/west, as we know, is more than happy to use Islamists to remove its enemies, but that does not mean they want to keep such politically unreliable elements in charge once that job is done.

The best that can be said is that a) the army is secular b) the opposition is dominated by secular parties c) this may end Egyptian interference in Syria.

But on the other hand it chimes in very nicely with the US promoted "democratic" revolutions. Indeed Tamarod (Rebellion), the NGO behind the mass protests, and which amassed the signatures and details of 22million people in it's campaign to bring down Morsi, is a perfect fit for the colour revolution project.

Indeed the wikipedia entry for Kefaya, The Egyptian Movement for Change, which is the main force behind Tamarod, describes it as "represent[ing] a “new style” of opposition in Egypt, with parallels to Ukraine’s Orange Revolution and Poland’s Solidarity movement"

Having said that, Kefaya. which was formed in opposition to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, contained some interesting elements; Nasserists, socialists, Marxists alongside liberals and social-democrats. Ten years ago.

But then Kosova Liberation Army used to be Hoxhaists. The MEK (People's Mujahadeen of Iran) used to be Marxist-Leninist. A lot can change in a decade. Especially when the dollars start coming in.

Lenin once wrote "Oppression alone, no matter how great, does not always give rise to a revolutionary situation in a country. In most cases it is not enough for revolution that the lower classes should not want to live in the old way. It is also necessary that the upper classes should be unable to rule and govern in the old way. This is what we see in Russia today. A political crisis is maturing before our very eyes."

That sounds a lot like Egypt today too.

"The bourgeoisie has done everything in its power to back counter-revolution and ensure “peaceful development” on this counter-revolutionary basis. The bourgeoisie gave hangmen and feudal lords as much money as they wanted, the bourgeoisie reviled the revolution and renounced it".

However, today it isnt always the hangmen and fuedal lords that get as much money as they want. It is also the liberals, the NGO's, those who shout loudest for "democracy", "freedom" and "rights" that get it.

And far from "reviling the revolution and renouncing it", they applaud it and encourage it. And they can do this because there is no independent working-class movement, not even any longer an independent nationalist movement. What is left of the Left hangs from the coat tails of others, first Morsi, now the NSF/Tamarod and the Army. The Left is tied to supporting factions of the same ruling-class as they jostle for US largesse

So while in Egypt "the upper classes should be unable to rule and govern in the old way" and "the lower classes no longer want to be ruled in the old war", there is no real threat to the actual rule of the ruling-class, just to *how* it rules, what methods it uses to rule.

While the outcome of this is not irrelevant to us, we currently have no dog in this race. And the masses on the streets are no more than the crowds jeering and cheering at the side of the track.

(Incidentally, the Lenin quote is from this ('May Day Action by the Proletariat' - 1913), which is worth reading in the context of what is happening in Egypt, and more to the point, what isnt happening, what is entirely absent...)

So while it is fantasy that there was 33 million on the streets. Unlikely there was even the 14 million also widely reported, there is certainly a huge number of people on the streets, risking life and liberty. And what have they achieved? and what have they achieved?

Getting the London based former head of the Egyptian Central Bank reportedly asked to become interim premier, and a Mubarak-era High Court judge taking the job of interim President, and the army deciding who gets to form governments, immediately continuing with the demolition of the Gaza tunnels and launching a crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood's leadership and activist base?
International finance capital must be shaking in its boots!

So while as usual the western left and anarchists cannot contain themselves about seeing masses on the streets, it tells us little if they never actually analyse what actual class forces are really at work.

There has been no revolution in the sense the usual Leftist cheerleaders are implying. There are millions of people people protesting. They are not the same thing. And without revolutionary leadership and organisation it will remain just protests, manipulated and misdirected, while the ruling class gets its house back in order in a fashion more suitable to the current situation. There is a process unfolding, that could potentially develop into a revolutionary process. But it isnt there yet.

