Comrades from Red Youth helped to organise CPGB-ML pickets in London and Birmingham yesterday in protest of attempts by NatWest bank to shut the account of broadcaster Russia Today. Such a move is not only a serious infringement on the limited press freedoms which exist in bourgeois society, it is also part and parcel of the propaganda war being waged against Russia in preparation of further armed conflict.
The wars that have been waged around the world by British and US imperialism are not justifable wars – they are wars for domination, for profit, and for oil. The growing popularity of RT poses a threat to the continued campaign to paint Russia as a threat to peace. The BBC and the corporate media are constantly attempting to prepare British people for a military confrontation with Russia, which would be catastrophic for British workers. We must not allow such blatant bias and propaganda to go unchallenged, and we must fight the interference of NatWest in the affairs of Russia Today which operates legally and fairly in the UK.
In what is likely to be the turning point of the war – the beginning of the end for the western-backed jihadi terrorist groups, both ‘moderate’ and ‘militant’, ‘FSA’, Al-Nusra and Daesh/IS – the Syrian Arab Army have broken the terrorist’s hold on Aleppo.
Dr Assad’s SAA, with overwhelming popular support and Russian military backing are well on the road to restoring the legitimate sovereignty of the Syrian’s popular and progressive elected government over the territory of the Syrian State.
Progressive humanity should celebrate this step towards victory for the Syrian people and government, representing the triumph of true ‘freedom and democracy’ over the despotic rule and barbarism of monopoly capital.
Anti-war demonstrations against British airstrikes in Syria took place across the country on Saturday (12/12/2015), with a march in London, attended by thousands, taking place from BBC Broadcasting House to a rally outside Downing St. The anger was palpable, and rightly so. After a brief stall when Cameron’s previous attempts to openly bomb Syria were frustrated by intense opposition to constant war, a lynchpin of British imperialism, the recent terrorist atrocities in Paris were cynically used to get the green light for airstrikes in the region.
“It is very clear tonight that while the House has not passed a motion it is clear to me that the British Parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action.”
David Cameron, July 2015
With recent reports of coalition airstrikes hitting a Syrian Arab Army position in Deir ez-Zor, the real motives are as clear as ever. Despite Western heads of state openly admitting they have no hope of defeating terrorists in the region unless they work with Assad, they refuse to do so. Western airstrikes are still not being coordinated with the Syrian government and they seem to have little effect. The Russian strikes however, which are seriously pushing back ISIL/Daesh, are coordinated fully with the Syrian Arab Army.
This Saturday a huge demonstration swept through the streets of London, with around 300,000 people marching from Marble Arch to Parliament Square to show solidarity with refugees, and to demand better treatment for asylum seekers in Britain and across the EU. The protesters were addressed at Parliament Square by Jeremy Corbyn, as his first official act as the newly elected Labour Party leader, proclaiming his support for the plight of the refugees.
The conscience of the British people has been moved by the picture of the tragically drowned 3 year old Syrian child, Aylan Kurdi, lying on a Turkish beach, along with his mother and brother, while the family was fleeing from the horrors being inflicted in Kobane by the terrorist ISIS organisation – spawned by Anglo-American imperialism in its attempts to overthrow Syria’s legitimate elected government headed by President Assad.
As the British people came to realise that these deaths were only the tip of an iceberg of death and suffering visited upon fleeing refugees, they petitioned the government in huge numbers to welcome refugees, and the British government has responded by promising to take in some 5,000 a year, though it was soon made clear that this grudging minimalist concession is to be curtailed in every way possible, with those admitted under the age of 18 to be deported as soon as they reach that age.
There were as many articles about Tony Blair on the main Stop the War website as there were about Ukraine when redyouth.org sat down to take a look today. It seems as though Stop the War puts off today’s jobs for tomorrow and substitutes yesterdays jobs for today!
