Socialist Fight

No. 13 May June 2013 Price: Waged £2 (€3) Concessions: 50p

ConDems decimate the Welfare State
The British Medical Journal: “On 1 April 2013 the regulations are coming into place to show that everything has to be put out to competitive markets by CCGs [clinical commissioning groups] and the national commissioning board. That will create rights for private providers to supply which will not only allow them to take quite a lot of the share of the NHS budget for their business right now, it also potentially makes the privatisation irreversible in the future.” The three main “reforms” introduced in April are: • The replacement of council tax benefit by council tax support, estimated to cost 2.4 million families in England an average of £2.60 per week. The coalition says the council tax benefit bill rose by 50% under the last government. • An under-occupation penalty (bedroom tax) is expected to cost 660,000 families an average of £14 per week. The government says 1.8 million people are on council house waiting lists. • An overall household benefit cap, set at £500 for a family with children, is expected to affect 56,000 households with an average cut of £93 per week.
Unity is strength, L’union fait la force, La unión hace la fuerza, Η ενότητα είναι δύναμη, ,.‫ اتحاد قدرت است‬đoàn kết là sức mạnh, Jedność jest siła, ykseys on kesto, યુનિટિ થ્રૂ િા., Midnimo iyo waa awood, hundeb ydy chryfder, Einheit ist Stärke, एकता शक्ति है, единстве наша сила, vienybės jėga, bashkimi ben fuqine, ‫אחדות היא כוח‬, unità è la resistenza, 団結は力だ, A união faz a força, eining er styrkur, De eenheid is de sterkte, ‫الوحدة هو القوة‬, Ní neart go chur le céile, pagkakaisa ay kalakasan, jednota is síla, 일성은 이다 힘 힘, Workers of the World Unite!

Socialist Fight Where We Stand
1.WE STAND WITH KARL MARX: ‘The Socialist Fight is a member of the Liaison Committee for the Fourth emancipation of the working classes must International with the Liga Comube conquered by the working classes themnista of Brazil and the Tendencia selves. The struggle for the emancipation Militante Bolchevique of Argentina. of the working class means not a struggle The Editorial Board is: for class privileges and monopolies but for Gerry Downing, Laurence Humphries, Ray Rising, Ailish equal rights and duties and the abolition of Dease, Chris Williams, Clara Rosen all class rule’ (The International Workingand Aggie McCallum. men’s Association 1864, General Rules). Contact: 2.The capitalist state consists, in the last PO Box 59188, London, NW2 9LJ, analysis, of ruling-class laws within a cial system and detention centres overseen Liga Comunists, Brazil: http:// by the armed bodies of police/army who Signed articles do not necessarily are under the direction and are controlled represent the views of the SF EB in acts of defence of capitalist property rights against the interests of the majority Subscribe to Socialist Fight of civil society. The working class must and In Defence of Trotskyism overthrow the capitalist state and replace it Four Issues: UK: £12.00, EU: with a workers’ state based on democratic £14.00 soviets/workers’ councils to suppress the Rest of the World: £18.00 inevitable counter-revolution of private Send donations to help in their production capitalist profit against planned production Cheques and Standing Orders to for the satisfaction of socialised human Socialist Fight Account No. 1 Unity Trust Bank, Sort Code need. 08-60-01, Account. No. 20227368. 3.We recognise the necessity for revolutionaries to carry out serious ideological and political struggle as direct participants in Join Socialist Fight the trade unions (always) and in the mass Would you like to join Socialist reformist social democratic bourgeois Fight or learn more about our workers’ parties despite their pro-capitalist work and revolutionary politics? leaderships when conditions are favourContact us at the above email or PO Box addresses. able. Because we see the trade union bureaucracy and their allies in the Labour £10,000 print Shop Fund party leadership as the most fundamental Socialist Fight has launched a £5,000 to set up our own print obstacle to the struggle for power of the shop. This will enable us to print working class, outside of the state forces our own magazines and to limit and their direct agencies themselves, we the print runs to what is immediately needed. It will also allow us must fight and defeat and replace them to make available many imporwith a revolutionary leadership by mobilistant Trotskyists works of limited mass appeal but vital for building ing the base against the pro-capitalist bua new revolutionary leadership. reaucratic misleaders to open the way forward for the struggle for workers’ power. 4.We are fully in support of all mass mobiliThe following are just 8 of the 26 points of the political programme sations against the onslaught of this reacof the Socialist Fight Group which tionary Con-Lib Dem coalition. However, can be found at our blog here: whilst participating in this struggle we will oppose all policies which subordinate the working class to the political agenda of the petty-bourgeois reformist leaders of the Labour party and trade unions 5. We support the fight of all the specially oppressed; Black and Asian, women, lesbians and gay men, bisexuals and transgender people against discrimination in all its forms and their right to organise separately in that fight in society as a whole. In particular we defend their right to caucus inside trade unions and in working class political parties. 6.We recognise that class society, and capitalism as the last form of class society, is by its nature patriarchal. In that sense the oppression of women is different from all other forms of oppression and discrimination. Because this social oppression is inextricably tied to private property, and its inheritance, to achieve full sexual, social and economic freedom and equality for all we need to overthrow class society itself. 7.We fight racism and fascism. We support the right of people to fight back against racist and fascist attacks by any means necessary. Self-defence is no offence! We support ‘No Platform’ for all fascists but never call on the capitalist state to ban fascist marches or parties; these laws would inevitably primarily be used against workers’ organisations, as history has shown. 8.We oppose all immigration controls. International finance capital roams the planet in search of profit and Imperialist governments disrupts the lives of workers and cause the collapse of whole nations with their direct intervention in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan and their proxy wars in Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, etc. Workers have the right to sell their labour internationally wherever they get the best price. Only union membership and pay rates can counter employers who seek to exploit immigrant workers as cheap labour to undermine the gains of past struggles.

Page 2 Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward!

Editorial: Defend the rights of the R+F and the workers’ press…….………………..Page 4 What Unity? Revolutionary class struggle or class collaboration popular frontism? By Ret Marut……………………………………Page 5 Tories attempt decimation of the welfare state By Graham Durham……………Page 6 Queensland Updated By Aggie McCallum Australia……………………………….. Page 7 Construction Rank and File meeting in Conway Hall By Alan Hunter, …….….…...Page 8 Jim Kelly, Andy Newman and Sean McGovern witchhunt the Left in Unite By Gerry Downing ………….…….....…....Page 9 Why SA, SP and the AWL supports McCluskey in the Unite General Secretary election By Laurence Humphries…….Page 11 The Socialist Party and the General Strike By Alan Hunter.……………..……..…….Page 13 Joint IRPSG/Brent LRC meeting By Laurence Humphries.………….…………. Page 15 Why We Must Fight to Free Mohammed Hamid By Tony Fox............................Page 17 Misunderstood Loyalism and violence, “the most natural thing in the world” By Charlie Walsh…………………….…………….Page 19 Thomas Spence, agrarian socialism, communism and the working class By Laurence Humphries……………………….……Page 20 Review: Shostakovich Socialism, Stalin By Laurence Humphries…………..……..Page 22 Review: Broken On All Sides: Race, By John Leslie …………………..…………..….Page 24 The ISL breaks with the US LRP Response by the LCFI……..……..…………..….Page 26 Defeat Imperialist Invasion of Mali By Ailish Dease ……….…………..….Page 30 Thatcher’s legacy: Housing and the Counihan Homelessness Campaign….....….Page 31 May Day Greetings from the LCFI.….Page 32

Some 79,816 workers cast their votes for me as General Secretary of Unite; 36% of those who voted. This more votes than can fill Wembley stadium: We did not win but are now the left in Unite. An historic vote for a ‘Rank & File’ grassroots candidate, made all the more remarkable when taking into consideration what was waged against us. We kept true to our policies, beliefs and politics with our dignity intact, while their campaign spiralled into the gutter. We spent about £4,000 [from donations], produced some 75,000 leaflets, relied upon public transport, and the generosity of often complete strangers to offer a bed/couch for the night, [to whom I am indebted], as we travelled around the country meeting members. From bus drivers, to high street banks, from health workers to refuse collectors - every sector and almost

Message from Jerry Hicks:

every region [running out of time before we could get to Ireland]. The union establishment spent up to 100 times the amount of money we did, produced maybe one million leaflets, sent out letters to close on 500,000 members and had hundreds of paid officials promoting and supporting their boss, McCluskey. Shamefully, and more sinister than the use of the union machine, was the ‘red baiting’ - aimed at courting and doubtless securing the right wing vote, notably in Len McCluskey’s election address to 1.5 million members and combined with the unsolicited emails, texts, phone calls and letters to our members’ homes that were full of innuendo, lies and scaremongering. Topping the list of shame was the barrel scraping ‘libellous’ tweet/s. We shall be making formal complaints about the abuses. I will let you know how that goes. Jerry Hicks Tel: 07817827912 or email

Left Unity First National Meeting: There will be an initial national meeting of representatives from Left Unity local groups on 11th May in central London. We are asking groups to send a maximum of two representatives, of which at least one should be a woman.

People’s Assembly Against Austerity Saturday 22 June 2013, 9:30 am – 5pm, Central Hall Westminster, Storey’s Gate, London, Westminster, London SW1H 9NH

Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward! Page 3

Editorial: Defend the rights of the R+F and the workers’ press to fight the sell-out TU bureaucrats


eekly Worker No 948 7th February 2013 issued an unreserved apology which states “Untrue and highly defamatory allegations were made about Unite Regional officer Wayne King”. Socialist Fight totally rejects this apology. Gerry Downing, a member of Socialist Fight and then a Unite Bus worker at the Cricklewood garage, wrote the article in the 12 th January 2012 edition of Weekly Worker. What Comrade Downing wrote was true and we have the judgement of the Employment Tribunal to prove this assertion. By printing this apology the CPGB has cast aspersions on the reputation and integrity of Comrade Downing. Nothing Comrade Downing wrote was untrue apart from a mistaken date. It has been used by reactionary bureaucrats in Unite to brand Downing a liar when, in fact, Employment Judge Ryan with wings Mr I Bone and Mrs I Sood branded Wayne King a liar, a judgement of considerably more weight than the grovelling and untrue apology forced out of the WW by Thompsons Solicitors on behalf of Mr King by threatening the loss of their homes. Socialist Fight rejects the abject apology and political cowardice of the CPGB. In opposition to the trade union bureaucracy in Unite Socialist Fight is one hundred per cent in support of Comrade Downing’s decision to write the article. We reject the attempt by King and the Unite bureaucracy to muzzle and silence the left wing press and the activities of rank and file bus workers who are genuinely fighting for Unite members’ interests. Our record is there for everyone to see. This decision by this Unite officer to use the capitalist courts to silence the left wing press and rank and file opposition shows the depths to which this bureaucracy will sink. Socialist Fight pledges that it will fight this action politically by turning to the working class and the wider labour movement to defend Unite members like Gerry Downing from this sort of attack. The publication of this humiliating climb down potentially puts every left wing publication in jeopardy. WW rejected our suggestion that they defend the right of all workers publications to fight this malignant TU bureaucracy by appealing to the whole working class. This would put the attack in its proper political context; the refusal of this bureaucracy to lead a fight against the current assault on the class internationally. “That might have worked in the 70s and 80s but not today” WW leader Mike McNair told us. Even legally Wayne King’s case was weak and perfectly defensible had WW taken this obvious step for revolutionaries of appealing to the class. Surely such a campaign would have rallied rank and file workers and their genuine representatives thereby boosting Jerry Hicks and severely damaged Len McCluskey’s Unite Gen Sec election chances. And WW would have won! The failure of the TU bureaucracy to fight the cuts because they are determined to defend the capitalist system at all cost is exasperating their members who will revolt at some point. This is why they must seek to silence all rank and file opponents to try to keep this revolt leaderless. Further it has emboldened the most reactionary sections of

the Unite bureaucracy and their allies to line up with the management in the victimisation of Gerry Downing in Cricklewood garage—see pages 9-10 Jim Kelly, Andy Newman and Sean McGovern witchhunt the Left in Unite. The story by Downing defended Abdul Omer Mohsin against his sacking by Sovereign Buses and the manner in which Unite via King conducted the Employment Tribunal. WW identified the central ‘libellous’ sentence as “Omer told his supporters at the employment tribunal that King is indeed a consistent liar. But he is not his own liar, he is the company’s liar.” Those attending the ET are prepared to testify it did indeed brand King a liar. The judgement of the ET (case number 3301372/2010) recounts the incident thus:
8.10. Having decided that Mr Docherty did not refuse to mediate, we concluded that Mr King’s evidence of forgetting whether Mr Docherty was present is, in fact, untruthful and it was intended to avoid another difficult issue for him in this case, namely indeed whether Mr Docherty did refuse to mediate, as Mr Omer alleged. By saying he had forgotten whether Mr Docherty was there, he avoided having to say, as was probably the case, that Mr Docherty was prepared to shake hands and reconcile and that Mr Omer’s evidence on the point was untrue. For all these reasons, we consider that Mr Docherty did not refuse to mediate and that Mr Omer’s evidence was also false (our emphasis).

Abdul Omer knew that King was the only witness who could have verified his story and he failed to do so by lying that Doherty was not present, a fact that the Judge believed he could not have forgotten. Our legal advice on this is that once a witness is deemed to be lying by the court his/her credibility as a witness is destroyed and it is an irrelevant matter on whose behalf he is lying. The fact that the judge said Omer was also lying because it was “probably the case” that Doherty tried to mediate is also irrelevant. Omer’s case is that King was avoiding telling the truth that would have vindicated his version of events. The pages of WW were open to King to reply. Thompsons told the WW that Unite “supported” the case, however a freedom of information response by Unite claims the union spent no money on the case. Thompson Solicitors were nor disciplined by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal although they were found guilty by the Solicitors Regulation Authority of misdemeanours including ripping off sick miners by charging them contingency fees to the time of £10.9 million when such agreements were not permitted by law. A spokesman for Durham Colliery Mechanics Trust said all its members had willingly signed (sic!) agreements pledging a portion of any compensation packages. The NUM branches in Durham and South Wales were the beneficiaries of this appalling example of illegal collaboration between the bureaucrats’ representative Thompsons and the bureaucrats themselves. And this is the shameful role they have played in this case too. Gerry Downing said: “I would rather cut my throat than sign the appalling grovelling apology demanded by King and Thompsons. These rights are not mine to concede; they belong to the whole working class and to its militant left and socialist press”.

Page 4 Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward!

What Unity? Revolutionary class struggle or class collaboration popular frontism? By Ret Marut
The British Army in Athens in 1945

Ken Loach’s film has fudged The Spirit of ‘45. Was this the spirit of revolution that swept Europe as shown in the determination of workers never to go back to the hungry 30s? Or the spirit of the class traitors of the Labour and TU bureaucracy who bought off and betrayed this spirit? Ernest Bevin slavishly defended the British Empire; the Communist Parties entered popular front governments and backed Churchill in 1945. Only the Trotskyists still fought for the working class and socialism through revolution and were jailed and murdered for it by Nazis and ‘Democratic’ government in the US, Britain, France, Italy, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, etc. Loach knew all this once when he was around the Socialist Labour League.


he desire for unity in the working class again finds its expression in yet more initiatives to unite the left. Serious socialist must orient to these initiatives, the People’s Assembly on the 22 June in Central Halls, Westminster and Left Unity who now claim 8,000 members and are holding their first national meeting of representatives from Left Unity local groups on 11th May in central London. We should intervene to influence and win to revolutionary class struggle politics serious socialists who are responding to the desire for unity. They will recognise the reality of the class treachery of the Labour party leaders, are impatient with what they see as the sectarianism of the far left and may see some problems with both these new initiatives. Both initiatives fudge the difference between class collaboration and class struggle. That is they take the left TU leaders and others at their word when they say they are opposed to austerity without questioning them on why they are not leading any serious fight and continue to sell out industrial disputes. In particular the Peoples Assembly lacks any real internal democracy. It has the classic talking shop format: fill the platform with famous speakers, allow very limited time for discussions from the floor and supplement this with workshops who have no decision making mandates. So the selfappointed leaders direct the movement and cannot be removed and the dissidents can just lump it. The PA is led and directed by Counterfire’s John Reese and Lindsey German and boasts eight TU General Secretaries, Tony Benn, four MP and the Communist Party of Britain. It is just a talking shop and because the most vital question for the working class today, that of its leadership, is off

the agenda because the platform will contain so many class collaborators, it cannot go anywhere. Nonetheless because it will gel with a desire for unity on behalf of a new layers of workers and youth it is important to intervene there. Left Unity boasts many of the same signatories; Ken Loach, Owen Jones et al and is the brainchild of Andrew Bergin and Kate Hudson of the Stop the War Coalition. However it sets out to form a new party, hence the absence of all those General Secretaries and Labour MPs. Although the politics of class collaboration are the same it does seem to have better prospects for intervening politically, with more internal democracy and prospects for real debate and discussion. Some serious socialists have objected that this call for a new left party cuts across the need to build the left in the Labour party. This is a clear reformist objection which cuts no ice with those of us who know the difference between revolutionary politics and reformist politics, which is essentially counter-revolutionary. But on the other hand this too is a reformist project but one where we may advance the cause of building the core of a revolutionary party. Most left groups have responded favourably to its Left Unity call. The SWP’s Alex Callinicos recognises that these are two reformist approaches and has a somewhat nuanced approach:
Both have to be taken seriously. My hunch is that the drive to revive Labour will prove the stronger of the two. This is of course problematic, because all Labour governments— including the one elected in 1945—have chosen to manage rather than transform capitalism. The structures of the party are now so undemocratic that it’s hard to see how any attempt to “reclaim” Labour can hope to succeed. This makes it all the more important that all those who want to see a

left alternative to Labour work together. There are plenty of obstacles in our path as well, but the scale of the crisis and the suffering it is causing demand that we overcome them.