It is claimed 22 million people, a quarter of the population, signed the Taramod petition. Just about believable. But the wild and unsourced claims of  33 million out on the streets of Cairo is just fantasy. And demonstrably so.

In 2011 it was reported that organs of dual power, workers/community/street councils were formed. This is not yet happening again. And if it does, will it make a difference? Because without revolutionary leadership they will be co-opted by other forces. As they were in 2011 by the Muslim Brotherhood. There is no longer any mass communist or socialist or left-nationialist movement in Egypt, not yet even close to being.

And unless you are an anarchist who believes these things just happen spontaneously, then you will know, from the history and experience of so many mass movements that were betrayed and co-opted in the past, that without a conscious and organised revolutionary leadership with a mass base amongst the people, it will lead nowhere.

The mass of people may well want "change". But so does imperialism. And it is imperialism that is calling the shots here, not the masses on the streets. How can they when they have no political representation? They are not even calling for a general strike, let alone all power to the people. Just elections. And they have no candidate, no figure representing a progressive, independent, anti-imperialist movement, as in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, etc. Just an amorphous demand for "change". Just not Morsi and the MB. And that suits the US down to the ground.

If they wanted, the masses *could* shut the country down. They *could* take over. But they havent. And they wont. Because once they go home from the Square, there is nothing left. The "movement" does not extend any further than protest. It is the ruling-class and their US patrons who are deciding what happens now.

It has been suggested by some on the Left, some who have a strong grasp of anti-imperialist politics, that this weeks mass-supported coup against the Muslim Brotherhood and the ousting of Morse, represents a victory against imperialist interests and the old order. I see no evidence for for this. The army is calling the shots, the head of the Central Bank is interim Premier, the politically unreliable MB is gone and the "soft" Mubarakists are keyplayers in the "opposition". If the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi were the ruling-class and imperialism's Plan B., then this to me seems like Plan B has been ditched to be replaced with Plan A.2.0

The only area I can see imperialism's hand being weakend is in Egypts position on Syria, but Egypt is not currently central to events in Syria.

And 400 US troops taking up strategic positions alongside the army just a couple of weeks before the army makes its move does not sound like either coincidence or defeat to me.

I am yet to see any evidence that what is going to replace Morsi is any less pro-imperialist.

I've said above that there are progressive elements in the National Salvation Front/Tamarod and the army, but in neither case are they in anyway decisive, nor do those elements have any real social weight or organisation among the protests or the working-class. Indeed from what I understand, the Muslim Brotherhood is still strongest among the working-class.

I think it is more likely that the Muslim Brotherhood will be pushed into a militarist/terrorist response, pushing secular forces deeper into alliance with the state/army. Reports from Egypt today would suggest this process is already beginning to unfold.

The masses on the streets may be forcing the hand of the ruling-class and Empire, but they don't currently hold any trump cards of their own. Not least because the army is still the one dealing the cards.

There is a potentially revolutionary process unfolding within Egypt, and there has been since 2011, but as of yet that process has been successfully derailed, destabilised and co-opted to meet imperialism's and the ruling-classes broad interests.

Where, if or how the process can become independent of the imperialist, ruling and middle class interests (which are not themselves necessarily homogenous by any means) and develop independently as a consciously and organisationally revolutionary and anti-imperialist movement is not something that is yet answerable.

However, such situations as we are seeing are deeply fluid. And what is happening in Egypt is more complex than anything similar we have witnessed. Time will tell. But I am not presently enthused with optimism!

So no matter how this particular turn develops, there are two things that are clear, and I am sure we all agree on.

The working-class is no longer willing to be ruled in the old way.

The ruling-class is no longer able to rule in the old way.

The problem is that the working-class are not conscious of themselves as a class, and they do not have a voice representing their interests. Things change quickly in such circumstances, hitherto small or newly formed groupings can gain a hearing and capture and direct the mood of the people. Individuals can be thrust forward by events who are able to rally the masses around their message. We will see.

