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Britain: (Updated April 4) Tariq Ali, British left on George Galloway's surprise re-election


George Galloway explains why we won the by-election.

[For more discussion around George Galloway's re-election and the left's response, click HERE.]

On March 29, 2012, the left-wing Respect party's George Galloway was swept into the British parliament in a by-election few expected him to win. He was elected with an absolute majority of the votes cast, in a multiracial working-class seat. Below, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal publishes a number of reactions to this important victory from British left.

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International Women’s Day 2012: Women march against US military expansion in the Philippines and the Pacific

Unity statement by women in the Philippines

March 8, 2012 -- On the occasion of the International Women’s Day 2012, we, Filipino women declare in strongest terms possible, our opposition not only to increased presence but to US military presence per se on Philippines soil.

The United States is increasing its military presence in Asia-Pacific, in particular in the Philippines, and the Philippine government is showing no qualms in allowing this to happen.

A news account recently reported on the United States' plan to increase its military aid to “boost” Philippine defence; the promised aid will amount to US$144 million, reflecting an increase of more than $20 million on the previous amount. In another earlier news article, US ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas was quoted as saying his government had spent US$50 million for the upgrading of Philippine military facilities.

The Washington Post in January 2012 also reported that Philippine officials were in the United States to conduct initial talks with representatives of the Obama government "about expanding the American military presence in the island nation". More high-level and intense discussions will take place this March.

No war, no sanctions, no intervention in Iran!

Statement by the Stop the War Coalition (Sydney, Australia)

February 14, 2012 -- The Stop the War Coalition opposes the use of sanctions or military action against Iran by the United States or Israel. These are clear violations of international law.

We oppose all nuclear proliferation.

We oppose Australian support for intervention against Iran.

Despite the lies of the United States and Israel, Iran does not possess a nuclear weapons’ capacity.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, which regularly monitors Iran’s nuclear installations, has found no evidence that Iran is preparing to construct any nuclear weapons. However Iran, as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, has the legal right to develop nuclear facilities for peaceful purposes.

Even the US has admitted that Iran does not have a nuclear weapon. US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said in January that Iran was not trying to create a nuclear weapon.

Pakistan and Afghanistan: Conference of progressive parties' joint declaration

Statement by Afghan and Pakistan progressive and left parties

December 26, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The progressive and democratic forces of Pakistan and Afghanistan met here in Lahore for two days [December 21-22, 2011] in the first ever joint conference. This is a historic step for the progressive forces of both sides to sit together and share the sufferings of our people at the hands of US-led NATO forces as well as the religious extremists in the form of the Taliban. We also vehemently condemn the military establishment and the governments of both countries who use different excuses to justify the occupation by foreign forces as well as [being the] tacit [patrons] of religious extremism.

We resolve to launch a sustained campaign against the forces of imperialism and religious extremism. We plan to organise coordinated days of action and other initiatives at the political as well as the cultural and educational levels. We plan to broaden this movement and include other left and progressive forces who share the common goals of establishing a just peace and of progress in the region. We resolve to also include the progressive movements in India and Iran in order to build up a broad regional alliance to secure a just peace.

Photo essay: 11-11-11 -- Veterans for Peace Arlington West Memorial: 8 years and counting

Photos and text by James Rodríguez, Santa Monica, Los Angeles County, California

November 11, 2011 -- Mimundo.org, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with James Rodríguez's permission -- The armistice that ended World War I was signed on November 11, 1918. Since then, many allied nations have adopted the date to commemorate members of the armed forces who have served in a war. In the United States, this day is observed as Veterans Day.

This year’s holiday marks the eight anniversary of a unique commemoration carried out by the Los Angeles chapter of Veterans for Peace (VFP) on the sands of world-renowned Santa Monica Beach. Every Sunday since Veterans Day 2003, numerous VFP members and volunteers have erected a temporary and symbolic cemetery aptly named Arlington West Memorial. White crosses represent one fallen Iraq or Afghanistan war veteran, while red crosses represent 10 US servicepeople killed in action in these two wars.

Amy Goodman: United States war veterans join Occupy movement


Democracy Now! November 2, 2011, report on the planned Oakland general strike. In New York City, members of Iraq Veterans Against the War are planning to march on November 2 in their military fatigues from Vietnam Veterans Plaza to Zuccotti Park, the heart of the Occupy Wall Street movement. "It’s clear that veterans are part of the 99 per cent. Veterans, when they leave the military, are much more likely to face unemployment and homelessness", says Jose Vasquez of Iraq Veterans Against the War. "Many people are forced to reenlist because they’re facing a tough economic situation." Vasquez says they are encouraging veterans across the country to join their local Occupy protests.

For more reports on the Occupy movement, click HERE.

