John Riddell: Democracy in Lenin's Comintern

How did Communist parties handle issues of internal discipline and democracy in Lenin’s time? The recent intense discussion within the British Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP) and beyond has heard claims that the SWP rests on the traditions of democratic centralism inherited from the Bolsheviks.

John Riddell: Democracy in Lenin's Comintern

Richard Atkinson: Death and the Bedroom Tax

Some extended thoughts about Stephanie Bottrill, the woman who committed suicide because of the bedroom tax.

Richard Atkinson: Death and the Bedroom Tax

Dave Renton: Who Was Blair Peach?

Today marks the 35th anniversary of the killing of Blair Peach by the police. David Renton looks back at Blair Peach’s life as a poet, trade unionist and committed antifascist

Dave Renton: Who Was Blair Peach?

Bunny La Roche: Nasty Little Nigel gets a rude welcome to Kent

Bunny La Roche of RS21 on Nigel Farage's visit to Kent

Bunny La Roche: Nasty Little Nigel gets a rude welcome to Kent

Financial Appeal

We're up and running! An appeal for funds to kickstart the IS Network

Financial Appeal

Sign the petition against mass death sentences in Egypt

 

A court in the Upper Egyptian province of Minya has sentenced 529 defendants to death in a trial which has been condemned as “grotesque” by Amnesty International.

Take action now – sign our statement using the form below. Signatures will be published and delivered to the Egyptian embassy by 28 April, the likely date for an appeal against the sentences.

We condemn the death sentences issued by a court in Minya province in Egypt on 24 March 2014 against 529 defendants who were found guilty of the murder of a police officer during the storming of Matay police station in August 2013.

The use of the death sentence against such a large number of defendants underscores that the current regime is not interested in finding out the truth about the events which led to this prosecution but rather in imposing collective punishment on its opponents.

The sentences were issued without hearing any arguments from the defence in a trial which lasted only 45 minutes according to defence lawyers.

International and local human rights organisations have documented numerous cases of mass arbitrary arrests, lack of access to legal representation and severe torture of detainees since the military’s intervention to remove Muslim Brotherhood affiliated president Muhammed Morsi from power on 3 July 2013.

We also note that according to Amnesty International around 1400 people were killed between 30 June 2013 and January 2014, the vast majority of them protesters. According to local human rights activists the numbers of detainees arrested during the same period may be as many as 21000.

In such circumstances it is impossible to have any confidence in this judgement.

We call for an end to the violent repression of protests in Egypt and fair trials for all accused.

 

Sign the petition here

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Crisis in the Ukraine (House of Commons Meeting) - Videos

Videos from the House of Commons public meeting Crisis in Ukraine, London, 10th Mar 2014

Hosted by John McDonnell

Volodymyr Ishchenko (Commons Journal)

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Zakhar Popovych (Ukrainian Left Opposition / Commons Journal)

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Crisis in the Ukraine (ISN meeting) - Videos

Videos from the IS Network public meeting Crisis in the Ukraine, London, 12th Mar 2014

Chris Ford (IWGB / Debatte Journal)

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Zakhar Popovych (Ukrainian Left Opposition / Commons Journal)

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See also the statement from the Left Opposition in Ukraine >>

Videos from the House of Commons public meeting Crisis in Ukraine, London, 10th Mar 2014

Hosted by John McDonnell

Volodymyr Ishchenko (Commons Journal)

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Zakhar Popovych (Ukrainian Left Opposition / Commons Journal)

{youtube}Eqf2WaXpGeQ{/youtube}

 

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Statement from Left Opposition in Ukraine



Ukraine will be saved from intervention by solidarity
3rd March 2014

The socialist union “Left Opposition” offers its assessment of the Russian aggression in Crimea and the destructive role of Ukrainian nationalists. The intervention of Russian armies was made possible as a result of a split in Ukrainian society. Its unity is impossible with the oligarchs and chauvinists in power. Only solidarity will save Ukraine.

1) We are for the self determination of Crimea only after the withdrawal of the Russian armies that are carrying out this flagrant intervention. We are for the self determination of the people, and not of the mercenary elite who “self determine” so as to protect themselves from Crimeans with the muzzles of Russian automatic weapons. The outcome of separatism in Crimea will become the rebirth of the Russian empire, which threatens a world war.

2) The justification of Putin’s aggression is the nationalist hysteria that the leaders of the Maidan have ignored. Aggressive xenophobic jokes were treated as normal, and even today on anti-war pickets we are still hearing provocative slogans like “Glory to the nation! Death to its enemies!” The Kremlin’s manipulation of these slogans has frightened the people of the East and South. However, the aggression initiated by the Russian Federation is patently imperialistic and aimed against the revolutionary republic (the genuine revolution, unfavourable for the oligarchs, only just began to unfold and it was sure to put the question of social lustration on the order of the day.

A war of liberation if led by the Ukrainian oligarchs would resolve itself in the fascisisation of society: we can expect unification around mythical national interests, an unrestrained dictatorship and the conduct of social policies aimed at concentrating wealth in the hands of the elite. Our government can claim popular legitimacy only after a social lustration has been carried out. However, our government has been legitimised by the threat of foreign intervention – we are forced to love a regime, not our country. Government in Ukraine is progressively passing directly into the hands of the oligarchs (Kolomoisky and Taruta have become governors). The oligarchs plundered our country, and now they are demanding that hungry people stand in defense of their corrupt state!