And if the local SWP franchise manage to become that voice, who one day are with the Muslim Brotherhood, the next with the Mubarak-lite opposition and army, and which appears to be where the hopes of the entire western left are hinged, then I will eat my imaginary hat.

But, these are just my observations from afar. I sincerely hope those with more optimism are able to be proven correct.

The masses make history. But at the moment they are making it for someone else.

Monday, 1 July 2013

British troops into Libya? Well, they do have a revolution to defend...

US troops move into Egypt. British troops into Libya. Well, they do have a revolution to defend.

The recolonisation by Britain of it's former Libyan colony begins in earnest. Gaddafi died fighting to keep his nation free, to keep Empire out. Along with tens of thousands of others who will never see another day.

Meanwhile our own "revolutionaries" were sitting at home, cheer-leading for his overthrow. Ian Bone, founder of the cartoon anarchists, "Class War", even called on the RAF to bomb Gaddafi out of power so the "revolutionaries" could take over. That of course is the Royal Air Force, not the Red Army Faction, just to avoid understandable confusion.

The RAF acquiesced to the anarchist's demand, and Class War, the Socialist Workers Party, Hilary Clinton and David Cameron exalted in their revolutionary victory as death squads cleansed the land of black skins and gangsters masquerading as the new political rulers sat down with western company executives to sell off the oil and sign the billion dollar "reconstruction" contracts. Viva la revolution!

Anarchists and trots often like to fantasise about the British Army being won over to the revolutionary cause in a revolutionary period, despite this never happening in 30 years of brutal counter-insurgency against a genuine revolution in the six-counties. But In Libya their dreams have come true.

Who needs a Red Army, when you have the 4th Infantry Brigade?

Who needs a 'revolutionary Left', when the tory party and MI6 are making all the revolutions you could dream of? And all safely out of your harms way, so you can watch it all on the telly, never leaving your armchair!

So, Syria next, comrades. First Al Qaeda, then NATO, then the multi-nationals. Then us? Who knows, maybe, just maybe, one day we might even be able to set up a branch of the Fourth/Fifth/nth International at the last remaining university to discuss the counter-revolutionary role of Stalinism in the Russian Revolution. And then split. Or organise a punk gig.

These are heady times! "Welcome to the Red 90's." "Never has there been a better time to be a socialist". People scorned our optimism when we hailed the collapse of communism, but who is laughing now? No one, that's who!

Permanent revolution, comrades, comes from the barrel of the British Army's guns.

Hundreds of British soldiers to deploy to Libya 'within months' to train army in their battle with Al Qaeda extremists

  • UK soldiers would be sent ‘within months’ to help train the Libyan army
  • There are fears that Libya is becoming a safe haven for Islamist fanatics
  • Critics have raised concerns that Britain could suffer ‘mission creep’ and be sucked into another bloody war

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2353215/Hundreds-British-soldiers-deploy-Libya-months-train-army-battle-Al-Qaeda-extremists.html#ixzz2XrT64nxC 

Friday, 28 June 2013

The ruling-class lost the argument over Syria. So did the Left.

The ruling-class has profoundly lost the argument over Syria. There is no public support for intervention on any scale. No support for the jihadi "rebels", and increasing sympathy for the Syrian government.

This could have represented a resounding victory for the Left and the anti-war movement. If it wasnt for the inconvenient matter of the Left and the anti-war movement by and large holding the same position as the ruling-class and backing the same forces.

Instead, the argument against intervention and support for the "rebels" was made, and won, by the isolationist and anti-Islamic far-right.

It say a lot about the state of the Left and it's influence on society when it can no longer even influence people into supporting a case that has already been laid out for them by the BBC 6 0'Clock News.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Gideon Osborne: Putting the "n" in Cuts...

In the spirit of "we are all in it together", Tory Chancellor George Osborne today announced that in light of the huge cuts in jobs and benefits he is inflicting upon the country, he has volunteered to make drastic and deeply felt cuts in his own standard of living. So from now on, he promises that he will only be using coke and hookers just the twice a week until the end of the financial year when the situation will be reviewed...

