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Syria: War threat, the US-Russia deal and some left delusions

Click HERE for more on Syria.

By Michael Karadjis

September 25, 2013 -- Syrian Revolution Commentary and Analysis, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- For two and a half years, the Bashar Assad regime has waged a barbaric war against the Syrian populace, using long-range missiles, fighter aircraft, helicopter gunships, tanks, artillery, cluster bombs and almost certainly chemical weapons, not to forget everyday machine gunning and torture, in a bid to crush the heroic uprising of Syria’s “wretched of the earth”, the peasants and urban poor, against his gangster-capitalist regime.

France: Front de Gauche leader Jean-Luc Melenchon opposes attack on Syria

Front de Gauche leader Jean-Luc Melenchon discusses the threat of a US attack on Syria, broadcast September 1, 2013. Below is an earlier TV appearance by Melenchon in which he also discusses Syria. (Note: to improve the resolution of the subtitles in each, press play then click on the "cog" at the bottom of the video, and increase the setting for "quality" to at least 360p. Then restart the video.)

(Updated Sept. 24) Syria: West's hypocritical war drive slowed

By Barry Sheppard

September 15, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- The proposal by Russia, accepted by the regime of Bashar Al-Assad, for Syria’s chemical weapons to be turned over to an international authority (presumably the United Nations) for destruction, has temporarily put off Washington’s plans for war against Syria.

US President Barack Obama has postponed asking US Congress to approve of his plans to attack Syria. This represents a political defeat for the war drive.

Even if Washington scuttles the proposed agreement and goes ahead with war, it will do so with even less support at home and abroad than it had before the Russian proposal.

The main force blocking the proposed attack has been the opposition of the world's people especially in the United States.

In spite of huge pressure, in the face of mass opposition of their own citizens, few countries have backed bombing Syria. Only one country has fully said it would take part militarily ― Saudi Arabia, a well-known bastion of liberal democracy and human rights.

Syria: Pakistan socialists condemn the impending US-led bombing

[For more left statements on the crisis in Syria, and more coverage, click HERE.]

September 6, 2013 -- Statement by the Awami Workers Party, Pakistan

We condemn the impending us bombing of Syria and the hypocrisy of the Pakistani government -- including the armed forces -- which claim to be against such aggression but themselves pander to the dictates of imperialist powers. We similarly reject the claims of right-wing parties that are parading themselves as committed anti-imperialists, both in Pakistan and around the Muslim world. In fact such parties have enjoyed a consensual relationship with imperialist powers and ruling classes in Muslim countries to the detriment of the left.

It is now a well-established fact that the Americans and NATO have been patronising the worst jihadi elements in Syria to destabilise the Assad regime, and have now resolved to follow this up with air strikes across that country. Such antics prove that imperialist powers, no matter what rhetoric they employ, are committed only to their narrow geostrategic interests and will ally with whomever will serve these interests. Only in a world free from imperialism in all its forms can there be substantive democracy and freedom from oppression and want.

Stop the US-led war on Syria! (Updated Sept. 1)

[Below are statements from the left in Asia, from Australia, Malaysia and the Philippines.]

Statement by the Socialist Alliance (Australia)

August 28, 2013 -- Socialist Alliance -- The Socialist Alliance condemns the threatened US-led Western military assault on Syria. We call on the Australian government to reject this latest imperial aggression, to extract itself from its military alliance with the US and end its involvement in all aggressive multinational military operations.

The Socialist Alliance supports the Syrian people’s democratic uprising against the tyranny of the Bashar al-Assad regime but we reject the interventions of the US and its allies in Syria. The Syrian people should have the right to decide their own future.

The horrendous chemical weapons attack on civilians is being used as the justification for this latest intervention. The use of chemical weapons is a heinous war crime and whoever uses it should be brought to account.

Britain: Solidarity with the people of Syria

Joint statement supported by British socialist organisations, the International Socialist Network, Socialist Resistance, Workers Power and the Anticapitalist Initiative

August 30, 2013 -- The defeat of the government pro-war resolution in parliament [the British House of Commons] is important. Even though the Labour Party opposition voted against the Tory motion, it too had submitted a pro-war resolution, albeit calling for a pause until after the report from the UN weapons inspectors. That resolution was also defeated. These votes reflect the anti-war mood in Britain. But as far as the USA is concerned, the threat of war is still on the agenda possibly using bases in Britain.

The regime of Bashar al-Assad is every day carrying out more massacres of increasing cruelty against the people of Syria, whether it be the bombing of civilian areas or the use of chemical weapons. Two years into the uprising against the dictatorship, over 100,000 have died, 2 million are refugees and many more are “displaced” out of a population of just 20 million. This tragedy fills us with horror and rage.

We continue to extend our solidarity to the movement for democracy in Syria. We pay tribute to all those who have lost their lives in the fight against the brutal dictatorship and to all those who are continuing to resist.

Bulgaria: Free Jock Palfreeman! Australian activist wrongly imprisoned

Jock Palfreeman interviewed by Tony Iltis, Sofia

May 17, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- “I’m in Villawood!”, Jock Palfreeman exclaimed, with the cheerful exuberance he displayed throughout an interview conducted through glass and wire-mesh partitions in the gloomy surroundings of the visiting room of Sofia central prison.