By Amy Goodman

Afghanistan: Predictions, obstructed justice and 10 years of war

By Rupen Savoulian

October 17, 2011 -- Antipodean Atheist, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- The Washington Post, the highly influential US newspaper, reported that the top US general in Afghanistan predicted that the Taliban would collapse as a viable fighting militia over the next several months, and eventually accept the offer of national reconciliation from the US-supported Afghan government. This confident prediction was backed up by a note of caution; the general warned that the Taliban could still strike. But he was optimistic about the "progress" of the counterinsurgency in Afghanistan. There is just one thing to note about this report: this prediction was made in April 2005. This month marks 10 years since the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001, and the Afghan war shows no signs of abating.

Malalai Joya: Occupation troops are making Afghanistan worse

Malalai Joya. Photo: malalaijoya.com.

September 8, 2011 -- Overland magazine via Green Left Weekly -- Malalai Joya is a writer, activist and former parliamentarian in the national assembly of Afghanistan. Prior to speaking at two Overland events at the 2011 Melbourne Writers’ Festival, she discussed occupation and resistance in Afghanistan today.

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Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has said: “We’re in Afghanistan to make sure that it never again becomes a safe haven for terrorists, a place where they can go and train and plan violent attacks. We need to see that mission through.” What role are Australian troops really playing in Afghanistan and what should the Australian people be demanding of their government?

The presence of Australian troops is only beneficial for the bunch of warlords and criminals ruling Afghanistan. The Afghan people face dire conditions as the US and their allies have massacred innocent women, children and men — and are continuing to do so.

Since 2001, tens of thousands of civilians have been killed by the blind bombardments of the US and their allies, which include Australia, as well.

Victims of Agent Orange/dioxin: 'Agent Orange in Vietnam was a crime against humanity'

Appeal of the Second International Conference of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin

Hanoi, Socialist Republic of Vietnam

August 9, 2011 -- The Second International Conference of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin, held in Hanoi from August 8 to 9, 2011, included participants from around the world: Agent Orange victims, victims of other toxic chemicals, scientists, lawyers and social activists. The conference is a significant and important historic event, marking the 50th anniversary of the first spraying of the toxic chemical Agent Orange (1961-1971) by the US forces in Vietnam and Indochina.

The delegates to the conference agree that:

During the Vietnam War, from 1961 to 1971, US forces through Operation Ranch Hand sprayed nearly 80 million litrrs of herbicides over South Vietnam, of which 61% was Agent Orange containing at least 366kg of dioxin, the most toxic substance known to science.

Egypt: Left debates the Arab Spring, democracy and imperialism

"For social equality" -- May Day 2011 in Cairo.

By Nicola Pratt

June 29, 2011 -- Jadaliyya -- Egyptian, Arab and international socialists and progressive forces met in Cairo June 3-5, to discuss the future of the Arab revolutions in light of imperialism, Zionism and global capitalism. The Forum in Solidarity with the Arab Revolutions was organised by a number of progressive groups in Egypt and represented the first attempt to revive the annual Cairo Conference against Imperialism and Zionism, which was shut down by the Egyptian authorities in 2009.

Tariq Ali: The Obama syndrome

Audio of Tariq Ali's full address (63 minutes):

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March 29, 2011 -- ABC Radio's Big Ideas -- In 2008, Obama could do no wrong. To the educated middle class, he was an intelligent and reflective writer who had penned his own insightful memoir. To the conservative elite, he was a Harvard graduate and expert in constitutional law. To the young people who came out in droves to vote for him, he liked the same TV shows, listened to the same music and "got" social networking.

David Hicks' Guantanamo nightmare

Review by Coral Wynter

Guantanamo: My Journey
By David Hicks
William Heinemann, 2010

February 25, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Everyone who is curious about David Hicks and his imprisonment at the US concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba for six years, should read this book.

It is an honest account of Hicks’ life as a youngster and his torture at the hands of the US army. Contrary to what many of the mainstream reviews of Guantanamo: My Journey assert, Hicks goes into a lot of detail about why and how he first ended up in Pakistan, and then Afghanistan. He explains, in detail, the circumstances of how he became trapped in Afghanistan and his attempts to get back his Australian passport to be able to return home to Adelaide.

Hicks was like so many teenagers looking for adventure. He was also a confused young man, coming from a broken home when he was just nine years old and finding it difficult to find his place in his second family with his stepmother and stepbrothers.

Wanderings of a Zen Marxist: 30th anniversary of John Lennon's murder -- `The US vs John Lennon'

On December 8, 1980, John Lennon was murdered in New York. To mark the 30th anniversary of Lennon's murder Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal makes available the fascinating documentary The US vs John Lennon (above). Below, we reproduce a review by Green Left Weekly's Phil Shannon about the political and cultural significance of John Lennon and his evolution.

The wanderings of a Zen Marxist

Come Together: John Lennon in his Time
By Jon Weiner
Faber and Faber, 1995, 379 pages (pb)

Reviewed by Phil Shannon

Afghanistan: Malalai Joya -- `for our people, Obama is a warmonger, like another Bush'

Malalai Joya visits a girls' school in Farah province in Afghanistan. Photo: AfghanKabul.