"Hooker: Osborne ‘a regular coke user’ 
Tart tells of 'drug party' with Chancellor
29th February 2012

 AN ex-hooker has repeated claims that Chancellor George Osborne used to snort cocaine. Former escort agency boss Natalie Rowe told a TV show he “regularly” took the drug with her in the 1990s while a Tory aide. She said: “He took it on a regular basis with me, with his friends. There were more witnesses, not just me, that witnessed George Osborne taking cocaine. There are other people out there that know the truth.”

Speaking about a party in 1994 at which she was pictured with Mr Osborne, she said: “On that particular night he had taken a line. “I said to George jokingly that when you’re Prime Minister one day I’ll have all the dirty goods on you. “And he laughed and took a big fat line of cocaine. “I’ve always said that the truth will always catch up on you. And it’s going to catch up on him.”

 Rowe, who was talking to Australian TV show Lateline, first made the claims in a UK newspaper in October 2005. At the time Mr Osborne said he was the victim of a smear campaign and added: “The allegations are completely untrue.”

He said he did know Rowe because a friend had once dated her and they had met up occasionally. Last night his spokesman said of the renewed claims: “These are old allegations that were widely reported and denied years ago. There is nothing new.” Rowe ran an escort agency called Black Beauties, hiring out girls at £300 an hour."

 Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3810687/Hooker-Osborne-a-regular-coke-user.html#ixzz2XOv9nXD7

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Before Lefty gets too excited about the Brazil protests...

Before you get too excited about the protests in Brazil, lets put this into the wider context. Brazil is one of the progressive bloc of governments in Latin America. It is the B in BRICS. Whatever its flaws, the Workers Party (PT) government is broadly progressive with its reforms at home and usually on the right side when it comes to international politcs. It is considered a problem by the US.

Some of the protesters, as is often the case in these things, have genuine, honest grievances that deserve to be heard. Others dont. However, the common demand of the protests is to remove the Workers Party and Dilma from government. But to be replaced by whom?

Members of Communist, trotskyist and socialist groups have been attacked on the protests, their flags and banners taken by force and burnt. Neo-Nazis are also reportedly active on the protests, alongside the anarchists, students, football hooligans, the politically naive and the a-political. Plain-clothes police are reportedly stirring things up on the protests.

Just because their are large numbers of people on the streets does not mean they are calling the shots or that their interests are the ones that are being furthered. And without a conscious, revolutionary leadership, the protests are open to manipulation and misdirection.

I am not condemning the protests outright, but I am expressing caution. After what we have seen in Libya, Syria, the "colour" counter-revolutions in the former Soviet bloc and the western backed protests against Putin, it seems oddly predictable that the next subject of mass protests would be on the continent that has moved most out of US control and for progress and independence, and here it is, happening in what is arguably the most important nation of the Latin American progressive bloc.

President Dilma Rousseff has responded admirably, and it is to be hoped these protests can be used to back further radical reform by the Workers Party. A big danger is that hostility on the streets to the PT will push the PT to the right in defence of the state. Rousseff seems to be indicating this will not be the case. However, the right of her government, of the PT and those whispering in their ears from the state will have other ideas.

Any opposition calls for elections should be resisted, unless it looks as though the PT could strengthen its position. The PT is the only progressive party in a position to make a government. The alternative is the parties of the neo-liberals and the Generals.

Be vigilant and seek truth from facts. And always ask, whose class interests are being furthered? Which international class forces have most to gain?

Why is the US suddenly so keen on nuclear disarmament?

>>> Obama vows to cut nuclear arms in broad-brush Berlin speech"We are on track to cut nuke warheads to lowest levels since 1950s … but we have more work to do, so I am announcing [that] we can ensure security of US and allies by reducing our stored weapons by up to one third," said Obama. "I intend to start talks with Russia to move beyond cold war postures."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/19/obama-berlin-speech-nuclear-arms <<<

So, why is the US suddenly so keen on nuclear disarmament? Quite simple really. City-levelling megaton nukes are a hindrance to US military aims. They are expensive to develop and maintain. And they are unusable. 
And more to the point, if the other side has them, you cant go to war with them. The US needs to go to war. War is business. And business is stalling.

