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Libya and the London School of Economics: When civil-societyism fronts for barbarism

Gaddafi's son Saif addressing the London School of Economics in 2010.

By Patrick Bond

March 14, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- If Muammar Gaddafi’s wicked son Saif is to be believed, we will soon be witnessing “rivers of blood” in Benghazi to shame even the Middle East’s most murderous tyrants, worse even than Israel’s massacre of 1400 Gaza residents two years ago and its 2006 invasion of Lebanon (although probably shy of the US army’s depopulation of Iraq by what The Lancet medical journal estimated to be a million dead civilians courtesy of oil-crazed Washington’s 2003 invasion).

The regime’s attacks on its citizenry, Saif warned the BBC and Sky News on March 13, will intensify in coming days: “This is our country, we will never, ever give up and we will never, ever surrender. This is our country. We fight here in Libya, we die here in Libya.”

(Updated March 19) Zimbabwe: Prisoners released on bail! International day of solidarity with political prisoners on March 21

Prisoners now released on bail! March 21 demonstrations remain urgent

March 18, 2011 -- Solidarity with Zimbabwean Political prisoners -- Thanks in part to donations from supporters abroad, friends and family raised the $12,000 US needed to get the six prisoners released on bail on March 17. They are now back with their loved ones -- but will be in court on March 21, standing trial for treason.

The international day of action in solidarity with the Zimbabwean activists remains as urgent as ever. Now the demand is even simpler: Drop all charges now!

Updates on Twitter from Shantha Bloeman -- wife of Munyaradzi Gwasai, one of the prisoners -- give supporters outside Zimbabwe a glimpse of this week's developments from the inside. A few entries:

The revolution is the people of Libya’s to make

Anti-regime protest in Bengazi.

[See also "Libya: How Gaddafi became a Western-backed dictator". For more coverage of Libya, click HERE.]

By Peter Boyle

March 13, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- Saif al-Islam, the billionaire son of Muammar Gaddafi who was the neoliberal darling of Western governments until only recently, boasted in a March 10 interview with Reuters that forces loyal to his family were now on the offensive against rebel forces.

NATO, for its part, has decided against military intervention — for the time being. However, France became the first government to recognise the rebel Interim Transitional National Council (ITNC) set up in Benghazi on March 5. AFP reported that France's President Nicolas Sarkozy has also proposed “targeted air strikes” on Libya.

Zimbabwe: International solidarity still urgent for six jailed activists; 39 released due to protests

STOP PRESS March 11, 2011: Munyaradzi Gwisai, Tafadzwa Antonater Choto, Hopewell Gumbo, Tatenda Mombeyarara, Edson Chakuma and Welcome Zimuto had their application for refusal of remand thrown out and remanded to March 21 to face trial for treason which carries a death sentence in Zimbabwe. For the latest news, visit the new solidarity web site at http://www.freethemnow.com/.

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By Ashley Fataar 

Support the Libyan people! No imperialist intervention in Libya! Left solidarity with the Libyan people's uprising

March 9, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- International left organisations continue to express their solidarity with the Libyan people as they struggle to throw off the Western-backed dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi. At the same time, they are rejecting moves by Western imperialism for military intervention to hypocritically take adavantage of the situation and try to reestablish a bridgehead in the oil-rich region. Below are statements by the Labour Party Pakistan, the US-based Kasama Project, the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Municipal Workers Union. See also the statements by the Socialist Party of Malaysia and the Socialist Alliance in Australia. More will be posted as they come to hand.

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Support the Libyan people! No imperialist intervention in Libya!

Labour Party Pakistan statement on Libya

Libya: Gaddafi kills his own people, but Western military intervention is no solution

[See also "Libya: How Gaddafi became a Western-backed dictator". For more coverage of Libya, click HERE.]

By Peter Boyle

March 7, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- The dictatorial regime of Muammar Gaddafi has escalated its violence against rebel forces seeking to bring it down. On March 6, opponents of the regime were reported to be in control of a number of cities, especially in Libya’s east. Al Jazeera said on March 4 that anti-government protests in the capital Tripoli had been met with tear gas by security forces. Opponents said Az Zawiyah, a town just 40 kilometres from Tripoli that is home to an oil refinery, was mostly under rebel control.

