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Socialist Fight No 9

Socialist Fight No 9

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Published by Gerald J Downing
If Germany, Britain and France shows a left-moving working class preparing itself physiologically for the fight, the Greek election results from 6 May show us the results of two years of street, industrial, political and ideological struggles - and all our futures.
If Germany, Britain and France shows a left-moving working class preparing itself physiologically for the fight, the Greek election results from 6 May show us the results of two years of street, industrial, political and ideological struggles - and all our futures.

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Published by: Gerald J Downing on May 22, 2012
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Greece: Trotskyist class politics not anti-austerity Popular Frontism
Socialist Fight
Unity is strength, L'union fait la force, Es la unidad fuerza,
Η ενότητα είναι δύναμη,
,.
 
đoàn k
ế
t là s
c m
nh, Jedność jest siła,
ykseys on kesto,
યુનટિ થૂા.,
Midnimo iyo waa awood, hundeb ydy chryfder, Einheit ist Stärke,
 एकता शि है,
 
единстве наша сила,
vienybės jėga,
bashkimi ben fuqine, , unità è la resistenza,
団結は力
, A unidade é a força, eining er styrkur, De eenheid is de sterkte,, Ní neart go chur le céile, pagkakaisa ay kalakasan, jednota is síla,
 
 
 
, Workers of the World Unite! 
Socialist Fight is produced by the SF Editorial Board.Contact: PO Box 59188, London, NW2 9LJ, Socialist_Fight@yahoo.co.uk
Issue No. 9 Summer 2012
Price: Concessions: 50p, Waged: £2.00, €3.00
Signed articles do not necessarilyrepresent the views of the SF EB.
Contents
Page 2: Editorial: Greece: Trotskyist class politics not anti-austerity Popular Frontism.Page 3: GRL Motion of Support to Construction R+F.Page 4: Diversion: Stuff the £500 Olympics bonus; WhereWe Stand
 –
Socialist Fight EB.Page 5: Motion to the GRL NC on 12 May on the Labourparty and Labour Representation Committee.Page 6: Leitrim woman is honoured by NICRA co-founder as
the ‘prisoners’ friend’ IRPSG report.
 Page 7: Support Republican Prisoners - Join the Protests!Page 8: The framing of Michael McKevitt - Part two By Mi-chael Holden.Page 9: Fascists attack Irish March By Charlie Walsh.Page 10: Today, 14 May, is Thaer Halahleh's 77th day onhunger strike.Page 11: May Day Greetings from the LCFI to the Interna-tional Working Class.Page 12: The Malvinas: the imperialist offensive in theSouth Atlantic By the LCFI.Page 14: Cultural Imperialism; Ireland, Workers Power andthe Sparts By Gerry Downing.
Page 17: David North’s SEP; a backward, workerist/
reductionalist political current By Tony Fox.
Page 19: Tariq Mehanna’s powerful sentencing statement
 Page 21: Letters page; French elections.Page 22: Bolshevism vs. SWP: To lead the working class orfollow the TU bureaucracy By Ret Marut
Page 24: Mumia’s Death Sentence officially dropped By
Ailish Dease, The Angola 3.Page 25: The Greek Elections By Savas Michael-Matsas,Comment on this By Socialist Fight.Page 26: Free Salameh Kaileh and all socialist militants.
Page 27: Burma: Imperialism’s plaything By Ailish Dease.
 Page 29: The Imperialist infantilisation of Afghan, Asian andAfrican women.
Page 31: Obituaries, Dave Spencer, Gerry Foley, Ron Spurway.
Page 32: How Des Warren, and only Des Warren, wrote Thekey to my cell By Chris Corrigan.
“... the connection between imperial politics and cul-
ture is astonishingly direct. American attitudes to
 American “greatness”, to hierarchies of race, to the perils of “other” revolutions (the American revolution
being considered unique and somehow unrepeatableanywhere else in the world) have remained constant,have dictated, have obscured, the realities of empire,while apologists for overseas American interestshave insisted on American innocence, doing good,
 fighting for freedom.” 
Edward Said,
Culture and Imperialism
, speech at York University, Toronto,February 10, 1993.
The Libyan ‘revolution’,
“... Lenin warned against pre-
maturely confronting respected native institutions,even when these clearly violated communist princi- ples and Soviet law. Instead he proposed to use theSoviet state power to systematically undermine themwhile simultaneously demonstrating the superiority of Soviet institutions, a policy which had worked well 
against the powerful Russian Orthodox Church.” 
Dale Ross (D. L. Reissner), ‘Women and Revolution', ‘Early Bolshevik Workamong Women of the Soviet East’ (Issue No. 12 Summer 1976).
 
