Palestine Solidarity Campaign AGM 2016

Comrades from the CPGB-ML and Red Youth attended the Palestine Solidarity Campaign AGM 2016 on Saturday 23 January, joining hundreds of members from branches, affiliated trade unions, and other organisations.

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The annual report largely focused on the acheivements of the wider Palestine movement, including the impact of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement and lobbying MPs & Parliament. There was frustration that the British government is not seriously tackling the issue, but excitement that it had been raised frequently by members of the public and the PSC at hustings, and contacting MPs and candidates directly, and that they had been able to organise fringe meetings at the Labour, Conservative, and SNP conferences.

Continue reading “Palestine Solidarity Campaign AGM 2016”

Film-showing of ‘Palestine: What Hope Peace?’

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Just prior to the Christmas holidays the CPGB-ML were pleased to host a showing of the documentary-film ‘Palestine: What Hope Peace?’ in Manchester with a live Q&A from the film’s creator Kerry-Anne Mendoza. There was a stall where people could pick up our latest Gaza leaflets as well as stickers, postcards, a copy of Harpal Brar’s excellent ‘Imperialism & War’ book and copies of the CPGB-ML pamphlet on George Habash, and one of our North West comrades provided an introduction to the event before handing over to Kerry-Anne to say a few words as this was a platform for her project.

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We were very keen to show the film as the CPGB-ML has stood in solidarity with the Palestinian people since our inception and we have been consistent in our stance as a party unlike many of those groups who are only interested when Palestine makes the headlines! Kerry-Anne Mendoza is a talented and dedicated author, journalist, film maker and activist as those of you familiar with her work and as blogger of the Scriptonite Daily website will know. By travelling to us in Manchester Kerry-Anne gave us a rare and valuable insight into what is really happening in Palestine via both her own eyewitness experience and from first-hand interviews with the people of Gaza. This is the kind of truth that we will never get from the BBC with its shameful censorship and insidious campaign of disinformation and lies.

I’m pretty sure I’m preaching to the converted here as regards the mainstream media though! You only have to look at news coverage to see that it is the Israeli ‘victims’ who dominate the narrative while the numerous deaths of Palestinian civilians are pushed to one side or glossed over – Palestinians merely ‘die’ while Israeli’s are ‘murdered’.

A recent and pertinent example of this skewed reporting is when three Israeli teenagers were killed by an unspecified person(s). Yet despite the fact that the bodies had been found, Zionist leaders whipped up a media shitstorm sending mobs baying for blood and vengeance by reporting that the three teens were still ‘missing’. This, apart from being seen as some bizarre justification for burning alive 16-year old Mohammed Abu Khdeir, also provided an excuse for the ransacking of homes in the West Bank by occupation forces and the kidnapping of hundreds and killing of ten Palestinian people.

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In ‘Palestine: What Hope Peace?’ Kerry-Anne provides us with a harrowing look at what the people of Palestine are facing day in and day out. Rather than relying on image upon image of maimed and bloodied corpses in the kind of sick, almost eroticised voyeurism and glorification of death that saturates online social networking sites, Kerry-Anne has opted to approach the situation from the point of view of a western outsider (herself!) and her reaction to what she is seeing. But she also combines this with the views of the people who live with this every day.

The images of the dead and death that are shown do not linger — in fact it is because they don’t linger that they are all the more real to us. Kerry-Anne told us that the reason she wanted to show herself as an outsider and how frightened and upset she was is because often the people she met in Gaza were so numb and so shell-shocked that the full impact of what is happening to them is almost lost. They are desensitised to a point, living under the constant threat of death, a barrage of bombs. Yet somehow they are maintaining a sense of normality even under conditions that worsen with each new attack. This is the most terrifying of all – that a community of people can live this life as though it were ‘normal’.

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As well as the human element this film is set very firmly within the historical context and the history of this apartheid. Kerry-Anne spoke to us afterwards about the Israeli people who are ‘resisting’ the attacks, she said that most of these people who say they want ‘peace’ actually just want ‘quiet’ — they want no blood but are happy for the segregation, the walls and the oppression and racism to remain. People need to be aware that the Palestinians are not terrorists, they don’t have advanced weapons or an army — when Israel claims to be defending itself in actual fact what it is really defending is the illegal occupation of a country.

After the event Kerry-Anne had the chance to network with the various Palestinian campaign groups from the Manchester area and as a result another showing of the film is planned which will coincide with a tour of the film’s final cut with dates already scheduled for January and February 2015 – well worth seeing!

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What we all need to bear in mind is that Palestine is not something far away that does not affect us, it is one part of a whole – every single issue is linked from Gaza, to the NHS and Bedroom Tax, Nato to fracking, fascists in the Ukraine to police brutality – these are all symptoms of the imperialist disease. This is why we have to stand in solidarity with the brave Palestinian people who are rising up against the imperialist occupiers. We need to stand against the minority of capitalists in power, those who care only for domination and maximising profit for themselves and to the detriment of the masses. We have to stop all parts of the imperialist war machine from functioning in whatever way we can be it by boycotting Israeli goods or mass action.