If every time the US wants to take over some country's oil or mineral resources, and those interfering Russians or Chinese start getting uppity, the US has no choice but to back the fuck off. Because those guys, the Russians in particular, have some big old nukes of their own. Pointed right at the US of A.

The US knows that at some point it will have to directly militarily confront Russia and China. And it is scared shitless of the prospect. The US just does not know how to take mass casualties. Especially on home turf (unless self-inflicted by National Rifle Association members). It still hasnt got over losing a couple of thousand stock brokers over ten years ago, so how could they take losing a city or ten in a real war?

Russia and China on the other hand, they know what war, real war, looks and feels like. Between them they lost around 60 million people in the second world war, the majority civilians. The US something over a hundred thousand. Only 1700 civilians amongst them.

The US loves war. As long as they dont get hurt. Four million dead in Korea? Cool. Three million dead in Vietnam? Tough shit. A million dead in Cambodia and Laos? Where? A million dead in Iraq? Who cares?

But a few thousand dead yanks? A few hundred? Two or three? Oh, the humanity!

So we gotta get rid of the nukes. Not all of them. Just the big ones. Like what the Russians and Chinese have. Those intercontinental ones. Not the cool, "bunker busting" ones. Not the nice tactical battlefield ones. They are fine. Because you can use them. Especially when the other side doesnt have any of its own to fire back.

So, there it is. Why Obama is suddenly more CND than Bruce Kent.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Bangladesh factory disaster: the real price of cheap clothes

Bangladesh factory disaster: the real price of cheap clothes

Bangladesh factory disaster: the real price of cheap clothes


On 24 April, the collapse of garment factory near the Bangladeshi capital claimed the lives of more than 1,100 people, mainly young women, and injured over 2,500 in the country’s worst industrial accident ever. Reshma Begum, a 19-year old seamstress, was the last person to be pulled alive from the ruins, 17 days after the disaster, before the search for survivors was called off on 13 May and bulldozers sent in to clear the rubble. About 700 bodies have been returned to families; the government has buried the bodies of those who could not be identified and a makeshift morgue has been established in a nearby school to store another 100 or so bodies for DNA identification.
Numbers of those missing remain unclear since officials have been unable to verify how many people were actually in the Rana Plaza - a shoddily constructed building housing a bank, shopping centre and four textiles factories supplying Primark, Matalan, Mango and Benetton - at the time of collapse. When cracks started to appear on the morning of 24 April, building managers ordered a complete evacuation. However, while bank workers were told to stay out, factory staff were ordered to return to work or lose their jobs; some were threatened with beatings. Hours later, the building collapsed, in the world’s worst industrial accident since the Bhopal disaster in India in 1984.
Bangladeshi state officials are blaming the building’s owner, Sohel Rana, for developing the structure on swampy land and then illegally adding three floors to the building to install heavy machinery and generators. Rana was arrested on 28 April near the border of Bangladesh with India after going missing and is being held along with eight other people, including the owners of each factory inside the building. However, greedy, culpable and negligent as the owners maybe, they also provide easy scapegoats, allowing the root causes of the disaster and the systematic abuse and exploitation of Bangladesh’s garment workers to go unchallenged. The Bangladesh government is complicit with multinational clothing companies in a cavalier disregard for human rights, health and safety regulations and buildings standards, concerned only with feeding a market obsessed with cultivating more and more profit. On 9 May a fire ripped through the Tung Hai Sweater factory factory in Dhaka, killing eight people. Fortunately, the factory was closed, avoiding a repeat of the tragedy at the Tazreen factory in November last year* in which almost 120 people were killed. Such tragedies are a common occurrence in Bangladesh and highlight the glaring failures plaguing the country’s textile industry, the apathy in imperialist countries towards the exploitation of workers in more oppressed nations, and the lack of an organised movement able to push for improved standards. The demand by a European Union’s delegation to Bangladesh that the government 'act immediately' to improve working conditions in the country’s garment industry are empty words when profit is king.
However, such was the public outrage worldwide at the sheer scale of the Rana Plaza disaster, that for the first time both the government and international clothing companies have had to make some concessions. The Bangladeshi government has announced that it will ‘review’ a tiny raise on the minimum wage of 3,000 Taka (about £25 a month), while the biggest European purchasers of garments produced in Bangladesh, including Mothercare, Next, Primark, Tesco, Inditex (owners of Zara) and H&M, rushed to sign up to the newly-introduced and legally binding Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, which aims to improve safety conditions within factories in the country.. Primark pledged ‘to put in place immediate and long-term help for victims of this disaster’: the Bangladeshi High Commissioner to London, Mohamed Mijarul Quayes, responded by saying: ‘Primark has led by example…there is not an obligation to do so, but it speaks of the high moral ground.’ (In the week of the collapse, shares in Primark’s parent company, Associated British Foods, rose by 6.5%.) However, US companies Gap, Sears and Walmart, owners of the ASDA chain of supermarkets in Britain, have refused to sign up, citing the accord’s lack of clarity on the consequences companies will face if found to have breached it as a deal-breaker, with Gap demanding changes to its provisions on dispute resolution. The Accord lasts for five years and sets out guidelines for the whole industry including training, governance of factories, transparency, supplier incentives, complaints processes and financial support and can lead to legal action for breaches.
The impact of the accord remains to be seen. Its opening lines establish that it has as its goal:
‘a safe and sustainable Bangladeshi Ready-Made Garment ("RMG") industry in which no worker needs to fear fires, building collapses, or other accidents that could be prevented with reasonable health and safety measures’. For this to become a reality, consumers must build pressure against the imperialists who line their pockets off the backs of the suffering of workers. No longer should the drive to make vast profits from ever-cheaper clothing be allowed to cheapen the lives of the impoverished.
Nazia Mukti

