Saturday, May 23, 2009

USA: For a Fighting Action Program

We reprint a proposal submitted by the Humanists for Socialist Revolution to be considered and voted on by the Workers Emergency Recovery Campaign WERC at their teach-in held in San Francisco on Saturday May 9. The main organizer behind WERC is Socialist Organizer the US branch of the Lambertists.


The formation of WERC could become a step in the right direction in the massive fight against the biggest attacks on the working class since the Great Depression. Unfortunately, however, WERC’s platform, as currently formulated, has some serious shortcomings. It is a list of generally supportable demands, but along with the demands there are built-in limitations seemingly designed to keep this campaign palatable to capitalist “friends of labor,” such as the Greens and the Progressive Democrats, who have signed on as endorsers of WERC.

The current gaggle of “liberal/progressive” Democratic politicians, as well as the bloated and entrenched labor bureaucracy, have come together to negotiate away our jobs, our social programs, and our benefit packages. In the coming weeks and months, we can expect a further watering down of the Employee Free Choice Act; a total inability to provide a plan for affordable, quality universal health care; layoffs and/or furloughs of thousands of public workers and teachers; school closures; tuition rises and restrictions on student registration at public colleges; and the commensurate ever-increasing expansion of prisons and the military-industrial complex.

To counter the current attacks against the unions and all working people, we need massive united labor actions from coast to coast. Factory occupations, such as the one at Republic Windows and Doors, are necessary to stop massive layoffs and closures of factories and workplaces. Unified strikes of public workers, teachers, and students are the only tactic that can save social programs, education, and the social safety net. But the current labor leadership, entrenched in its love affair with the Democratic Party, is incapable of launching the type of struggle that can win against the current attacks.

WERC’s current platform and program are not adequate as a fight-back strategy. For example, WERC calls for nationalizing the banks and the automobile industry. But reformist social democratic governments have nationalized banks during this crisis and before. They keep the banks and the financial institutions going for the benefit of the bankers and the capitalists, and then they de-nationalize them when it is safe to do so, returning the bank’s assets and operating capital to private hands once the risk of failure has been averted with the aid of public resources. Therefore, in contrast to pro-capitalist nationalization schemes, we must call for the nationalization of banks, financial institutions, and basic industries under workers’ control and without compensation.

Similarly, WERC’s action plan is limited to measures such as writing letters to President Obama begging him to turn against his benefactors. WERC’s program suggests that labor activists conduct a cross-class campaign of educational forums, devoid of any concrete preparation for the type of militant struggles labor must engage in if we are to turn the current class war around. Of course educational forums are needed to supplement the education we get from the bosses’ frontal attacks every day. But what we really need from labor activists are strategies and tactics for turning our unions back into truly democratic fighting organizations that act in the interest of the entire working class, rather than in their own narrow interests or that of the labor aristocracy.

We propose that WERC commit to organizing and publicizing regional, inter-union general meetings to organize and coordinate preparatory committees in every local.

The preparatory committees, in turn, can take the lead in preparing, mobilizing, and motivating workers in their own locals to help lay the necessary groundwork for massive actions. WERC’s role should be to serve as a framework around which workers can construct sustained, ongoing, democratically run coalitions of unions, working class communities, and the unemployed, with the goal of building for broad-based, militant direct actions such as massive strikes and occupations of workplaces, schools and universities. Our brothers and sisters in France have shown that such actions are the natural response of the working class. We should start organizing and follow their example.

We propose that the WERC adopt the following program and method of transitional demands, to be implemented by mobilizing the working class for a massive fightback:

1. Full Employment at prevailing union rates for all who are willing and able to work. To assure full employment, thirty hours of work for forty hours’ pay must be implemented to spread the available work to all and to compensate for the increased rate of production over the last 50 years that has been exploited by capital to sustain high unemployment rates and lower real wages. Passage of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) will assist workers in forging fighting unions capable of winning full employment. To that end we must mobilize demonstrations demanding the right to organize not be impeded and for passage of the EFCA.

2. Failing industries (both financial and industrial) must be taken over (nationalized) under workers’ control without compensation to provide adequate access to credit and to get the wheels of industry rolling again. For example, the Big Three automakers, as well as the domestic plants of foreign auto manufacturers, should be taken over under workers’ control. Only then can the industry be rationally planned to assure that production is retooled to provide, first and foremost, a public transportation and energy infrastructure that obviates the need for excessive auto production and the commensurate waste of petroleum. The production of non-polluting electric cars, for example, must be planned and coordinated under workers’ control as a step toward staving off the environmental disasters threatened by climate change.

3. Stop Layoffs! When the bosses declare layoffs or attempt to close down a workplace, workers should occupy the factories and the workplaces and establish workers’ control. Follow the example of our Argentinean brothers and sisters, and go even further by establishing a massive network of occupied workplaces as democratically run organs of an incipient planned rational economy.

4. Housing is a right! Stop all foreclosures and evictions. Move the homeless and those in overcrowded housing into housing already vacated due to foreclosures and the falling real estate market. Massive public works projects to build adequate housing for all, and put people to work doing socially necessary construction, must be financed by a banking industry nationalized and coordinated under workers’ control.