The Socialist party of Engl;and and Wales (SPEW or just SP)’s Peter Taaffe has this to say about Left Unity.
Ken Loach, the socialist, radical film director, understands that New Labour represents a dead end and therefore it is necessary to seek a new road; hence his call for people to sign up to a new ‘left unity’. By so doing, he has opened up a very welcome discussion on the need for a viable alternative to the Labour Party for working class people engaged in the anti-cuts campaigns as well as working people generally looking for an alternative to New Labour.

This is the traditional centrist fudge between reformism and revolution. But all parities involved ignore the question on the top of this article: the relationship between international and national politics. All these political tendencies have disgraced themselves politically in the Imperialist wars on Libya and Syria. And so must stay silent on what were the real lessons of 1945. And as Ken Loach’s spirit of ‘45 is currently being used as the springboard for these new regroupment is worth remembering what it is Ken Loach forgot about in his film – how the British ruling class paid for the welfare state that was expanded so much after the war – they paid for it with the booty of Empire and they aim to solve this crisis in that way too. Only now the Empire is gone and the working class will take the full force of the cuts. So it is worth remembering what the political content of that post WWII era was. The Labour government defended the Empire in order to protect the living standards of their constituencies, they said. As Continued on page 6

Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward! Page 5

Tories attempt decimation of the welfare state; Turn it into Poll Tax 2, – we finished Thatcher, now for Cameron!
By Graham Durham


he death of Thatcher has caused an outpouring of calls for ‘respect’ to be shown from figures such as Harriet Harman and Martin McGuinness. A disgraceful call given the role Thatcher played in trying to destroy the organised labour movement and in supporting imperialist policies in Ireland, the Falklands/Malvinas and across the world. In celebrating Thatcher’s death it is important to remember that she never felt confident enough to try and dismantle the NHS and, despite some cuts, destroy the welfare state. Yet these are the aims of the Tory/Lib Dem coalition and they are now translated into action. The NHS faces a two-pronged attack. First the attempted closures of acute care centres, such as the Leeds children’s heart unit and A and E departments across the country. Then the introduction of ‘doctor led’ commissioning groups instructed by government to invite private providers to bid and cherry-pick services for profit. Resistance to hospital closures is growing – the Leeds campaign has succeeded and very large marches are occurring to defend hospitals and their emergency services. The London NHS demonstration on 18 May will be the chance to bring together campaigners and unite the defence of the NHS. Every single privatisation or closure must be opposed – even where some GPs are privatising their own service, as in Islington, London and ensuring that their mates on commissioning groups get fat contracts it is important that local trade unionists and health campaigners track these decisions and organise action against them. The range of housing and benefit changes represent the attempt by the Tories to demonise the poor - far from defending the rights of workers to a safety net when unemployment is high, Liam Byrne and Ed Miliband have joined the attempts to force people to work unpaid and ‘earn’ entitlements. Across the country opposition to the Bedroom Taxwhich cuts housing benefit by 14% for every ‘spare’ room and 25% for two or more has led to local protests. This benefit cut and forced moves/evictions can become the focus for a unified anti-Poll Tax type struggle to defeat
From page 5 Adrian Budd said in the IS

Cameron. Other benefit changes such as forcing contributions to council tax, the national benefit cap of £500 a week, the reduction by 20% of those disabled people eligible for the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) which replaces DLA will all have different impacts with the benefit cap leaving families in high rent areas facing eviction. With many facing new debt and eviction threats the phased introduction of universal benefit, involving monthly payments in arrears, will create massive hardship. Already campaigns have sprung up to resist any evictions and provide practical support, The Counihan Housing Campaign and the umbrella campaign Brent Housing Acton are on example linking the resistance to all these changes in NW London. Campaigners are visiting estates ,encouraging block representatives and creating a pattern of local antieviction teams. The Tories are weak and now is the time for all these campaigns to increase the pressure for no evictions, redesignation of bedrooms by councils and housing providers, rent controls and action against landlords threatening tenants. A wider response is necessary from the trade union movement to defend the welfare state - UNITE has already launched successful community branches and produced excellent information on benefit changes and a bedroom tax protest leaflet, now the call for a co-ordinated general strike must be driven through the TUC and action taken this spring.
League by ignoring this very real political content of Labour in 1945 as many on the left today ignore the content of the Imperialist-sponsored attacks on Libya and Syria. Revolutionaries are defeatists in all the wars waged by our ‘own’ Imperialist ruling class. We are revolutionary anti-Imperialists internationalists or we are nothing!

Journal in 1994:

The conceptual framework of Attlee-Bevinite diplomacy revolved around the continuation of the empire and the view that Britain remained a great power. In October 1944 Labour had supported British intervention against the popular forces of the Greek Communist resistance, ELAS, in favour of the pro -monarchist right wing Voulgaris government. At the December 1944 party conference Bevin argued that ‘the British Empire cannot abandon its position in the Mediterranean’, and, although Nye Bevan’s riposte won

the loudest applause, Bevin won on the block vote. He was able to rely on this in coming years. [1]

The RCG has listed the Imperialist adventures of Labour in government post WWII in Greece, Malaysia, India, Vietnam, Palestine, Kenya, Jamaica, South Africa, Ireland, Korea and Germany. [2] How can socialists hope to solve our economic problems in this counterrevolutionary way again? Ken Loach has drifted a long way to the right since his sympathising days with the Socialist Labour


[1] IS Issue 62 Spring 1994 Nation and empire: Labour’s foreign policy 1945-51, By Adrian Budd [2] older/rrcb/rrcb-05.htm

Page 6 Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward!

Queensland Updated By Aggie McCallum - Australia
have been under Q ueenslanders Campbell Newman’s conservative Liberal-National Government for thirteen months now. The party took power in March 2012 and their victory gave them a staggering 78 parliamentary seats – it was unprecedented in Australian political history. Now that it is a year out from the election it is a fair question to ask - what is the current political landscape in Queensland? Aside from Premier Newman’s Campbell Newman of Queensland (left). The immediate massive public service gap between rich and poor has been steadily job cuts, and withdrawing funding widening with a reported eleven million Austrafrom or not renewing funding to lian families living below the poverty line. Many organizations and shutting down of these families fall into the working-poor catedepartments is there any sign on the gory. But Labor’s dismal record of attacking horizon of the voters’ expectation the working class and poor has seen his recovfor positive change? Well - the short ery in the polls paving the way for Liberal answer is no – not yet. The Newman government is still busy scurrying leader Tony Abbot’s (left) with more ‘slash and around ferreting out and cutting burn’ mass privatisations politics to oust La‘excessive spending’ - or as their die bor’s Julia Gillard in the September election. hard supporters have been heard to say somewhat churlishly that “the govern- on unions and plans are in place to prevent ment is cutting the fat”. Queensland Health from encouraging union The following is a snap shot of the year membership among staff. This would be and I’ll let the events speak for themselves. achieved through amendments to the IndusThe initial goal of the government was to trial Relations Act. Together Union Secretary put Queensland back into surplus and regain Alex Scott called it a smoke screen. “This its AAA credit rating. In the midst of axing attack is purely about the fact that public thousands of public service jobs, former Fed- sector workers are willing to stand up and eral Liberal Treasurer Peter Costello was ap- fight for services they are so proud to deliver pointed to produce the Commission of Audit – and” he continued, “ the government’s report. Costello’s report contained 155 rec- announcement is an attempt to muzzle Toommendations and it’s no surprise that it gether’s 13,000 members in Queensland largely recommends outsourcing to the pri- Health in the fight against Public Services vate sector. Queensland’s top newspaper privatization.” revealed that education, health, housing, comA spokesman for Queensland Unions also munity support, transport and energy are to believes that the government’s reform is a be sold off or contracted out. The report also step to silence unions in their opposition to recommends that Queensland let full private privatization. To add to this, new laws are sector competition into electricity generation, coming into place next month which will transmission and distribution. require union bosses to publicly disclose their This latest cost cutting drive has put the wages, gifts and entertainment and how they government on a collision course with unions spend union money. The Office of Fair Tradand President of the Council of Unions Mr ing will have the role of ensuring union inforJohn Battams has pledged a long fight to stop mation is released to the public. A separate further asset sales. Mr Battams said union audit office will be set up to pore over union polls showed strong community opposition books and the new law will also give memto “selling off the farm” and he went on to bers of a union the power to decide how the say that the unions will mount a long and money will be spent, including how much effective campaign. money would be made as a donation to the Government confidently announced that a ALP (Australian Labor Party). mandate from the people will be obtained Over the last twenty to thirty years the prior to selling off other areas such as elec- labor markets have freed up in Australia, tricity providers, Energex, C.C. Energy, Er- accelerating during the Work Choices years gon, Powerline and Stanwell and the Towns- under John Howard’s Federal Government. ville and Gladstone Ports. The gap between rich and poor has been Queensland law reforms have the spotlight steadily widening with a reported eleven million Australian families living below the poverty line. Many of these families fall into the working-poor category. The ACTU (Australian Council of Trade Unions) is campaigning for an increase of 5% to the minimum wage which translates to $16.75 per hour in the pay of 1.5 million Australians. It is an increase of a mere 79 cents an hour yet it has sent employers into a spin – they’re calling for such extravagancies to be reigned in during weak economic times. Disgustingly the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) submitted a counter claim - to increase the minimum wage by 1%. It has been pointed out in several articles that Australia’s minimum wage in the year 2000 was 50% of average weekly earnings – today it is only 43%. One article in Brisbane’s conservative Courier Mail reminded employers that they have done nicely from wage restraint over the past decade and the author added an emotional tone to his article saying he wonders if it is “worth staying here when the hard work of humble honest people is devalued and workers such as childcare workers, cleaners and café staff are relegated to second class citizenship in this country”. On the subject of wages it is interesting to note that the first campaign to be launched by the conservative rural Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) is to call on the Queensland Government to pay $2.2 million in compensation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people for their unpaid work in the early 20th century. Les Muckan the party’s health spokesman said, “The First Nation people, we’re lost. We’re still struggling and it’s about time this Government wakes up to itself.” Katter’s Party has an appalling stand on gay marriage and asylum seekers and it is bittersweet goodwill felt for them as they vow to follow the unpaid wages issue till it is resolved. The party seems to be aware of the Newman Government’s unfair priorities. KAP’s state leader Ray Hooper said, “We’ve got a (State) government that is going to pay rent on a parliamentary penthouse worth $650 million that doesn’t have to be built – yet they can’t pay $2.2 million that’s owed.” (The $650 million is the controversial William Street development). Their party claims to have much outback/rural support and as I grew up in the outback and still have some personal contact with rural people I must say this party’s claim could be valid. It will be interesting to see what Katter’s Party do with any power they gain in the future election. The funding cuts show no signs of abating and every paper one picks up some service is going or someone is losing a job. Palm Shire Council Mayor Alf Lacey announced they are

Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward! Page 7

Queensland Updated
set to lose thirty jobs due to funding cuts and that sixteen other indigenous shire councils are “in the same boat”. Queensland Family Support Package delivers financial support to families with disabled children. These families must now submit a request for departmental approval for every purchase. The government’s level of intent in its dogged cost cutting drive was poignantly highlighted recently when a family was refused money to purchase a medically recommended specialised mattress for their ten year old disabled child. Only after the media contacted the Disabilities department was the money released for the single mattress. The Aged is always a vulnerable group and the State Chief Health Officer has finally admitted at a recent forum that the State Government will be exiting from Aged Care. This was confirmed by State Health Minister Lawrence Springborg. The Blue Print for better health care in Queensland is available at and although it is a 48 page document aged care is mentioned only once. This one tiny mention leads to 1800 state owned aged care beds in 20 residential facilities throughout Queensland going to private providers and non-government agencies. Families and supporters of the frail and elderly have protested and a petition with 10,000 signatures has been delivered to the Newman Government. Although job cuts continue in Queensland one area is set to increase employee intake. The State Government announced that in July they will double officers patrolling public trains with further increases planned over the next two years. The stiff fines will not only be issued for fare evasion but also offences ranging from eating on the train, feet on seats, through to alcohol. Aside from political scandals (and there have been a few) and haggling over juvenile crime and troubled youth, there is now very serious environmental concerns over the impact CSG (Coal Seam Gas) is having on Queensland rivers in rural areas. Farmers could be left with no livelihood as a number of bores have absolutely no water left in them and alarmingly no hope of accessing this water ever again. (ABC Four Corners 1.04.2013). Awareness of environmental politics in Queensland has increased as the State faced fires, floods even tornadoes this year. It is becoming clear that the cost to recover from these ongoing natural disasters could exceed the cost of implementing technology to reduce emissions. Concerns that the short term profits of the massive mining industry in Queensland could lead to long term environmental damage won’t go away. Such implications have not been lost on high profile activists in other parts of the world and it is of no surprise that Greenpeace has targeted Northern Queensland and is now sailing for the diminishing Great Barrier Reef calling for its protection and preservation. The relationship between the Newman Government and the people of Queensland has decidedly cooled – yet support remains and the support is strong enough, the polls tell us, to retain power if an election was held today. Nevertheless their power is being eroded by their own policies and actions and the gradual loss of support for the Newman Government is a fair thing. Voters have started to turn with the tide of events and many are already looking for new leadership in Queensland. I will keep you posted.

Construction Rank and File meeting in Conway Hall
By Alan Hunter, 25/3/2013


his meeting was called to consider the issue of the sacking of FRANK MORRIS as Senior Steward at the Cross Rail site where there is evidence of 18 companies blacklisted and all the CONSULTING ASSOCIATIONS LIST OF BLACKLISTED EMPLOYERS. Sharon Graham from the UNITE’s Organising department presented a report on the campaign by Unite to target the Blacklisted listed in the Report. The report which is a leverage report on Crossrail –BFK. She explained that a campaign would be started to target Shareholders and contact all companies involved as a Crossrail BFk. The objectives of the Leverage campaign would be:

In simple terms this means getting all Unite members sacked or prevented from getting work and getting on the site. Peter Farrell, a UCATT member and member of the Justice for Shrewsbury campaign asked what UCATT is doing, i.e. is there any involvement from the UCATT Leadership. Steve Kelly’s response was “It is not for us to ask Steve Murphy UCATT General Secretary what he is doing”. Kevin Williamson said it was vital that membership and union organisation was put back on the sites like Crossrail-BFK. We must put all our resources to ensure that Unite activists are back working on these sites. Frank Morris speaking from the Platform said it is for the Unite Stewards to get their confidence back, if Blacklisters are on the site 1) Reinstatement of all Unite Activists we have to get over this Hurdle. We have to sacked from the EIS Contract get blacklisted activists back on the site. 2) Tangible enabling agreement for acJohn Sheridan a Unite EC Member said cess to build member led organisation on that we had to have a Leverage strategy that Crossrail. worked. Steve Atcheson a Unite Activist and 3) Use Crossrail Leverage to assist the a Blacklisted worker who recently won a Blacklist Support group campaign through increased exposure of ‘Blacklist court case over his own blacklisting said that Blacklisting was an organised attack on the Companies’ and individuals, together with the reemployment of Unite Activists. working class and Labour movement, this is

an attack on the whole Labour movement and we have to send the project down. Other speakers said we need direct action to get our members back on the site and what is the TUC doing about Blacklisting. It was pointed out that this was different from BESNA. Sharon Graham explained that Unite had organised 101 organisers on this project alone and that from 15th April Direct Action would be organised around the Crossrail-BFK project. Peter Farrell said it was important to target these sites and Polish workers are employed on these sites mainly as Building Labourers and we have to recruit them into the battle. Irish workers who are killed on these sites don’t know what their rights are. It is important to recognise that the two tier workforce is in action in Britain and Globally and that Skilled Electricians, Plasterers, pipe fitters and others need to unite with Building labourers who are normally in UCATT or not unionised at all, the separation between skilled workers and Labourers has to stop and there needs to be a joint campaign involving both UCATT and UNITE. We ignore this problem at our peril.

Page 8 Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward!

Jim Kelly, Andy Newman and Sean McGovern witchhunt the Left in Unite By Gerry Downing


he Socialist Unity blog have posted a shockingly reactionary witch hunt in comments on an article by Jim Kelly attacking Jerry Hicks, the SWP and Chris Ford. [1] But the attack on Gerry Downing is by far the worst. Sean McGovern denies Brianthedog is Jim Kelly but there really is no doubt that he is. He could try suing the Socialist Fight to protect his anonymity! Note: the names on top of some posts are quotes from previous posts. The poster is beneath each post.