South Africa: The history and character of `black economic empowerment'

One of South Africa's new breed of capitalist tycoons, multimillionaire Kenny Kunene. Others include former mineworkers' union leader Cyril Ramaphosa and former ANC Gauteng leader Tokyo Sexwale.

By Dale McKinley

January 10/February 9, 2011 -- South African Civil Society Information Service -- Amid all the usual political propaganda and grandstanding at the African National Congress (ANC)’s 99th anniversary rally in Polokwane on January 8, 2011, it was none other than ANC Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema who came up with the most honest statement of the day. Defending himself against charges that he and his ANC Youth League cronies were continuing to economically benefit from associated businesses awarded government tenders; he argued that business is intrinsically elitist. As such, Malema claimed, “BEE will never be broad” – and in this rare case, he got it right. 

Sudan: Urgent call for action on behalf of detained and tortured protesters

The following is a letter template that human rights and democracy activists in Sudan are asking people around the world to use as a basis of a protest letter to be send to the government of Sudan and to Sudanese embassies in their countries. Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal urges its readers to do so. For more information, see also "Sudan: Northern regime tightens grip as protests flare".

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Dear honourable sir/madam

Re: Sudanese students, youths and journalists beaten, abducted, imprisoned and tortured in Sudan for participating in political activities and responding to a call for demonstrations across Sudan on January 30, 2011.

Canada: How can we aid Libya’s freedom movement?

Libyan Canadian shouts down with Gaddafi slogans outside Calgary City Hall, February 22, 2011. Photo by Ted Rhodes, Calgary Herald.

By John Riddell

February 28, 2011 -- Socialist Voice -- The brutal massacres of civilians in Libya at the order of the country’s dictator, Muammar Qaddafi, have shocked the world. His air force has carried out air strikes against unarmed civilians. On February 25, Qaddafi followers aimed murderous fire on anti-government protests in his last stronghold, Tripoli. The government declares its intention of reconquering the country in civil war.

What can those in Canada do to end the killings?

On February 26, the United Nations Security Council voted for sanctions against the Libyan regime, including an arms embargo and  the freezing of assets of Qaddafi and his family. These measures are hardly more than cosmetic, serving to polish up great-power credentials.

Tunisia: ‘It is a real revolutionary process’ -- interview with 14th January Front militant

Alhem Belhadj (right) speaking at a session of the French New Anti-Capitalist Party congress, February 11.

February 27, 2011 -- Alhem Belhadj is a Tunisian revolutionary socialist and member of the Ligue de la Gauche Ouvriers (Left Workers’ League). It is a part of the 14th January Front, which unites left-wing groups seeking to push Tunisia’s revolution forward by creating a new government free from members of the former ruling party, and supporters policies reversing neoliberalism.

Belhadj spoke with Green Left Weeklys Tony Iltis on February 12, at the congress of the New Anti-Capitalist Party in France, about the Tunisian revolution.

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I think there is a real revolutionary process. Things are going very quickly.

There is a lot of change. Every day, there is some change and there is a big popular resistance.

Tunisia: `Revolution until victory!' Mass protests force prime minister to resign

By Andy Worthington

February 27, 2011 -- http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/ -- Six weeks after Tunisia’s long-serving dictator, Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, was forced to flee the country after the popular uprising that has inspired similar movements throughout the Middle East, Mohamed Ghannouchi, who was the head of the transitional government that took over from Ben Ali, has responded to the largest protests since the dictator’s fall — a weekend of violent protests that left five people dead — by tendering his resignation.

Ghannouchi, who was the prime minister under Ben Ali for 10 years, had struggled to convince a significant number of the Tunisian people that he represented a break with the old regime — hence the protests at the weekend.

First Egypt, next Venezuela? The real threat to democracy in Venezuela comes from Washington

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez is a hero in the Arab world. Lebanese and Palestinian students carry a picture of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez as they protest Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip, in the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, January 12, 2009.