5. Quality universal public education at no charge from daycare and pre-school through the graduate level. Working people know that without a good education, our children have no future. To confront the current economic and environmental crisis, everyone’s intellectual potential must be cultivated. Through education we can build a rational economy and divest the world of poverty and drudgery. Education should be under the control of teachers, parents, and students old enough to participate. In that way, we will assure quality education and not the miseducation, overtesting, and ruling class propaganda that currently plague our public schools.

6. Quality free universal health care at no charge from prenatal to the grave is long overdue. Each person must be given access to the benefit of medical science and current treatment options. Insurance companies must have no “place at the table”; the only way to provide health care for all is to divest it of the profit motive. To accomplish democratic health care, all medical institutions must be placed under worker (Doctor, Nurses, Staff) control with community/patient participation.

7. End attacks on undocumented workers! End the ICE raids! Full employment rights for all workers! To end capital flight through working class solidarity across borders, we demand: Same work, same contract, same wages and working conditions! Down with the maquiladoras! Open all the borders. For the right of all workers to cross the borders and seek work and establish their homes without restrictions and arrests. Free all detained undocumented workers!

8. US troops out of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the rest of the world. Down with imperialist oppression. The defeat of imperialism is a victory for workers and the oppressed in the world.

9. We cannot count on Obama and the capitalists to clean up the environment and prevent catastrophic climate change. For them, profit always comes before the environment and the need of the workers. But the time to stop climate change is running out. The working class must combine its struggle against capitalist exploitation, and against the current economic crisis, with environmental consciousness. We must fight for workers’ control of industry in order to transform the current, outmoded technology of industrial production to totally green and sustainable technology.

10. Break with Democrats. No cross-class coalitions with Democrats and pro-capitalist Green Party politicians. For a struggle to replace the union bureaucracies that give our dues to the capitalist Democratic Party. Fight for the independence of the working class! We need to build a workers’ or labor party based on democratically run unions and organizations of the oppressed and the unemployed.

11. For a workers’ government that can and will implement and defend all the above transitional demands. To accomplish these goals, working people need their own government. If we allow the capitalists to control the state via their government, they will continue to attack and ultimately destroy our social gains. To defend our gains, we need workers’ power.

Humanists for Revolutionary Socialism are based in the US and are a Fraternal Group in discussion with the FLT.

You can find information about them on their website here.

No New Viet Nam War in Afghanistan and Pakistan!

Oil Industry Tool Obama Fosters Mass Murder of Pashtuns
and Creates Nearly Two Million Refugees in Swat Valley!
Workers can stop him – and we must!

US imperialism is demanding that the Pakistani government take control of the Swat Valley using whatever military means are necessary, even if that means slaughtering the civilian population in the area. Bringing a halt to the progress of the anti-intervention front, which has advanced to some 60 miles from the capital of Pakistan, is critical to the interests of the US and its allies. They must maintain control over Pakistan in order to permit construction of a planned oil pipeline that will cross Pakistani territory on its way to a new port being built on the Indian Ocean. The crumbling governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan are in desparate need of support from Washington, so they are complying with US demands. The resulting intensification of imperialist intervention in Pakistan also brings to the front long-unresolved issues of agrarian reform, national liberation for the Pashtun, and basic democratic demands of the masses. The resulting conflict has exploded over the Swat Valley.

The arbitrary border between Afghanistan and Pakistan means nothing to the Pashtun, whose tribal lands were long ago bisected by British mandate. In recent days, that border has collapsed, as the former Taliban has morphed from an exclusively Afghani reactionary movement, based on archaic theological concepts, into an anti-interventionist front. The emergent neo-Taliban is the only source the Pashtun people can look to to provide armed resistance to the American-backed governments that have long since abandoned their needs, concerns, and safety. The neo-Taliban has not shed its reactionary character, but in a land without justice or protection, it provides a pole of attraction for the oppressed Pashtun in their efforts to resist the seemingly unending deluge of military intervention from the West. The recent murderous bombardment by the Americans, via their proxy Pakistani army, has only resulted in strengthening the neo-Taliban’s influence among the civilian population.

Only the most cynical and reactionary western observers still believe NATO intervention in this area is truly a battle against “terrorism,” or a fight to bring democracy to those who have been living under the rule of the Taliban. Deeper geopolitical interests are in play. One driving force behind this conflict is the intention of Western oil interests – Unocal, Chevron, and Halliburton – to build a north-to-south Trans-Afghanistan oil pipeline across eastern Afghanistan and through Pakistan to the Indian Ocean. Another is Washington’s need to encircle the emerging capitalist giant China, which if left unchecked will challenge Washington’s dominance as the predominant world imperialist power over the next two decades.

Last week, the respective “Presidents” of Pakistan and Afghanistan, Zardari and Karzai, took orders from Obama to suppress and/or eliminate opponents of the Trans-Afghanistan pipeline. To suit Obama’s view of the “National Security Interests of the US,” those Afghanis and Pakistanis who do not want a Western-controlled pipeline running through their homelands must be pacified, removed, or offered a deal by imperialism. Construction of this pipeline is contractually stipulated to begin next year. Hence the sudden step-up of the slaughter.