He told Green Left Weekly that it was the plight of refugees illegally detained in Sydney's Villawood detention centre by the Australian government that first radicalised him. His first protest, as a high school student in Sydney, was a blockade of the offices of Villawood’s then operator Australasian Correctional Management on May Day in 2002.

A year later he organised students at his school to attend the “Books Not Bombs” student walkouts to protest against the war on Iraq.

It was because of his seeming inability to ignore injustice that he is now serving a 20-year sentence in Bulgaria.

Winter Soldier reveals the chilling reality of the Vietnam War

By David T. Rowlands

May 10, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Between January 31 and February 2, 1971, over a hundred ex-US service personnel who had served in Vietnam between 1963 and 1970 gathered in Detroit for a three-day media conference. Organised by the activist group Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), the Winter Soldier Investigation (WSI) was intended to educate the American public about the scale of US atrocities in Vietnam, emphasising the direct relationship between such atrocities and official military policies.

Fidel Castro: The duty to avoid a war in Korea

"Now that [the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] has demonstrated its technical and scientific achievements, we remind her of her duties to the countries which have been her great friends, and it would be unjust to forget that such a war would particularly affect more than 70% of the population of the planet." -- Fidel Castro

By Fidel Castro

April 4, 2013 -- Granma International -- A few days ago I mentioned the great challenges humanity is currently facing. Intelligent life emerged on our planet approximately 200,000 years ago, although new discoveries demonstrate something else.

This is not to confuse intelligent life with the existence of life which, from its elemental forms in our solar system, emerged millions of years ago.

Declaration of the Social Movements Assembly of the World Social Forum, Tunisia 2013

 

 

By the Social Movements Assembly of the World Social Forum, Tunisia, 2013

March 29, 2013 -- We are gathered here to affirm the fundamental contribution of peoples of Maghreb-Mashrek (from North Africa to the Middle East), in the construction of human civilisation. We affirm that decolonisation for oppressed peoples remains for us, the social movements of the world, a challenge of the greatest importance.

Through the WSF process, the Social Movements Assembly is the place where we come together through our diversity, in order to forge common struggles and a collective agenda to fight against capitalism, patriarchy, racism and all forms of discrimination and oppression. We have built a common history of work which led to some progress, particularly in Latin America, where we have been able to intervene in neoliberal alliances and to create several alternatives for just development that truly honors nature.

France & Mali: Left assesses Mali military intervention and its aftermath

[Click HERE for more on Mali.]

By Roger Annis

March 30, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Two leading voices against France’s military intervention in Mali, Paul Martial and Bertold du Ryon, have written a comprehensive dossier on the subject. It is published in the weekly print and web bulletin of the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) in France, Tout est à nous, dated March 14, 2013 (#186).

The dossier is a valuable overview of the situation in Mali and stands out for its unyielding opposition to the intervention. That’s no small feat in a France that is awash in national patriotism and anti-Islamic prejudice over the issue.

Ten years since the biggest protests in history

February 22, 2013 -- Green Left TV -- The Green Left Report hosts a roundtable discussion and debate on the millions-strong protests prior to the US war on Iraq, held around the world on February 15, 2003. The roundtable includes some key activists at the time who reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of the protests in Australia and lessons for progressive struggles today.

Pip Hinman was a leader of the anti-war movement in Sydney at the time; Nick Deane convened a local peace group; and Jim McIlroy, who has been an anti-war activist since the Vietnam war, was part of the Brisbane protests. Also featured is an interview with Simon Butler, who led Books Not Bombs protests of high school and other young people opposed to the war. Hosts are Mel Barnes and Peter Boyle. Footage of the 2003 anti-war marches in Sydney by John Reynolds and Jill Hickson of Actively Radical TV. The episode ends with Carlo Sands critiquing the notion of the "lesser evil".

Produced by Green Left TV -- media for the 99%. Watch it, share it, film it, support it

France launches war in Mali to secure resources, stamp out national rights struggles

"The military attack in Mali has been condemned by groups on the political left in France, including the Nouveau parti anticapitaliste (New Anti-Capitalist Party [its newspaper pictured above]) and the Gauche anticapitaliste (Anti-Capitalist Left). The latter is a tendency within the Front de gauche (Left Front). Shockingly, the Left Front leadership group has come out in favour of the intervention."

By Roger Annis

January 18, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- France, the former slave power of west Africa, has poured into Mali with a vengeance in a military attack launched on January 11. French warplanes are bombing towns and cities across the vast swath of northern Mali, a territory measuring some one thousand kilometres from south to north and east to west. French soldiers in armoured columns have launched a ground offensive, beginning with towns in the south of the northern territory, some 300 kilometres north and east of the Malian capital of Bamako.

A French armoured convoy entered Mali several days ago from neighbouring Ivory Coast, another former French colony. French troops spearheaded the overthrow of that country’s government in 2011.