Stand with Gaza! Victory to the Intifada!

Collective power of workers can topple zionism

Communists met in Birmingham last night to hear Joti Brar, central committee member of the CPGB-ML, put the case for isolating zionism.

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Joti explained that it is not only consumer power which can isolate Israel but the power of the organised working class. Our media unions must organise their members so as not to write, publish or broadcast war propaganda. Our manufacturing unions need to organise workers to refuse to make munitions and other equipment destined for Israel and used in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

Earlier in the day red youth and members of the Birmingham committee of the CPGB-ML met and spoke to local shopkeepers about the ongoing boycotting of Israeli goods from our shops and to urge local people to support today’s demonstration in central London. Redyouth.org will post up photos from today’s demo in due course, if you can get along and help us please find our stall at Portland Place or Hyde Park!

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Red Youth committee members and cadres of the Birmingham CPGB-ML

Shenstone Factory Protest Shows People’s Power!

Support for the activists occupying the Israeli arms factory, UAV Engines in Shenstone, grew throughout the day yesterday. People continued to arrive from across the country, joining protesters who had stayed through the night, to express their outrage and grief at the continued support of  humanitarian crimes against the Palestinian people. Their message was clear: stop exporting arms to aid in genocide, stop supporting an apartheid state, stand up against oppression and injustice in their most barbaric forms.

Protest of Elbit factory continues
Proteters supporting the activiests, shutting down a drone parts factory

Protesters outside the police cordon (a crime scene, making it an arrestable offence to enter for anyone, except of course locals and anyone driving a nice car) kept up the spirits of the occupiers from London Palestine Action on the roof. Chants, drumming, and slogans were heard by the people on the roof, although the police would not let the protest move within sight of the factory.

The police invoked draconian laws recently passed that make being a ‘nuisance’ an arrestable offence, delaying any decision to move the cordon closer to the factory, and maintaining a strong presence throughout the day. Strangely, when the cameras arrived, the police decided to move all of their force out of sight, perhaps to give the impression that a peaceful protest wasn’t being met with over 30 officers armed with pepper spray, batons, and stun guns.

The protesters grew frustrated by the police’s attempts to delay and diffuse the movement, and decided to hold a silent march through the village which was met with support from the local pub and church. Many in the village were previously unaware that military hardware was being manufactured in the factory.

The police deliberately delayed the decision of whether to let the protesters move ahead, which had been demanded early on, in order to proceed onto the roof and arrest the occupiers at approximately 7-8pm. The police did this under the cover of allowing them to use phones to conduct interviews with the BBC and PressTV. Despite being removed from the roof they got the message out to people across the world, and have educated and inspired many not only about what is really happening in the world, but shown them that they are empowered to take action and stand for what is right.

Taking action, from informing the public and staging demonstrations to occupying means of production and denying trade and transport for imperialist wars is not only justified, but our imperative. Our ruling classes wage war in their own interest, oppress workers of all countries, and profit from our suffering. We must take control of our own labour, deny the capitalists the means of oppression, and smash the tools of imperialism.

“Either place yourself at the mercy of capital, eke out a wretched existence as of old and sink lower and lower, or adopt a new weapon-this is the alternative imperialism puts before the vast masses of the proletariat. Imperialism brings the working class to revolution.” – J.V. Stalin, Foundations of Leninism

The CPGB-ML and Red Youth are hosting a public meeting to discuss the bourgeois media lies about what is happening in Gaza and what can be done about it this Friday 8th August at 274 Moseley Road, Balsall Heath, Birmingham, B12 0BS at 6:30pm.

You should also join us at the Palestine Solidarity Committe demonstration in London on Saturday 9th August, taking place at 12 noon in front of BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London, W1A 1AA. Take action! Make a difference!

Read more:

Taking Action For Palestine (Red Youth UK,

Stand with Gaza… Join the axis of resistance! (CPGB-ML, August 2014)

PSC: Palestine Safety-valve Committee? (Proletarian, February 2013)

Taking Action For Palestine

Earlier today activists from London Palestine Action bravely occupied UAV Engines in Shenstone, Staffordshire, owned by Elbit Systems (an Israeli company). UAV Engines produces parts for Israeli drones used in the massacre of Palestinian men, women, and children, as well as to destroy schools and hospitals in Gaza. A contingent from Red Youth are attending in solidarity with the activists and the Palestinian people, and in protest against the Zionist regime.

Red Youth protesting Israeli arms factory
Pro-Palestine protest at an Israeli arms factory shut down by activists

The activists have chained themselves to the roof of the factory, forcing it to stop production and demanding that UK ceases trading arms to Israel, imposes sanctions on Israel, and supports the investigation into human rights abuses in Gaza.

Despite having to keep the operation a secret, as soon as it was announced earlier today people have been travelling from all over the country to show their support. Ordinary people who know they have the ability and the duty to make a difference are arriving from Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, and further afield to protest British involvement in the war crimes perpetrated by Israel.