Tens of thousands of new Pashtun homeless have been forced onto the roads of Waziristan this week. They are heading for bulging refugee camps that already “house” as many as a million and a half refugees. Meanwhile, police troops roam the roads and camps shooting suspected Islamists, because Zardari is anxious to please the imperialists so as to consolidate their tentative support for his regime.

The “spin” would have us believe that the slaughter is limited to the Swat Valley. Not so. While the Pakistani army wreaks havoc in the Swat Valley, the American army continues to slaughter the peasants of Afghanistan. The number of civilians killed by American airstrikes in Farah Province last week comes to 149, according to the peasants’ own handwritten list of relatives killed in the bombardments. All this shows without a doubt that the Obama regime’s intervention in Afghanistan and Pakistan is escalating, accompanied by massive brutality. US imperialism can only maintain its domination through military force. Obama is thus exposed for what he is: just another imperialist politician, who is just as willing as Bush was to escalate the carnage inflicted upon the masses in Afghanistan and Pakistan, if that is what it takes for US imperialism to hold onto its power in the region.

Meanwhile all of Waziristan is subject to air attack by the Pakistani Air Force, which claims to have killed 800 militants as of May 13th. We don’t really know whom they’ve killed, but we do know these bombings are indiscriminate, are killing civilians, and are driving angered residents into the ranks of the neo-Taliban. The overall killing is the combined work of the Pakistani Army and the imperialist army. Here’s why: Predator drones, those robot airplanes with small video-guided missiles, have killed over 700 people this year in the course of eliminating a mere 14 (fourteen!) “Al Qaeda leaders” in Pakistan. The pundits and liberal supporters of the “good war” are stumped to explain the numbers. The casualties are already stressing the Pakistani medical system to the breaking point.

Socialists have no desire to see the reactionary Taliban take power and submit the population to a repressive theocracy. But the defeat of the imperialist forces and their Pakistani proxies will aid the struggles of the workers and the oppressed all over the world. It is our first duty to call for the defeat of our own mighty imperialist forces. We call for a revolutionary struggle to drive imperialism and its local capitalist allies out of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and pave the road to self-determination, peace, and dignity for the Pashtun people. Ultimately, only the socialist revolution, and a socialist federation among Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and the other countries and peoples in this region of the world who are fighting for self-determination, can really resolve the democratic aspirations of the people in the area. For this to happen, the Pakistani working class, in alliance with the peasantry in Pakistan and Afghanistan, must lead the struggle to oust imperialism from the area.

Meanwhile, within the imperialist countries and especially the US, labor must take the lead in the antiwar struggle. Defeat of imperialist warfare is too important to the working class to be entrusted to the traditional liberal/pacifist “peace” movement, which fell silent as soon as the prospect of a Democratic Party presidential victory appeared likely, and has not been heard from to any meaningful degree since Obama took office. Protests led by students and pacifists were not enough to stop the Viet Nam war. To stop this slaughter before many more lives are lost, we need LABOR ACTION NOW, in the streets, on the docks, and at the front lines! Those with the real power to end it through militant direct action include workers in transportation, and the rank and file in uniform.

• Transportation and logistics workers: Organize in your union to “hot cargo” (refuse to handle) munitions and other supplies destined for use in the slaughter of the Pashtun peoples of Afghanistan and Pakistan!

• Soldiers in the U.S. and on overseas bases: Refuse deployment to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan – and all other areas that US imperialism seeks to control!

• Soldiers already deployed: Hold mass meetings to discuss how to refuse criminal orders! Build a “let’s go home” movement that can lead strikes against a criminal war that is killing people who are fighting to defend their countries against imperialist intervention, as well as innocent civilians!

• Workers everywhere: Support these efforts by organizing and leading mass protests demanding immediate, unconditional and total military withdrawal from Afghanistan and Pakistan! Demand the withdrawal of mercenary trainers and covert special operations forces from both Afghanistan and Pakistan! Expose Obama’s “Big Green Lie” and demand abandonment of Big Oil’s pipeline project across Afghanistan and Pakistan! Demand massive aid for the refugees.

Reprinted from Humanists for Socialist Revolution

Sunday, May 17, 2009

For a Workers’ Tamaki Makaurau!

The Royal Commission Report on Auckland [Tamaki Makaurau] has come and gone. After 18 months of deliberation its conclusions have been binned by the National Government. Its proposals for a single city remain, but all the existing councils are abolished. The single city will have no more than 30 elected councilors, a number elected at large. The real power will be in the hands of the Mayor. The model is a corporate Board of Directors. By abolishing the urban and rural councils and creating a new Super City, the NZ capitalist class is set to privatise $28 Billion of Auckland assets.

The bosses’agenda

The campaign for one city has been driven by business interests for years. Their target has always been to get local government out of business and confined to provision of basic services. It wants to remove all local body legislative controls on investment, particularly property speculation. The new city will extend from Pukekohe to Warkworth, encompassing three harbours, a Gulf and the most valuable coastal property in the country. Corporates have always opposed the Auckland Regional Council [ARC] which has statutory authority over much of this land and which owns the major asset of the port of Auckland. The first great land theft was from Maori in the nineteenth century, the second is from all the working people of Auckland today.

