Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Britain’ Category

Brendan Ogle’s Challenge – Vladimir Putin’s War Crimes in Ukraine

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Brendan Ogle, an activist who works for the UNITE trade union in Ireland, offers a challenge.

A CHALLENGE….

Here’s a challenge to all those on the left seeking to justify, obfuscate, excuse, confuse or (my favourite) ‘EXPLAIN’ Putin’s war crimes. It comes in 2 steps. Give it a go:

‘Step 1: Look at the picture. Now imagine when you opened your curtains or blinds this morning that this is what you seen. Your neighbourhood was devastated and your neighbours are incinerated.

Step 2: Now imagine that 3,799km away there are people who consider themselves leftists saying that you and your neighbours are NAZI’s and that this happened because Michael Martin was sucking up too closely to Joe Biden/US/EU/NATO.

What would you think of such people?’

Challenge over.

Well, how did you get on?

Brendan Ogle March 25 2020

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Alain Krivine has left us – “leading figure of May 1968 in France, has just died aged 80. All the French media have commented on his passing”

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Dave Kellaway writes an excellent tribute. source : https://anticapitalistresistance.org/krivine-who/?fbclid=IwAR0w7ZABo272oR3iPRsZIVjcdt2NqoqSrSQBU4QO3k-z4NYa-Qar28_g9X8

Five things we can learn from the life of Alain Krivine.

Alain Krivine, a leading figure of May 1968 in France, has just died aged 80. All the French media have commented on his passing. Current presidential candidates like Melenchon, who leads the left in the polls with 11%, Roussel, standing for the French CP and Nathalie Arthaud for Lutte Ouvriere have all issued statements yesterday. Former members of Krivine’s organisations who are now MPs in Melenchon’s party or leaders of the Socialist Party also made public their respect for his contribution to the left.

For people of my generation whom he inspired or who worked with him it was a sad day yesterday. Leading members of the British left such as Alex Callinicos for the Socialist Workers Party, John Rees for Counterfire or his former comrade in arms, Tariq Ali,  have all publicly mourned his passing. 

But for many activists reading this who are not over fifty the name might not mean a great deal. If we are to build a deeper and broader political culture of a fighting left then it is important we remember those who went before us. Their lives are sometimes rich with lessons for us today. We learn not just from some of their smarter moves but also from where they may have got it wrong.

What can we learn from Alain?

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UNITE Trade Union (Britain) Call : “Immediate Ceasefire and a Withdrawal of all Russian Forces From Ukraine”

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The British trade union UNITE – which also has a substantial membership in Ireland, has issued a positive statement about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Unite executive council – statement on Ukraine crisis.

Sharon Graham is the General Secretary of the British Trade Union UNITE

Sharon Graham was elected to lead UNITE in a recent election which produced a surprise result https://www.rs21.org.uk/2021/08/25/sharon-graham-wins-stunning-unite-victory/

The Unite executive council unreservedly condemns Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and stands in full solidarity with the millions of victims of the attack. Unite calls for an immediate cease-fire and a withdrawal of all Russian forces from Ukraine.

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British Anti-War Movement : “Attack on Gilbert Achcar only divides anti‑war Left”

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The British organization Anti-Capitalist Resistance (ACR) responds to Lindsey German’s recent Counterfire Weekly Briefing that unfairly characterised Gilbert Achcar.