Despite an overwhelming police response, including countless vans, officers, and a helicopter, the protesters are determined not to let these crimes against humanity go unchallenged. The stony indifference of the ruling class’s lackeys have only fuelled the determination of the protesters to help the activists keep the factory shut, and their servitude to the warmongering, profiteering bosses of this country are as clear as ever.

These is awareness growing amongst the working classes that the media is selling us a cheap fairy tale of good versus evil in the world, that the wars of the ruling class are not their wars, and that there is a world to fight for in which justice and equality can be the norm rather than the exception.

Together, by organising, educating, and taking action we can throw a spanner in the gears of the imperialist war machine. This is the only way the working people of the world can take back their rights, dignity, and redirect the fruits of their labour to the betterment of humanity.

Do something today, share this article, tell someone about the injustices committed by the UK in their name, come to the UAV Engines factory at Shenstone (Lynn Lane, near the train station, WS14 0DH) to support the activists and protest the slaughter of innocent men, women, and children.

The CPGB-ML and Red Youth are hosting a public meeting to discuss the bourgeois media lies about what is happening in Gaza and what can be done about it this Friday 8th August at 274 Moseley Road, Balsall Heath, Birmingham, B12 0BS at 6:30pm.

You should also join us at the Palestine Solidarity Committe demonstration in London on Saturday 9th August, taking place at 12 noon in front of BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London, W1A 1AA. Take action! Make a difference!

Read more here:

Stand with Gaza… Join the axis of resistance! (CPGB-ML, August 2014)

Resistance is the key to defeating zionism (joti2gaza, July 2014)

Palestine: strengthen the axis of resistance! (Proletarian, December 2013)

Leila Khaled

Red Youth salutes the revolutionary women of the world! Our young cadre will be publishing short pieces all this week to celebrate our revolutionary heroines in the run up to International Women’s Day. Today, Comrade Adam, aged 12, discusses Leila Khaled.

Red Youth will be meeting to celebrate International Women’s Day on 9 March, at 1.00pm, at the CPGB-ML party centre 274 Moseley Road, Highgate, Birmingham.

In the beginning, all women had to prove that we could be equal to men in armed struggle. So we wanted to be like men – even in our appearance … I no longer think it’s necessary to prove ourselves as women by imitating men.

I have learned that a woman can be a fighter, a freedom fighter, a political activist, and that she can fall in love, and be loved, she can be married, have children, be a mother … Revolution must mean life also; every aspect of life.

– Leila Khaled

Leila Khaled is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). She was born on 9 April 1944 in Haifa, Palestine. She and her family fled to Lebanon during the 1948 Nakba (Catastrophe), leaving her father behind.

At the age of 15, following in the footsteps of her brother, Leila joined the radical Arab Left Nationalist Movement, originally started in the late 1940s by Comrade George Habash. The Palestinian branch of this movement became the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine after the 1967 Six-Day War.

Leila Khaled with portrait
Leila Khaled with a portrait of her younger self

Comrade Khaled came to public attention for her role in a 1969 hijacking of the TWA Flight 840, which aimed to publicise Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians. On its way from Rome to Athens, she and her comrades diverted a plane to Damascus. She ordered the pilot to fly over Haifa, so she could see her birth place, which she could not return to. No one was injured, but the aircraft was blown up after all the hostages had disembarked.

After this high-profile operation, Leila underwent six plastic surgery operations on her nose and chin to conceal her identity and allow her to take part in a future hijacking – and because she did not want to wear the face of an icon.

On 6 September 1970, Leila and Patrick Arguello, a Nicaraguan, attempted the hijack of Israeli El-al flight 219 from Amsterdam to New York as part of the Dawson Field hijackings – a series of almost simultaneous hijackings carried out by the PLFP. The attack was foiled when Israeli sky marshals killed Arguello and overpowered Khaled. Although she was carrying two hand grenades at the time, Khaled had received very strict instructions not to threaten passengers on the civilian flight.

The pilot diverted the aircraft to Heathrow airport in London, where Leila was delivered to Ealing police station. On 1 October, the British government released her as part of a prisoner exchange. The next year, the PFLP abandoned the tactic of hijacking, although splinter movements continued to hijack airplanes.

Leila Khaled in Damascus
Leila Khaled, defiant, in Damascus

Speaking about Palestinian freedom fighters such as comrade Khaled, and the many martyrs and soldiers of the PFLP and PLO, the legendary George Habash said these words:

I remember each of the martyrs, one by one, and without exception – those martyrs to whom we are indebted, for whom we must continue the struggle, holding fast to the dream and holding fast to hope, and protecting the rights of the people for whom they shed their blood. Their children and their families have a right to be honoured and cared for. This is the least we can do for those blazing stars in the skies of our homeland.