Rodney Hide the new Minister of Local Government is the leader of the ACT Party whichs says that local government will be required to “shed its commercial activities”. Hide is now overseeing the Grand Theft of Auckland. A Transitional Agency headed by Hide with a few of his cronies will take charge of all the local authorities on the 14th of May for a period of 18 months to prepare the transfer of all their assets so they can be sold off when the Auckland City Council is elected in October 2010. The new Auckland City is therefore the bosses’ way of abolishing the ARC, divesting it of its business assets such as Ports of Auckland, and dispensing with the ARC role in providing subsidized services such as public transport.

Bosses’ abolish the ARC

On the same day as the Royal Commission released its report, Alastair Thompson, chief executive of the Employers and Manufacturers Association of the Auckland region, published an article in the NZ Herald “ARC swimming against the tide with its port holdings”.

Thompson makes the business case for the ARC to sell its majority shareholding of the Ports of Auckland because it makes a profit and uses the money to pay social subsidies to public services. Thompson is saying that state owned assets should not make a profit, or better still sell these assets so that private business can make the profits. Nothing galls the capitalists more than seeing the ARC actually taking profits from the private sector and spending it on workers.

It is clear that the National government is a government of the capitalist class in crisis and that they will impose the costs of their crisis onto ordinary workers without any concern for “democracy” or for our welfare. The seizure of power in Auckland and stripping of its $28 billion worth of assets will increase the costs of basic services and amenities to workers.

Workers Fight Back

The National ACT asset grab in Auckland is a repeat of Rogernomics, imitating the “shock treatment” used by Roger Douglas in the 1980s. Douglas said then that his neo-liberal reforms could only work if they were introduced quickly before there was time for organize resistance. The result was the defeat of the unions and of all other workers organisations, including the desertion of the Labour Left that split from the Labour Party to form New Labour in 1989.

We have to learn the lessons of the defeats we suffered under Rogernomics Mark 1. First we must reject the abolition of the existing councils and their elected representatives. This means junking the feudal institution of the Royal Commission used by the Labour Government to decide on Auckland’s future. Second, we have to fight the plans of the National ACT regime to use this feudal process to seize power and privatise Auckland as a Super City council dominated by councilors elected by the corporate class under a Super-Mayor.

We have to demand that any Auckland Super City should be elected by proportional representation on the basis of democratically formed local and existing city wards, including constituencies that represent Maori iwi in the Auckland region.

Second, to mobilise our forces to stop this coup against democracy we have to organize the unions and community organisations to put bans on the actions of the NACTs Transitional Agency as it usurps the role of the local bodies so as to prepare Auckland’s publicly owned assets and provision of services for privatization or abolition. This will mean stopping the Transitional Agency from preparing public assets and services for privatization by sacking workers and cutting spending.

Wharfies first in the gun

We can start by backing the Wharfies who are facing big job losses as the Ports of Auckland prepares for privatization. While it is owned by the ARC, the Port is run like a capitalist corporation. The threat to jobs today is only the start of the cutbacks in jobs and conditions under a fully privatized Port Company.

While the Port is the main prize of the privatisers there are a number of other “commercial” activities in their sights. The ARC uses its profits from the Port to subsidise its social services such as public transport. Other local body functions such as provision of amenities like swimming pools and libraries will be targets for the Hide axe. Auckland rail which is potentially profitable is likely to be also prepared for privatisation, as with the provision of water.

The resistance to the corporate grab of Auckland has to be on the ground. Those whose lives will be trampled by the capitalist plan to turn Auckland into a capitalist speculators paradise at their expense must mobilise locally, regionally, nationally and internationally to stop it.

What we need instead of a bosses' supercity for superprofits is a socialist supercity to socialise the provision of housing, transport, water, health, education and all social amenities that a are needed by the workers who make all the wealth.

Back the Iwi Have Influence campaign!

Back the unions fighting jobs and services cuts!

Back proposals for mass actions such as a Rate Revolt!

For a Workers’Tamaki Makaurau!

For a Socialist Super City, in a socialist Aotearoa, in a Socialist Federation of the South Pacific!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Antrim/Armagh: Unconditional but Critical Support

Socialist Fight unconditionally defends those Irish Republican militarists that carried out the executions of British Army soldiers at a barracks in Antrim earlier this year, and killed the officer of the PSNI colonial police force in Craigavon. The British Army are in Ireland as imperialist occupiers, denying self-determination to Ireland and maintaining the last major colony of the British Empire (the occupied 6 Counties of Ulster that comprise "Northern Ireland"). The soldiers were going from the occupation of one country to occupy another. For this reason, British Army soldiers are certainly 'legitimate targets' of those fighting for a united Ireland, free of imperialist forces and free of the Border that divides not only the Province of Ulster and the Irish nation, but also divides the working class. That is where we are in agreement with the "republican militarists".

However, we need to ask what do the republican militarists think can be gained from a resumption of the guerillaist strategy, "armed struggle", by a dedicated, secretive minority that failed so decisively when carried out by the P-IRA on the basis of much more support than is enjoyed by its splinter groups? We need to propose alternatives.