Source : https://anticapitalistresistance.org/attack-on-gilbert-achcar-only-divides-anti-war-left/?fbclid=IwAR18xt1jaIbaHSYvPMGu_XJEOTe0O57r11fIVMlDdDP2A9AaPGq6m3Vfkpg

Who is Gilbert Achcar? “Gilbert Achcar grew up in Lebanon. He is currently Professor of Development Studies and International Relations at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. His most recent books are Morbid Symptoms: Relapse in the Arab Uprising (2016) and The People Want: A Radical Exploration of the Arab Uprising(2013). Other books include The Clash of Barbarisms (2nd expanded edition 2006); dialogues with Noam Chomsky on the Middle East in Perilous Power: The Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy (2nd edition 2008); and The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives (2010)” Achcar left the British Labour Party after Sir Keir Starmer started his Blairite turn. He is now a member of the ACR. Readers can judge his politics from this recent article published on the International Viewpoint site. https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article7530

At a time of impending conflict between Russia and NATO over Ukraine, with each side driven by internal needs to intensify austerity and repression in their own spheres of influence, revolutionary socialists will need to be standing shoulder to shoulder in activity to stop the war machine. This will be at home, where we face our most immediate enemy, and internationally, in solidarity with our comrades and with those facing occupation and brutal calculated military action.

This will be a time of joint struggle against imperialist war and intense debate on the left, with different assessments of the situation and our tasks. In this context the recent comment by Lindsey German in a Counterfire weekly briefing (reproduced in the Morning Star) about our comrade Gilbert Achcar, accusing him of siding with imperialism, was a dishonest and unfair representation that sows division among the anti-war Left. It should be retracted and there should be an apology.

Gilbert is described by Lindsey German as someone who has gone over from the Left to supporting imperialism, along with Christopher Hitchens, Nick Cohen and Norman Geras. Anyone familiar with the names invoked and with Gilbert Achcar’s writings would know that putting him in the same category with the former is both slanderous and preposterous.

Lindsey German herself, in the name of the Stop the War Coalition, recently rebutted Keir Starmer’s slanderous attack in The Guardian. This makes it even more important for her to respect the conditions of honest and comradely debate when arguing with other comrades of the radical left. If Lindsey German is willing to have such a debate in public with our comrade, he would be very happy to oblige.

We urge all comrades on the antiwar and anticapitalist left to refrain from unfounded accusations and conduct debate constructively.

A good friend and comrade Paul Stewart adds this context :

For those, so many good, solid comrades, many indeed who have fought imperialism, its not too later to stand not just against NATO but also Putin, to stand with the people of Ukraine. No more parsimonious mealy mouthed, “yes Putin is bad too”, while spending your time showing pictures of Ukrainian fascists while ignoring Russian fascists’ support for invasion. It will be salutory to know that throughout Europe from the north to the south, it’s the far right who support Putin……Le Pen and Eric Zemmour in France, Farage in Britain….and so on …

Paul Stewart

John Meehan February 24 2020

Left Wing Solidarity Delegation from Wales and England in Ukraine

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A solidarity delegation from the left in Wales and England is underway in Ukraine. A copy of a press release is below. Two members of the Welsh Senedd (Assembly) – Plaid Cymru (The Party of Wales) leader Adam Price MS and his colleague Michael Antoniw MS – are part of the fact-finding team. Initiatives like this belong to the best traditions of international anti-war movements connected to the left and the Labour movement. Wales, like Ireland, is a small nation with a history shaped by Great Power Domination made in London. The parallels between Ukraine and Russia were highlighted by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the first leader of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (1917-22) RSFSR after the successful October 1917 Socialist Revolution. Source : http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article61199

The history – VI Lenin compares relationships : Ireland and England – Ukraine and Russia. 100 years later – much the same starting point?

The delegation has already met with activists of the Sotsialny Rukh, Human Rights Activists from East Ukraine, and the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine.

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No to war – Russia hands off Ukraine!

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This is a very clear statement – Russia Hands Off Ukraine! Source : http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article61191 – where readers can view a long list of people and organizations endorsing the statement. Sign the statement here : https://ukrainesolidaritycampaign.org/2022/01/28/russia-hands-off-ukraine-2/

The Ukraine Solidarity Campaign in Britain released this call to action.

Broken glass. Source: Wiki Commons.