I also remember now the heroic prisoners in the jails of the occupation and the prisons of the Palestinian Authority – those militants who remind us morning and night of our patriotic duty by the fact that they are still there behind bars and by the fact that the occupation still squats on our chests. Each prisoner deserves the noblest signs of respect …

Now permit me to express my gratitude to all the comrades who have worked with me and helped me, whether in the Arab Nationalist Movement or in the Popular Front. They stood beside me during the hardest conditions and the darkest of times, and they were a great help and support for me. Without them I would not have been able to carry out my responsibilities. They have been true comrades, in all that the word implies.

Those comrades helped to create a congenial atmosphere, an environment of political, theoretical, and intellectual interaction that enabled me to do all that was required. Those comrades have a big place in my heart and mind. I offer all my thanks and appreciation to each one of them by name. In addition, to the comrades who vigilantly guarded me, looking out for my safety, all these long years, I offer my gratitude …

As a last word, I feel it necessary to say that I know well that the goals for which I worked and struggled have not yet been attained. And I cannot say how or when they will be attained. But on the other hand, I know in light of my study of the march of history in general, and of Arab and Palestinian history in particular, that they will be attained.

In spite of this bitter truth, I leave my task as General Secretary of the Front with a contented mind and conscience. My conscience is content because I did my duty and worked with the greatest possible effort and with complete and deep sincerity. My mind is content because throughout my working years, I continually based myself on the practice of self-criticism.

It is important to say also that I will pay close attention to all your observations and assessments of the course taken by the Popular Front while I was its General Secretary. I must emphasise that with the same close attention, if not with greater attention, I will follow and take to heart the observations and assessments of the Palestinian and Arab people on this course and my role in it.

My aim in this closing speech has been to say to you – and not only to you, but to all the detainees, or those who experienced detention, to the families of the martyrs, to the children of the martyrs, to those who were wounded, to all who sacrificed and gave for the cause – that your sacrifice has not been in vain. The just goals and legitimate rights which they have struggled and given their lives for will be attained, sooner or later. I say again that I don’t know when, but they will be attained.

And my aim, again and again, is to emphasise the need for you to persist in the struggle to serve our people, for the good of all Palestinians and Arabs – the good that lies in a just and legitimate cause, as it does in the realisation of the good for all those who are oppressed and wronged.

You must always be of calm mind, and of contented conscience, with a strong resolve and a steel will, for you have been and still are in the camp of justice and progress, the camp whose just goals will be attained and which will inevitably attain its legitimate rights. For these are the lessons of history and reality, and no right is lost as long as there is someone fighting for it.

Khaled continued to return to Britain for speaking engagements until as late as 2002, although she was refused a visa by the British embassy in 2005 to address a meeting at the Féile an Phobail in Belfast, where she was invited as a speaker.

She is now married to the physician Fayez Rashid Hilal, and today lives with their two sons Bader and Bashar in Gaza, Palestine, where she currently serves on the Palestinian National Council.

Leila Khaled on the PNC
Leila Khaled currently serves on the Palestinian National Council, the legislative body of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation

Comrade Leila was the subject of a film entitled Leila Khaled, Hijacker. The documentary film Hijacker – The Life of Leila Khaled was directed by Palestinian filmmaker, Lina Makboul.

Laila Khaled will always be remembered as a freedom fighter who stood up against the oppression of her country’s people. She fought against Israel and imperialism and for the liberation of Palestine.

Hands Off Syria, Victory to Assad: An exchange between the CPGB-ML and Media Lens.

The correspondence below was written by a CPGB-ML member in response to an article that appeared on MediaLens.org titled ‘Structural inclinations – the leaning tower of propaganda: chemical weapons attacks in Ghouta, Syria’ on 9 October.

We publish this not as an attack on Media Lens, whose work we value and respect, but as an exposure of the debilitating ideological castration that separates peace-loving people in the imperialist countries from adopting a class position on questions of war and peace; from turning imperialist war into a war on imperialism, from taking a resolute stand with the oppressed against the oppressors and unifying the workers in the imperialist countries with their brothers and sisters who resist in the oppressed countries.

1) Dear Media Lens

I was horrified to see the extent to which the imperialist bias that you make it your business to expose in corporate journalism has infected your own view of events in Syria.

In your recent article on the chemical weapons propaganda, you felt constrained to emphasise twice — at the beginning and at the end of your article — that President Assad of Syria is a ‘war criminal’. And, just like the journalists you excoriate, you offered not a shred of evidence for this assertion.

Near the beginning of your article you wrote, by way of an apology for criticising the corporate media’s ‘house lefties’:

The point is not that Aaronovitch, Hasan and Monbiot are wrong – the Assad dictatorship has committed many horrific war crimes, and may have again in Ghouta.

And at the end, having yourself referred to just some of the evidence that, when put together, makes it quite clear that the Syrian government did NOT carry out the recent chemical weapons attack in Ghouta, you undermined your whole article with the following statement:

Again, none of this means that the Syrian government, and indeed Assad himself, was not to blame for the August 21 attacks.