 
Socialist Fight Page 2
Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward!
Greece: Trotskyist class politics not anti-austerity Popular Frontism
T
he election results from Britain (3 May),France, Greece and Germany this sum-mer, shows a generalised collapse insupport for the direct parties of the rulingclass and a swing to the left in the working classand oppressed - where they chose to vote at all.But there is no real progress in the central ques-tion of the hour, that of the revolutionary leader-ship of the working class to seriously address theeconomic crisis of capitalism and forwards to thepolitical wresting of power. In Britain the swing tothe Labour party was significant in recent local
government elections (Boris Johnson’s mayoral
election in London aside). Labour now has a 39%to 31% lead over the Tories in the polls. In Ger-many the results from Schleswig-Holstein andNorth Rhine-Westphalia are a significant setback
for Merkel’s conservative CDU party. The SPD has
significantly increased its vote and the vote of the
Free Democrats (Merkel’s partners in federal gov-
ernment) has collapsed as has that of Die Linke.In France and Britain we must insist that imperial-ist wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya with interven-tionist Imperialist wars looming against Syria and
Iran (and Britain’s posturing in the south Atlantic)
do affect political outlooks and voting. Cruciallysupport for these adventures ties the far leftgroups to the trade union bureaucracies andthereby to their own Imperialist bourgeoisies. Sosocial patriotism has shown most of the far leftgroups to be rotten at the core, as WWI exposedthe German SPD through to the British LabourParty - and their apologists.The electoral radical reformist New Anti Capitalistparty (NPA) in France has gone the same way asthe Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) inBritain and Die Linke in Germany. The voters donot see them as any type of potential opponentsto capitalism itself. It was the posturing of Mélen-chon who rallied the radical French voters by di-rectly opposing the worst aspects of the capitalistcrisis and the Front National of Marine Le Pen.However the PCF (Parti Communiste Francais)mayor of Vitry ordered the bulldozing of an immi-grant (Mali) hostel 1981, with the full support of Communist Party leader Georges Marchais, inseeking to outdo the FN on a racist basis and winback votes in the Red Belt around Paris. Someallies in the
Front de Gauche
!If Germany, Britain and France shows a left-movingworking class preparing itself physiologically forthe fight, the Greek election results from 6 Mayshow us the results of two years of street, indus-trial, political and ideological struggles - and all ourfutures. Synaspismos (SYN), the largest leftistgroup in the electoral alliance called SYRIZA - isideological formlessness. SYN is an electoral alli-ance of various Stalinist, ecological, bourgeois andradical social democrats. In order to launch SYRIZAthe process of ideological dilution of the classstruggle had to be further diluted to include evenmore bourgeois elements. It is a popular Front-type alliance; anti-EU/Euro propaganda barelymasks powerful Greek nationalist sentiments inSYRIZA as in the Communist KKE. The contrastbetween SYRIZA and the Bolshevik-type party of Lenin could not be greater.
“The world political situation as a whole is chiefly 
characterized by a historical crisis of the leadership
of the proletariat”,
is Trotsky’s opening sentence
of the Transitional programme of 1938 and it stillapplies with all its force today. In Greece the prob-lem is the existing leadership of the working classand the role they play in defence of capitalism. Wemust put forward a United Front policy of inter-vening in the divisions that is opening up betweenthe ranks and the leaders of the main trade unionfederations and their political representatives inparliament. It is by tackling this crisis that we canforge the revolutionary leadership that is needed.As Trotsky said at the end of the first section of the
TP, “
The turn is now to the proletariat, i.e., chiefly to its revolutionary vanguard. The historical crisisof mankind is reduced to the crisis of the revolu-
tionary leadership.” 
 