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Terrorism of the rich - A tale of two atrocities - from Solihull to Dhaka.

There should be two stories headlining the news in the UK today. This one I link below, yet another death as a result of far-right populist tabloid scapegoating masquerading as legitimate government policy. 

The other is the continuing nightmarish horror of the corporate mass murder of textile workers in Bangladesh. 

Now over one thousand confirmed killed, just so we can have cheap t-shirts. An act of capitalist terrorism against the working-class on a similar scale to 9/11. So why does it not receive the same coverage? Non-stop 24 hour rolling news for weeks? Hell, more than a decade on people still prattle on about 9/11 like it was the most terrible act of suffering ever experienced in the history of humanity.

But a thousand Bangladeshi workers die under the concrete of a collapsed corporate hell hole and its forgotten in days as an "and also in the news". Will the extended families of these people be made instant millionaires in compensation, as the 9/11 families were? Or will Primark, Benneton etc just throw a few pennies, wash the blood from their hands and carry on with business as usual?

From grannies committing suicide in the face of destitution in England, to young women and men crushed under concrete in Bangladesh, it is the same system, the same greed, the same class that pays the price. And it is the same class that is responsible, inflicting misery on the many for the luxury of their few. 

These are acts of terrorism. Acts of war on our people, whether in Birmingham or Dhaka, these are the chains that bind us in common suffering, but that also bond us in common cause. 