For any right-thinking person not infected with colonial prejudice, it is perfectly clear to see that President Assad is a popular, unifying leader in a country that has faced escalating hostility from imperialism for decades.

He heads a government that has been freely elected and which comprises members of many parties — a national-unity coalition, in fact. Syria’s government is far more democratic and representative than our own. Did you know that 50 percent of the seats in the Syrian parliament are reserved for workers? Since you so casually refer to it as a ‘dictatorship’ — as if that was established fact — I can only assume that you did not.

President Assad’s only ‘crime’ is to be the leader of a nation that has refused to ‘know its place’. He unites people from all backgrounds and presides over a much-valued secular state in a region where sectarian hatred has been deliberately fostered (and armed) by outsiders for generations.

Anti-imperialist, independent Syria has stood up to US and British corporate and military interests and to zionism. It has given real, physical support to Palestinian and Iraqi resistance and refugees — at great cost to itself. It has spent its resources on providing free education and health care, on keeping food prices low, and on limiting the activities of the very bloodsucking international corporations you also claim to oppose. It has refused to allow its people to become yet more disposable sweatshop-fodder for the world’s financial elite.

For decades, Syria has stood side by side with Iran and the Lebanese resistance to form a counterweight against Israeli (and therefore imperialist) dominance of the Middle East. It has supported countries all over the world — through both trade and diplomacy — that are trying to carve an independent furrow and lift their people out of the superexploited poverty that western imperialists have consigned them to.

So why should it be that you, who claim to want peace and harmony in the world, and an end to the domination of the imperialist corporations, have such a knee-jerk, hostile reaction to a leader and a government who are actually putting your supposed programme into action by standing up to the forces of imperialism? Why are you so quick to come down against David and agree with Goliath?

The only answers I can come up with are laziness and prejudice. You must have relied on vested interests for information in order to so casually refer to ‘dictator Assad’. And you would seem also to have accepted the right of the free-market fundamentalists who control our media to judge and label their opponents.

But any schoolboy critic of the system can tell you that words like ‘dictator’ and ‘undemocratic’ when used by our corporate media are simply code for ‘uppity native getting in the way of our profit-taking’. Can it be that, despite all your years of opposing the propaganda machine, this simple truth has so far eluded you?

Be that as it may, since you have set yourselves up as an independent voice that purports to expose the bias of the corporate media, it behoves you to find out the truth about the people that the West is demonising. And even if you can’t be bothered to to that, it ought to be a very minimum requirement that you not make categoric statements like ‘the Assad dictatorship has committed many horrific war crimes’ without backing them up.

I can assure you, if you think you have evidence, there are plenty of people out there who can help you see through it. Like so much of today’s propaganda, it will turn out to be paper thin.

Over the years, I have subsidised your work (when able), read your books and bought them for friends, followed your alerts and forwarded/shared them around. I have considered the work you do to be extremely useful to progressive humanity. You have written many things I disagreed with, but I considered you to be thoroughly critical in your thinking and aware that the narrative passed down to us by officially-sanctioned history books and the corporate media is written by vested interests and aimed at keeping us quiescent in the face of Britain’s hideous imperial crimes.

Which only makes your refusal to recognise the lies being told about President Assad and the Syrian government more baffling and disappointing.

I very much hope you will publish a full retraction of statements that — whether you mean them to or not — are reinforcing the lies of the corporate war propaganda machine, and therefore supporting what you yourselves have identified as a criminal war effort.

Sincerely yours
JB

2) Hi

Thanks for your email and support in the past.

Assad is certainly not head of the kind of system we would consider democratic. We’re not alone in that view. Noam Chomsky has commented:

‘First of all, Israel was not opposed to Assad. He has been more or less the kind of dictator they wanted.’

In 2011, Amnesty reported:

‘The authorities remained intolerant of dissent. Those who criticized the government, including human rights defenders, faced arrest and imprisonment after unfair trials, and bans from travelling abroad. Some were prisoners of conscience. Human rights NGOs and opposition political parties were denied legal authorization. State forces and the police continued to commit torture and other ill-treatment with impunity, and there were at least eight suspicious deaths in custody.’

You write:

“But any schoolboy critic of the system can tell you that words like ‘dictator’ and ‘undemocratic’ when used by our corporate media are simply code for ‘uppity native getting in the way of our profit-taking’.”

That’s often true but the corporate media doesn’t have a monopoly on the use, or intended meaning behind the use, of particular words. We can use the same words without intending anything of the sort. We have often quoted Ralph Nader on the US political system:

‘We have a two-party dictatorship in this country. Let’s face it. And it is a dictatorship in thraldom to these giant corporations who control every department agency in the federal government.’

In quoting Nader, we didn’t intend to suggest that the US was an uppity native getting in the way of profit-taking.

You write:

“For any right-thinking person not infected with colonial prejudice, it is perfectly clear to see that President Assad is a popular, unifying leader in a country that has faced escalating hostility from imperialism for decades.”