Former Israeli soldiers break the silence on the criminal occupation of Palestine

October 24, 2012 -- Green Left TV -- Former Israeli paratrooper Avner Gvaryahu, now an activist with Breaking The Silence, explains to Green Left Weekly's Peter Boyle how 850 former Israeli soldiers have given testimony about the gross injustices against the Palestinian people they have witnessed and made to participate in as part of Israel's military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. He was visiting Australia to promote the book Our Harsh Logic (Scribe Publications).

Syria: No to Western intervention, no to illusions in Assad

Tariq Ali on Russia Today, July 13, 2012: "We have a very grim, polarised situation in which the choices are limited: either a Western-imposed regime composed of sundry Syrians who work for the Western intelligence agencies ... or the Assad regime. It's clear the people of Syria want neither ..."

By Phyllis Bennis

June 28, 2012 -- Znet -- Fifteen months on, the short Syrian spring of 2011 has long since morphed into a harsh winter of discontent. Syria is close to full-scale civil war. If the conflict escalates further, it will have ramifications far outside the country itself. As former UN Secretary-General and current envoy of both the UN and the Arab League Kofi Annan put it, “'Syria is not Libya, it will not implode, it will explode beyond its borders.”

Opposition to Philippines-Australia military deal; No to 'visiting forces' military pacts with US/Australia/NZ!

June 12, 2012 -- Green Left TV/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Australian mining companies are already ravaging the traditional land of Indigenous peoples in the Philippines and now they are hoping to get ratified a military agreement that will allow Australian troops to enter the Philippines for "combined training, exercises, or other activities mutually approved by the Parties".

Protests broke out in Manila on June 6, 2012, as the Philippines Senate was deliberating on the ratification of the controversial "visiting forces" military pact with the Australian government, signed by the disgraced former president Gloria Arroyo in 2007. Anti-war groups in the Philippines are seeking Australian solidarity for their campaign to block the ratification. Green Left TV spoke to Reihana Mohideen, an anti-war and socialist activist in Manila.

LGBTI activists respond to John Pilger: 'Equal marriage rights and Bradley Manning are both big issues'

Bradley Manning supporters at Occupy London, last year. Photo: Queerfriendsofbradley.wordpress.com.

By Rachel Evans & Karl Hand

May 23, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- More than 1000 Sydney-siders hit the streets on May 12 demanding equal marriage rights, but prominent left-wing journalist John Pilger has criticised the march in his recent article “Bradley Manning, not gay marriage, is the issue”.

He said: “A protest parade in support of gay marriage filled the city centre. The police looked on benignly. It was a showcase of liberalism. Three days later, there was to be a march to commemorate the Nakba (The Catastrophe), the day of mourning when Israel expelled Palestinians from their land. A police ban had to be overturned by the Supreme Court.”

He said the equal marriage issue "diverts attention" from pressing issues of war and poverty, and in particular the detention and trial of alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning. We cannot agree with this.

Afghanistan: Amnesty International lauds war and occupation as 'progress' for women


The bitter reality for Afghan women: an address by Malalai Joya.

By Tim Anderson

May 20, 2012 -- Stop the War Coalition, Sydney -- Amnesty International has muddied the waters over the occupation of Afghanistan with its latest campaign urging NATO to “keep the progress going” on women’s rights. The campaign was aimed at a NATO summit in Chicago and drew on one of the few remaining arguments for continued military occupation of that war-ravaged country.

The idea that a military occupation would somehow help Afghan women was promoted by Laura Bush, wife of the former US president who ordered the October 2001 invasion. It is an argument that been rejected by the Afghan women’s group, Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) and by activist and former Afghan MP Malalai Joya (see video above). They say that the NATO occupation has simply added a third enemy, on top of the Taliban and the NATO-backed warlords.

Message from SYRIZA to Chicago anti-NATO protests + photos, videos: massive, conscious, determined

Demonstrators defy Chicago police during anti-NATO protest march in Chicago, May 19, 2012.

By Antonis Davanellos and Sotiris Martalis, members of the coordinating secretariat of SYRIZA

May 20, 2012

Dear comrades, dear brothers and sisters of the anti-war movement

We salute your mobilisations against the NATO Summit [in Chicago] and we send you our solidarity from Greece.

We don’t need to say much about the reasons to raise our voices against NATO. Millions of people are familiar with its record or crimes over the last years in the Balkans, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Libya to name just a few.

And if we look further back, NATO has provided nothing but wars, dictatorships and terror around the globe, from the day it was founded, and during all the years of its existence.

Malalai Joya: Foreign troops must leave Afghanistan

Malalai Joya.

March 25, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Malalai Joya, a former MP and one of Afghanistan’s best-known democratic leaders, recently survived the sixth attempt on her life. Taliban gunmen attacked her office at 3 am on March 10, wounding two of her guards. In an exclusive interview, she told Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal’s Pip Hinman that “such terrorist acts will never stop my fight for freedom, democracy and justice”.

Joya will visit Australia in April to speak at the Marxism 2012 conference in Melbourne and a Stop the War Coalition public meeting in Sydney on April 11.

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