‘Four Goals’ attacks Jim Kelly’s reactionary post
31. “Unite is a general workers’ union, where many of our members earn anything from around £25,000 to £60,000+ for senior grades in some sectors” OK, so a small minority of members might earn over £26,000 (and how many of them will be working many hours of overtime or working very unsocial hours to get this sort of money), but far more will be like me- I’m a bus driver working for the UK’s largest bus operator and I earn just less than £18000. And when I talk to my workmates about the GS wage they are astounded and shocked- its just wrong and to argue that just because the job involves a lot of responsibility the pay should be enormous, is no different to the argument used by bankers, company directors, etc. Posted by Four Goals 16 March Andy Newman follows up the witchhunt on Jerry

Hicks, the SWP and Chris Ford by launching the following vile witchhunt on Gerry Downing:
61. Brianthedog: The rape scandal SWP and Chris FordDon’t forget Gerry Downing’s support. Recently pursued for libel by UNITE official Wayne King (I find that name hard to believe too, what were his parent thinking?), and then I understand recently sacked from his job on the buses for verbally abusing a passenger travelling with a mentally distressed child. It is the fucking A team

Posted by Andy Newman 18 March 65. Andy Newman: Don’t forget Gerry Downing’s support. Recently pursued for libel by UNITE official Wayne King (I find that name hard to believe too, what were his parent thinking?), and then I understand recently sacked from his job on the buses for verbally abusing a passenger travelling with a mentally distressed child. It is the fucking A team Libel? It is an anti-free speech law for the rich! Also, judge and jury on Gerry Downing, kicking people when they’re down, says a lot about you. Instinctively side with the manager/privileged class, says a lot about your class loyalties. Posted by Darren Cahil 67. #65 Calling for a trade unionist to be sacked whilst knowingly spreading all over the place nasty lies (HR at a logistics company unrelated to Downing even reprinted his lies and spread them around the workplace during a dispute in an effort to undermine the members and Mr King) that you know will severely damage their reputation, career and cause grievous upset to them, their family and their union is not the preserve of the rich it’s the preserve of a coward and someone who thinks they are accountable to no one. It’s just the characteristics you do not need for a trade union but no wonder Downing is Hick’s right hand man. Mr Cahill can stay in the cesspit and try and defend this filth but we would rather not. Posted by Brianthedog 68. Darren Cahil: Libel? It is an anti-free speech law for the rich! Also, judge and jury on Gerry Downing, kicking people when they’re down, says a lot about you. Instinctively side with the manager/privileged class, says a lot about your class loyalties. What about siding with people with mental illness, or does a working class hero like Downing trump a disabled person from our class? 69. #68 ……… Or calling for a decent working class trade unionist to be sacked on the basis of a complete pack of

Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward! Page 9

Jim Kelly, Andy Newman and Sean McGovern witchhunt
lies – its f**king vile. I know where my class loyalties are its Mr Cahil who is confused here but he can carry on supporting and defending the deceitful liar that is Downing. Posted by Brianthedog cover potential child protection situations? I guess we will have to wait for the evidence brought out at the appeal. Posted by Lurker 113. #100 Thanks for putting this piece up. Gerry Downing’s actions and his concern for the child’s wellbeing are laudable – whether or not he read the situation correctly he attempted to do the right thing. Travelling on public transport with children can be a fraught experience in itself. I suspect travelling with a child who has, possibly, severe mental health issues on a London bus must be difficult for all concerned. Actions of carers of disabled people can be misconstrued. What we see as heavy handedness could indeed be the best way of dealing with a situation. Then again, it could be that the carer is using too much force. These are difficult judgements to make at the best of times, and I would veer away from making them at the distance of space and time that the Internet offers. Gerry isn’t Mr Popular. But then, in the 15 years or so I’ve known him, he has never put himself forward to win any popularity competitions. But, if we’re going to continue having a pop at him, let’s leave the situation of his dismissal out of the scenario. Posted by BombasticSpastic

Having condemned Gerry Downing out of hand on Kelly’s urgings Andy is now forced to examine the evidence and he half backtracks
89. Andy Newman: I don’t think we lack evidence, given that Gerry Downing has effectively conceded the facts of the case in his own press statement. Do you have a link? Posted by Vanya

Gerry Downing’s press release on his sacking is posted: [2]

105. Manzil: doesn’t appear to show this Downing bloke having conceded that he’d been abusive. He quotes himself as “confronting” a passenger. It is a statement of undisputed fact that he was dismissed for being abusive to a passenger; and Mr Downing accepts that he “confronted” that same passenger, and discusses how stressed he was. Substantially therefore, the facts of the case were not really in dispute; had I been representing Mr Downing, then I would have argued that the situation was outside the normal parameters that a driver is expected to deal with, and that the particular stressful circumstances that he had in his private life should be taken in mitigation; I would argue that it was an unfortunate coincidence of exceptional circumstances that are unlikely to reoccur, and that are not relevant to the driver’s ability to do the job in more normal or reasonably foreseeable circumstances. As such dismissal would be disproportionate. For what it is worth, I think from Mr Downing’s account the decision to sack him was harsh, given the stressfulness of the situation recounted, and his own personal circumstances at the time. However, it would also seem to be within the reasonable range of responses in such a situation that an employer might lawfully take. There is always the problem for militant shop stewards that if the give management a pretext to sack them, then sacked they will be. Posted by Andy Newman

124. # 122 I agree with you Andy that this is what the known liar Downing is insinuating and he should substantiate it or withdraw his statement. Unfortunately this kind of behaviour is a hallmark of Downing. When you peel away the thin veneer of Trotskyism, Anti Good Friday armchair Irish Republicanism and faux trade union militant all you are left with is a very nasty and pathetic man. “Well to make sure this is not more empty rhetoric from Mr Hicks he has two choices about his right hand man from his grassroots left group. Use his influence to immediately get Mr Downing to make a full and unequivocal apology to Mr King and also substantiate or withdraw his press release that his dismissal is politically motivated or publicly put out a statement distancing himself from Gerry DownSean McGovern backtrack fully also having seen ing and call on him to resign as secretary of his group.” Jerry Hicks and Gerry Downing we are still waiting and Jim Kelly is a liar: your silence is deafing (sic!). 110. #108 If, as I suspect it is, concerns about child protecPosted by Brianthedog 21 March tion are an issue in this case, it is not wise for comrades to suggest management were right to discipline GD. Child protection is the responsibility of everyone in relation to Notes job roles – not just the professionals. Are bus drivers [1] hicks-wrong-era-wrong-politics/#comments given any training? Are there any company policies which [2]
Page 10 Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward!

The reactionary Jim Kelly is unrepentant even after his lying scam is exposed:

Why SA, SP and the AWL supports McCluskey in the Unite General Secretary election By Laurence Humphries
he British section of the Internarights under the rules and are treated as tional Marxist Tendency is Sosecond class members. cialist Appeal, an opportunist centrist Further on in the article Socialist Aporganisation deeply embedded in the peal makes reference to McCluskey’s Labour Party. In issue 215 of their paper call for a general strike. This is nothing Socialist Appeal they report on a recent more than posturing by McCluskey speech Len McCluskey, General Secrewhich most of the left bureaucrats suptary of Unite, gave at the London School port. It is hot air and is mainly done to of Economics. They state “Len give the impression to his members McCluskey has moved to the left in rethat he is going to lead a general strike sponse to pressures from below” [1]. movement. In fact the opposite is true. Nothing could be further from the truth; Socialist Appeal makes comments on McCluskey is a bureaucrat who at times the recent construction workers dissounds left in response to pressure from pute “the wave of militant strike action his membership. He has no intention of Ted Grant: political father of both across the private sector including the carrying out the policies he advocates at the SP and SA: They are still char- BESNA Sparks dispute of construction these gatherings. Bureaucrats are forced to acterised by the same capitulation workers” [5]. This dispute was led by feign left on occasions. They further as- to the TU bureaucracy so they rank and file construction workers insert, “his main demand on a Labour Gov- both support McCluskey against cluding Steve Kelly and Jerry Hicks. It ernment would be to re-establish free- the R+F candidate Jerry Hicks. defeated the original aims of BESNA doms for Trade Unions to organise decide and take ac- and the main Construction Employers who were detertion” [2]. mined to attack the conditions and pay in the construction Miliband and the leadership of the present Labour party industry. McCluskey and his officials only became interare no different from the Blair and Brown governments. ested when they felt the dispute was not under their conMiliband and Balls are determined to carry out the diktats trol. of capitalism. Most Labour councils are cutting services, Socialist Appeal attempts to give McCluskey some crediand making large sections of workers redundant. Not one bility “In this respect, McCluskey is far ahead of his peers Labour council has set an illegal budget or sought to de- and has de-facto became the leader of the left in the recent fend council tenants, who are being evicted and refused period” [6]. McCluskey together with Bob Crowe of the housing benefits. McCluskey is part of this charade. RMT, Mark Serwotka of PCS and Matt Wrack of the FBU In passing Socialist Appeal makes reference to the Gen- are bureaucrats and they are not leading anything. Blacklisteral Secretary Election in Unite, but fails to mention the ing, sackings and the anti-union laws remain. McCluskey’s real reason why they are supporting McCluskey. There is no talk is all hot air, because in practice he intends to do nothmention of Jerry Hicks, the Rank and File candidate, who is ing. Thatcher’s and Blair’s use of the anti-union laws means standing against McCluskey in this election. The difference that all of these Trade Union leaders are terrified of sequesin the candidates’ policies are there for everyone to see. “ tration and other financial penalties and do not have the Rank and File fighter Jerry Hicks who calls for All officials stomach or the will to conduct a serious struggle against the to be elected not appointed, a fight to repeal the anti-union bosses and capitalism. laws in the UK and the EU and left bureaucrat Len These centrists then state “Len McCluskey’s speech preMcCluskey who plays at revolution whilst endorsing the sented a militant stand against austerity and the coalition austerity programme of the bankers friends Balls and Mili- government. This support for McCluskey and the bureaucband and earned £122, 435 last year”. [3] racy is against everything that Trotsky stood for and fought Socialist Appeal, which has pretentions to be a Trotskyist for “The bureaucracy of the Trade Unions is the backbone of British organisation, covers up for the role of bureaucratic non- Imperialism, The trade Union bureaucracy is the chief instrument for elected apparatus in Unite. Socialist Appeal mentions your oppression by the bourgeois state” (our emphasis) [7]. “Community Membership” [4]. I have answered this sub- Socialist Appeal can trace its origins back to Trotskyism ject in my reply to the United Left in SF 12. Community after the Second World War. Ted Grant, one of their erstmembership is a device by McCluskey and the leadership to while leaders, was a member of the Revolutionary Commudupe Unite members who are unemployed students and nist Party. In the 1950s and 60s they performed a role for others who are not in work that they have a real say in the the right wing in the Labour Party. When principled Trotdecisions that Unite makes. That is false community mem- skyists were being expelled they refused to support them. bership is a second tier of membership in Unite with no When their members who were now part of the ‘Militant
Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward! Page 11


Socialist Appeal, the Socialist Party and the AWL
Tendency’ were witch-hunted and organisation called the National Shop expelled from the Labour Party by Stewards Network. It is heavily influKinnock and Blair the ‘Militant’ split enced by the RMT and its General Secinto two sections over their attitude to retary Bob Crowe. It will admit to you the Labour Party. The majority, led by that its role is to accommodate a secPeter Taffe, became the Socialist Party tion of the so called “left wing trade and abandoned work in the Labour union leaderships” in the RMT, the party. Ted Grant, Alan Woods and PCS, the POA and the FBU. It is not a Rob Sewell formed Socialist Appeal rank and file body but the voice of and remained in the Labour Party these left wing trade union leaders. where they faithfully defend and supWhen push comes to shove, these so port the bureaucratic apparatus in the called lefts line up together with right trade unions and the Labour Party. wing trade union leaders as was shown They cannot be called Trotskyist; they in the recent Pensions debacle when are a centrist and opportunist organithe leaderships of Unite, Unison and sation who have decided to support Sean Matgamna, guru of the AWL. a PCS failed to give any proper leaderself-proclaimed Zionist (real name McCluskey in his election campaign. John O’Mahoney from Co. Clare!). His ship and capitulated. There is much talk Both the Socialist Party and the Alli- capitulation to Imperialism outpaced of a General Strike but nothing in pracance for Workers Liberty have adopted Militant and Ted Grant in the early tice. the same positions as Socialist Appeal 80s—the common purpose of the In fact McCluskey is supporting Wayne and have supported McCluskey in the grovel in both organisations is to ap- King a Regional Industrial Organiser in pease the TU bureaucracy to get some Unite in a libel action against Comrade Unite General Secretary Election. The Socialist Party insists in its state- Lebensraum for the cadres. Gerry Downing a Unite Bus driver and th ment on its website of the 11 January Chair of Grass Roots Left, a rank and that it will be giving “critical support” to McCluskey what- file organisation. McCluskey has instructed Thompsons ever that means and then proceeds to argue that supporting Unite’s solicitors to use the capitalist courts to proceed a bureaucrat against a rank and file candidate is the correct against Cde Downing. McCluskey has given notice that any policy to follow and will ‘aid the left’, as I have argued in worker who criticises any of his officials will find themSF 12 in reply to ‘The United Left’. McCluskey’s politics selves in court, a very dangerous precedent to concede to a are based on rhetoric and speech making, nowhere is there trade union leader. evidence that he has encouraged his Unite members to op- As Gerry Downing has commented recently, “Obviously pose the anti-union laws. it is not just my democratic rights that are under threat but Instead it has been left to rank and file shop stewards those of every TU militant who fights against the bosses amongst electricians, Honda workers, British Airway work- and their defenders the TU Bureaucracy” The task now is ers to fight in the teeth of immense opposition from the for a concerted campaign to expose this so called ‘leftism’ bureaucracy. Lenin and Trotsky were right when they re- in the bureaucracy. I will leave the final word to Trotsky. ferred to the role of bureaucrats as “getting the crumbs “The irreconcilable and relentless struggle against the left from the masters table”. Their role is based on class com- lackeys of Imperialism, both in the Trade Unions and in the promise. Betrayals are the order of the day. Socialist Fight Labour Party, is becoming especially urgent now” [8]. is very clear on how we see the role of the trade union bureaucracy, left or right: “Because we see the trade union Notes bureaucracy and their allies in the Labour party leadership as the most fundamental obstacle to the struggle for power [1] Socialist Appeal No. 215 p. 14 of the working class”. The Socialist party, Socialist Appeal [2] Ibid. p/ 14 and the Alliance for Workers Liberty make great play about [3] Socialist Fight No. 12 p. 1 their support for rank and file workers, but in practice end [4] Socialist Appeal No 215 p. 14 up supporting the bureaucracy, the main arm of the capital- [5] Ibid. p. 14 ist state in the workers movement. Their role which is to [6] Ibid. p. 14 police and control the trade unions for capitalism remains very much the same as it was when Ernest Bevin was Gen- [7] Trotsky, The Errors in Principle of Syndicalism, http:// eral Secretary of the TGWU. errors.htm The Socialist Party has a trade union arm or rank and file
Page 12 Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward!

The Socialist Party and the General Strike By Alan Hunter


t last year’s TUC Congress in Brighton a motion was moved and passed by the Prison Officers association and supported by others to examine the “practicality of a general strike”. This policy was promoted and supported by the National Shop Stewards Movement, the industrial arm of the Socialist Party. They favour a 24 Public Sector general strike. This motion is now to be discussed at the General Council of the TUC on April 25th, at which the NSSN intends to lobby. The TUC is inviting two Labour lawyers John Hendy and Keith Ewing to bring proposals on how “Legal general strike” can be organised. Both the NSSN and the SPW are centrist organisations who have full confidence in the abilities of certain Left wing trade Union Leaders like Len McCluskey of Unite, Bob Crowe of the RMT, Mark Serwotka of PCS and Matt Wrack of the FBU. In fact this is not a serious strike movement at all. In recent times there has been many strike actions and large demonstrations organised by the TUC, UNITE, PCS, NUT and others over pensions, but these protests have not amounted to anything and all of them have being abandoned except for the recent PCS strike which was staged just by one Union. There is no sense in which a one day 24 general strike legal or otherwise can be organised under these conditions. We as Trotskyist must be very clear on the nature of a general strike. In the Transitional Programme Trotsky states “the whole political situation as a whole is chiefly characterised by a Historical crisis of the leadership of the proletariat” [1]. The leadership of the working class in Britain is led by a bureaucratic and reformist leadership who have a history of class betrayal. The purpose of a general strike is allied with the struggle for the conquest of power and the overthrow of capitalism. The centrists in the SPEW are only interested in left reformism and adaption to the left bureaucracy. McCluskey one of the so called lefts and a member of the Labour party is only interested in the return of a capitalist labour government. If you look at the history of previous general Strikes starting from 1926 you will see that if they are led by bureaucrats they are doomed and ultimately betrayed. The recent 1984-5 Miners strike like the 1926 general strike led to the defeat of the miners. In 1974 when the NUM successfully defeated the Heath government together with the dockers and other workers the result was the return of another Bourgeois Labour Government. Trotsky in his writings on Britain analysed that a general strike was not a mere protest as practised by the NSSN. “A general strike if it not be a mere protest signifies an extreme upheaval of society and in any event places at stake the fate of the political regime and the reputation of the strength of the revolutionary regime” [2].