Bedroom Tax victim commits suicide: Grandmother Stephanie Bottrill blames government in tragic note

Grandmother who had to pay extra £20 a week throws herself in front of motorway lorry
Stephanie Bottrill

Page One Photograph
Ten days ago Stephanie Bottrill sat in the redbrick terrace house which had been home for 18 years to write notes to her loved ones, the Sunday People reports.
She ripped the pages from a spiral-bound notebook and placed them neatly in little brown envelopes.
There was one for her son. Another for her daughter. Her mother. Friends. And a very special one for the year-old grandson she doted on.
Then in the early hours of last Saturday Stephanie, 53, left her home for the last time, leaving her cat Joey behind as the front-door clicked shut.
She crossed her road in Meriden Drive, Solihull, to drop one of her letters and her house keys through a neighbour’s letterbox. Then she walked 15 minutes through the sleeping estate to Junction 4 of the M6.
And at 6.15am she walked straight into the path of a northbound lorry and was killed instantly. Stephanie Bottrill had become the first known suicide victim of the hated Bedroom Tax.
In the letter to her son, Steven, 27, she had written: “Don’t blame yourself for me ending my life. The only people to blame are the Government.”
Stephanie was tormented over having to find £20 a week to pay for the two under-occupied bedrooms she had been assessed for.
Days before her death she told neighbours: “I can’t afford to live any more.”
Solihull council Labour group leader David Jamieson, who knows the family well, said: “I’m absolutely appalled this poor lady has taken her own life because she was worried how she would pay the Bedroom Tax.
“I hope the Government will take notice and reconsider this policy.”
The police came to Steven’s door at 9.30 last Saturday morning. They were there with his sister Laura, 23, and he knew something terrible had happened. They told him his mum had taken her own life.
He said: “It was a shock at first. You just ask why? The policeman told me she had left notes. I was on my own, looking after my little boy.
“I just wanted to keep looking after him, to keep it all in. I told the police to keep the note. I was still getting my head round it.”
So it was not until Sunday that Steven was ready to read the note.
He said: “I couldn’t believe it. She said not to blame ourselves, it was the Government and what they were doing that caused her to do it.
“She was fine before this Bedroom Tax. It was dreamt up in London, by people in offices and big houses.
“They have no idea the effect it has on people like my mum.”
On the Thursday before she died – when she wrote the farewell letters –  Stephanie had phoned her son to say she was struggling to cope.
He promised to get help and next day phoned her GP.
Stephanie came home from the GP’s surgery with sleeping tablets.
That Friday teatime, Steven came to see her after he finished work. He tried to reassure her, telling her everything would be OK. He says now he should have hugged her but he thought it might upset her.

Stephanie Bottrill suicide note
Part of Stephanie's note to her son

Page One Photography

On the way home he resolved to take her to A&E next day and stay there until she got the help she needed.
That evening a neighbour took Stephanie some dinner. Like Steven, she thought Stephanie would cope. But neither saw her again. 
In the early hours of Saturday, Stephanie headed downstairs, past boxes of her things packed up and ready to go.
Boxes marked “kitchen” and “bedroom”. Stephanie had nowhere to go. But she had packed anyway so when the council found her a smaller place she would be prepared.
Steven said: “She didn’t want to go but she knew she had to. She couldn’t afford to stay. It was too hard.
“She wasn’t eating properly. There wasn’t any proper food. There were about 30 tins of custard.”
Stephanie had lived in her £320-a-month home for 18 years, but couldn’t cope with the extra £80 she had to find every month.
She needed to downsize but nothing suitable was offered to her.
And she was upset she would have to leave the home in which she raised her two children as a single mother.
The well-kept back garden was Stephanie’s pride and joy. She had buried her favourite pet cats there and she liked to sit out there in the sun and remember them.
Steven remembers they didn’t have much as they grew up. His mum would struggle to afford clothes and food but they were happy and always well-turned out.
As a child Stephanie was diagnosed with the auto-immune system deficiency, Myasthenia gravis.