In Greece this means examining how we can ex-pose, defeat and replace with more militant andrevolutionary fighters the leadership of PASKE, thelabour movement faction linked to PASOK, ESAK/PAME linked to the KKE (the Communist party) andAutonomous Intervention, linked to the SYN, theleading force in SYRIZA. The latter was in secondplace with 16.7% per cent up from 4.6% per cent in2009. Trotskyist class politics and NOT simply anti-austerity Popular Frontism - is at a premium now.Every serious contestant in this class struggleknows this. For example Tassos Anastassiadis,Andreas Sartzekis, of OKDE-Spartakos, Greek sec-tion of the FI in the Antarsya alliance, recentlywrote:
“... indeed, whereas the leaderships of GSEE 
(the confederation of private sector workers) and  ADEDY (the federation of public sector workers), inboth of which PASOK is in the majority, have every 
reason not to mobilize against “their” government,
they had no choice but to give in to the pressureexerted since December by the trade-
union left.” 
PASOK’s vote collapsed from 43.9% in 2009 to
13.18%, within three economically bruising years.But that does not mean the end of PASOK becauseit does not mean the end of their trade unionfederation PASKE. The PASKE leadership havetacked far to the left whilst continuing to supportausterity. Given the drubbing PASOK got surely theleadership of Evangelos Venizelos must comeunder attack, particularly if they get a second setof disastrous election results in the recalled elec-tions in June. A figure may emerge there or fromthe militant-sounding GSEE or ADEDY leaders toassume the role of fiery revolutionist along thelines of the French Mélenchon or the Spanish CivilWar PSOE leader Largo Caballero. And such afigure would have enormous advantages overAlexis Tsipras of SYRIZA, the current aspirant tothat role. PASOK is a unified national party withthat crucial TU federation in tow, far more im-planted in the working class than AutonomousIntervention, the trade union federation of SYN.Those who write off the counter-revolutionary rolethat PASOK leaders via the PASKE federation andin their own right will not lead the Greek workingclass in revolution.The other TU federation which has to be takenvery seriously is ESAK/PAME, the TU federationlinked to the KKE. To hide their defence of the
capitalist system (they “don’t support the idea of world revolution like ‘Trotsky, Pablo, Castoriadis orMarcuse’!”) they adopt an ultra leftist Third Period
Stalinism, denouncing all other leftists and refusingto participating in joint demonstrations and strikeswith the PASKE. This has resulted in internal fric-tions and expulsions, particularly amongst itsstudent leaders where their vote has also fallen. Inthe general election they increased their vote byonly 0.9% to 8.48%. They had previously attackedthe PASKE from the right, as in the five day school
teachers’ strikes in 2006, and were widely viewed
then as strike-breakers. Their obvious insincereleftism has failed to win the masses. Neverthelessthey have a powerful implantation in the tradeunions, particularly the urban industrial workers.So has their youth movement, the CommunistYouth of Greece (KNE). Here the United Fronttactic is necessary, fighting to build a rank and filemovement in the union and exploring whetherentry is possible (and safe) in the KNE.DIMAR, a rightward split from SYRIZA, of euro-communist origins, gained 6.11%. The fascistGolden Dawn got a dangerous 6.9% showing thesharp class polarisation in Greece.The Front of the Greek Anticapitalist Left, Antar-sya, comprises ten far left groups. It contains or-ganisations from ex-Communist Party (KKE) toMaoism and Trotskyism. The Workers Revolution-ary party (EEK) is not a member. What then of theprospects for revolutionary leadership in Greece?Workers Power Dave Stockton correctly attacks
Antarsya’s programme thus:
 