By Malalai Joya

October 10, 2010 -- rabble.ca -- In the United States, many looked to the ballot box and hoped for real change when Barack Obama was elected president in 2008.

To be honest, I never expected that he would be any different for Afghanistan than President George W. Bush. The truth is that Obama's war policies have turned out to be even more of a nightmare than most people expected. Obama talked a lot about hope and change, but for Afghanistan the only change has been for the worse.

After almost two years of Obama, the number of US troops occupying Afghanistan has more than doubled. And the number of drone attacks in Pakistan has increased. Obama's so-called surge of troops has resulted in increased Afghan civilian deaths.

The documents released by Wikileaks prove what we have been saying about war in Afghanistan. There are more massacres by NATO forces than they wanted us to believe. Now the whole world should know this war is a disaster.

War on Afghanistan: a crime against humanity


Made with Slideshow Embed Tool
Sydney protest rally to mark the ninth anniversary of the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, held on October 8, 2010. Organised by Sydney Stop The War Coalition. Photos by Peter Boyle.

Statement by the Socialist Alliance (Australia) national executive

October 8, 2010 -- On October 17, 2001 the Australian government deployed troops to Afghanistan, just nine days after the US had begun bombing one of the most poverty-stricken and war-weary countries on Earth.

Socialist Alliance: Solidarity with US socialists and anti-war activists raided by FBI

October 1, 2010 -- The Socialist Alliance (Australia) reaches out in comradely solidarity to the socialist and anti-war activists in the US who were subjected to early-morning raids on their homes and offices by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in Minneapolis, Chicago, Michigan and North Carolina on September 24.

We understand that the FBI seized computers, passports, books, documents, cell phones, photos, financial records, diaries, maps and other materials using warrants were issued under a 1996 statute which made it a crime for US citizens to provide “material assistance” to any organisation designated by the government as “terrorist".

We condemn these raids and demand that the property seized be immediately returned and the victims of the raids be fully compensated. We also call for the revocation of the anti-democratic grand jury subpoenas against some of the raided activists.

We will also approach other organisations and activists to discuss and plan solidarity with the activists now being victimised under US "terrorism" laws.

(updated Sept. 26) United States: Solidarity needed! FBI raids left activists under guise of `anti-terrorism'

Against the Current -- On September 24, the FBI conducted raided the homes of antiwar and left activists in Minneapolis, Chicago, Michigan and North Carolina. These provocations, under the guise of "anti-terrorism", appear to have targeted leaders of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, which publishes the Fight Back! newspaper and website. The articles below are from Fight Back! News, Twin Cities IndyMedia and War Times

Video interviews with two activists whose homes were raided

Australia: Interview with new Greens MP Adam Bandt: 'I'll give a voice to the social movements'

Greens MP Adam Bandt.

Adam Bandt interviewed by Jody Betzien

September 2, 2010 -- Green Left Weekly --  Adam Bandt, the Australian Greens' MP elect for the seat of Melbourne (long considered a “safe Labor seat”), and the Greens' first House of Representatives member to be elected in a general election has been very busy since the August 21 election. He says he left the triumphant Greens' election night party at 11pm thinking that he would have to do some media the next day so should get a good night's sleep. He woke up the next morning and after a couple of hours having coffee and reading the paper, the situation sunk in. “And that was the last two hours I've had to myself since”, he told Green Left Weekly in a wide-ranging interview conducted on September 2.

Afghans mark Independence Day with anti-occupation protests

Afghan villagers gather at a house which was destroyed during US air raids in the Tagab Valley village of Inzeri, in Kapisa province, Afghanistan.

By Derrick O'Keefe

Rabble.ca -- August 19, 2010 marks 91 years since Afghanistan gained its freedom from the British empire, following three bloody wars of independence. US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has issued a video statement to mark the occasion. It's worth watching or reading the text in full, if only to appreciate the new empire's irony-laden platitudes.

This August 19th, on behalf of President Obama and the American people, I want to congratulate the people of Afghanistan on 91 years of independence.

Barry Sheppard reviews Peter Camejo's `North Star -- A Memoir'

North Star – A Memoir
By Peter Camejo
Haymarket Books, Chicago, 2010

Order a copy

Review by Barry Sheppard

[Posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.]

July 8, 2010 -- North Star – A Memoir by Peter Camejo, who was an important figure in the radicalisation of “the Sixties” and beyond, up to his untimely death in 2008, should be read by veterans of the socialist movement and wider social causes. It also should be read by new activists thirsty for understanding of previous struggles in order to better equip themselves for present and future battles.

Also, the book is a good read. The first chapter is set in 1979, out of chronological order from the rest of the book. It explains how the CIA attempted to get Peter arrested in Colombia, on a leg of a speaking tour in South America. If he had been imprisoned there it is possible that he would have been “disappeared”. Without giving away the story, Peter escaped this fate through an unlikely intervention, quite a tale in itself.

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