The M6 motorway in Birmingham where Stephanie commited suicide

The illness made her weak and she had to take constant medication.
Steven said she wanted to work, but there was no way she could.
Doctors had told her she was too ill to hold down a job, but she had never been registered as disabled, so she lived without disability benefit. After splitting with the children’s father, Stephanie raised Laura and Steven on her own.
Steven, an HGV driver, said: “Even though it was difficult for Mum bringing us up on her own, we were really happy here.”
Eventually, Steven left to set up in his own place with his own family.
It was close enough to visit his mum and he came round whenever he could.
Then two months ago Laura also moved out and into a flat with her long-term partner. It happened quickly and Stephanie struggled at first.
It also meant that instead of losing 14 per cent of her housing benefit for one spare bedroom she would now lose 25 per cent for two rooms.
But friends and family rallied round and she began to adjust on her own.
She took the decision to tell the council she was living in a three-bedroomed house on her own.
The £80 per month extra she would have to pay was too much for her. She would have to leave her home.
Steven said: “She was sad about Laura going but she had got over that and was coping. Being asked for the extra Bedroom Tax money was just too much for her.”
Stephanie told her next-door neighbour Tracey Hurley: “I cannot afford to live any more.”
She was visited by officials, who told her she would be charged for any repairs to her property.
That would whittle away the £2,000 she had been offered by the council to move home. It meant Stephanie had to strip wallpaper and lift carpets herself. She also had to mend her back fence.
And they failed to find a suitable property for her – the bungalow they offered was a 30-minute walk from a bus stop and miles from her family and friends.
So Stephanie was trapped in a house she couldn’t afford.
And neighbours did their best to help as she faced losing her home.
Neighbour Tracey, 49, said: “Her garden meant so much to her.
“She called it her special place and the one place she felt at peace.
“But they were going to take that from her. She just couldn’t stand it.” Tracey did her best to care for her friend and saw her on the Friday before she died. She said: “Stephanie hadn’t eaten for three days. She was desperate.
“We were having a barbecue and she popped her head over the fence to say hello. She didn’t want to socialise so I took her some dinner.
“When I went round I hugged her and told her to just come and knock on the door if she needed me.
“I told her not to do anything stupid. The council would have to help her. She asked me for another hug. Then in the morning the police came. I couldn’t believe it.”
Other neighbours on the estate are being hit with the Bedroom Tax.
Tracey said: “They are making me pay it and it’s going to be tough but people don’t have any choice.
“This is not just politics, this is people’s lives.”
Next Friday, Tracey will be among friends and family at the funeral.
The family were struggling to pay so the Sunday People has made a contribution.
Stephanie’s death didn’t make headlines locally. But her friends know exactly what happened to her.
And they believe the shock of her death will be felt far outside her community.
Tracey added: “There’s no way Stephanie is going to be the last to die because of this Bedroom Tax. She’s not going to be the only one.”

  • Haunting Dhaka disaster picture: A last embrace after clothes factory collapse that killed 950

    Photographer Taslima Akhter captured the image of the so-far ­unidentified pair in the rubble of the collapsed building.

    Taslima Akhter
    This picture of a couple cuddled together in their last moments, illustrates the full human tragedy of the Dhaka factory disaster.
    Photographer Taslima Akhter captured the image of the so-far ­unidentified pair in the rubble of the collapsed building.
    Taslima, who was working alongside rescue teams in Bangladesh, said: “When I saw them, I felt I knew them.
    "They felt very close to me. It’s as if they’re saying, ‘We are not a number – not only cheap labour and cheap lives. We are human beings like you’.
    “Every time I look back to this photo, I feel uncomfortable — it haunts me.”
    Student Taslima hopes her harrowing image will aid her campaign to improve working conditions in her native city.
    Yesterday 94 more bodies were found as the death toll hit 950 and another 2,500 were injured.

    Bangladeshi rescuers work at the site of a building that collapsed building
    Mass tragedy: Bangladeshi rescuers work at the site of a building that collapsed


    Today the two-week search for survivors and bodies ends.
    Bulldozers will move in at the site where workers earned £25 a month making clothes for Western firms including Primark which has said it will pay compensation.
    Several people, including the building owner, have been charged with negligence over the disaster on April 24.
    But Taslima will not rest until she has identified her unknown couple.
    She said: “I don’t know who they are or what their relationship is. We found them buried in rubble.
    "The blood from the eye of the man ran like tear.”