“Antarsya’s programme was a terrible muddle. It 
did not even address the fact that the reformist  parties
– 
SYRIZA, KKE, and DIMAR
– 
plus the tradeunions, represent the overwhelming mass of theworking class and that the working class rejectsausterity and is seeking a way out of it via these
 parties” 
 
That is fair enough but he implicitly endorses thePopular Frontist nationalist class nature of SYRIZAand anti-austerity and does not go on to outline aUnited Front policy to fight for the class independ-ence of the whole working class. He ignores PA-SOK/PASKE and the workers they continue torepresent and therefore the WHOLE working classwith all its contradictions. As in their anti-capitalistprojects in Britain the big ranks of the workingclass and their reformist illusions in bourgeois-workers parties do not get a mention, despiteprogrammatic commitments. As with Libya andthe Anti-Imperialist United Front surely it is timefor WP to renounce the characterisation of theLabour party as a bourgeois workers party and theUnited Front tactic in relation to it. If not we canagain justly accuse them of having another policyin theory that is simply inapplicable in practice.
Editorial
 
Socialist Fight Page 3
Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward!
T
his National Commit-tee meeting of theGrass Roots Leftsends its warmestcongratulations to the Con-
struction ‘Rank and File’ who won the BESNA
battle. We are delighted that this grass rootsmobilisation has defeated this first phase of theemployers attack and are pleased to note thatthe electricians are preparing for the secondstage of the battle.In particular we note the very powerful senti-ments expressed against the agency employers
and that “a priority must be given to rootingthem [agencies] out of our industry”, “Agencies
are the scourge of the industry, exploiting work-ers, these agencies pay under the rate, no holi-
day pay, no sick pay and they fire us at will.” and“Let’s send the message out loud and clear ‘Noagencies wanted’ ‘Direct employment only!’.
 In that way, thestruggles of theLondon cleaners is an allied struggle and an inspi-ration to the building workers, as they operate ina trade that is also notoriously difficult to organ-ise and requires the most militant of tactics andthe sharpest of struggles against the TU bureauc-racies, ever anxious to cut a deal with employerswhich gives them members subs but sells out therights and conditions of the workers.These sentiments, of course, apply not only tothe sparks and allied trades but also to all tradesand to the building labourers in the buildingsites. This gives the Sparks, on the back an all toorare industrial victory, a unique opportunity totake up the fight begun by Des Warren and thebuilding worker strikers in 1972. In that regardthe struggle against the Blacklist and the strugglefor Justice for the Shrewsbury pickets is insepara-ble from the struggle to organise the sites today.It has to involve the sharpest struggle against thetrade union bureaucracy in Unite, UCATT, theGMB and others whose practice of imposingconvenors in collaboration with the constructioncompanies, as in the Olympics sites, has led tosuch terrible results.For this reason we give out full support to MickDooley in his struggle against the UCATT bu-reaucracy and the disgraceful action in expellinghis from the union to prevent him winning the
General Secretary’s election. The failure to or-
ganist the Olympics sites properly is the sharpestof warnings to us all that the time for a properrank and file movement covering all the sitestrades and labourers is long overdue. Directemployment must be at the heart of that strug-gle, as it was in 1972.Grass Roots Left is proud that it and its Chair,Jerry Hicks, was able to assist in building thismovement to this point and we look forward toyet closer collaboration between our two rankand file movements in the future.Passed unanimously at GRL NC 31st March 2012
GRL Motion of Support to UC R+F
Hi Gerry,In last email I said I would get back in moredetail to you about R&F organisation and pro-gramme etc in construction. Now Easter break isover, here I am.The motion of support and congrats the GRLNational Committee sent to R&F in constructionwas an impressive document. It was also atimely one as it puts the lot of other site work-ers in the building industry outside the JIB onthe agenda of Unite R&F and how the sparks'and others tremendous struggle and victory canbenefit all trades and occupations in construc-tion.
You'll notice in pamphlet on BWG there’s quite