British troops were re-introduced in 1969 to ensure the maintenance of the border dividing Ireland since 1921 and to defend British interests in a much broader context than 'just' in Ireland. The Provisional IRA emerged as the defenders of the beleaguered Irish nationalist minority. Their goal was to "get the British soldiers out" of Ireland. Their campaign enjoyed mass support among those Irish nationalists under occupation, as well as among Irish immigrants worldwide.

Bobby Sands

This support peaked in 1980 and 1981, when Republican prisoners went on hunger strike to win their rights as Prisoners of War against Margaret Thatcher. Hunger Strike Committees sprung up all over the world, mostly in former British colonies. The working class of much of the world was mobilising in defence of "the men behind the wire" against world imperialism as represented by the British Government.

Thatcher's intransigence, with the total support of Labour’s shadow Home Secretary, former Northern Ireland Minister Don Concannon, an NUM sponsored former union official, and the cowardly inaction of much of the far left, caused the deaths of ten hunger strikers between 5th May and 20 August 1981. A brief look at the worldwide reaction to the death of Bobby Sands on 5th May shows its powerful anti-imperialist effect. This is from the Wikipedia account:
In Milan, 5,000 students burned the Union Flag and shouted "Freedom for Ulster" during a march. In Paris, thousands marched behind huge portraits of Sands, to chants of 'The IRA will conquer'. In France, many towns and cities have streets named after Sands. Examples include Nantes, St Etienne, Le Mans Vierzon and St Denis. In the Republic of Ireland, his death led to riots and bus burning. In Dublin, the famous Moore Street market closed for the day of Sands funeral. In Liverpool a march in support of Sands took place from Upper Parliament Street to the Pier Head, chanting "Bobby Sands MP".

It was besieged by enraged Liverpool Orange Lodge members along the whole route. The International Longshoremen's Association in New York announced a twenty-four-hour boycott of British ships. Irish bars in the city were closed for two hours in mourning. In Hartford, Connecticut a memorial was dedicated to Bobby Sands and the other hunger strikers in 1997. The lower house of the New Jersey Legislature, voted 34-29 for a resolution honouring his "courage and commitment."

In 2001, a memorial to Sands and the other hunger strikers was unveiled in Havana, Cuba. After the 1979 Iranian revolution the government renamed Winston Churchill Boulevard to Bobby Sands Street. In the Indian Parliament, opposition members in the upper house Rajya Sabha stood for a minute's silence in tribute. A large monument dedicated to Irish protagonists for independence from Britain, including Bobby Sands, stands in the Waverley Cemetery in Sydney, Australia.

The all-Ireland Hunger Strike Committees and the mobilisations, were dominated by Sinn Fein who used them to build popular front alliances with Fianna Fáil and Labour local councillors in the south. Their policy was no confrontation with the southern state forces and this was rigorously enforced in this second revolutionary situation in May 1981 following the death of Bobby Sands; the other was in August 1969, both, of course, were all-Ireland upsurges.

In the late 1970s early 80s the radicalisation in Ireland was always to pressure the British state to negotiate a way out, so the roots of 1998 Good Friday Agreement (GFA) were firmly planted then. SF used the hunger strikers as voting fodder. But the only force that could have got the Brits out was a united front with the British working class. However, except for currents like Irish Freedom (RCP) and some others, the ‘Brit left’ refused to give unconditional support and fight the Prevention of Terrorisms Act in the unions etc. It was this early British version of a War on Terror that exposed the chauvinism of the British left on Ireland.

The leader of the Hunger Strikers in the Maze Prison, Bobby Sands, was elected with 30,492 votes from his death-bed as an MP to Westminster for Fermanagh and South Tyrone as an Anti H-Block/Armagh Political Prisoner. Sinn Fein won the by-election caused by his death from starvation. With Thatcher trashing the industrial base of the British economy at this time - taking on the most well-organised sections of the British working class "salami-style" (first the dockers, then the steel-workers leading to the great Miners' Strike of 1984-5), the mass influx of workers into the branches of Sinn Fein in the 26 County Republic and... the possibilities for a mass campaign to rid Ireland of imperialist domination, led by the organised workers were certainly there.

Good Friday Agreement

However, this seems to have been the beginning of the end for the Provo campaign against the British occupation of Ireland which finished with the signing of the GFA in 1998 and the subsequent decommissioning of Provo weapons. The central occurrence in the intervening years , 1981 to the mid-1990s' striking of a deal between the petit-bourgeois nationalists of the P-IRA and the imperialists of the British Government (the GFA), was the world-historic defeat for the proletariat of the collapse of the deformed and degenerated workers' states of Eastern Europe, the USSR, China etc in 1998-91.

This victory for imperialism dramatically shifted the whole balance of world forces away from progressives and toward neo-liberal capitalism: its effects being seen everywhere with a huge ideological offensive by imperialism, spreading neo-liberal economics everywhere in the world. Politically we saw the collapse of former opponents of imperialism in the form of political formations 'making deals', or supporting nasty, thoroughly anti-working class Governments.