We didn’t say Assad wasn’t popular or unifying. We’ve often pointed out that Syria has faced escalating attacks from external forces of the kind you’re describing. We wrote that the Assad dictatorship ‘has committed many horrific war crimes’. That’s really undeniable. For example, Robert Fisk has cited Syrian army officers who made it very clear that they had not been taking prisoners. The Syrian air force has clearly been bombing civilian areas, also a war crime, and so on. As in any war, the government and head of government are responsible for all crimes of this kind.

Best wishes
DE Media Lens

3) Dear Media Lens

From your reply it’s clear that you are relying on supporters of the system for your information.

‘Human rights NGOs’ are usually backed by the same corporations who control the rest of our media. They are the missionaries of our time, clearing the way for imperial crimes by preaching to the oppressed and spreading slanders about them while pretending to be ‘independent’ of the imperial machine.

They present themselves as ‘neutral arbiters’, but a hefty proportion of what they put out is outright lies, while the rest is distorted through the mirror of western corporate interests.

And who appointed these western ‘NGOs’ as arbiters of rights anyway? Isn’t the first right of people everywhere to be allowed to live in peace? To just live??? Amnesty International led the war propaganda effort for the destruction of Libya with total lies. Its leaders loudly and shamelessly laid the groundwork for a genocide against black Libyans and the almost total destruction of 40 years of civilisational advance — then quietly retracted their lies when the war was over. MSF have been doing the same in Syria by spreading unfounded lies about the use of chemical weapons based on nothing but the say-so of Nato’s death squads.

Robert Fisk and Noam Chomsky are similar ‘left-wing’ imperialists of the type that you are usually quite good at spotting. They are ‘safe’ critics because they never question the really big lies on which the whole ideological edifice of this rotten system rests. If they weren’t such tame critics, you probably would never have have heard of them! I know you have a thing for Chomsky, but I would not rely on him for information for a second. In the case of Syria, he reinforces the western narrative by describing the terror gangs there as a legitimate liberation struggle that has been forced to arm itself. So yes actually, it is perfectly deniable that President Assad is the author of ‘horrific war crimes’ — not only Assad and Syria deny it, but so do most of progressive and oppressed humanity.

There is no civil war in Syria. The US, British and French imperialists are fighting a PROXY WAR. Civilians caught up in terrorist campaigns universally report on how many foreign accents and even languages there are amongst the fighters — who have mostly been drafted in from abroad. These mercenaries are not patriots. They have been trained by their masters to be utterly brutal (ie, killing and kicking out huge numbers of civilians from their homes, kidnapping young children and using chemical weapons on them in order to take photos and blame the deaths on the Syrian government). They recognise no rules of engagement. No crime is too barbaric for them. They are true servants of the Nato nazis.

Syria is fighting for its life as an independent and proud nation against the most powerful forces this planet has ever seen. Are you really saying that you (or Robert Fisk, come to that) are in a position to judge their tactics? One brutal battle where some bloody nasty terrorists got killed does not make the leader of a government into a war criminal. Especially when that government is trying to defend its people’s fundamental right to life by standing up against a criminal onslaught. They are trying not to become the next Afghanistan, the next Palestine, the next Congo, the next Iraq or the next Libya. They are trying to prevent the next middle-eastern genocide.

Do you think the Syrian government would remain popular if it was seen to be bombing its own civilians? Does that actually make sense if you stop to think about it? Why are the Syrian army greeted everywhere as liberators if that’s how they conduct warfare?

There has been a difficulty with ‘democratic freedoms’ in Syria. Where is there not? In Syria’s case, these limitations were a direct result of imperialist and zionist warfare, not the random whim of some mythical ‘evil tyrant’. Countries that stand up to imperialism are forced to take defensive measures. They are under constant attack on all fronts all the time – economically, militarily, via the media and through sabotage and infiltration. In order to allow people to keep going to school, to keep living in their subsidised housing, eating their subsidised food and using their free hospitals, the government had to protect the system that provided those from collapse at the hands of outside agents.

Think Britain during WW2. The country was in a state of emergency. People were asked to be vigilant against alien activity. Democracy was curtailed. Were there good reasons for it? Did the people understand it? Would you therefore characterise Churchill’s government as a brutally oppressive regime of war criminals? [In fact, it’s a bad comparison, as Churchill really was a war criminal and a nasty racist piece of work, but you take my point, I hope.]

Syria has been in a state of emergency, a state of war, since Israel occupied the Golan Heights. It has been constantly infiltrated by spies and saboteurs and, of course, some Syrians are in the pay of these forces. Do you honestly believe that a country under such attack should not take any steps to defend itself? Would you like to see imperialism being given free reign to control every corner of the planet? How do you expect countries to defend themselves if not by ‘oppressing’ those who want to hand the country over to the forces of free-market fundamentalism?

But it is not the job of peace-lovers and anti-imperialists to condemn the victim for trying to stop a crime. We should be pointing our fingers at the criminals and exposing their dastardly activities, not helping them to justify their vicious attacks.