a mention given to the Jubilee Line and how thesparks and their R&F organisation ran employ-ers and FTOs ragged with successful disputeafter dispute. And where the [political] sectionallimitations put on this by the SWP who hadquite a bit of influence with site sparks at thattime is also mentioned. Who because of theirBroad Left approach were terrified of upsetting[left] FTOs, even after hammering FTOs withindependent R&F organisation!, by advocatingthe need to widen and generalise the JubileeLine R&F experience by involving much morenumerical trades and occupations outside theJIB and building a R&F organisation and move-ment, with programme, which would benefit allsite workers and their wages and working condi-tions, some immeasurably! This would be anath-ema to all FTO, left, right and centre! Wouldrender them redundant apart from anythingelse!Fortunately the SWP BL influence has wanedconsiderably since then and even if they still hadthis the sheer R&F anger, determination andlevel of organisation unleashed by the attack onthe JIB and attempt to impose BESNA would'veswept he SWP aside as it did the dithering offi-cials in this R&F tide. And the question wouldstill be how do we take this into the rest of the workers in the industry from here?The sparks always maintained, as SiteWorker also did, and publicly declared theywere very conscious they were fighting forthe interests of all site workers. In that if thebosses could ignore the JIB and imposeBESNA, and the massive wage cutstherein, on and beat the best organised andmost militant group of workers in the indus-try then they'd come for the rest after this.Sparks and other JIB trades have held theR&F line. But of course bosses will comeback for them and other much more numeri-cal trades and occupations. This [class] war,this struggle goes on, and the only way to suc-ceed against whatever they have planned is forsparks and others, to use their struggle andvictory and the credibility this gives them, to callfor one big united front R&F organisation andmovement for all trades and occupations inconstruction , with a R&F programme and poli-cies with which to do this.The next thing is what this programme andthese policies should be. Read Site Worker -only joking! Understandably direct employment,along with blacklisting, is the main concern forsparks and other JIB trades. But the key to thesuccess of any general programme for all siteworkers is what some workers might considerkey for their trades or occupations might nothave the same priority for others, although of course a R&F programme is about building con-sciousness on all major issues for workers in theindustry which all can and will unite and fightfor and around. One particular issue mightdominate as opposed to others from time totime, e.g., many general and semiskilled, especially migrant, workers in construc-tion are on or just above or even below theminimum national wage!So their main demand and hope, would be fora MASSIVE basic wage rise. So an actual, hugerise!, in the basic wage rate demanded by a R&Forganisation, would resonate massively with thelower paid in construction. And of course itmust also mean it will be a substantial increase,and worth fighting for those with better hourlyrates! A R&F programme must have somethingin it for all trades and occupations in which theywill think it worthwhile uniting and fightingaround and there's something in it for them.Demand to stop the killing and maiming willalso unite all site workers Then of coursethere's ELECTION OF ALL OFFICIALS IN THE UN-ION AND ON SITE and total end to APPOINT-MENT SYSTEM!!And I think the ultimate objective, long way off at present of course, but we must think long - aswell as short term!, must be the ultimateof unifying policies. One Movement - OneAgreement - One Big Fighting Democratic Indus-trial Union for all site workers.[ but which unionor a new union??!!]. That's for the future!Hope this is enough to be going on with Gerry.All the best.* http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/07/blacklisting-of-trades-unionists-%E2%80%9Ccampaigning-northampton-grandfather-wins-major-breakthrough-in-europe%E2%80%9D/
Letter from Brian Higgins
Brian Higgins, Sec of Northampton UCATT, (secondfrom left) with a delegation of trade unionists from theBlacklist Support Group in Brussels with László Andor,European Union Commissioner with responsibility forEmployment, Social Affairs and Inclusion to discusspotential EU wide legislation to outlaw blacklisting.

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