When you’re incapable of giving a lead in the fight against imperialism you’ll fail to stop any war, though hopefully stop the war supporters do actually read their own website, and perhaps are capable of some self-criticism. If they are then there’s some good news, for a rhetorical article has been reproduced from RT.com entitled “Confused about whats happening in Ukraine? You’re not alone” which may go some way to pointing out the failures of STW to lead any meaningful struggle against the imperialist adventures of recent past. The tragedy is that perhaps the message is lost on STW’s leaders… Devoid perhaps of humour or sense of irony the editor of the webpage has reproduced this piece which whilst giving very few answers certainly points out many failures of the anti-war movement in recent years.
One section states:
“Syria too is rather baffling. We were and are told that radical Islamic terror groups pose the greatest threat to our peace, security and our ‘way of life’ in the West. That Al-Qaeda and other such groups need to be destroyed: that we needed to have a relentless ‘War on Terror’ against them. Yet in Syria, our leaders have been siding with such radical groups in their war against a secular government which respects the rights of religious minorities, including Christians.
When the bombs of Al-Qaeda or their affiliates go off in Syria and innocent people are killed there is no condemnation from our leaders: their only condemnation has been of the secular Syrian government which is fighting radical Islamists and which our leaders and elite media commentators are desperate to have toppled. I’m confused. Can anyone help me?”
Lets hope a few STW bright sparks can provide the author with some answers. Far from organising and mobilising public opposition to the war against Syria (or Libya), the Stop the War Coalition maintained a deadly and deafening silence for most of the conflict, and when it did speak it was to castigate President Assad or the Russians or worse still to stifle the voices of Syrian patriots, including peace-loving Nuns!… suprise, suprise its all happening again with regards to Ukraine!
The close connection of StW’s present leadership to Labour – an imperialist party which has consistently put the interests of British corporations far higher than those of workers at home or abroad, and certainly far higher than quibbles over death counts and international law – means that StW is paralysed to do anything beyond what is permitted by the Labour party’s capitalist masters.
As a result of this subservience, the tiny clique of ‘left’-Labourites and their Counterfire/CPB flunkeys who have usurped the leadership of StW have effectively neutralised Britain’s ‘anti-war movement’, demoralising and demobilising thousands of sincere activists, and by the looks of it confusing a few to boot!
By repeating imperialist lies about the countries that are being targeted for attack, and channelling the energy of those that remain into non-threatening activities such as lobbying MPs and circulating petitions. Our ‘anti-war’ leaders are doing the vital job of making sure there is no meaningful, organised domestic opposition to imperialist war – they have tied our movement to the war chariot of imperialism.
If YOU want answers, only Marxism Leninism can shine a light on the truth that cretins want kept in the dark. Check out these links:
The head of the Syrian delegation Dr Saleh Al Rashed (President of the Syrian Revolutionary Youth Union) speaks at the world festival of youth and students to the British delegation.
Despite the brutal and bloody campaign which has been unleashed against the Syrian people by imperialism the Syrians understand and continue to draw the distinction between the mass of ordinary British workers and the thoroughly corrupt and wicked parasite class that rules on behalf of finance capital.
Since the very first days of this conflict the CPGB-ML were the only organisation in Britain to stand squarely behind the Ba’ath Party, the National Patriotic Front and the Syrian Communist Party (Bagdash), as well as all the other progressive and anti-imperialist organisations united in Syria against the imperialist inspired war of intervention.
As Dr Al Rashed confirms, the Syrian people, much to the dismay of the revisionist and Trotskyite pigs who tie our anti-war movement to imperialism, have only strengthened their resolve and friendship during these hard years of life-and-death struggle, despite all personal hardship and loss. As Mao Zedong said long ago, “the imperialists pick up a rock only to drop it upon their own feet”!
The imperialists they have funded and equipped cannibals, maniacs and fundamentalists who’s sole mission inside Syria has been carnage, mayhem and destruction. Yet despite all their crimes, including the stomach-churning and cynical ‘propaganda stunt’ of gassing kidnapped children in attempt to stir up direct US military intervention, have only succeeded in bringing the Syrian people together in resistnace, forging an un-breakable bond between the radical and patriotic forces inside Syria.