This was collectively known as "the Peace Process", most famously involving the PLO in Palestine, the ANC in South Africa and Sinn Fein in Ireland. In April 2009 Gerry Adams and his team visited Israel and Gaza to extol the benefits of the GFA. Nowadays, Sinn Fein as junior partners at Stormont, sit almost at the top of the new structure of Government for the occupied 6 Counties - overseeing the running of the hated Northern statelet that their predecessors fought and died to destroy, actively assisting the British imperialists in their continued occupation by attempting to legitimise the occupation and its political structures!

It would seem that the aims of those that carried out the attacks on the British Military and the PSNI colonial police force were to de-stabilise Sinn Fein's involvement in the Stormont regime to collapse the structures. From reading the various websites of these republican militarists, including their statements of Easter 2009, it is clear to see that they offer no way forward for the workers and poor of Ireland or anywhere else in the world but by their actions they damage the opportunities for the workers - the only truly and consistently progressive force in modern society, to impose their own solution to the various crises facing them and the planet.

The militarists have a warped idea that the increase in repression that is an inevitable side-product of their 'terroristic' forms of action is in some way progressive (sounds a bit like recommending a vote for the Tories in a British election - 'because the working class need to be whipped like a dog before they shall get off their knees and fight' or something!). Of course the closing down of civil liberties can in no way be to the advantage of the working class, which needs the utmost liberty in order to arrive at a programme for the conquest of political power.

Hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle

Do we share the aims of the republican militarists? Well, they rarely criticise the partitionist Government of the 26 Counties Republic of Ireland and think that 'justice' shall be done if the 6 Counties currently under occupation were to comprise part of a capitalist 32 county united Ireland. We as revolutionary socialists have to ask what the class nature of such a future united Ireland might be, and we stand with James Connolly who wrote in the Shan Van Vocht in January 1897:
If you remove the English army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle, unless you set about the organisation of the Socialist Republic your efforts would be in vain. England would still rule you. She would rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole array of commercial and individualist institutions she has planted in this country and watered with the tears of our mothers and the blood of our martyrs.
That is the story of the 26 counties. We are in favour of a 32 county Workers' Republic in Ireland which would be part of a socialist federation of the islands of Britain and of Europe, and of the whole world. We recognise that the only genuine solution to the present finance and economic crises—as well as for problems such as the "national question" in Ireland—is the ending of the nightmare of capitalism worldwide which is based on the private ownership of everything in the world - a tiny number of capitalists own and control the whole of the Earth's resources.

We fight for a world revolution, the vision of October 1917 in Russia. Easter 1916, August 1969, May 1981, were part of that objectively; the Irish working class needs a leadership that consciously fights for it.

Socialist Fight is published by the International Trotskyist Current.
Contact: PO Box 59188, London, NW2 9LJ,

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

South Africa: Alexandra residents on the march for houses and jobs for all

On Wed 13th May 2009 at 830am Alexandra residents will march on the Johannesburg High Court, raising their demand for adequate housing and jobs for all. The march starts at Vogas house (corner Pritchard and Mooi streets). Frustrated by years of empty promises by the government for housing and jobs, many residents occupied the RDP houses in River Park, Alexandra.

The Alexandra Renewal Project, a product of the ANC’s so-called broad based black economic empowerment, has not only failed to provide adequate housing for all in need in Alexandra, they have also been involved in corruption, selling houses to their friends which should have been given for free to backyarders and shackdwellers. The Alexandra Renewal Project is seeking a High court action to evict the residents from the RDP houses in River Park. The Alexandra Residents are on the march to oppose this. While several several community and worker organizations support the march, it is being spearheaded by Vukuzenzele and supported by the Landless People’s Movement.

The residents say that the world capitalist crisis is reflected in South Africa, in part by the government not building enough houses for the people, creating an artificial scarcity in housing so that people’s desperation ensures that the banks and construction monopolies can make super-profits. Thus the fight of the workers in North and South America against retrenchments and against homelessness, in the entire world against high food prices and low wages, against unemployment is part of the same fight locally for housing and jobs for all.

Their fight is part of the same fight of workers locally for a living wage or for an end to retrenchment. The government’s commitment to monopoly capital is reflected by their appointment of billionaire capitalist, Tokyo Sexwale to the housing ministry. Mr Sexwale is the head of Mvelaphanda holdings which has substantial shares in construction giant Group 5. He is but one of several paper empowerment billionaires who are owned hand and foot by Anglo American and JP Morgan Chase. To add insult to injury the government has renamed the housing ministry to be that of ‘human settlement’- this shows that the government has now openly given up on housing the masses and will do their masters’ bidding to resettle the poor in shacks away from the city centres (social control).

The Alexandra residents are calling for Cosatu, Nactu and Fedusa to call urgent extended joint shopsteward council meetings to unite the housing struggles with the fight for a living wage, for lower food prices, for shorter working hours and an end to unemployment.

Forward to houses and jobs for all!

Disband the Alexandra Renewal Project!

Down with ‘broad-based’ self-enrichment!

Expropriate the banks and construction companies and place them under working class control!