3) the Maidan was not uniform – radical nationalists really bespoiled the protest with xenophobia, but fortunately they did not determine the Maidan’s demands. The population of Eastern and Southern Ukraine, as well as the members of ethnic minorities should know that there stood on the Maidan many representatives of those forces who uphold internationalist, left and democratic positions. To support the myth of a “fascist Maidan” is to legitimise the use of force by neo-Nazis against such citizens as those noted here who disagree with them. We are very saddened to see that antifascist ideas are being exploited to justify war. Antifascism is solidarity, not intervention!

4) the citizens of Western and Central Ukraine should press the government not to allow linguistic discrimination, destruction of monuments or the incitement of unnecessary hostility. Ukrainisation led by the oligarchs can be realised only in a chauvinist key. It is necessary to review language policy and to broaden the right to use the native language in those regions where it is needed. The national-cultural renaissance of the Ukrainian and other peoples of our country is inseparable from the resolution of social questions.

5) We are for the preservation of a united Ukraine, as a unique cultural phenomenon. The coexistence of various ethnicities only enriches universal human culture. In the event of the country splitting the rule of chauvinists will be established in both its parts. All conflicts in Ukraine are as a result of the dictatorship of the oligarchs. Ukraine can be consolidated on the basis of defeating the rule of the oligarchs – the workers of the East and South equally want social change and they should understand that inflaming conflict simply puts off the prospects for improvements to an unforeseeable future.

6) the Russian federation government is controlled by the most conservative advocates of the interests of capital. And that is why those citizens who support a referendum on “reunification” with Russia had better prepare for a police state and for an antisocial policy. We will not allow for the precedent of a victory for Russian imperialism. Despite the claims of Ukrainian bourgeois nationalists, there are no traces of socialism at all left in Russia. The population of Ukraine will start to hate Russians even more, while among the Russian masses imperialistic and revanchist illusions will grow stronger. Hitler-style promises of a better life will culminate in a catastrophe for the aggressor nation. Let us not forget that this war is also an opportunity for Western capital to bring in its own armies and to seize part of Ukrainian territory.

7) It is necessary to appeal in the first instance to the Russian speaking population of Ukraine and to Russians who do not support war. They must sabotage the mobilisation and movement of occupying armies, while also exerting continuous pressure on the Russian government and Russian capital. Russian imperialism is using them to strengthen its domination through a referendum. It is necessary to create international brigades to maintain lawful order, to oppose mutual chauvinisms, to defend strategic facilities, to conduct propaganda among troops, as well as to oppose the disarming of Ukrainian armies. Form workers self defence detachments at enterprises for their protection from external intervention and the covetous hands of their unpropitious “owners”. Organise detachments with those you trust, or whom you are prepared to elect! The Ukrainian army should act under citizens’ control. Why die under the leadership of nationalists like Parubiy and Yarosh? They have on their conscience inept tactical mistakes on the Euromaidan and the stoking of interethnic hostilities. Why die in the interests of the Akhmetov-Kolomoiskys? The workers of all nations should learn solidarity from the Ukrainian oligarchs – they overcame all their differences and united around their common class interests.

Down with the bandit office holders who have become separatists!

Down with Russian imperialism!

Down with the Ukrainian chauvinists!

Long live the workers’ independent Ukraine!


Translation from the original (http://gaslo.info/?p=4990)

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Revolution or reaction? Crisis in Ukraine

Eyewitness Report by Ukrainian Socialist

VOLODYMYR ISHCHENKO

COMMONS: Journal of Social Criticism

MONDAY 10th MARCH
6:00 PM Committee Room 12,
House of Commons
via main St Stephens entrance,
Westminster tube

 

Videos from the House of Commons public meeting Crisis in Ukraine, London, 10th Mar 2014

Hosted by John McDonnell

Volodymyr Ishchenko (Commons Journal)

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Zakhar Popovych (Ukrainian Left Opposition / Commons Journal)

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Bangladesh - super-exploitation and climate crisis

Bangladesh – super-exploitation and climate crisis: leader of peasant federation tours Britain

Bangladesh is one of the areas of the world most vulnerable to climate change, with sea levels rising faster than the global rate. Estimates suggest that up to 20 million Bangladeshis in low-lying areas could lose their homes by 2050.

Badrul Alam, was elected President of Bangladesh Krishok Federation (BKF), the largest peasant federation in Bangladesh. He has served on the international leadership of La Via Campesina representing the BKF. He is also a leader of a revolutionary socialist organisation in Bangladesh collaborating with the Fourth International. The BKF are heavily involved in campaigning against climate change. They have organised a series of climate caravans to take the message out to large numbers of people both across Bangladesh itself and more widely to other parts of Asia.

Like comrades in the Philippines, a central part of that work is the promotion of food sovereignty as a sustainable alternative to agribusiness – hence their relationship with Via Campesina, the international peasants movement. They were also involved in work around the Rana Plazza disaster – many of the super-exploited women workers in Dhaka are climate refugees forced to leave the rural villages from which they come by rising sea levels and salinification.

Badrul Alam is touring Britain for two weeks at the beginning of March to talk about these issues. As extreme weather has been hitting Britain over recent weeks the tour could hardly be more timely:

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