Comrades from Red Youth and RCG, who make up the socialist contingent on the British delegation to Quito, distribute tonnes of literature and speak to hundreds of revolutionaries from across the world.
Hundreds of progressive youth came to speak with the British delegation all through “Europe day” at this years WFDY Festival. Comrades from the RCG distributed copies of their newspaper Fight Racism, Fight Imperialism and conducted interviews with foreign delegations, and also kindly assisted Red Youth with translation from Spanish.
Many copies of Lalkar and Proletarian were sold and given away to comrades new and old. Friends from the Syrian Baath Party were delighted to catch up with CPGB-ML central committee members Ranjeet Brar and Paul Cannon and to meet Dan and Angela for the first time. Our support for the brave resistance of the Syrian people to the bloody war waged by imperialism has strengthened our friendship with both the Baath Party and the Syrian Communist Party (Bagdash) who also met privately with our delegation.
As the degenerates and warmongers, trotskyites and revisionists, conspire to keep brave peace-loving people like Mother Agnes from the anti-war platform, it is increasingly clear that only the Marxist-Leninists can provide clear anti-war political leadership. Only communists clearly come out in defence of the weak against the attacks of the strong; the trotskyists always end up assisting their imperialist puppet masters, and the spineless revisionists long ago abandoned the struggle in favour of the easy life.
The most cursory glance at the contemporary international situation shows that imperialism’s inherent tendency to wage wars of aggression has not in any way disappeared. If anything it has become enhanced, notably after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the socialist countries of central and eastern Europe, since when we have seen numerous wars of colonial reconquest, such as those against Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and, most recently, Libya and Syria.
Moreover, faced with what is emerging as the gravest economic crisis in the history of capitalism, the pace and intensity of imperialism’s inexorable drive to war is increasing yet further. The imperialist powers are presently at war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. They are also waging unofficial and proxy wars in Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen and other countries. They are abetting and bankrolling the Israeli zionists’ war against the Palestinian people.
Marxism Leninism is not a dogma but a guide to action. Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao, the great revolutionary teachers, laid out with complete clarity the attitude of the revolutionary proletariat to the struggle against imperialism and towards the national movements of the oppressed. With imperialism convulsed with crisis and hurtling towards new and ever more dangerous wars of aggression, the work of reuniting and reinvigorating the entire international communist movement on this principled and revolutionary basis is one which will brook no further delay.
It is in this spirit that many many comrades and friends purchased copies of not only our newspapers, but also our books, notably Harpal Brar and Ella Rule’s latest book Imperialism and the worst-ever crisis of overproduction. Red Youth’s slogan “Each one, teach one!” has never been more relevant.
Red Youth was proud to meet up with our comrades from the US organisation Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST) during and after the opening ceremony in Quito. To huge applause from the crowd (and to the absolute horror of the US Trotskyite class traitors in Pathfinder) our comrades in FIST ceremoniously tore up the stars and stripes.
Speaking to Red Youth the FIST delegates explained that it was an act of solidarity with all those around the world standing up to US imperialism, including the workers and oppressed back home in the United States. Just like the butchers apron, the stars and stripes of the USA is a hated symbol of colonialism, flying in many occupied cities and countries around the world. After a long day at the festival our delegations spent the evening relaxing together and discussing contemporary political issues over a glass of pop.
The delegates from the Syrian Baath Party also received enthusiastic cheers as their delegation arrived carrying with them large Syrian national flags and portraits of President Assad. Other highlights for our delegation on this opening day included listening to and getting a wave from Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa. Here’s a new video and a few more photo’s:
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,hostilereaction 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.
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.’
‘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.’
“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.
“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.
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.