This is not the situation because this proposal for a general strike is just another half-hearted protest. The issue here is that we are dealing with centrism and reformism. Trotsky understood both these tendencies in the working class very well: “The main feature of Socialist centrism is its reticence, its mediocre half –and-half nature. It keeps going as long as it does not draw the ultimate conclusions” [3]. Further on Trotsky draws the analogy between a general strike and armed struggle “A general strike is the sharpest form of class struggle; it is only one step from the general strike to the armed insurrection” [4]. Trotsky perfectly analyses the role of trade union leaders and centrists whose role is to belittle, confuse and ultimately betray a general strike and ensure it leads to defeat. “An implacable struggle against every act of treachery or attempted treachery and the ruthless exposure of the reformists are the main elements in the work of the genuine revolutionary participants in the general strike” [5]. The question of state power and its acquisition is posed during a general strike. “The fundamental importance of the general strike is that it poses the question of power point blank” [6]. Rob Williams chair of the NSSN and a member of the SPEW answers a readers letter in the March issue of Socialism Today about the general strike tactic. “But the movement was stalled and defeated by the sell-out of the TUC and Union Leaders like those in UNISON and the GMB” [7]. This is not correct; The SPEW chooses not to single out the lefts who were also responsible for the sellout and betrayal. Unite was an important factor with the GMB and UNISON in the pension struggle, but the SPEW does not criticise McCluskey or the others because the SPEW are currying favour and are allied with these lefts. Further on comrade Williams directly puts the blame of the crisis onto the working class “Undoubtedly in the public sector where the cuts have bitten deeply confidence has been hit and consciousness has retreated from that heady days of N30” [8]. He further lets the Lefts off the hook by stating “The relative lull in the movement to resist austerity inevitably gives rise to a review of our approach” [9]. This perspective seeks to blame the working class for the crisis and not their leaders. This is a question of leadership and not whether the working class will fight. The working class is a revolutionary class and in this period it will test this leadership out, if it has no confidence in one day protests it will wait and see. That does mean that workers will not fight it means that that they do not trust a rotten corrupt and reformist leadership which has a history of defeats behind it. Most of these protests have only been organised to show that the TUC and bureaucratic leaders are fighting. Both the right and left trade union leaders will betray and the SPEW has attached itself to the coattails of this left

Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward! Page 13

The SP and the General Strike
bureaucracy, hoping that they will fight and defeat this Con-Dem Coalition. They are very much mistaken, as I have shown class betrayal, cowardice and class compromise are the hallmarks of this bureaucracy. Genuine Trotskyists must work to win sections of workers to understand the true significance of general strike and work to create and fight for an alternative revolutionary leadership in the working class. The bureaucracy right and left must be challenged and exposed. We must show those elements in the NSSN who want to seriously fight the bureaucracy and help to overthrow capitalism in a struggle for state power that they need to adopt a revolutionary perspective. Socialist 1926 General Strike: Trotsky: “A general strike if it not be Fight and the Liaison Committee for the Fourth Interna- a mere protest signifies an extreme upheaval of society and in any event places at stake the fate of the political tional are fighting for this perspective.
regime and the reputation of the strength of the revolu-


1) Leon Trotsky: the Transitional Programme and the Tasks of the Fourth International 2) Leon Trotsky: Writings on Britain vol. 2 p. 62 3) Ibid. p. 112 4) Ibid. p. 144
Declan John Rafferty 30 Years Co. Louth E-4 Liam Grogan 22 Years Kildare Darren Mulholland 22 Years Dundalk E-2 List of Irish Repub- Anthony Deery n/a Derry Cormac Fitzpatrick 9 Years lican Prisoners Monaghan (Please help us up- Tony Hyland 25 Years Dublin date the list) Tom Hanlon n/a Cork David Jordan n/a Tyrone PORTLAOISE PRISON Tarlach MacDhómhnaill n/a Portlaoise, County Laois, Co. Louth Ireland Michael McDonald 30 Years E-3 Bernard Dempsy LIFE Dublin Fermanagh Dermott McFadden n/a Derry Aidan Hulme 20 Years Co. Michael McKevitt 20 Years Louth Dundalk Robert Hulme 20 Years Co. Darren Mooney n/a Dublin Louth Jim McCormick 22 Years Co. Conan Murphy n/a Louth Maghaberry Gaol, Roe 3, Louth Thomas Morris 6 Years Dub- Old Road, Ballinderry Upper lin Fintan Paul O’Farrell 30 Years Lisburn, Ireland BT28 2PT Co. Louth 1. Brian Shivers - Magherafelt Matthew Perry n/a n/a Barry Petticre 5 Years Belfast 2. Harry Fitzsimons - Belfast 3. Sean McConville - Lurgan

5) Ibid. p. 146 6) Ibid. p. 146 7) Socialism Today No, 166 March 2013 letters p. 31 8) Ibid. p. 32 9) Ibid. p. 32.
4. Damien McKenna - Lurgan 5. Gary Toman - Lurgan 6. Brendan McConville - Lurgan 7. John Paul Wootton - Craigavon 8. Kevin Barry Nolan - Co Cavan 9. Gerard McManus - Letterkenny 10. Willie Wong - Armagh 12. Martin Corey - Lurgan 13. Joe Barr - Strabane 14. Jordan Whitehouse - Derry 15. Martin McCloone - Derry 16. Mark McGuigan - Omagh 17. Phil O Donnell - Derry 18. Francis Carleton - Belfast 19. Packy Carter - Co Tyrone 20. Michael Johnston - North Belfast 21. Dominic Dynes - Castleblayney, 22. Brian Cavlan - Dungannon 23. Brian Sheridan - Blackwater Town 24. Raymond Whitehouse Derry 25. Raymond Wootton - Belfast 26. Thomas Maguire - Belfast 27. Mark Kerr - Derry 28. Tony Taylor - Derry 29. Kevin Vernon - Belfast 30. Stephen Murney - Newry Special Supervision Unit Isolation Liam Campbell Gavin Coyle Hydebank Wood Hospital Road BELFAST BT8 8NA Marian Price-McGlinchey MAGILLIGAN PRISON Point Road Limvady Co. Derry BT 49 OLR The Grove Castlerea Gaol Castlerea, Co Roscommon, Ireland (IRSP) Eddie McGarrigle Johnny McCrossan Pravieniskiu Pataisios Namai-Atviroji Kolonija 2-Oji Valdyba Pravieniskiu 11k Kaisiadoriu R Lt-56552, Lithuania Michael Campbell

Page 14 Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward!

Joint IRPSG/Brent LRC meeting By Laurence Humphries.


his Meeting was in Conway Hall in London on 28 February. It called to: Free all Irish, Basque, Palestinian, Kurdish, Tamil, Naxalite and all Anti Imperialist Political Prisoners. Political Status for all Irish Republican Prisoners Implement the August 2010 Agreement Free Marian Price, Martin Corey and Stephen Murney Gerry Downing Secretary of the Irish Republican Prisoners Support Group, opened the meeting to a lively audience of over 50 people. He stressed that the fight of the IRSP was to free all Irish Republican prisoners and to seek political status in their fight against Imperialism. The victimisation of the Birmingham 6 and Guildford 4 was used to terrify the Irish community in Britain and to isolate them from supporters in the British labour movement. It was clear that they were innocent from the start, the Guildford 4 were not even republicans but the framing of clearly innocent people had an even more terrifying effect. That is the case with Marian, Price, Martin Corey and Stephen Murney. Yasmin Cass next spoke on the campaign to free her father Mohammed Hamid and she explained that the campaign had woken up the community and the injustice and imprisonment against Mohammed Hamid. Yasmin made reference to the attacks on the Counihan- Sanchez family in Brent. She said she had ofter got more support from ‘the Irish’ than she had got from the Muslim community. —see below. Diarmuid Mac Dubhglais the Ard-Cisteor of Republican Sinn Fein, next spoke—see below. Graham Durham, the Labour Representation Committee London Organiser, who is a member of Brent LRC which also sponsor the meeting. He told how, as a Brent Labour Councillor in the early 80s, he had supported the hunger strikers and had gone to picket the Labour ministers who refused to support Bobby Sands. Michael Holden Chair of the IRSP spoke about the arrest of Marian Price in April 2010 and how the activities of Sinn Fein leaders Adams and McGuiness had collaborated with the British state. Michael said that Martin Corey still remained a political

prisoner. Stephen Murney was arrested last year. The IRSP has been active in campaigning on behalf of Republican political prisoners and has supported the Counihan-Sanchez campaign in Brent. Isabel Counihan from the Counihan-Sanchez family explained that they had been made homeless by Brent Borough Council and they had been engaged in a fight for Housing Benefit in which they had won. It had been very hard on her children who have been disrupted by the whole affair. Isabel has an Autistic son in a school in England and Brent Council’s advice was to go and live in temporary Housing in Ireland which was not practicable as all her children are in schooling in Brent. Isabel herself was having hip surgery and it had been a very distressing time and no cooperation nor sympathy from the Labour controlled authority of Brent. She stressed that they are fighting for other families in Brent, particularly when the Con Dems are attacking the welfare state and Housing authorities like Brent who don’t care are just evicting families left right and centre. Senake Rodrigo from the Frontline Socialist Party from Sri Lanka spoke about solidarity and the struggle to free Irish prisoners of war and the human rights issue. The Sri Lankan government runs Sri Lanka like a dictatorship and their attitude to the Tamil population is very bad. Prisoners are locked up for 48 hours. Tamils are still in custody, families are not allowed to visit them. No names are provided, in Sri Lanka there are no court appearances or charges against the detainees, many prisoners are tortured and hospitalised. I would like to draw your attention to this situation. This is a leftist movement for the oppressed in Sri Lanka. It is barbaric action against the Tamil minority; no one knows the number of prisoners incarcerated by the regime. Martin Óg Meehan of the RNU, was unable to attend because of the serious illness of a close relation but he sent a message of support (see below). There was a very lively contribution from everyone in the room and a very successful Collection to aid the fight of the IRSP and others to fight for political status and the rights of prisoners all over the World. The call must go out to free all anti-imperialist prisoners. his release. Of these appeals, the one on July 9th 2010 would be most significant as it was in front of the highly renowned human rights judge; Justice Treacy. At this hearing Justice Treacy ruled that Martin’s human rights were infringed under article 5 of the Human Rights Act of 1998; Article 5; Deprivation of liberty, and ordered his release, he Justice Treacy also pointed out that the so called “closed evidence”, i.e. the evidence that could not be shown to the defence but is normally shown to the Judge was a book of blank pages with the words, “the Secretary of State confirms that this evidence exists”. Martin, his supporters and his legal team were understandably elated with this result and preparations were made for his return. It wasn’t until late that afternoon while Martin was sitting at the gate, with all his belongings that he was informed that the Sec. of State overruled the courts decision and ordered his continued internment. At present Martin and his supporters are awaiting a date for the Supreme court in London to appeal the Secretary of State’s decision.

Speech by Diarmuid Mac Dubhglais RSF:
A Chairde Firstly may I say thanks for the invitation to come here and speak on behalf of our Republican POW’s, who are incarcerated because of the part they have taken in the ongoing struggle against the occupation of my country. These people would never have seen the inside of a prison cell had it not for this occupation and their opposition to that occupation. I will divide my time between 3 main headings. Firstly let me bring to your attention the case of Martin Corey; Martin is a 62 year old man from Co. Armagh, he was convicted in 1973 for his part in the killing of two RUC men. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and served 19 years before being released. The British government say he was released on licence although he never signed any documents to this effect. In April 2010, Martin was re-arrested and told his license was revoked on the authority of the secretary of state for northern Ireland. He remains in Maghaberry prison to date despite several appeals for

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IRPSG/Brent LRC meeting
Last year Martin’s brother died suddenly. Martin looked for compassionate parole to attend the removal and burial. His request was pushed from the prison governor to the courts and back. Eventually Martin was allowed out but only for 3 hours and only as long as he was escorted be 2 members of Provisional Sinn Féin... Marion Price is another internee, her continued detention defies all logic and natural justice. This seriously ill woman poses no physical threat to the British state but they insist on keeping her interned. The so-called British justice system have gone as far as to keep her handcuffed to a hospital bed with both male and female screws constantly beside her 24 hours a day, even during examinations. This past week a prominent priest from the U.S. visited her and here is a quote from his report “My heart was broken and my soul outraged by how this heroic Irishwoman has been treated. This seriously ill, lovely, softspoken woman should not be in prison. Her persecution – yes, persecution – makes a mockery of the Irish peace-process, questions the whole judicial system, and raises doubt as to whether there has, indeed, been a “ new beginning” to policing in Northern Ireland” There are of course other internees; some interned by remand on trumped-up charge, Liam Campbell, who only last week the courts refused to extradite to Lithuania because he would be held in inhuman and degrading conditions is still in jail despite having no charges preferred against him in the 6 counties is another who’s plight needs attention. Next I will speak about the Republican POW’s. Political Status was attained by all republican POW’s after the 1981 Hunger Strike. The deaths of 10 brave men to attain that status is well known to all here I am sure. Many others, men and women, had their health ruined and lives shortened as a result of this particular phase of the struggle. Sadly this hard won victory was sold out by P.S.F. (Provisional Sinn Fein) when their last prisoner was released after the “Good Friday Agreement” We now have Republican Prisoners struggling for the very same recognition; that is, to be recognition as political prisoners. They have four simple demands; 1/ an end to the brutal and degrading strip searching. 2/ free association. 3/ an end to controlled movement. 4/ a right to education. In August 2010 an agreement was reached between the POW’s and the NIO brokered be independent facilitators. Its fundamental Principles were as follows;1. Arrangements are predicated on mutual respect; 2. Prisoner and staff safety must not be put at risk; 3. Arrangements should comply with human rights and equality requirements; 4. Revised arrangements and procedures should be achievable and sustainable; 5. Staff should be able to carry out their work professionally, free from harm, intimidation or threat; 6. The security of the establishment should not be diluted; and 7. The arrangements must strengthen public confidence in NIPS The agreement set out in full, the steps to be taken by both the POW’s and the prison staff so as to resolve the deterioration in prison conditions and the health of the POW’s. Sadly but predictably once the POW’s came off their protest the screws reneged on all aspects of their side of the agreement and the POW’s were left with no alternative but to return to the dirty protest. Up to November 2012 the POW’s were still on RSF Easter Monday 2013, Paddington Cemeprotest. They tery, Willesden Lane, Kilburn NW6, London. were living in maggot infested cells with no washing facilities, their own excrement covering walls/doors and floors. They were locked up for 23 hours a day and only allowed out one at a time. During their one hour out of the cell they had to try; shower, make phone calls, buy something from the tuck shop and perform and other tasks necessary. They were beaten up and strip searched on the way to and from court appearances; The constant strip searching is brutal in the extreme and is done as a form of torture, the POW’s have had no human contact other than the screws and particularly while during court cases. In November 2012 the POW’s took the lead and suspended their protest when it looked like a body scanner was to be installed in the prison. This type of scanner has been proven to work in airports/ prisons and various other secure areas all over the world). Once again the NIPS back tracked, the screws have said that the scanners supplied allowed certain items through unnoticed. It has to be pointed out though that the scanners supplied were tested in other prisons and found to work perfectly well … In a case similar to that of Martin Corey, a POW whose father died suddenly was refused bail altogether, this to spite the fact that republican POW’s have consistently returned from compassionate leave. This was just another vindictive act on behalf of the prison... Finally to the international struggle against imperialism and solidarity;- Because there the majority of so-called independent media are in fact aligned to different political parties, it is important the those involved in various struggles, whether for independence or against imperialism to co-operate in highlighting just causes. Governments across the globe are trying to stifle the independent voice of the oppressed. The likes of the Irish, Basque and Palestinian struggle are well known but it is getting harder for us to get the word out there that oppression continues end injustice is an everyday fact of life. The case of Mohammed Hamid is known to us in Sinn Féin Poblachtach, in 2011 the CPS attempted to use his case as a precedent against one members who was interviewed by Channel 4. The fact that people going out paint-balling can be used to infer guilt of terrorist training is very worrying. This in stark contrast to a statement made in Dec 2011 where Jeremy Clarkson said he would have Public Service workers shot for striking. Comrades we need to build a strong antiimperialist movement where the plight of ordinary men and women are put ahead of the rich and powerful. From here today we should agree to highlight each others ongoing struggle; as long as this does not impinge on our own principles.

Page 16 Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward!

IRPSG/Brent LRC meeting
Message from Martin Óg Meehan, Republican Network for Unity: Firstly though, I’d like to briefly outline who RNU are; We were established in 2007, we are a revolutionary republican organisation, committed to building a capable revolutionary alternative to the failed politics of constitutional nationalism and with a view to securing National Liberation & Socialism for Ireland. We hope to carry out this task in the spirit of International solidarity with other like-minded struggles, recognising that true freedom cannot exist in one country alone. The Republican Network for Unity are committed to seven core principles, which I will outline below..... RNU believe in the right of Ireland to National SelfDetermination is absolute, as recognised by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1514. We believe in the struggle for National Liberation, Territorial, Social and Economic Freedom are elements of equal importance. Therefore, the National & Class Struggles are intertwined and inseparable. Our Struggle is also international. We advocate acting in solidarity with other Anti-Imperialist and Socialist Campaigns World-wide. It is the duty of the Irish Socialist Republic to provide Social, Solidarity, Co-Operation and Care, from the cradle to the grave. We must participate in the everyday struggles of the Working-Class regardless of ethnic, cultural, sexual or religious differences. Fundamental to RNU’s struggle is the liberation of the Working-Class by the Working-Class and the key to that process is self-empowerment through struggle. RNU’s POW Department is called Cogús, an Irish word which means conscience. Our Network view Political Prisoners held in Maghaberry and Portlaoise Gaols as our conscience. We help support those prisoners in every way we can, by highlighting the injustices they suffer. Cogús played a central role in negotiations which led to the 2010 Agreement that the British destroyed and left POWs’ with no choice but to engage in an 18 month-long Dirty-Protest. Throughout this period, Cogús continued to campaign on behalf of Political Prisoners with Marches, Pickets and Direct-Action against the

Martin Óg Meehan: Message of support.
so-called Justice Minister in the North. The oppressive Prison Regime includes forced strip-searching, beatings, sectarian intimidation and harassment. Regardless of whatever regime Irish political prisoners are held in Cogús will continue to support them and their families on the outside and we are proud to do so! RNU and Cogús demand the immediate release of Interned Prisoners, Marian Price and Martin Corey both of who have already served lengthy terms of imprisonment at the behest of the British Government. We also call for an end to Internment by Remand, where scores of Republican Prisoners are held for over three years, continuously refused Bail, before appearing at a Diplock Trial. These Trials are still without Juries, are named after the Law Lord Diplock who introduced them in 1973. Theses draconian and unjust Trials must also end as they abuse the most basic of Human Rights. Finally, RNU have asked me to express our solidarity with Mohamed Hamid, his Daughter Cass is a shining example to all Anti-Imperialist Activists fighting for justice. We also send comradely greetings to Counihan-Sanchez, Tamil, Palestinian and Basque POWs. If our group can help your Campaigns in anyway, please let us know and we’ll do our best..After all, a broader-based International response to Imperialist abuses around the world will be much more effective.

