Stand up to racism and fascism rally and demo 22 March 2014 marking UN Anti-Racism Day
■ No to scapegoating of immigrants■ No to Islamophobia■ Yes to diversityRally and Demo marking UN Anti-Racism Day11am, Saturday 22nd March 2014Central London • Demonstration assembly point tbc
By Martine Dwyer
Last Sunday’s Venezuela elections resulted in a convincing win for the Maduro-led Chavista party the PSUV (United Socialist Party of Venezuela) confounding the hopes of the right and their US backers and vastly strengthening the position of Maduro after his narrow win by 1.5 per cent in April.
By Jane West
The decision by Yingluck Shinawatra to call a snap election in Thailand in response to a determined attempt by the right to overturn her democratically elected government is a high risk strategy, despite the fact that her party would almost certainly win in any fair election. The right-wing monarchical elites and the army in Thailand know they cannot win in a free election and so are looking for an opportunity to delegitimise or distort the electoral process and impose an army or so-called technocratic ‘people’s council’ government instead.
By Tom Castle
Nelson Mandela is a hero to all those who have struggled for freedom, for black liberation and for revolutionaries the world over. He was hounded and imprisoned for almost half a lifetime by the apartheid regime, in close collaboration with the imperialist powers led by the US and Britain. In death he is rightly receive tributes from across the world, even including entirely hypocritical ones from the likes of Obama and Cameron.
Every socialist and progressive person will mourn today for the loss of Nelson Mandela.
The struggle he waged was against the greatest inhumanity to afflict the post-war world: the existence of a state where black people were treated as little more than cattle, racially segregated in every aspect of life, confined by pass laws, forcibly removed from traditional homelands, imprisoned, beaten and often killed, denied any democratic voice, banned from protest, forbidden to marry as they chose, under-educated through the ‘Bantu education’ system, subject to discriminatory taxes and denied South African citizenship including the right to a passport.
By Bridget Robertson
Rising energy bills mean that a quarter of the population of Britain now has to spend more than 10 per cent of their income on energy, at the same time as energy company profits have increased by 77 per cent in one year alone.
This has meant thousands of households are being forced to choose between heating and eating as the Tory assault on living standards takes its toll. However, for the vulnerable the consequences are even more serious. Last winter 31 000 people died prematurely, with around a third of those deaths attributable to living in a cold home.
By Nicky Dempsey
The battle over austerity is moving into a new phase. Encouraged by talk of recovery a number of disputes have broken out across a wide variety of sectors, on pay, jobs, pensions and against privatisation.
The decision of the United States to fly two B-52 bombers unannounced through Chinese strategic airspace was nothing less than a calculated, and extremely dangerous, act of aggression against China, further whipping up tensions in the East China Sea.
The B-52 fly-through was directly aimed at toughening up Japan’s stance vis-a-vis China. Two Japanese airlines that had previously agreed to inform China of flights over the disputed Diaoyu islands withdrew this agreement following the US action.
The remarks by former Labour Home Secretary, David Blunkett, alleging that the ‘behaviour’ of incoming Roma migrants in Sheffield could lead to violent inter-community clashes and even riots have been seized on to whip up a further round of racism and anti-immigrant scape-goating.
By Jennifer Nash
On Saturday 150 students from more than 50 campuses attended the Student Assembly Against Austerity to discuss ideas and actions to take forward the struggle against austerity nationally and on campuses. Upbeat, energetic, optimistic – students are ready for action against austerity and to play our part in the upturn of struggle.
The event was one of the biggest gatherings of the student anti-austerity movement since the height of the student fight back against tripling tuition fees and the scrapping of EMA in 2010.
The massacre of shoppers at the Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi has been followed by a series of bloody attacks against both the immigrant Somali community in Kenya and targeted assassination of Muslim clerics by the security forces in Kenya. In the international sphere the US has also launched a number of raids against alleged architects of a series of terrorist attacks.
The Egyptian army’s July coup was met with widespread confusion on the left. Within Egypt and internationally some socialists actually supported the coup, others were explicitly neutral in the struggle between the Muslim Brotherhood government and the army.
The article by John Riddell that appears below considers these issues from the point of view of the experience of the international communist movement from 1917 to the 1930s, drawing out why these positions are dangerously wrong.
By Paul Roberts and Jane West
As expected Labour conference fired the starting gun for the 2015 election. What was not so anticipated was the Miliband leadership’s announcement of a series of popular policies that are widely perceived as constituting a shift to the left.
The strategy rolled out was for Labour to position itself as the party that defends the living standards of ordinary people. This was a shift in strategy and a welcome one. It is based on a correct understanding that the mass of the population is now more animated by contracting real incomes – the ‘cost of living crisis’ – than the ideology of ‘deficit reduction’.
By Nicky Dempsey and Jane West
It is little more than a year and a half until the next general election and already the main issues in each party’s campaign are being delineated.
Labour is still virtually certain to be the largest party after the next election as the long-term decline in the Tory vote will be further depressed by five years of austerity. Electorally the main question is whether Labour wins a majority – and of what size – or whether it is forced into coalition with the Lib Dems.
Talk of economic recovery and even boom is entirely misplaced, but it may have a very positive effect on the movement against austerity.
Patrice Lumumba was murdered in 1961. The leader of Congo’s first post-colonial government lasted just weeks in office and was dead within months of his election. A Season in the Congo, playing an extended season at the Young Vic, is a joyous celebration of his life and a poignant record of his death.
By Paul Roberts
Whilst President Obama tries to tie down support this week in advance of forthcoming Congressional votes, the US military is preparing an immense assault on Syria. US imperialism does not make idle threats, so it intends that the attack will proceed. Members of Congress are being told that a ‘no-vote’ next week, against air-strikes, would catastrophically weaken the US for years to come.
Propaganda in this country and by the other imperialist powers has sought to portray the use of chemical weapons as a uniquely barbarous act. Nick Clegg speaking in the Commons debate where the government lost in its initial efforts to authorise air strikes claimed they had not been used in a hundred years. More circumspectly, Foreign Secretary William Hague claimed they had not been used in this century.
Both are completely wrong and in trying to create a pretext for attacking Syria attempt to hide the role that the imperialist powers themselves have played in the use of chemical weapons. Chemical weapons are created by industrial processes. The most advanced industrialised countries, until recently solely the imperialist powers, have access to the most sophisticated chemical weapons, either for their own use or for sale to the reliable allies.
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