The imperialists are angry only because the measures such states take to protect themselves are to a certain extent effective against their attempts to effect regime change from within, by subversion and manipulation. ‘We should be able to control your political and economic life’ is what calls by the imperialists for ‘open government and democracy’ really amount to. They are total doublespeak. Is it really so hard to see that?

Are you aware that the genuine ‘popular protests’ that the West homed in on and infiltrated as an excuse to trigger its proxy war were against market reforms that had been forced through by the IMF? Did you know that a structural adjustment programme had opened up parts of the economy to corporate investors and led to higher prices and unemployment? That the demonstrations were essentially a result of Syria having made concessions to the great economic pressure that has been brought to bear for decades by the imperialists?

Did you know that the real protestors considered President Assad to be on their side in their call for greater democracy (a lightening of the state of emergency) and for a return to a more nationalised economy and better opportunities for young people? Did you know that the mass of people backed a new constitution two years ago and back the government today? If you knew these facts you would not be so quick to believe the stupid lies about Assad ‘clamping down’ on protestors, ‘firing on his own people’, etc etc.

It is documented that terrorist snipers and armed men attacked police at faked ‘protests’ in order to portray the government as ‘brutal’ and justify their impending war — a war that has been in the planning for at least a decade.

Governments get demonised by the West precisely when they do manage to stand up for themselves and protect their people. While imperialism exists in the world, people will have to find ways to deal with that reality. They didn’t create the situation. They didn’t ask to be in the firing line. I’m sure they would like nothing better than to be left the hell alone to develop their economy and their culture in peace.

But that’s not what happens is it?

Why are we in the imperialist countries allowed to identify with the nobly vanquished victim and loudly wish that the world was not so unjust, but not to give any real support to those who are trying not to be the next victims of this barbaric system? Should we not be pulling out all the stops to help those on the front line who are actually doing something to change the balance of forces in favour of the oppressed?

And if Assad is popular, unifying and freely elected, where the hell do you get off calling him a ‘dictator’?

It’s time to dig a little deeper and decide which side you are really on. There are no neutral arbiters in this world.

Sincerely yours
JB

Support Palestine … Join the axis of resistance!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaBev6QGpfA&w=560&h=315]

Leaflet issued by CPGB-ML, 26 January 2013
www.cpgb-ml.org/index.php?secName=leaflets&subName=display&leafletId=94

Imperialism in the Middle East

In order to make sense of what goes on in the Middle East, we need to understand that today’s world is dominated by a handful of superrich countries, which have become wealthy by looting resources and exploiting people all over the world.

Britain, the first country to develop capitalism was also the first to grab a modern empire.

In the 19th century, Arabia was dismissed as being a barren wasteland, but in the early 20th century, vast oil deposits were discovered under the desert — just around the time that oil was becoming the fuel of choice for many modern machines (including warships!) and industries.

Suddenly, the rush to secure plentiful and cheap supplies of ‘black gold’ became a key strategic imperative for all imperialists, leading to a cut-throat competition for control of the region.

Zionism and Palestine

Seeing their chance, the early zionists asked Britain’s rulers to let them set up a jewish state in Palestine in exchange for helping to keep the region under British domination.

With Arab nationalism on the rise, the imperialists accepted the offer, looking forward to the creation of a “loyal jewish Ulster in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism”.

And, although British masters were later pushed aside by American ones, a ‘loyal jewish Ulster’ is exactly what Israel has remained to this day.

The zionist stooges who destroy Palestinian homes, drop bombs on Palestinian schools, plough up Palestinian crops and poison Palestinian water are bribed by US and British governments and corporations to do imperialism’s dirty work.

In return for helping corporations like BP and Texaco to carry on looting the oil and dominating the people of the whole Middle East, the zionists are given military support and hardware, financial aid, diplomatic immunity, and a campaign of lies and disinformation in the imperialist-controlled media.

Israel was established in an orgy of ethnic cleansing, and has been illegally occupying further Palestinian lands and displacing and wiping out Palestinian families ever since.

War crimes are a daily event in this, the most militarised state in the world. In fact, rather than viewing Israel as a state with a huge military, it is more helpful to realise that Israel is in fact a massive army base that also happens to have some schools. Israeli children are brought up to be Nazi-like stormtroopers, ther heads filled with supremacist hatred of all Arab peoples.

The imperialists made one serious miscalculation, though. It was assumed that in the face of Israel’s might, Palestinians would accept underclass status or leave, but the days when colonialists could evict a people from their land and get away with it were over.

In a century of socialist revolution and national liberation, the racist dismissal of local peoples as ‘uncivilised barbarians’ or merely ‘irrelevant’ was no longer possible.

Instead of politely disappearing, the Palestinians stood their ground — refusing to submit no matter how barbarous their oppressors became. Instead of passively joining the long list of imperialist victims, the Palestinians became a beacon of resistance and an inspiration to oppressed people globally.