For further comment:
Freda Dlamini ph 0743520141
Thabo Modisane ph 0781297797

[46 Arrested on MayDay
Frustrated by years of non-delivery and corruption in allocation of the few houses in Alexandra, the shackdwellers and the homeless who live in some of the vacant factories in Marlboro (a section in Alexandra), occupied some flats built by the ANC self-enrichment group, Alexandra Renewal Project. True to form, the police cracked down on the masses, arresting 46 people, today, 1 May 2009. The occupation of the houses symbolises the essence of the birth of Mayday, namely a day of struggle for the demands of the working class on a world scale; this time the right to housing. To date, despite numerous requests by the homeless for the list of who will be able to move into the flats, the Alexandra Renewal Project refuses to release the names. Instead, their instruction was to put the police on the homeless. This summarises the essence of the ANC-SACP -Cosatu popular front: they are talking about worker interests from the platforms of the many Mayday rallies, while in practice are defending the interests of the banks (international capital) by enforcing mass homelessness.
The arrested were being held in the Bramley police station, near to Alexandra but due to the cells being full, they are being transferred to John Vorster square. [John Vorster was one of the most brutal apartheid prime ministers, reknown for his heartless crackdown on the ANC and other then 'liberation' forces]

Shaheed Mahomed, Secretary, Workers International Vanguard League
1st Floor, Community House, 41 Salt River rd., Salt River, South Africa 7925
ph 0822020617, fax 0880214476777 web

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Nepal: Maoist farce in slow motion

The Maoist CP (N) under the leadership of “General” Prachanda has run its course from tragedy to farce. Refusing to complete an armed insurrection after 10 years of civil war it turned to parliament to bring about a ‘bourgeois’ revolution. This would mean another 10 years collaborating with the Congress Party (traditional party of the weak Nepalese bourgeoisie), with the World Bank, the IMF and multinational capitalism, to prepare the conditions for “21st century Maoism Chinese style”.

Really! We condemned this at the time as an open betrayal of the masses and predicted it would end in bloodshed. But this tragedy has turned to farce.

Now Prachanda has resigned because the Nepalese military will not fulfill the agreement to incorporate the members of the demobilised Maoist army! This is not the failure of “21st century Maoism” but 20th century Stalinism with tragic-comic characteristics. The Stalinists first openly betrayed in China in 1927 when the Comintern (Stalinised Communist International) insisted that the Chinese CP formed a political alliance with bourgeois General Chiang Kai-chek against the Japanese. Chiang turned on the leadership of the CP and massacred it.

It seems Prachanda wants to turn the tragedy of China 1927 into the farce of Nepal 2009. While Chiang had to plot to surprise the CCP leadership to kill them, in Nepal Prachanda delivers the flower of the Maoist rank and file into the arms of the bourgeois state military in the name of “democracy”. But when the army refuses to recruit the Maoist rebels into its army, the communist “General” Prachanda, resigns as Prime Minister and incites the Maoist ranks to go back to the ‘streets’ to re-impose “democracy”.

Perhaps he has in mind here the mass public demonstrations such as we have seen in Thailand recently, where the masses have been used by warring factions of the national bourgeoisie to don red or yellow T-shirts in the name of “democracy” i.e. parliamentary musical chairs.

Or perhaps he means something like what happened in the French colonies and ex-colonies recently where mass mobilizations produced rapid concessions from Sarkozy and his local hirelings to re-impose French imperialist rule.

What is sure is that Prachanda has constituted the Maoist leadership as a state bourgeoisie that is in competition with the old bourgeoisie, and is using the masses as street mobilization fodder to win the franchise of the IMF and World Bank to administer Nepal for imperialism.

He is staking his reputation as a new bourgeois Bonapartist, on persuading the “international community” that he is serious about demobilizing his Maoist army into the state military, and that it is only the old guard that has ties to feudalism and the Indian Congress Party that resists his “modern peoples army” and a new decade of peace and democracy.

Now the Australian Democratic Socialist Party has come to the rescue: “All those who believe in the principles of democracy and social justice, who believe that people should not be condemned to backbreaking poverty simply because the powerful have carved the world up among themselves, need to support the people of Nepal and insist that:
* the Nepalese people must be allowed to determine their future, foreign intervention must end;
* the peace accords must be upheld; and
* democracy must be respected and the people’s will implemented.

It seems that the DSP treats Marxism like a religion – beg and you shall receive.

But farce is never an improvement on tragedy. Trotsky said of China in 1927 that the CCP leadership had to maintain its armed independence from Chiang Kei-chek and to take over the leadership of the national revolution to defeat the Japanese and the Chinese ruling class. Only the armed workers leading the poor peasants could defeat imperialism and its national capitalist agents and make a socialist revolution.

The tragedy of the revolution betrayed in China 1927 gave rise to Maoism, where the Stalinist bureaucracy was forced to rule in the absence of a viable national bourgeoisie until it could turn itself into new bourgeoisie. Prachanda has compressed generations and has gone from Maoist insurgent to bourgeois Bonapartist in less than a decade to betray the revolution in Nepal.

Trotsky’s advice to the CCP still holds in Nepal today. There is no capitalist road to socialism. That is the road to counter-revolution. There is only the Permanent Revolution - the expropriation of the capitalists and the destruction of their class state. The Maoist rank and file must abandon the bankrupt farce of Maoism and recover their arms, mobilise independently of the state, and build armed soviets to take power for a socialist revolution.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Three Bolivian Miners Killed - No Accident!