Readers may also like to read this recommended article written by Volodymyr Ishchenko, who explores the possible consequences that would flow from a successful Russian military invasion of Ukraine. https://lefteast.org/russian-invasion-could-destabilize-russias-political-order/

Volodymyr Ishchenko is a research associate at the Institute of East European Studies, Freie Universität Berlin. His research focused on protests and social movements, revolutions, radical right and left politics, nationalism and civil society. He authored a number of peer-reviewed articles and interviews on contemporary Ukrainian politics, the Euromaidan uprising and the following war in 2013-14, published in Post-Soviet Affairs, Globalizations and New Left Review, among other journals. He has been a prominent contributor to major international media outlets such as The Guardian and Jacobin since 2014. He is working on a collective book manuscript, The Maidan Uprising: Mobilization, Radicalization, and Revolution in Ukraine, 2013-2014. Source : https://lefteast.org/russian-invasion-could-destabilize-russias-political-order/

We, socialists, trade unionists, scholars, activists for human rights, social justice and peace, stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine against Russian imperialism.

The international left and labour movement must vigorously oppose Russia’s threats against Ukraine.

We say neither Washington nor Moscow. We oppose the policy and manoeuvrings of the big Western powers and NATO.

But currently it is Russia that is threatening the Ukrainian people’s right to self-determination and challenging their legitimacy as an independent nation.

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British State Trying to Shoot a Birmingham Six Messenger Chris Mullin – Journalist in the Old Bailey Dock – Charged under 2000 ‘Terrorism Act” because he is protecting his sources

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This Duncan Campbell story comes from the British Guardian Newspaper. The journalist and former Labour MP (Sunderland South) Chris Mullin is protecting his sources. He bravely confronted a monstrous British State frame-up of Six Irish political hostages, jailed for 16 years for a crime they did not commit. These men were known all over the world as The Birmingham Six.

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For What Died the Daughters and Sons of Róisín?

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A prominent Irish politician, Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald, recently congratulated the English monarch for sitting on her Elizabethan throne for 70 years. This is behaviour we usually associate with Gombeens. Diarmuid Breatnach writes a brilliant exposé of Sinn Féin’s current policies.
https://rebelbreeze.com/2022/02/15/british-queens-long-service-to-colonial-imperialist-war/
The word Gombeen comes from the Irish language :
A term of contempt dating from the years of the Great Hunger to describe capitalists who are happy to use the colonial system to amass personal wealth at the expense of their compatriots; its source is in the Irish language (an gaimbín/ gaimbíneachas — https://www.dictionary.com/browse/gombeen).

The war is over. The Gombeens triumphed 100 years ago. Luke Kelly of the Dubliners asked :
“For What Died The Sons of Róisín” – and today, in 2022, we ask “For what Died the Daughters and Sons of Róisín”? The words of Kelly’s poem should should raise the hair on the back of your neck.

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“Some cause happiness wherever they go. Some cause happiness whenever they go” Is British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the way out?

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I asked an interested comrade living in England – how long will Boris Johnson last? The first reply :

He’s clearly in serious trouble, and the Tories are scouting around their stable of horrors for a replacement.

Oscar Wilde’s Verdict “Some cause happiness wherever they go. Some cause happiness whenever they go”

The drama is receiving continuing attention in the Irish mass media. The RTÉ Morning Show hosted by Claire Byrne covered the Downing Street Pantomime. First boxer on the stage was Mr Andrew Bridgen (MP for Hard Brexit) [Bridgen is a competent anti-Johnson backbencher who may ascend to ministerial ranks if Johnson resigns]. Sir Tony Blair’s ex handler, Alistair Campbell (Iraq Dodgy Dossier) was in the opposite corner. Campbell started OK, concentrating on Boris Johnson’s CV – saying partygate is predictable once you knew the CV. Campbell went all Roy Keane after that – take out the player, never mind the ball – once Bridgen mentioned Campbell’s Iraq War Deadly Dossier. Lies about Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction” helped cause a hideous imperialist war – millions of innocent civilians dead and injured. Campbell’s behaviour contributed to the hounding of a courageous whistleblower, Doctor David Kelly, who died via suicide. Prime Minister Johnson lies about partying while the mother of a likely child abuse criminal (Queen Elizabeth and Prince Andrew) was grieving over the death of a dangerous driver husband (Prince Philip). Is this an episode in an ongoing drama – the strange death of Brexit Hard Right Britain?