Why We Must Fight to Free Mohammed Hamid By Tony Fox


ohammed Hamid’s daughter Yasmin Cass was one of the speakers at IRPSG/Brent LRC meeting on 28th February 28 at Conway Hall. He is one of the many victims of Britain’ s ‘war on terror’ languishing in prison. He was arrested, along with fourteen other men, in the wake of the 2005 London bombings and charged with ‘providing terrorist training’. On 26th February 2008 Hamid was found guilty of ‘providing terrorist training’ and ‘soliciting murder’ and sentenced to an ‘indeterminate sentence for public protection’ with a tariff (minimum term) of seven years, after which he will only be released if the Parole Board declares he is sufficiently low risk to be freed. The

trial was based on the same ‘principle’ that now has Stephen Murney in jail – both have never committed any crime and are not charged with committing a crime – it was all based a speculation on what his listeners took from what he said. These two are in essence charged with political sympathy for the AIMS of those who have adopted methods of individual terrorism . That is they, like us, are in political sympathy with all those who are anti-Imperialist, including those who adopt these methods to fight imperialism with which we may strongly disagree but nevertheless we are all anti-Imperialist as so we must defend everyone’s civil rights in order to maintain our own rights to fight Imperialism with our own methods of mass revolution-

Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward! Page 17

Free Mohamed Hamid
ary mobilisation. The Birmingham 6 were all Republicans (unlike the Guildford 4) and it was on the basis of their politics they were wrongly convicted on what was never a miscarriage of justice but as political hostages to frighten the rest of the Irish community – their innocence was clear to all Irish republican sympathisers and the Irish community in general – jailing innocent people on a political campaign whipped up by the pro-Imperialist mass media had the intended effect of terrorising and making illegal political support for a united Ireland and getting Britain out of the occupied six north-eastern counties. The big demonstrations in supports of the struggle in Ireland stopped immediately after the 1974 bombings in England. The case of the Guildford 4 was in some ways worse – both groups spend 16 years in jail for crimes of which they were wholly innocent – but the Birmingham 6 were ‘guilty’ of Republicanism – the Guildford 4 were not even Republicans, they just came from the wrong place and they knew Republicans – you could scarcely come from the nationalist six counties without knowing Republicans. No, convicting random victims – and it was important to the British state that the whole Irish community knew both groups to be innocent – had the effect of spreading even greater terror in the whole community than the case of Birmingham. It was the same method the Nazis used in Lidice, that small village in Czechoslovakia 1942 in reprisal for the assassination of Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich in the late spring of 1942. It was on orders from Adolf Hitler and ReichsführerSS Heinrich Himmler that it was completely destroyed by German forces. On 10 June 1942, all 173 men over 16 years of age from the village were executed, all the rest of the men were executed when found … After the war ended, only 153 women and 17 children returned. This is the BBC’s account of the Mohamed Hamid’s trial: Hamid was not himself part of Muktar Ibrahim’ s 21/7 bomb plot. But investigators say he played a critical role in the radicalisation of the men who carried the devices. The pair and another man were arrested in October 2004 in a row over their preaching stall in Oxford Street. Hamid allegedly told the arresting officer that his name was “Osama bin London” and “I’ve got a bomb and I’m going to blow you all up”. David Farrell QC, prosecuting, told the court the true intention behind Hamid’s camps and talks were clear. They were nothing short of “a grooming mechanism for disaffected Muslim men, slowly and sometimes subtly, preparing them and radicalising for jihad.” So to take the analogy a bit further, all those who are Irish Republicans or who support the aims of Irish Republicans are politically as guilty as Stephen Murney and Mohamed Hamid and, if the political situation requires, could expect a knock on the door in the middle of the night with charges with “having material that supports terrorism”, i.e. the political

PAINTBALLING = WEAPONS TRAINING CUTTING A WATERMELON = TERRORISM TRAINING PROPAGATING ISLAM = TERROR RECRUITMENT PLEASE HELP US STOP THIS INJUSTICE NOW! Petition: petition.html, The Free Mohammed Hamid Facebook group has 4,361 members including MPs, Councillors and public figures.,

aims of expelling Imperialism from Ireland or the Middle East or anywhere else and defeating their war aims of subordinating all economies and all our lives to the neo-liberal needs of Wall Street and the City of London and their allied multi-national companies. And to take the analogy to its clear conclusion – civil liberties and political and democratic rights are indivisible, we cannot demand it for ourselves whilst at the same time denying it to those who are opposed to British Imperialism in Ireland or the Middle East or anywhere else. In the immortal words of Pastor Martin Niemöller: First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the socialists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Catholic. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me

Page 18 Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward!

Misunderstood Loyalism and violence, “the most natural thing in the world” By Charlie Walsh


ól Ó Muri writing in The Irish Times on 13 December about the ongoing protests by loyalists about the reduction in the number of days from 365 days to 17 ‘special’ days when the Union Jack will fly over Belfast City Hall, recalls how:
on December 8th, his daughters were due to go shopping in Belfast city centre with their aunts. It was their traditional Christmas outing to the city’s continental market without their parents and to have a bit of a chat with their Belfast cousins, a day out they always look forward to.

Mr Ó Muri went on to say that his sister rang him on the Friday night and was worried: loyalists were rioting in her mixed part of Belfast while he said the same was true of his brother’s part of the city and there was talk of a loyalist demonstration down the town. He went on:
We did what Nationalists have done for generations in the city. We changed our plans, postponed the trip, just in case, just to be sure, you never know what might happen. Though in the course of loyalists demonstrations you do know what happens — disappointed loyalists riot frequently, and far too often, Catholics are murdered. Never has a political philosophy been given such violent leeway in expressing its dissatisfaction with political events. Drumree, Holy Cross, the Anglo-Irish agreement. It’s always the same — loyalists threaten and carry their excuses to the media like they were Moses on his return from Mount Sinai. So it was in last weekend’s papers — loyalist leaders warn, gurn and threaten and it’s all written down like it’s the most understandable thing in the world. The decision of Belfast city council not to fly the union flag every day of the year is used as a pretext, the council will still fly the union flag, you understand, but just not every day, and the loyalist leadership whines that it cannot control its followers as if they were disappointed scout masters rather than the hard-bitten thugs that they are. Any Catholic of my age knows only too well to be wary of the orange mob. I saw them at work when I was a teenager, growing up in Belfast, saw them as a student at university in the city, saw them as an adult when I left the city. We were working class and lived in the west of the city, and my father worked in a factory in east Belfast, an area that was predominately loyalist. He worked there through the 1970s and 1980s when sectarian violence was unrelenting. He was of a generation who used to have people — loyalists — ask him for a ‘wee donation’ for the factory bunting when the marching season arrived. Yes, no factory was complete without its red, white and blue bunting, that’s cultural expression, that is. He declined because my father is a brave man and carried on with his work, as did his Catholic friends — the handful of them that had managed to get a job in the factory. They went back the next day and the next day and the next day because they had families to feed and clothe and educate.

support of Sinn Fein and the IRA. While partition remains there can never be any resolution to the huge problems facing the working class, Catholic and Protestant and also facing their co-workers in the south of Ireland and in Britain. The Orange State and Sinn Fein’s support for that state along with the support of the various strands of Unionism and loyalism is the source of all sectarianism and bigotry in the north of Ireland. The Good Friday agreement, rather than moving society away from the above has in fact underpinned and copper fastened the above. Tinkering at the edges like recruiting a few Catholics into the mainly Protestant police force is nothing more than window dressing and won’t bring about the reform of the unreformable sectarian Orange state. Sectarianism is the elephant in the room along with its brother bigotry which dare not speak their names. Because if they did it would mean the end of the Good Friday Agreement which was set up on the premise that sectarianism and bigotry could be overcome and a new progressive Northern Ireland would emerge. Unfortunately, nothing could be further John Cushnahan, a former leader of the from the truth. Only socialism and the role Alliance party, writing in the Irish Times th December 10 commented on the fact that of the working class in bringing it about can end partition and with it the division in the attitudinal surveys carries out since the establishment of the Good Friday agreement working class between Catholic and Protestant and north and south of the border. have consistently revealed that the gulf between Northern Ireland’s divided communi- Neither the power sharing government or the coalition government in Dublin have any ties is as wide as it ever was. Some have found that the polarisation is answers to the linger problems being faced worse now that it was even at the height of by the working class north and south. Only socialism offers a way out and a future for the ‘Troubles’ and is increasing. the class in Ireland and internationally. “Furthermore, we should not forget that Of course, none of the bourgeois parties five times as many so—called ‘peace walls’ in the Dáil in Dublin have any interest in physically segregating Northern Ireland’s historically divided communities have actu- ending partition. Rather, every government since partition have collaborated and coally been built (rather than come down) operated with British imperialism in upholdsince its signing.” He goes and say that the war may be over ing the status quo. And if that meant hangbut the battle for reconciliation has not even ing and shooting Republicans then that is what happened All petty bourgeois nationalbegun. The Good Friday Agreement was ists in Ireland have ended up in bed with meant to bring ‘peace’ to the British— imperialism, from Michael Collins, Éamon occupied six counties..The agreement was de Valera right up to the present day with about stabilising the occupied six counties Martin McGuinness and Garry Adams. and maintaining partition with the active

And here we are — fed, clothed and educated and we still have to change our plans because loyalists are not getting their bunting, because flying the union flag on a set number of days rather than every single day of the year is not acceptable. It got worse for my father and his friends when the AngloIrish agreement came along. Those were long days for Nationalists marked by violent Unionist demonstrations. Peter Robinson, the first minister, should remember the tensions — he was there. But my father went to work his friends went to work, and the women stayed behind to look after the children. pray for a safe return. and more often than not, work part-time to help feed, clothe and educate their children. And here we are fed, clothed and educated and still we are threatened, I honestly thought that my children — peace process children — would be spared much of what my generation saw and heard. That has not been the case. On Sunday I cycled past the spot where a Catholic man had been murdered by loyalist para-militaries during a previous bout of violence when bunting demanded Catholic blood. He was fed, clothed and educated — and killed. I said a prayer as I passed his little wooden cross planted in the lonely countryside and thought how frightening it was that so many loyalist and unionist leaders fail to pause, draw breath and think about the consequences of what they say and do. So the children’s trip is postponed and they read papers and watch the news to find out why. They hear the same tawdry excuses, the same cancerous justifications. And I go to work to feed, clothe and educate them and still they are threatened. They saw what I saw, what their grandfather saw and sadly what their great-grandfather saw. And still loyalists make excuses because they are misunderstood — and that misunderstanding is given voice in violence as if it’s the most natural thing in the world.”

“The loyalist leadership whines that it cannot control its followers as if they were disappointed scout masters rather than hard-bitten thugs.”

Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward! Page 19

Thomas Spence, agrarian socialism, communism and the working class By Laurence Humphries


homas Spence, an Agrarian Socialist was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1750. This period was a ferment of Revolutionary activity influenced by the Revolutionary developments in France. Spence moved to London and became a bookseller and land reformer. He was influenced by the Utopian Socialist ideals of Robert Owen. Britain in the 1790s was decisive for Revolutionary Politics in Britain. Many middle class radicals like Cobden, Bright, and Place were active for parliamentary reform. The great Reform Act of 1832 was a long way off. Many of these Middle class Radicals were active in the Corresponding Societies which were the germ of future Trade Unionism in Britain. Spence was part of the continuation of Communist politics that had emerged in the 1640s under Everard, Winstanley and the ‘Diggers’. “Like Winstanley and the Diggers Spence and his followers took radical ideology into the world of Socialism” [1]. The Corresponding societies were the embryo of future working class organisations and Trade Unions. Edward Thompson in the ‘Making of the English Working Class’ has shown how the Corresponding Societies were to have a great influence on Working class organisations. “There is some evidence that by the end of 1816 the Spenceans had reorganised their work, in sections and divisions, on the old plan of the London Corresponding Society [2]. Spence a member of the London Corresponding society agitated for Land reform, the abolition of private property and Communism. He formed a group of likeminded followers. They were called Spenceans. They included, Artisans, small producers and journeymen. Working class activity against poverty basic rights and a living wage had led to several insurrectionary movements being formed. The most prominent of these were “The Luddites” amongst textile workers in Lancashire and Yorkshire. They saw their livelihoods threatened with the introduction of the Power Looms and the use of modern machinery. There was very little Poor law relief and these workers would be left to starve together with their Families. The Luddites armed into small bands organised raids to smash the Power looms and even attack the Capitalists in their own homes. Many Workers were shot, arrested

and hanged. The capitalist state used spies, infiltrators and paid agents to infiltrate behead and destroy the movement. This was the climate that Spence and his followers flourished in. Spence advocated a plan called ‘Spensonia’ where there would be common ownership and land distribution. “Such land would be taken into common ownership” [3]. “ Right to equal share of the land is seen first and foremost as a means to give everyone access to productive capital in which they can work for themselves” [4]. These policies were far removed from the reformist ideas of Robert Owen and his factory system at Lanark. Spence advocated a Utopian Communist society of little farmers and little Master men with parishes of selfgovernment. Spence’s views coincided with many of the Chartist demands advocated by Fergus O’ Connor, Bronterre O’Brien and Julian Harney, Chartist leaders who led the great Working class movement that would emerge after Spence’s death. Both Karl Marx and Frederick Engels paid great attention to the Chartist movement and worked closely with many of their leaders. “A National assembly would be elected annually by the Individuals in each Parish” [5]. Spence in his writings sought to lay out a concise plan on how his Communist society would be renewed again and again. “Spence envisaged a process of permanent revolutionary upheaval until society had been restructured on the right principles” [6]. Spence was also influenced by the Bourgeois Revolutions of America and France of 1789 and 1777. Spence’s parish system of self-government could be compared to the Parish Commune on which Marx refers to in his essay “The Civil war in France”. The noticeable difference is that the Paris Commune is more advanced than Spence’s ideal of parish government. “He may have contemplated a Babeuf type dictatorship as a means of bringing about revolution in society” [7]. The Spensonia document further lists his constitutional aims and policies. “ These rights are equality, Liberty safety and property” “All human beings are equal by nature and have a continual and inalienable property in the earth and its natural resources”

Page 20 Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward!

Thomas Spence
“Landed property always was originally acquired either by conquest or encroachment on the common property of mankind” [8]. “Hence it is plain that the land or the earth belongs at all times to the living inhabitants of the said country or neighbourhood in one equal manner” [9]. EP Thompson in his Making of the English working class makes several references to ‘Spenceans’ and their aims of a revolutionary Communist Government. “Spence took up Paine’s argument against hereditary Aristocracy and carried them to their conclusion. We must destroy not only personal and hereditary Lordship, but the cause of theirs which is private property in Land” [10]. Spence and his followers supported the insurrectionary movement that was put down with much savagery by the Capitalist state. One of his leading followers, Thomas Evans, was active in the London Corresponding society and advocated insurrection, arming their supporters through drilling and other activities, but there is no evidence that Spence himself supported it. “Whether Spence himself was directly implicated in insurrectionary conspiracy is not clear but he certainly believed in the methods of the underground, the secret press, the anonymous handbill and the Tavern Club” [11]. This working class movement was composed of Jacobin Émigrés, Scottish weavers, English Jacobins and United Irishmen. There were naval mutinies in 1797. “The Spencean advocates had won much support amongst the Trades Clubs especially among the shoemakers. Their policy that all feudality or Lordship in the soil be abolished and the territory declared to be the peoples common farm” [12]. Spence and His “Spenceans” like their predecessor Winstanley and the “Diggers” were utopian Communists and Land reformers. Unlike Winstanley Spence never in practice started a commune like the “Diggers”. Spence was arrested many times for his views and prevented from putting his “Spensonia” into practice. His followers had influence in the London Corresponding Society and amongst sections of the working class. Informers and paid agents infiltrated many of the Trades Clubs in London and many of the insurrectionary movements like “The Plug Riots” and “The Luddite Movement” was defeated and their leaders hanged or shot. Many working class radicals suffered the fate of the noose because of these informers. In the 1790s Trade Union organisation was illegal, many workers met in secret with an underground press and secret oaths with a special pass words. There would be guards on the doors and you would have to know the password to gain entry. They also armed themselves for protection. Spence’s revolutionary plan never came to fruition. His

Spence token, ‘T. Spence. 7 MONTHS IMPRISONMENT FOR HIGH TREASON. 1794

idea of common ownership and Utopian Communism was never realised. Scientific Socialism and Marxism would be developed by Marx and Engels. Both Marx and Engels were active in the First International. Marx together with Chartists like Ernest Jones and Julian Harney would develop the ideas of Scientific Socialism during the middle part of the Nineteenth century. Thomas pence like all Utopian Communists believed that Communism would emerge without the need for a disciplined and Centralised Revolutionary party dedicated to the overthrow of Communism. As yet Communism was just developing and without an organised and material and scientific basis ‘The working class’ and its organisations Trade Unions it would be difficult, but none the less Spence and other Utopians made a great contribution to Communist thought and action through his writings ‘Pigs Meat’. Like Winstanley he believed that by written word and the use of the Bible this would be enough to convert Workers, Artisans and Journeyman to his vision of Communism, although unlike Winstanley he was no pacifist “ Both the State and the Land were to be seized by the people and reconstituted under their ownership and control”[13].

1. Spence, Thomas Pig’s Meat Selected Writings p. 12 2. Thompson EP, The Making of the English Working Class p. 613 3. Spence, Thomas Ibid. p. 23 4. Spence, Thomas Ibid. p. 23 5. Spence, Thomas Ibid. p. 35 6. Spence, Ibid. p. 42 7. Spence, Thomas Ibid. p. 46 8. Spence, Thomas Ibid. p. 92 9. Spence, Thomas Ibid. p. 60 10. Thompson EP, Ibid. p. 161 11. Spence, Thomas, Ibid. p. 62 12. Thompson EP. Ibid. p. 614 13. Spence, Thomas Ibid. p. 50.

Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward! Page 21

Review: Shostakovich Socialism, Stalin & Symphonies by Simon Behrman Bookmarks /Redwords By Laurence Humphries


ehrman has written a fairly useful commentary on Dmitri Shostakovich the most influential Soviet composer from 1925-1972 and his relationship with Stalinism and the cultural theory referred to as ‘Social Realism’. Behrman, who supports the ‘State Capitalist’ theory advanced by the Socialist Workers Party, shows some weaknesses in his analysis of Shostakovich. His negative approach is revealed in the introduction when he writes off the Soviet working class. “It was the creation of a revolution led and supported by ordinary people yet within 20 years it had become one of the twentieth centuries bloodiest dictatorships” [1]. Dmitry Shostakovich {19061975} was the foremost soviet composer and musical giant of the twentieth century. He epitomised the revolutionary period after the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. Behrman recognises this fact. “No other Soviet artist was the whole history of the Soviet Union from 1917 to the Stalinist counter revolution” [2]. Shostakovich, unlike some other Soviet composers, remained lived and worked in the Soviet Union during his lifetime. He used his music to combat and answer Stalinism and its formal attitude to music. During this period there were fresh developments in all of the arts, innovations which Shostakovich accepted and tried new forms frequently. Behrman tries to separate Shostakovich’s music from the political developments that took place in Soviet Russia. Robert Stradling in his essay ‘Shostakovich and the Soviet System 1925-1975,’ points out the fundamental connection and importance of Shostakovich’s music with the politics of the day. “The list reads like a syllabus for a course in modern political and social problems: war, revolutionary change, individual freedom, anti-Semitism, the role of women in society, dictatorship and disillusionment” [3]. Dmitry Shostakovich was born in 1906 in Leningrad. He showed incredible talent and had a musical background, his mother an accomplished pianist taught him to play the piano when he was only nine. Behrman comments “and by the age of just 16 he was already producing works of extraordinary quality” [4].

Shostakovich’s symphonic music fitted in with the revolutionary situation in Russia. “Shostakovich’s life and music were shared by the historic events of 1917” [5]. His first symphony composed in 1925 while he was still a student at the Leningrad Conservatoire shows Shostakovich’s breadth celebrating the Bolshevik Revolution. Shostakovich was to compose 15 symphonies, concertos, chamber music, ballet scores, operas and film music during his Lifetime. Shostakovich’s music had a recognisable style all of its own as Behrman states “What is undoubtedly the case is that he was able to communicate clearly to his audience about the turbulent social and political times in which he lived” [6]. Shostakovich’s 2nd Symphony subtitled {October} and the 3rd Symphony {The first of May} show how interconnected Shostakovich’s music was with the revolutionary period of the time. The 2 nd symphony has a factory claxon used in the symphony, the one and only time that was used in a symphonic work. “So few composers have had the direct experience of Revolution even fewer the talent to express it as vividly as Shostakovich does in the 2nd Symphony” [7]. Musicians writers and poets all worked together to express this new Avant garde in Soviet cultural life Mayakovsky, Meyerhold and Shostakovich all worked together in films, ballet scores and operas. Behrman continually belittles Shostakovich’s belief in Communism and tries to portray him as a lone individual questioning his Communist beliefs. “Whatever may have been the case later on his life, during the late 1920’s and early 1930’s Shostakovich was clearly a believer in the communist ideal” [8]. Shostakovich did embrace Communism throughout his whole life and used his music to combat and fight the narrow strictures of Stalinism represented by ‘Social realism’. Leon Trotsky in his pamphlet Art and Revolution argued that it was not possible to have a party line on art and culture “Trotsky argued that as, with philosophy and industrial techniques, so too the very best of what bourgeois society had produced should be appropriated for all” [9].

Page 22 Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward!

Behrman even admits that the emergence of Stalin as General Secretary of the Bolshevik Party in the 1930s and the struggle conducted for inner party democracy against the bureaucratic caste by Trotsky and the Left Opposition found an echo in Shostakovich’s music. This led Shostakovich to denounce certain aspects of Social realism “Shostakovich criticized Socialist Realist artists for writing inorganic works that offered trite and crude messages” [10]. Shostakovich’s opera The Lady Macbeth of Mtensk district (1932) was identified by Stalinism as not suitable and denounced by ‘Social realists’ as unsuitable. So began the attack by Stalin and his henchmen on Shostakovich and other composers including Kathchurian and Prokoviev. They singled out Shostakovich for special treatment. Shostakovich was dismissed from his position at the Leningrad Conservatoire and immediately withdrew the opera and his 4th Symphony. This was Shostakovich’s way of dealing with Stalinism. Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony was subtitled ‘A soviet artists reply to just criticism’. Stalinism and its method of terror and counter revolution used a series of show trials, witch-hunts and accusations of Trotskyists being Nazi or Fascist agents. Shostakovich was very careful in his response and used a signature in his music D-S-C-H (E flat, C and B) to answer and critise Stalinism and its methods. It is true to say that Shostakovich’s music retains its Revolutionary content. All around him comrades were being arrested, shot and imprisoned. It was a very difficult times for Shostakovich and his family “Shostakovich’s brother in law, the Physicist Vsevolod Fredericks was arrested and sent to a slave labour camp. Shostakovich’s elder sister was sent into her exile, while his mother in law was arrested and sent to the camps” [11]. In 1941 when the Nazi’s invaded the Soviet Union Shostakovich composed his 7th Symphony (The Leningrad) in 7 days, artillery fire and bombs were falling as he was composing the music which was an account of the heroic defence of the Leningrad working class against the fascist terror. Shostakovich’s 7th Symphony is heroic in its composition detailing the fight and the battle to repel the fascists. “The image of Shostakovich as an emblem of Soviet resistance was cemented with his 7th Symphony” [12]. In 1953 when Stalin died and Khrushchev became General Secretary, immediately with the revelations about the Stalinist lies and double talk a political thaw developed and Shostakovich was allowed to compose his music relatively safe from state interference. His 13th symphony (Babi Yar) composed of poems from Yevtushenko details the role of anti-Semitism practised by Stalinism.

A Russian stamp in Dmitri Shostakovich’s memory in 2000

The 13th Symphony together with the 11th Symphony (1905) and the 12th symphony (1917) dedicated to Lenin are three historical symphonies portraying 1905, the unfinished Revolution, 1917 the successful Bolshevik Revolution and Anti-Semitism represented by the Stalinist betrayal. Behrman’s major weakness in his book is an inability to see the real struggle that Shostakovich conducted against Social realism and the cultural backwardness of Stalinism. “It is safe to say that no composer since Beethoven has been so central to the history of the time, or has consistently sought to express the sufferings and aspirations shared by millions of his contemporaries” [13].


1) Behrman S, Shostakovich, Stalin, Socialism and Symphonies. p.9 2) Ibid. p. 10 3) Stradling R Shostakovich and the Soviet System 1925-1975 in Shostakovich: the man and his music. p.190 4) Behrman S Shostakovich, Stalin, Socialism and Symphonies p.23 5) Ibid. p.26 6) Ibid. p.42 7) Ibid. p.45 8) Ibid. p.51 9) Ibid. p.33 10) Ibid. p.57 11) Ibid. p.70 12) Ibid. p.74 13) Stradling R, Shostakovich and the Soviet System 1925-1975 in Shostakovich, the man and his music. P.190

Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward! Page 23

Review: Broken On All Sides: Race, Mass Incarceration, & New Visions for Criminal Justice in the US By John Leslie in Philadelphia


roken On All Sides, a film by Philadel57 percent. The Black and Hispanic prisphia community activist Matthew Piloner population in Philadelphia County is lischer, is a powerful indictment of the more than 80 percent. prison industrial complex. The United States The New Jim Crow is a conscious policy by has 5% of the world’s population and incara white racist ruling class to criminalize cerates 25% of the world’s prisoners. But African-Americans, while preserving the why is this? fiction that racial discrimination died with Institutionalized racism is at the root of the end of formal segregation. The “war on the mass incarceration of millions in this drugs” and the “tough on crime” rhetoric country. Pillischer used interviews with acaof politicians keeps racial politics alive by demics, activists, religious communities, a appealing to the racist attitudes and prejuformer prisoner and a former Mayor of dices of whites, all the while holding up the Philadelphia, John Street, to illustrate the pretence of a colour-blind society. Accordorigins of this set-up and how it operates. ing to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than The so-called war on drugs, which was 70% of prisoners in the US are non-white. The conceived by the Reagan administration, is obvious racial bias of the system- from racial profilresponsible for the huge increase in prisoner ing at the street level to bail disparities in court – population over the last 30 years. While helps to fuel a system of mass incarceration of peoDirector Matthew Pillischer there has been no significant increase in the ple of colour. Philadelphia’s Ken Loach crime rate, the number of prisoners has balFrom the film: looned to more than 2 million. This is more We as a nation become blind, not so a symptom of racial politics than of any real threat to society. much to race, but to the existence of racial caste. We have African-Americans make up 12.4% of the US population become blind to the existence of a group of people who but are more than 38% of the total prison population. Incar- have become locked into a second-class status and beceration rates are out of proportion for Latins as well. Mi- come indifferent to their suffering. chelle Alexander, author of the book, the New Jim Crow: Ex-offenders are plagued by high recidivism rates, which are Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, says in an reinforced by patterns of racial discrimination and lack of eduinterview in the film: cational opportunities both in the community and in prison. People who are living in ghetto communities today experi- States have cut vocational training in prison systems just as ence tremendous frustration, because not only are they they have cut school budgets. being targeted in clearly biased ways by law enforcement, According to Michelle Alexander, “So many of the old in countless ways they experience the discrimination, and forms of discrimination that we supposedly left behind during often brutality of our criminal justice system. the Jim Crow era are suddenly legal again once you have been More than 60% of the more than 700,000 prisoners serving time in local branded a felon.” Ex-prisoners also quite often lose their right jails in the United States have not been convicted of a crime. They are to vote, again reinforcing their second class status. awaiting trial and are not able to make bail because of poverty. Addressing the problem of the prison industrial complex is This is on top of the more than 2.2 million (2010) prisoners in an urgent task for progressive activists in the US. We can’t state and federal prisons and the 4,933,667 adults (2009) either simply rely on moral appeals to politicians or lawsuits. The on probation or parole. In all, more than 7 million adults are under only way to break this system down is to build a mass social some form of incarceration or correctional control (prison, jail, proba- movement that links together communities, churches, organtion or parole) in the US. There were an additional 70,792 ized labor and students around a program demanding justice, youth in “juvenile detention” in 2010. jobs, education funding and an immediate end to the war on Seventy five% of these prisoners are charged with property drugs. crimes, drug offenses or other nonviolent crimes. Prisoners A true defence of public education cannot be achieved withare kept in dirty, overcrowded, conditions and separated from out understanding that the prison system, a multi-billion dollar their families. Prisoners often face the loss of their jobs while business, is draining the resources we need to rebuild our awaiting trial. Families are damaged because of the financial schools and educate youth. strain placed on them. Additionally, there is a huge burden The defence of our unions, and the living standards of placed on the taxpayer; jails cost local governments more than working class people, cannot be waged without understanding $9 Billion annually. Some New Jersey counties have percent- the roots of the prison industrial complex in a predatory capiages of prisoners awaiting trial in local jails that are above the talist system that is incapable of creating living wage jobs and national average. In Philadelphia, the percentage of prisoners locks millions of unemployed workers away in a for-profit in the county system, who are considered “pre-trial,” is about prison system. Stop and frisk and other racial profiling must
Page 24 Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward!

be ended. Police must be held accountable for targeting communities of colour. The call for an end to mass incarceration, linked to a call for jobs at union wages for all workers, is a crucial demand for working people. Good political documentaries don’t exist merely to inform us; They exist to move us to action. Broken On All Sides is just such a film. It’s difficult for me to say just how much I enjoyed this excellent, well constructed, film without giving too much of it away. I urge the reader to buy a copy of this film and use it as an organizing tool. Organ-

ize a showing in your church, school or union hall. If your community organization, school or union has the resources, host the filmmaker and organize a discussion of what can be done to end the New Jim Crow. Copies of Broken On All Sides: Race, Mass Incarceration, & New Visions for Criminal Justice in the US can be bought from the web site, The web site also has ideas and suggestions on how to organize in your community. Contact the director, Matthew Pillischer, at

Unemployment crisis in the US- No end in sight., Time to build a working class fightback! By John Leslie


he US Bureau of Labor Statistics report on employment for March 2013 paints a grim picture. The US economy only added 88,000 jobs in March; down for previous monthly performances. The number of unemployed officially counted is 11.7 million. The unemployment rate of 7.6% is little changed from previous months. Certainly austerity measures and job cuts in the public sector, due to the so-called sequester, have impacted job creation. However, these factors cannot explain the entire problem. Almost 40% of the unemployed are counted as “long term unemployed.” This means they have been out of work for 27 weeks or more, many of them older workers. According to economist Robert Reich, “...only 85.3% of men aged 45 to 54 are now working. This is the lowest percentage of working men in that prime age group since 1948. It’s 2% below the lowest level of their labor participation during the Great Recession. Why are so many of these men without jobs? Presumably, they lost them starting in 2008 and haven’t been able to find... new ones. Many have stopped looking altogether...This marks a completion of a trend that began in the late 1970s, when male earnings first began stagnating or declining.” Unemployment rates for Black (13.3%) and Latino (9.2 %) workers are higher than for white (6.9%) workers, indicative of continued institutional racism. There are officially 11.7 million counted as unemployed. There are an additional 7.6 million working part-time jobs because they cannot get a full-time position. On top of this, there are 2.3 million referred to by the BLS as “marginally attached” to the work force. This means there are almost 22 million workers locked out of the US economy. Some economists estimate that the number is much higher, due to workers who have given up looking for work or who work in the informal economy. It is estimated that the US economy has to add about 150,000 jobs per month just to keep up with the growth the labor force. This means that in order to put the 22 million unemployed and underemployed back to work, while keeping up with population growth, the US economy would have to add 500,000 jobs per month over a 5 year period. According to Businessweek, “For half a decade, the% of Americans living below the poverty line has increased each year, from 12.3% in 2006 to 15.1% in 2010. Today the Cen-

sus Bureau released its analysis of U.S. poverty in 2011, and the official poverty rate essentially held at 15 percent, meaning that 46.2 million people live below the poverty line. This is graphically illustrated by a recent incident in Georgia, where police kept crowds of hungry people from taking food that was being thrown away after a grocery store was shut down due to foreclosure. “It’s a shame that they are just throwing all this stuff away and not even donating it to a shelter or anything,” said Tiffany Serles, a local member of the community.

Fightback needed
In all of this, both ruling class parties have worked to balance the so-called recovery on the backs of workers and oppressed people. This is illustrated by Obama’s repeated offers to cut “entitlements.” What is needed is a united front fightback against austerity and cutbacks; we need a public works jobs program to create millions of new jobs at union wages, the doubling the minimum wage, the protection of Social Security, and singlepayer health care. We also need a unified defence of the right to organize and strike. Building unity also requires defence of affirmative action and an uncompromising fight against racism. The central lessons of the defeat in Wisconsin are that mass action and class independence are critical elements of a successful fightback. Taking the movement off of the streets and channelling it into elections insured defeat. This means that working people must chart a course independent of the two parties of Wall Street. On the weekend of May 10-12, a Labor Fightback Conference will be held at the Rutgers University Campus in New Brunswick, NJ. This conference is a modest first step in building resistance to austerity. It will bring together union officials, rank and file workers and community organizations. Organizers hope that this conference can spark further discussion and action in the labor movement and its allies on “What strategy will enable labor to mount the most effective and powerful fightback possible against the corporate assaults?” For further information, please email or write Labor Fightback Conference, P.O. Box 187, Flanders, NJ 07836

Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward! Page 25

The ISL breaks with the US LRP and prepares marriage to the RCIT dazzled by the ‘Arab Spring’
Response by the Liaison Committee for the Fourth International to the ISL of Palestine 28-3-2013 (abridged)


he current regroupment process between the International Socialist League (ISL) of Palestine and the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) is not based on these principles. The RCIT rejects the whole of Trotskyism since soon after the assassination of Trotsky, hence its Fifth International orientation, and Yossi Schwartz, a central leader of the ISL, has dipped into and joined almost every Trotskyist current on the planet without embracing any principles that cannot be junked at the next liaison. Hence the marriage proposal involves the sectarianism of the RCIT/Workers Power tradition and the opportunism of Yossi’s political career and his group. This is the response of the LCFI to the ISL and its centrist pro-Imperialist positions after the Liga Comunista of Brazil received a letter from Yossi which was clearly influenced by the bourgeois positions of Hamas and the elements of the ‘Arab Spring’. Dazzled by the apparent success of the Arab Spring both groups have failed to identify the hand of Imperialism taking control of the opposition groups in both Libya and Syria. Crucially they have failed to defend the Anti-Imperialist United Front against the proxy forces of Imperialism, foolishly parroting Imperialist propaganda that these are genuine ‘revolutions’. Paradoxically their political capitulation to Hamas in Gaza has brought them close to the position of Israel and Zionism on the Syrian civil war.

to imperialism. For example, in the case of the Malvinas (Falklands) war of 1982, the IMT refused to defend Argentina, an oppressed neo-colonial country, against British imperialism. Similarly, in the struggles in Northern Ireland, the IMT had refused to side with the Irish Republican Army fighting against British imperialism. And beyond the IMT, the ISL comrades saw that all the major groupings claiming the banner of Trotskyism had at some time or other similarly betrayed the principle of unwavering defence of the oppressed against imperialist attack. [5]