Birmingham CPGB-ML hosted a successful BBQ and social on Saturday. As well as being a good chance to grab some food and catch up with some of our comrades in the Midlands, the day also payed host to a selection of speeches and discussions on imperialism, in light of recent events in Syria. We were privileged to hear talks from members of the Indian Workers Association, Harpal Brar (editor of Lalkar and chair of CPGB-ML) and the DPR Korea ambassador for the UK, Hyon Hak-Bong. Comrades from the IWA opened the talks with a short speech urging us to combat recent racist actions by the government. These actions include the ‘Go Home’ vans and a string of immigration crackdowns, clearly biased towards punishing black and Asian communities over anyone else. Attendees were also urged to sign a petition against Theresa May’s proposed immigration bond legislation, which would demand immigrants from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and several other countries to pay a £3000 bond to visit the UK (full details of the proposed bill can be found here). Coverage of this proposed legislation by mainstream media has been minimal, so we urge comrades to pass on this information to others, particularly those who may be affected by the legislation. The IWA also expressed its support for Syria in its struggle against Western imperialists during the current conflict. Harpal Brar addressed the recent events in Syria with a rousing speech highlighting the hypocrisies of Western imperialism, both in Syria and around the world. He remarked on the West’s long history of imperialism and how it was willing to exploit the accusations against Assad (which still remain unconfirmed) to further its goals in the Middle East. Comrade Harpal spoke further on the West’s damning of chemical weapon use , whilst still retaining one of the largest stocks of chemical and nuclear weapons. I’m sure many of us can remember the use of white phosphorous by Israel in Gaza not long ago, which went unquestioned and unnoticed by the West. Western media’s role in the demonizing of Assad was also noted, and that the media’s portrayal of the conflict was a key reason that so many supported intervention in Syria, which chose to ignore the obvious imperialist motives of the intervention. Comrade Harpal concluded his speech by noting that imperialist wars would remain a tool of capitalists, who continue to exploit the proletariat, both abroad and at home. Finally, the day closed with words from the DPRK ambassador, comrade Hyon Hak-Bong. Developing on much of what Harpal had said, comrade Hak-Bong addressed imperialist aggression in relation to his own country. He spoke of how the DPRK insists on being self-reliant in building their country to benefit the people of North Korea, who wish to remain free of imperialist intervention, which is often lead by the USA in the Korean Peninsula. The ambassador also addressed the matter of relations with South Korea and spoke very highly of the successful steps they had taken previously in peaceful negotiation with their neighbors and put any deterioration in relations down to recent South Korean leadership, who had not been as participatory in these talks as previous leaders had. Comrade Hak-Bong also spoke of recent nuclear tests made by the DPRK and although it was regrettable that it had come to this stage, he insisted the DPRK’s nuclear program was only in place to deter attacks from the imperialists and to provide security to the Korean people. He continued to say that the DPRK would gladly dismantle its weapons, but the process must be not be unilateral and all countries must participate in the procedure. Again, comrade Harpal’s earlier point about the West’s hypocrisy concerning weapons was highlighted and the ambassador agreed that it was inappropriate for the West to demand demilitarization of foreign countries whilst it still possessed the largest nuclear stockpile. The ambassador finished his talk with a short Q&A in which he spoke on the DPRK’s censorship policy in regards to internet use. He said that while much of the internet was free from censorship in North Korea, some content that was deemed detrimental to the DPRK and its people was blocked. All comrades in attendance expressed solidarity with countries such as Syria and the DPRK, who are struggling against imperialism. Several points came up in discussion with some of the comrades in attendance that I feel are worth repeating here. Many agreed that although war was always a last resort, occasionally it was appropriate for socialists and revolutionaries to support wars, but only wars that champion liberation or revolution, not imperialist and capitalist gains. Others highlighted that it was in our interests as socialists to support all progressive and revolutionary activity, whether it be bourgeois democratic revolution or peoples’ uprising, and that a strong united force across countries was needed if the working class were to triumph. Discussion also focused on the attitude of some ‘anti-war’ movements, whose damning of Assad and his ‘regime’ seemed based in the fantasies of Western media and more in-line with the attitudes of imperialists, not those of anti-war supporters. Some comrades expressed the sentiment that if imperialism was to be defeated and if people wanted the war in Syria to come to an end, then they should throw their support behind Assad and the Syrian people, not Al-Qaeda associated rebels and terrorists.