Yesterday (May 6, 2009) three miners were killed in Caihuasi [town near the Huanuni tin mine]. This was no accident. We hold the government of Morales and his army responsible. These deaths that the direct result of the drive for profits by the bourgeois government of Evo Morales and imperialist transnationals. Stop killing the workers!

On May 6, in the mining district of Huanuni, as they finished their shift, Coca Edwin Cucuna, 24, Julian Lajares Policarpio, 35, and Simón Rodríguez Mollinero, 38, died in a mine explosion. This tragedy happened at the 160 level (at 160 meters below ground) while preparing the site to be worked by the next shift of miners.

All the media talk of the bourgeoisie is that what happened is the result of an "accident."

This a lie! It is nothing but murder! The government of Morales which did not spend any money on maintaining the mine and the safety of miners is responsible. While the minerals, oil and other raw materials are still high on the world market, the "Bolivarian" governments like that of Morales, Chavez and the boli-burgeoisies profit from the bones, muscles and blood of workers.

Thus, while the workers hit by inflation fight for better living conditions, wages and to defend their jobs, and, like the miners of Huanuni, for a decent retirement pension, these governments have responded with brutal repression at the hands of the murderous army of Morales, or like Chavez, brutally suppressed the workers of Sidor steel workers striking for their just demands.

Bullshit! It is the workers who always pay with their lives, while the union leaders like Montes collaborate with this government and its agreement with the counterrevolutionary fascists of the Media Luna [the Eastern part of Bolivia that contains around 80% of the mineral wealth] that smashes our brothers and sisters in the East.

These leaders, Montes, Solares and Mitma [Guido Mitma, the head of the Bolivian Federation of Mining Unions] subordinate the workers organisations to the government of Morales, negotiating with the SMTMH [Sindicato Mixto de Trabajadores Mineros de Huanunian - Huanuni Miners union] an agreement whereby if the government invests in the Huanuni mine, workers will forgo a wage increase for many years!

This is a lie, there is no investment. Already they are making miners redundant and stopping production bonuses. They're just false promises! The government did not invest during the mining boom, how will it invest when mineral prices are falling! Once again trying to con miners!

Huanuni miners, like all workers in Bolivia, are super-exploited: the surplus value is torn from our labor by the national capitalists, the imperialists and the Morales government uses a small part of it to buy the services of the treacherous union leaders to control the workers and make them submit to the pact between the MAS and the fascists!

Last year Montes and Solares disarmed the miners of Caihuasi in the face of armed police repression causing the assassination of two miners and many more badly wounded. Now today they serve the greed of the capitalists to run down the conditions in the mines so that once more Huanuni goes into mourning for the dead! Stop killing the workers!

With the death of fellow miners, the SMTMH decreed a mourning period throughout the mine for 48 hours. This should become a day of mourning and protest in the whole of Bolivia to unite the workers' ranks. The Huanuni miners vanguard should again stand alongside the miners of San Cristobal, who occupied the mine of the multinational Pan American Silver, taking hostage the bosses, technicians and contractors to press their demands; and alongside the superexploited workers of the cooperatives and those thousands of miners out of work.

We must return to the Pulacayo Theses, there must be unity in the ranks of the miners vanguard:

* The sliding scale of wages and working hours to create jobs for all!

* National Congress of rank and file delegates of COMIBOL [State Owned Mines] unemployed and cooperative workers!

* To raise a militant campaign for the nationalization of all the mines, beginning with Mutún, and under workers' control!

* Any miner who does not exploit another miner can get a job in the nationalised mines and share in the gains of all miners!

* Industrialization will come from the expropriation of all the transnationals as demanded in 2003-2005!

* To win this we must fight for the resolutions of the general assemblies of the miners of Huanuni in July 2008, which declared Montes, Solares and Mitma as traitors to be implemented! Collaborators get out of the leadership of the COB [Bolivian Trade Union Central], the FSTMB [National Miners Union], and all local unions!

To build a miners militia that will strike terror in the hearts of the cowardly Santa Cruz oligarchy, the proletariat and poor peasants must break with the MAS, return to the revolutionary road of 2003-2005, re-founding the COB of 1952 together with its armed militia!

* Its Us or Them: Class against class!

* The miners will not be blackmailed with dismissals or wage cuts to pay for the crisis of the national bourgeoisie and the transnationals!

* Huanuni miners unite with all workers such as industrial workers, the teachers of La Paz, and the militant youth of the UMSA [University Mayor de San Andres in La Paz]. For a Congress of delegates of the COB, along with the poor peasants and militant students fighting to rebuild the 1952 COB militia!

The hundreds of miners who have been killed in the mines of Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Latin America, Africa and Asia are the martyrs of the international working class. Their blood stains the banner of the many millions of immigrant workers and and low paid workers in the U.S. and the imperialist powers of Europe, the workers of the former workers' states now exploited by the former Stalinist bureaucracy reborn as a new exploiting class.

Raise the bloody flag of these martyrs to workers everywhere! Throughout the world the working class has begun its battle against the capitalist parasites: the workers of Madagascar, the militant workers and youth of Greece, France, Guadeloupe and Martinique and the former states workers!

International Trotskyist League (LTI)
Of the Leninist Trotskyist Fraction
May 7, 2009