The group’s newly-discovered state capitalist principles then led him to approach the British SWP’s international, the International Socialist Tendency (IST) and he had a number of articles published in International Socialist (still online). The British SWP has a relatively good anti-Zionist position, but in line with its opportunist anti-Imperialism, The LTT group in Canada in 1996. does tend to capitulate to its Muslim fundaYossi’s article contains the lines: “The mentalist opponents, the Hamas in Gaza Israeli Jewish working class holds an important key to the solution” and “such and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Yossi accepted that but apparently soon dug a bit an internationalist perspective should include the recognition of the existence of deeper:
the Israeli nation and the rights of the Jewish working class and poor… to a secure future with their Arab brothers and sisters”.
But a quick review (!) of the IST’s political record revealed a pattern of opportunist positions no better than those of the ‘orthodox Trotskyist’ milieu they had broken from. In particular, the SWP was certainly anti-Zionist but it habitually capitulated to the nationalist and Islamist leaderships of Muslims both in Britain and in the Middle Eastern countries occupied by the imperialists. The ISL had a brief correspondence with the IST, which also revealed the IST’s stunningly cynical attitude toward the prospects for working-class revolutionary struggle in the Middle East: the IST advised the ISL to give up their efforts and move to Britain![6]

very simple indeed. The Sparts (International Communist League) delight in this. And the RCIT has similar reactionary positions to the ISL on Libya and Syria. Yossi was a leader of the Trotskyist League, the Canadian section of the Sparts (ICL) for many years, having joined from the Israeli Communist party. In about 1995 he suddenly contacted RP of the Leninist Trotskyist Tendency (LTT). The British section was the Workers International League which LCFI leader Gerry had joined a few years previously. He declared his unconditional agreement with the main thrust of its programme and they in turn began to make political statements on Quebec and its right to self-determination….The LTT broke up in 1999 and, according to a Wiki article, by 2002 Yossi was back in Palestine; he is a Palestinian Jew. Yossi vacillated back and forth from the ‘one democratic state’ position to the ‘bi-national state’ position three more times. He had joined the IMT and then resigned a few years later he discovered big historical problems with Grant, Woods and the IMT:
Further, the ISL comrades understood that behind the IMT’s refusal to defend Hamas against Fatah’s imperialist-backed attacks stood an overall accommodation by the IMT

Yossi’s Summersaults
After a six year relationship the ISL has severed ties with the left Shachtmanite League for the Revolutionary Party (LRP) and seems to be gearing itself up to leap into bed with the RCIT, whose main section is the Revolutionary Communist Organisation for Liberation (RKOB) of Austria, former affiliates of the League for the Fifth International, whose British section is Workers Power. [1] It will be a difficult courtship but Yossi has accomplished some half a dozen similar manoeuvres in the past and we do not doubt his capacity to pull this one off as well. Accepting the ‘Fifth International’ will be a stumbling block (unprincipled bloc?) but having embraced Shachtmanism for six years it should not prove insurmountable. If his followers can stomach it, that is. Yossi has flipped-flopped so many times that pulling quotes from his political history (unfortunately for him all too readily available online) to refute his current positions is

This really is too much. Yossi had been active as a Trotskyist for several decades and then, in 2007 and 2008, he suddenly discovered these blindingly obvious truths that any serious Trotskyist should know about the politics and methods of two of the biggest far left groups internationally, the IMT and the IST. The IMT are more obviously directly soft on Imperialism, the IST softness on its fundamentalist Muslim opponents led both groups to a similar position on Libya and Syria – for the IST any fighting antiregime fundamentalist Muslim zealots are anti-Imperialists which is why they supported the Afghan Mujahideen against the USSR in the 80s. [7] Yossi certainly knew all these details back in 1995-9 when the LTT discussed these matters, but Yossi has an amazing capacity to ‘forget’ all uncomfort-

Page 26 Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward!

The ISL breaks with the US LRP
able political positions when the next lashup approaches.
fundamental interest in overthrowing the capitalist system. The same cannot be said of Israel’s Jewish workers. Like other labor -aristocratic layers in imperialist countries, they enjoy certain material privileges based on the imperialist status of their ruling class. But unlike even other laboraristocratic workers, their gains are enjoyed at the direct expense of the Palestinian masses and they live on land stolen from the Palestinians. Thus they see the aggressive actions of the Israeli state as the guarantor of their privileged existence. While the IMT, like most socialist groups, stubbornly closes its eyes to these facts, the future ISLers soon realized that they could not afford to do the same if they were to advance a genuine perspective for the struggle for Palestinian liberation and Alan Woods, IMT leader, one of Yossi’s close for socialist revolution in the Middle East. comrades less than a decade ago. [12] cated. Many revolutionary youth are still We cannot accept this uniqueness. Yossi adfighting to remove the hated dictator and all mits that the Israeli Jews now constitute a nation his hangers on. But what determines the real and we agree. He further says that this nation has nature of the opposition as a whole is its leadership no right to self-determination because, historiand its programme (our emphasis). cally and today, it can only be exercised at the expense of the Palestinian nation. We agree with It is true that some sections of the Free this also; the Zionist state must be overthrown Syrian Army have clashed with the fundabut the Israeli Zionist state is not the same as the mentalists that they see as having hijacked Israeli nation. As we agree on the right of return their revolution, but what is their alternaof all Palestinians expelled from 1948 onwards tive? The programme is fundamentally one we must also assert that it surely would not be of bourgeois democracy at best and Islamic beyond the wit of a revolutionary Palestinian fundamentalist reaction at worst. We must workers’ state to house, feed and provide for speak the truth and explain honestly what health care and education of all Jews and Paleshas happened. We are for the downfall of tinians in the region in a Multi-Ethnic Palestinian Assad, but we are also against imperialist state. Personal property, house and land disputes intervention and the manoeuvres of the could be settled amicably in arbitration courts reactionary regimes in the region. [11] without ethnic cleansing. Yossi’s article, Victory to Revolution in Syria asThe bi-national state slogan adopted by the sesses the opposition to Assad thus: LTT on Yossi’s urgings and then by the International Trotskyist Current (forerunner of the The ability of the Bashar al-Assad regime to Socialist Fight group) is incorrect we all agree survive so far is largely due to the lack of now. It does imply Israel’s right to self determiworking class independent mobilization at nation at the expense of the Palestinians. And we the head of the opposition. There are many know that no isolated revolution in any state in local committees that could become Soviets the region or on the planet could survive on its and which are continuing to provide serown for long so the perspective of a Socialist vices. But they lack coordination and a Federation of the Middle East is the correct one. revolutionary strategy. Equally, the resistance is still made up of countless formaSo we advance the slogan of a workers’ and tions of loosely connected armed militants, peasants’ government as a transitional demand with no credible unified revolutionary comleading to the strategic goal of a Multi-Ethnic mand. The fractured character of this armed Palestinian workers’ state as a part of the Socialresistance is a result not only of the social ist Federation of the Middle East. segmentation and isolation policies enforced for decades by Damascus but also because of the class nature of the opposiYossi on the leadership of ‘the revolution at the moment. tion’ in Syria Yossi now finds himself to the right of his former IMT comrades on the question of the leadership of this ‘revolution’. In an article on 14th March 2013 What the Assad regime was and what it has become – Part Three, the IMT’s Fred Weston says: … the situation is now far more compliThe middle class leaders of the uprising are blaming each other for the failure. The seculars blame the Islamists while the Islamist are blaming the secularists. The simple truth is that the middle class organizations – whether they are secularists or Islamists – do not have the program, strategy or tactics to mobilize the masses work-

The ISL’s opportunism on deformed workers’ states
In the liaison between the ISL and the LRP the repudiation of Trotskyism on the question of the degenerated and deformed workers states could not be more explicit:
The ISL comrades correctly concluded that if the working class had been oppressed and exploited by those states, then the Stalinist bureaucracy that ruled them must have functioned as a capitalist ruling class. [8]

But now:
However the Stalinist state apparatus blocks the road to socialism and unless this block is removed by a political revolution the capitalist class growing out (of) the Stalinist bureaucracy will take over the economy and the state and turn Cuba once again (in)to a capitalist state. We saw such a process already in China that by now is an imperialist state. [9]

We are again obliged to assert that what was involved in the struggle against Shachtman and his followers in 1939-40 was not just some obscure debate about how exactly revolutionists should characterise the USSR but what programme was necessary to steel the revolutionary vanguard of the class to lead the masses to overthrow the US ruling class. That is why we must always seek the defeat of ‘our own’ Imperialist ruling class in conflict with semi-colonial nations or deformed workers’ states as Trotsky defended the USSR under Stalin and China under Chang Kai-shek. We note the defence of semi-colonial nations against Imperialist assault is missing from Yossi’s rediscovered ‘orthodoxy’ above.

Yossi, the ISL and the Jewish working class
The quotes in the IMT’s IDOM from Yossi are still online where he defends Israel’s right to exist: Israel is not different from any of this.
Israel is an imperialist and capitalist state, ruled by the big corporations. [10]

Now all that has had to be junked and:
This development is explained by the unique nature of Israel as a colonial settler state. It is a basic truth that the great majority of the world’s workers have “nothing to lose but their chains” and therefore have a

Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward! Page 27

The ISL breaks with the US LRP
This turn away from the working class is far clearer in Yossi’s Victory to the Revolution in Syria statement. In the split debate the ISL charged the LRP with failure to defend the fundamentalist against French Imperialism. We have looked at the LRP statement and the subsequent notes in reply to readers and can find no substance in this charge at all. Despite big differences with the LRP over Libya and Syria the LRP statements on Mali seem principled and correct to us. Moreover the LRP counter charged the ISL with a failure to criticise the fascistic barbarism of the fundamentalist in Mali and assert that as the source of the disagreement that caused the split. We feel there is substance to this charge. In Yossi’s statement on Syria he explicitly defends his position on ‘Islamism’: And at this very moment they are sponsoring another wing of the same movement that now dominates the Syrian opposition, the Muslim Brotherhood, in Egypt to smash that revolutionary struggle in which the working class has played and is playing such a vital part. Imperialist-sponsored fundamentalists are leading the attacks on the working class in Tunisia. The Turkish AKP government has accepted Israel’s Obama dictated apology over the murders of their nine citizens on the Mavi Marmara by Israel the better to co-ordinate their assault on Assad. And the very same Hamas, in which Yossi places such faith, has made clear that it will cut a deal with Israel if possible to betray the Palestinians, just as Arafat did before them and Abbas is doing now. It has rejected its traditional alliance with Shi’a Thus it is clear that at least until now the dominated Syria and Iran and now proWestern imperialists have not armed the claims itself Sunni Muslim in alliance with rebels and the reason they have not armed the Sunni/Whabhi reactionary Imperialists the rebels is because they do not trust them stooges in Egypt and Saudi. On 28 March as many of them are Islamists. The problem 2013 the Times of Israel approvingly reported the imperialists have in Syria is the relative strength of the Islamists in the mass movethat the FSA had: “retaliated against what it ment. [13] claimed were Hezbollah hostilities and bomOf course Imperialism has armed the rebels, barded the group’s interests inside Lebaboth on their own accord and via Turkey, non”. The Hezbollah are Shi’a Muslims and Saudi Arabia and Qatar. They have not sup- the third target of the US and Israel. plied them with heavy weapons or air cover; The unwanted outcome of the Iraq war apparently Syria’s air defences are very so- for Imperialism was to strengthen Shi’a Iran phisticated. And it is true that they are nerv- in the region. US imperialism has now ous about what the fundamentalist might do adopted a tactic of allying with former Sunni to Israel and the reaction of Russia, China supporters of Saddam in Iraq and Sunnis and Iran. Yossi’s criticism amounts to a through the region to bring down Assad and demand that Imperialism arm the FSA now; Iran and seize control of the whole area in he may get his wish soon. But the next state- alliance with the Sunni/Whabhi Muslims. ment brings out his capitulation very clearly: Sure the US would prefer its own secular stooges, they want Ghassan Hitto, “a pro At this conjuncture of history in Afimperialist Syrian-American capitalist who ghanistan, in Palestine, in Mali the imhas been resident in the United States for perialists are on one side and the decades, as prime minister for rebel-held Islamists on the other. This of course areas of Syria” as Yossi says. But as in 1996 can be changed and this would not be when the Taliban took Kabul and lynched the first time in the history of the last the former President Najibullah the CIA will 100 years that the Islamists would serve celebrate in its Langley, Virginia HQ if Asthe imperialists. But today the Islamists are sad falls to the FSA. Israel will too, despite fighting against the imperialists and today some trepidation. Revolutionary Marxists are on the same side Yossi attacks his opponents on the left as the Islamists in the conflict against Assad’s who gave uncritical support to Assad, like tyranny without giving the petit bourthe Workers World Party, George Galloway, geois or bourgeois secular or religious the Maoists and the CPGB (ML). His forces any political support. (our em‘demolition’ of these groups consists in phasis)[14] quoting what they have to say and leaving it We do not have to go back 100 years to find to the reader to imagine what is wrong with ‘Islamists’ in the service of Imperialism. The it. In fact most of what he quotes is princiCIA sponsored Bin Laden and armed the pled anti-Imperialist stuff – he could surely Afghan Mujahideen against the USSR in the find many unprincipled sections uncritically 80s. The CIA sponsored the fundamentalist supporting the reactionary Assad if he tried. Muslim zealots in Libya against Gaddafi. But he is anxious to employ the traditional

Max Shachtman: the struggle against Shachtman and his followers in 1939-40 was not just some obscure debate about how exactly revolutionists should characterise the USSR.
ers and peasants to overthrow the bloody regime. If the leaders of the opposition hate Assad they are at the same time afraid of working class revolution. If there is a clear lesson to learn it is that without the working class, women and men leading the masses including the lower middle class and without a revolutionary leadership of the working class the stalemate can continue for a longer period. [12]

This is all “if your aunt was a man she’d be your uncle” stuff: “There are no working class independent mobilization at the head of the opposition” – because it is an imperialist sponsored counter-revolutionary opposition. “There are many local committees that could become Soviets”. But they are pigs’ ears and not silk purses. “But they lack coordination and a revolutionary strategy” because they are counter-revolutionary. There is a problem with “the class nature of the opposition at the moment” – it is a reactionary, imperialist-sponsored bourgeois movement. If only, if only, if only it was not what it is it would be something else. At least Fred Weston can acknowledge the bitter truth: “ But what determines the real nature of the opposition as a whole is its leadership and its programme”. But Fred ignores Imperialist sponsorship so the unstoppable Arab Spring still dazzles him into support; Yossi ignore these problems and plumbs for the Sunni Muslins.

The ISL and Muslim fundamentalists
The correct attack by the ISL on the IMT for refusing to defend Hamas against Arafat’s Zionist-US-sponsored thugs has now morphed into a strategic alliance with the fundamentalist Muslims. “Palestine united and free from the river to the sea” is a Hamas slogan used by the ISL and makes difficult any alliance with Israeli workers.

Page 28 Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward!

The ISL breaks with the US LRP
amalgam tactic of lumping them all together to direct his attack at the Liaison Committee for the Fourth International. Again there is no refutation of the LCFI quote apart from the assertion that we think all these counter-revolutions were CIA plots. Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek during the civil wars against the northern warlords who were agents of Imperialism, very like Syria toOf course there were many sincere but day. US Secretary of State John Kerry, centre, British Foreign Secrepolitically naïve anti-Imperialist and antitary William Hague, left, and Italy’s Foreign Minister Giulio Gaddafi-Assad revolutionists in Libya and The ISL, Mali and Terzi meet with the “Friends of the Syrian People Ministerial” Syria when the uprisings broke out; they group. Yossi: “Thus it is clear that at least until now the Western supplied the forces for the first uprisings. the LRP imperialists have not armed the rebels.” But reactionary leaders and Imperialist But let us finish with sponsorship quickly swept them into politi- the LRP quote where they cogently state man, Carter and their middle class milieu cal oblivion. The CIA surely plotted furi- the correct Marxist position on Mali which Trotsky and the revolutionary US SWP fought as recorded in In Defence of ously in Libya, but it was the Saudis and the (despite their errors on Libya and Syria): Marxism. Their traditional softness on ImQataris who did that in Syria – right from So let us be perfectly clear: when we said perialism on the former USSR comprothe outset they had armed forces on the that we stand in defence of all those facing mises their position on the struggles of ground who opened fire on the army and imperialist attack, we meant it. Yes, since we oppressed nations today. police during legitimate peaceful demonstand against the French invasion of Mali, identify the imperialists and their allies as strations, drawing the fire of the security Notes the main enemy and call for their defeat, of forces. These were clearly pre-planned opcourse we stand in defence of even the erations to bring on the conflict that they [1] ISL’s Resignation Letter to the LRP (March 2013), most reactionary Islamist groups being knew was brewing because of the legitimate attacked in Mali such as Ansar Dine, the opposition of many to the brutal Assad [2] Idom, Theoretical journal of the LTT, No 4 (May 1996), Movement for Unity and Jihad in West regime. Also many Sunni sheikhs and mulGuerrilla warfare, Africa and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb lahs were seeking revenge for the appalling document/ltt/ltt-idom4d.htm. (AQIM). Hama massacre in 1982. [3] Wiki article, Socialist Workers League, http:// But the masses in the cities, petty bourgeois and working class, backed Assad and still do, because they know he is their only hope of retaining a secular state where they have a modicum of civil rights for their trade unions and religious freedom compared to the threatening imposition of Sharia law by the more backward, rural fundamentalists that Yossi supports, despite ritual disclaimers. And then he goes on to prove at length what a fake anti-Imperialist Assad is, as if we did not know. The point is the Assad government is fighting Imperialism now and so we are obliged to form an AntiImperialist United Front with him against the Muslim fundamentalist reactionaries and bourgeois secular agents of US imperialism. Must we quote Trotsky’s 1937 letter to Diego Rivera again to show it is current conflicts that count? That Spain in 1936-39 was an Imperialist country and China in 1937 was a semi-colonial country as is Syria in 2013? Didn’t Trotsky know about Chiang Kai-shek’s massacre of the Shanghai Soviet in 1927 when he advocated such a bloc in 1937? Or what Haile Selassie was in 1935 or Vargas in Brazil in 1938? And still Trotsky was for the defeat of the Imperialist forces, even by these reactionaries. In China, Trotsky and the early Comintern always advocated an Anti-Imperialist United Front with
As our statement noted, we take this stand with full knowledge of the crimes these groups perpetrated against the people of Mali’s North during their time in power. Just how terrible was the rule of Islamist groups in the North? [4] Ibid. [5] Joint ISL.LRP statement, statements/lrp-isl_100809.html. [6] Ibid. [7] We do not use the pejorative terms ‘Islamacists’ and ‘Islamists’ that lumps together all Muslims as fundamentalists. islamacist.html. [8] Joint ISL.LRP statement. [9] Victory to the Revolution in Syria! by Yossi Schwartz, syria-15-3-2013/. [9] IMT, Is Israel a Democracy? Interview with Yossi Schwartz IDOM 2005, [10] Joint ISL.LRP statement. [11] What the Assad regime was and what it has become Fred Weston, [12]Victory to the Revolution in Syria! by Yossi Schwartz [13] Ibid. [14] Ibid. [15] Ibid. [16] LRP/Cofi, February 17, 2013, In Response to Questions from Readers, mali_response_021713.html. This is an abridged version. The full document is here:

So bad that apparently even Al-Qaeda criticized their version of ‘Sharia’ for being too extreme! On February 14 the Associated Press reported the discovery in Timbuktu of documents authored by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) leader Abu Musab Abdul Wadud (a.k.a. Abdelmalek Droukdel) that were left behind when the Islamist forces abandoned the city. Those documents criticized local Islamist forces for going too far, too fast, in imposing their conception of religious rule. They reportedly singled out for criticism the stoning-todeath of adulterers and the whipping of people for other supposed crimes, attacks on Sufi Muslim sites of worship “and the fact that you prevented women from going out, and prevented children from playing, and searched the houses of the population.” [16]

If you substitute Gaddafi and Assad for the ‘Islamists’ that was the policy of the LCFI for Libya and is for Syria today. It is, in fact, a clear elucidation of the principles of the Anti-Imperialist United Front. Except the LRP have great problems with proxy forces acting on behalf of Imperialism. Their Shachtmanite origins oblige them to defend the political cowardice of Burnham, Shacht-

Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward! Page 29

Defeat Imperialist Invasion of Mali
By Ailish Dease


he French invaded Mali for the US and its allies to loot Africa’s natural resources and secure resource advantage over its rivals. Mali is a resource rich area which has vast deposits of gold, uranium, oil and strategic minerals, in which western multinational corporations have significant holdings. Despite the wealth generated from these resources, the people in Mali are among the poorest in the world. The West impoverish African countries through IMF/World Bank macroeconomic ‘reforms’ which creates ethnic tensions and sets the stage for civil war. The West then funds an insurrection. Famines are endemic in Mali, but they could feed themselves, if the fertile Niger valley was not used to produce cash crops for Europe as dictated by the IMF/World Bank. On 7th February a French newspaper Le Nouvel observateur printed a detailed account of the planned intervention for long term military occupation of Mali. After his election President Holland had the French military infiltrate Northern Mali to map aerial bombing targets etc. The French engineered three UN resolutions in 2012 which opposed the national rights struggles of the minorities in the North including the Tuaregs. With no constitutional government, (the elected government was overthrown last March) France had no mandate under the UN or under International Law to intervene. This did not deter these criminals; they simply made up a lie and spread it to news agencies. They claimed that Fundamentalists were moving south towards the capital Bamako. France will not allow journalists to travel and report from Northern Mali. This is a war of aggression aimed at destabilizing Mali. It is mainly about the Uranium and strategic minerals in the Tuareg regions of Mali, Niger and Libya. France generates 78% of its electricity from nuclear energy. The Tuaregs resent these mines which pollutes their land and destroys the environment. In addition to Mali’s natural resources the UN office of Drugs Control estimated that 60% of Europe’s cocaine (valued at $11 billion) passes through the region. All of this makes for a very complicated situation with multiple players. There has been conflict for centuries between the nomads, (Tuaregs) and the sedentary cultivators. The Tuaregs are one of several national groups within the disputed region of Northern Mali. They having the right to self determination like all peoples, wanted their own autonomous area (called AZAWAD) and organised several rebellions to achieve their goal. They organised a rebellion against the French colonists

in 1916, this revolt was put down by the French with great brutality and their grazing lands were confiscated. After Mali was granted ‘independence’ by the French there were other uprisings West African army chiefs from ECOWAS attend a meeting in for an autonomous Bamako January 15, 2013. Imperialism’s “premeditated geopolitical manoeuvring” in the region involves all the forces on the homeland consisting of ground as they favour one and now the other the better to secure Northern Mali with control of the natural recourses against their Chinese rivals. parts of present day Niger, Mauritania and Algeria. Each uprising Syria. [2] The humanitarian disaster caused won some concessions but each time the by Western funded terrorism in Northern government would renege. This conflict Mali affected all the neighbouring countries. needs to be seen within the context of the It gave the imperialists the perfect US false flag operations in the region which “humanitarian” excuse to intervene. has caused the collapse of tourism, from News of allegedly half a million refugees which Tuaregs in Mali, Mauritania and Niger flowing over the borders; the destruction of made a living. [1] historical monuments, and tombs in TimThe loss of income from tourism has buktu, which were built by Black Africans, forced more people into drug trafficking. On before the Arab invasion, elicited condemna6th April 2012 the National Movement for tion and outrage from all of Africa. There the Liberation of AZAWAD (NMLA) de- was anger across Africa and the Diaspora clared Northern Mali as an Independent when it was revealed that the barbarian agAzawad after they had defeated the Army. gressors had also burnt ancient manuscripts. The western Imperialists used Islamist exThe French have already committed war tremists/Global Jihadists whom they re- crimes against the civilian population. cruited, trained and armed to invade Mali. Medecins sans frontieres and the International They arranged for weapons from Libya to be Red Cross have complained about the civiltransported to Mali. The rebellion by the ian casualties sustained so far. Mali is beTuaregs in 2012 was hijacked by these ex- tween a rock and a hard place. Mali faces tremists. The west and their Arab allies cre- endless exploitation and slavery by western ated ‘terrorist’ and ‘false flag’ events which imperialism or endless religious slavery by allowed them to intervene to “save” Mali Arab imperialism. Mali (Africa) divided and from the Islamists they had sent into Mali. weak cannot defend itself. It needs a party of The MNLA made an alliance with the workers and peasants in power, which could fundamentalists in order to end the Malian utilise the revenue gained from the mineral Army’s war against Tuareg autonomy. This resources to raise everyone’s standard of alliance backfired as the rest of the popula- living. tion had turned against the Tuaregs because • Defeat the French-let Imperialist inof the atrocities committed by the Fundavasion of Mali! mentalists (They had cut off hands and feet • For an Anti Imperialist United Front and applied ‘Pure’ Sharia law to their fellow of all those fighting the invasion! Muslims). When the Tuaregs realised that • For self-determination of the Tuareg they were being used, they renounced their people! declaration of independence and showed • No political support for Islamism and willingness to take part in talks. That was bourgeois nationalism! when they were attacked by the Jihadists of • For the nationalisation without comthe AQIM (Al Queda in the Magreb) NATO pensation of all Imperialist mines and funded and aided terrorists. concession in all of Sub-Saharan Africa! In 2007 Al Qaeda’s number two Zawahiri • For a socialist federation of all of Subannounced the merger of LIFG (Libyan IsSaharan Africa as part of a pan-African lamic Fighting Group) with AQIM. The socialist federation! LIFG was the group armed and supported Notes by France and on whose behalf the French [1] J. Keena, How Washington helped foster the Islamic intervened in the NATO proxy invasion of Uprising in Mali in New Internationalist Magazine DecemLibya. The French now claim to be driving ber 2012. Also Global War on Terror in The Sahara, Press 2009 AQIM and its allies out of Northern Mali… Pluto [2] J.Schindler, The ugly truth about Algeria, the NaThis is all premeditated geopolitical manoeu- tional Interest 10 July 2012 vring; the LIFG is now invading Northern

Page 30 Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward!

Continued from page 32 leaders and to the military chiefs for support. He has announced a programme of cuts whilst devaluing the currency; “we have to learn to do a lot with a little, more with less” he said. Maduro is part of the new boliburguesia, that section of the new bourgeoisie who have profited handsomely from the public sector in the reign of Chavez. Whilst mak-

ing some concession to the poor and providing some elements of the welfare state in alliance with Cuba Chavez allowed the capitalist system to remain intact such that now popular support has waned to such an extent that there is disillusionment in the poor favas and barrios and the political distance between the most reactionary section of the bourgeoisie and the Chávista has narrowed to just 1.6%. The Chávistas

are a bourgeois, anti-working class party. This is a global crisis of counterrevolutionary proportions, the rise of the fascist Golden Dawn in Greece is an indication of what will happen everywhere if we fail in our task of providing a revolutionary perspective and building a revolutionary leadership internationally, a rebuilt Fourth International. This is our strategic task.

Thatcher’s legacy: Housing and the Counihan Homelessness Campaign


he death of the old reactionary Tory Margaret Thatcher has provoked adulation from the ruling class, grovelling tributes from the Labour leaders and celebrations from the working class and all those ideologically repelled by the crass bourgeois individualism, greed, hypocrisy and bigoted class hatred that she represented. The Football Association could not propose a minute’s silence in any match last Saturday after she died; collectivist class consciousness would not tolerate it. Only a small fascistic element among Millwall FA fans attacked the celebration of her death in Trafalgar Square on Saturday. As the bourgeois centrist think-tank Respublica said of her: So what was Thatcherism? At base an

subsequent reelection in 1987. Her last term saw wholesale privatisations and the Poll Tax culminating in the 200,000 demo and riots of March 1990 and her eventual ouster in November 1990 by the Tory grandees as she became an electoral liability after the Poll Tax and splits over the relationship to Europe. Contradictions between a Washington orientation and a European orientaextreme almost religious individualism, tion, between the City of London and crafted with and coupled to a critique of manufacturing needs tore the Tory party the state and state collectivism (lifted alapart. But her proudest achievement, Tony most in its entirely from Friedrich von Blair, took up where she left off. Hayek the famous Austrian economist), However there is one part of her legacy and an unabashed and wholly uncritical above all which still dogs the working class adherence to free market liberalism and and may yet prove the source of inspirathe privatisation programmes it advocated tion for rallying the entire class. It is the as its proxy. The fusion of these three project to destroy the welfare state, most elements constitutes to my mind the ongoing global legacy of Thatcherism. Dovisible in the privatisation of the NHS and mestically all of this was allied to a rigorous the housing crisis. British nationalism, a distaste even conVery early on in her career, in April tempt for European social democracy, a 1980, she stopped local authorities from passionate loathing of communism, trade building council homes and gave tenants unionism and any form of institution capthe right to buy. This is the source of the tured in her mind by socialists, local govcurrent housing crisis, more sever than the ernment being the best example. [1] British working class has ever encountered. We can characterised her three achieveAnd no campaign has represented the ments as victory in the Malvinas war, fightback against this legacy like the Couniwhich stymied the leftist momentum of the Labour party led by Michael Foot and han Homelessness Campaign in the London Borough of Brent. his supine followers in the Militant tenThis campaign has rallied diverse politidency of Ted Grant. Their patriotic rallycal groups in championing its cause, the ing behind the call of Empire was the ideolatest video is a really excellent exposition logical and political collapse that ensured of the case and the latest initiative seeks to her re-election in 1983. Her next term was characterised by the deepen its relationship with the working great miners’ strike of 1984-5. The linked class in the estates where evictions with be the inevitable outcome of benefit caps and ideological collapse of the far left here, the bedroom tax. [2] Thisis not an electoral who uncritically tail ended miners’ leader Scargill to such an extent that revolution- campaign but is rallying real political activary politics were marginalised, ensured her ists who do not shy away from the prospect of confrontation when the local arm

of the capitalist state, even if controlled by the Labour party, who are still willing to impose the worse aspects of the crisis. On the other hand the necessity of orientation to the wider labour movement is also being taken seriously; UniteWorks, the magazine of Unite the union, which goes to its one and a half million members, has featured the case on its front page as the worst example of the welfare attacks. They have demanded that Labour councillors sign up to a no evictions pledge. The latest flyer makes the central demands:
Bin the Bedroom Tax! Cap rents not benefits! The Bedroom Tax means that social housing tenants will lose 14% of their housing benefit if they have one “spare” room and 25% if they have 2 spare rooms. There are already 3,000 people in temporary accommodation in Brent. Brent Council have said they may have to evict anyone in rent arrears from the Bedroom Tax. Brent have already sent tenants to Hasting, Slough and Luton and they are planning to send many more families out of the borough. [3]



[2] v=JgsGaCI1t-o [3] Counihan Battlebus Facebook Page: groups/425633484140115/

Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward! Page 31

May Day Greetings from the International Liaison Committee for the Fourth International


he LCFI sends its warmest revolutionary greetings to the working class, poor and oppressed of the planet who are struggling against the latest phases of the worst capitalist crisis since the 1930s. Stung by this crisis the ruling classes of the world are lashing out viciously, imposing savage austerity on the workers of the metropolitan countries and waging wars through their own and through their proxy armies in Africa and the Middle East, etc. Mali, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Afghanistan are all war-torn lands. Other wars are looming; against Iran and North Korea. Responsibility for all these wars rests firmly with global Imperialism as it seeks raw materials for its industries and markets for its produce guaranteed by pliant stooges imposed by invasions or their proxy armies. We stand for the defeat of all Imperialist armies and for the victory of even the most reactionary nationalist forces over them; such victories over the global imperialists can only in the medium to long term strengthen the forces of liberation against national and local tyranny in the semi-colonial world. And more importantly they can strip the aura of invincibly away from the Imperialist ruling classes, expose their grovelling defenders in the Labour and TU bureaucracies. In country after country austerity is the response to this crisis; benefits are being cut, housing in Britain is moving out of the reach of the working class and the National Health Service is being rapidly privatised to allow healthcare for the rich and deny it to the poor – free at the point of use will soon become a sick joke unless we stop this reactionary government. Similarly in France, in Germany, in the USA, in South America, in South Africa, Sri Lanka and across the globe. The renewed crisis in the banking system in the small nations of Cyprus and Slovenia is merely a prelude to yet another wave of the crisis in the euro lands. Ireland’s banks are again about to default and after them will come Portugal, Spain Italy and, of course, Greece, where living standards have plummeted disastrously and the fascist Golden Dawn is rising ominously in the polls. And it must be stressed that this is a real fascist party, not like other Euro-

pean far right groups like the Front National in France or the Vlaams Blok in Belgium which have fascists in many leadership positions but which still aim to work within the confines of bourgeois parliamentary democracy. The Greek economy has now contracted for an 18th straight quarter. The unemployment rate rose to 27.2% in January; more than 6 in 10 young Greeks out of work. Gross domestic product declined 6 percent in the three months through December from the same period last year after dropping a revised 6.7 percent in the previous quarter, the Athens-based Hellenic Statistical Authority said. A quick glance at the charts show what the aims of the Troika are; to reduce the unit cost of labour by increased unemployment to restore the rate of profit for a much smaller but ‘leaner’ section of the section of the capitalist class. That is the Regan/Thatcher neo-liberal future of all workers in Europe and the world if we do not stop them. We insist that this is a crisis of the falling rate of profit, the most powerful law of capitalist economics according to Karl Marx, masked in the past by the continual extension of debt as a solution to each cyclical crisis until the mountain of debt engulfed the whole capitalist system in the great crisis of 2008 and the collapse of Lehman Brothers. There is NOT a reformist, Keynesian solution to it. That has ushered in the latest phrase of wars and revolutionary crisis which inevitable will follow. Brazil, like Argentina and several other Latin American countries, is in the midst of the global dispute between two large blocks of capitalism: the Anglo-Saxon bloc, on one hand, and the Sino-Russian bloc on the other side. After the crisis of 2008, China replaced the U.S. to become the largest “business partner” of several Latin American countries, like Brazil. Thus, the recession arrived late in Brazil, where the bourgeoisie took advantage of real estate speculation fuelled by the prospect of Brazil hosting World Cup football in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. Still, with some delay, Brazil has been hit by the recession from 2012, and now by industrial stagnation, inflation, and attacks on the working class. Beginning in August 2012 the bosses of the General Motors plant in San Jose dos Campos launched a terrible attack on the

Greek unemployment heads for 30%, 60% for youth, above. Unemployment forces down unit labour costs, below, the domestic solution to the crisis of profit which is allied to the solution sought in predatory Imperialist wars.

workers, threatening the closure of the factory and began imposing layoffs, suspensions and cuts in wages and conditions. The Metal Worker Union of San Jose dos Campos, led by PSTU-LIT, yielded to these threats and agreed to more than 500 ‘voluntary’ redundancies. In January 26th 2013 they signed an agreement under the excuse that “it was the only thing possible”. This is that PSTU-LIT says to the working class that “the only thing “possible” is to surrender to the bosses without fighting. Thus they showed themselves no better than the PT-dominated CUT Federation, which they have so often criticised as lackeys of the bosses. With these pathetic excuses they betrayed their radical working class followers. The main task of Trotskyists in Brazil is turning to the working class to break the hold of the PT and Lula/Dilma and to give a new direction to the revolutionary struggle to the proletariat. The politics of class betrayal of Conlutas and PSTU, who signed the agreement and sowed illusions that the bourgeois government of Dilma was favourable to workers and not the U.S. multinational, proves that this party is incapable of fulfilling this historic function. In Venezuela the Chávista candidate, Maduro, has barely survived the election with less than 51% of the vote. A former Maoist and bus driver he has appealed to the reactionary Catholic Church Continued on page 31

Page 32 Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International; Go Forward!

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