Sources and Images :

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson’s Stormont-Westminster Double-Job Stroke Shot Down

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Public Meeting – Uprising in Kazakhstan

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Uprising in Kazakstan
Zoom meeting ‒ Report, Questions & Answers, Discussion

Zoom meeting, Saturday, January 22nd, 10am PT / 6pm UTC / 19h CET Ainur Kurmanov, Socialist Movement Kazakhstan – with a report, Q&A and discussion. Sign up at → tinyurl.com/uprising2022

Public Meeting- Solidarity with the Kazakhstan Uprising

Please sign up here to get the login details for our Zoom meeting with Ainur Kurmanov (Socialist Movement Kazakhstan), with reports, Q&A and discussion on Sat, Jan 22, 10am PT / 6pm UTC / 19h CET.
https://tinyurl.com/uprising2022

Since January 2, the uprising in Kazakhstan has offered an inspiring chapter in the global revolt against oppression, endemic poverty, and yawning wealth inequality. We are excited to hear from Ainur Kurmanov from the Socialist Movement Kazakhstan about the background to this uprising, recent developments, and the fight for working-class power.

While different factions of the old regime are trying to exploit the anger and unrest, the striking oil workers and miners provided a glimpse of working-class power. We stand in solidarity with all the people arrested, protesting the hundreds of killings that reportedly took place at the hands of an armed Russian intervention and brutal state repression.

This meeting is organized by AntiCapitalist Resistance (England and Wales), ControCorrente (Italy), ecosocialist.scot (Scotland), Internationale Sozialistische Organisation (Germany), Lernen im Kampf (Germany), Reform & Revolution caucus in DSA (USA), Republican Socialist Platform (Scotland), Russia’s Socialist Movement (Russia), RISE (Ireland), SAP ‒ Antikapitalisten (Belgium).

Aufstand in Kasachstan

Veranstaltung mit Ainur Kumarow
von der Sozialistischem Bewegung Kasachstan

Internationale Online-Veranstaltung 
am Samstag, 22. Januar 2022, 19 Uhr
auf Russisch und Englisch

Mitveranstalter: 
Anti*Capitalist Resistance (A*CR, England und Wales), 
ControCorrente (Italien), 
ecosocialist.scot (Schottland), 
Internationale Sozialistische Organisation (ISO, BRD), 
Lernen im Kampf (BRD), 
Reform and Revolution ‒ Caucus in the DSA (R&R, USA), 
Republic Socialist Platform (RSP, Schottland), 
RISE (Irland), 
Rossiskoje Sozialistitscheskoje Dwishenije (RSD, Russland), 
SAP – Antikapitalisten (Belgien)

Bitte hier anmelden:
https://tinyurl.com/uprising2022

Uprising in Kazakhstan ‒ Zoom meeting

Please also consider signing our international statement of solidarity with the uprising in Kazakhstan, https://tinyurl.com/KazakhstanSolidarity

Solidaritätserklärung auf Deutsch:
https://sozialismus.ch/international/2022/internationale-solidaritaet-mit-dem-aufstand-in-kasachstan/

Kasachstan: Farbrevolution oder Aufstand der Arbeiterklasse? Interview mit Ainur Kumarow
https://sozialismus.ch/international/2022/kasachstan-farbrevolution-oder-aufstand-der-arbeiterinnenklasse/

Internationale Sozialistische Organisation (ISO), Sektion der Vierten Internationale in Deutschland

iso@intersoz.org
www.intersoz.org
http://facebook.com/intersoz.org