Gradually, the wellspring of sympathy that Israel shamelessly exploited following the Nazis’ mass extermination of jews in WW2 has run dry. As every agreement and concession on the part of Palestinians is greeted with fresh Israeli crimes, it has become clear to all that it is the zionists, and not the Palestinians, who stand in the way of peace.

So brazen has its war machine become that, today, Israel is the number one creator of anti-jewish feeling in the world.

Solidarity and resistance

So what has all this got to do with workers in Britain?

We need to recognise that the same ruling class that is waging war on our living standards (trying to force us to pay the price of the economic crisis of capitalism) gains much of its power from looting the world. Since oil is such a vital resource, the British state is still one of Israel’s main backers.

If Israel was defeated, British and US imperialism’s ability to grab the region’s oil would be fatally undermined — and with that wealth would go some of the ruling class’s ability to keep us in our ‘place’.

So it’s in our interest to support the Palestinians against imperialism and zionism. But if we want to give effective solidarity to their struggle, we need to learn from past experience.

A consumer boycott is certainly causing embarrassment to Israel, but no such boycott has ever brought down a state that had such powerful military, financial and diplomatic backers as Israel does.

British workers can actually do a lot more, if we are prepared to use our collective power over the country’s economy. The ruling class might give orders, but it is we who are expected to carry them out. If we all refuse, there is not that much they can do.

Neither the capitalists themselves, nor their careerist spivs in Whitehall are about to send their own kids to work in arms factories, to drive trains, to crew cargo ships, to enlist as cannon fodder, or even to print and broadcast their pro-Israel propaganda.

A striking example of such solidarity in action is the case of the Jolly George, a ship that was supposed to be taking arms and soldiers to Russia in 1918, when the new socialist republic was facing attack by 14 capitalist powers. Dockers in east London refused to load the ship, undermining the war effort and setting an infectious example to workers elsewhere.

In 1920, pushed by the ‘Hands off Russia’ campaign, the TUC threatened a general strike if Britain persisted in its criminal warmongering. Lloyd George’s government had to pull out and the war of intervention collapsed.

The ruling class emerged weaker and the working class stronger from this confrontation.

Today, we are part of the same battle against British imperialism on whose front line the Palestinians have been fighting so heroically for 65 years.

Today, they are joined by the Syrian and Iranian anti-imperialist governments and the Lebanese resistance movement Hizbollah — all forces that have refused to reach any accommodation with Israel; have refused to accept the imperialists’ right to dictate how they should live; and have refused to allow imperialist corporations to loot their resources at will.

Recognising their common struggle, Syria and Iran have consistently supported each other, and given money, arms, refugee asylum and diplomatic support to both the Palestinian struggle and the Lebanese resistance movement. A defeat for any of these forces would give a massive boost to imperialism and its zionist stooges and would be a major set-back for the cause of freedom in the Middle East — and especially to the cause of the Palestinian people.

British workers need to join this axis of resistance and give full support to all parts of it, taking their place in the unifying and indivisible struggle against imperialism.

See also:
Victory to the intifada! Join the axis of resistance! (Leaflet, November 2012)
Defend Syria and Iran … Join the axis of resistance! (Leaflet, November 2012)
Hail the victory of the Palestinian hunger strikers! (Proletarian, June 2012)
No justice for the Gaza protestors (Proletarian, August 2010)
Gaza’s people at risk of genetic mutation (Proletarian, February 2011)
Long live the martyrs of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla! (Proletarian,June 2010)
Anti-imperialism and the PSC executive (joti2gaza, January 2012)
Zionists in Birmingham come out to defend racist Israeli state (Red Youth, November 2012)
Hackney Council censor resident from speaking against corporation complicit in war crimes in Palestine (joti2gaza, November 2012)

Watch this:
VIDEO: Jack Shapiro on the Gaza massacre (YouTube, January 2009)
VIDEO: Report from the Viva Palestina 3 convoy (YouTube, January 2010)
VIDEO: Emergency resolution on Palestine (YouTube, June 2010)
VIDEO: Water in Gaza (YouTube, June 2012)
VIDEO: Defend Syria (YouTube, October 2012)
VIDEO: US on the road to WW3 (YouTube, October 2012)
VIDEO: Lifeline to Gaza: The Return (joti2gaza, September 2010)

Israel – cultural boycott

Communists, anti-imperialists and Palestinian activists today called for a cultural boycott of Israeli artists in Birmingham.

The call was made by local activists as they demonstrated outside Birmingham Town Hall against the performance by the Jerusalem String Quartet, a musical troupe reportedly affiliated to the Israeli Defence Force. The group performs for settler communities and is a cultural stormtrooper for Israeli Zionism. Red Youth gives a red salute to those cpgb-ml and Red Youth members who turned out to demonstrate against this rascist bunch, and we direct readers to the inspring articles produced by one of our 9-year old comrades of Palestinian decent in the Midlands http://www.gazafocus.com/?m=201112

Read more about Palestinian resistance here

Watch Jack Shapiro :

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaBev6QGpfA&feature=plcp]