"The Arab revolt represents both an 'economic revolt' and a 'democratic, nationalist and anti-colonial revolution', Santiago Alba Rico and Alma Allende said, that 'provides the socialist left and pan-Arabists in the region with an unexpected opportunity'. They said: 'the Arab people, who have returned to the world stage, need the support of their Latin American brothers'."

By Kiraz Janicke and Federico Fuentes

Australian socialists: `Stop the massacre in Libya! Power to the people!'

February 22, 2011 -- Solidarity rally in Sydney with the Libyan people in their struggle for democracy. Photo by Pip Hinman. See an article about this action here: http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/46782.

Statement by the Socialist Alliance (Australia) in solidarity with the people's uprisings in Libya and the Arab world

February 26, 2011 -- The Socialist Alliance extends its full solidarity to the people of Libya now being brutally repressed for demanding an end to the corrupt and unjust regime of dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

The Flame, February 2011 -- Green Left Weekly's Arabic-language supplement

February 19, 2011 -- With the help of Socialist Alliance members in the growing Sudanese community in Australia, Green Left Weekly -- Australia's leading socialist newspaper -- publishes a regular Arabic language supplement. The Flame covers news from the Arabic-speaking world as well as news and issues from within Australia. Editor-in-chief is Soubhi Iskander is a comrade who has endured years of imprisonment and torture at the hands of the repressive government in Sudan.

Libya: How Gaddafi became a Western-backed dictator

Italy' President Silvio Berlusconi and Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

By Peter Boyle

Updated February 25, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- On February 22, Muammar Gaddafi was boasting on state TV that the Libyan people were with him and that he was the Libyan revolution, even while his dwindling army of special guards and hired mercenaries attempted to drown a popular revolution in blood.

Civilians were strafed and bombed from helicopters and planes. Snipers with high-powered rifles fired into unarmed crowds. Two pilots flew their fighter jets to Malta rather than bomb their own people and another two are reported to have crashed their jets rather than attack civilians. Sections of the armed forces, several diplomats and a couple of ministers have abandoned the regime and, at the time of the writing, the east of Libya was in the hands of popular revolutionary committees.

Malaysian socialists: `Stop brutal massacre in Libya NOW! Power to the people of the Arab world!


February 22, 2011 -- Solidarity rally in Sydney, Australia, with the Libyan people in their struggle for freedom and democracy. See article about this action here: http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/46782. Made with Slideshow Embed Tool.

Solidarity statement by the Socialist Party of Malaysia with the people's uprising in Libya and the rest of Arab world against authoritarian regimes

February 22, 2011 -- The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) condemns the brutal repression committed by Muammar al-Gaddafi’s regime against its people who revolt against injustices and corruptions.

(Updated March 4) Zimbabwe: Socialists and Egypt solidarity activists charged with treason! Protest urgently needed!

46 arrested activists charged with treason, tortured

February 25, 2011 -- It has now been confirmed that detained labour movement activist and leading member of the International Socialist Organization Zimbabwe Munyaradzi Gwisai (pictured) and 45 other activists detained by the Zimbabwe state on February 19 have been charged with treason. If found guilty of treason, the activists risk a sentence of death or life imprisonment. They are being tortured to extract bogus confessions. The arrests followed a raid on a closed meeting that was discussing the implications of the revolutions in the Arab world. Gwisai is director of the Labor Law Centre and former Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) MP.

Tunisia: 14th January Front proposes a National Congress for the Defence of the Revolution

By the 14th January Front*

February 14, 2011 -- The Tunisian revolution is the first of the 21st century. Its shock waves have shaken dictators and Western governments. But it has yet to overturn the ancien regime, and the neocolonial state apparatus that supports it. As an expression of popular unrest it has been fed by the anger of a diverse classes, at least until January 14, 2011. Since that date there has been increasing polarisation between the forces who back the revolution and those of the counterrevolution.

Those on the latter side are attempting to safeguard their constitution and its institutions. With the collaboration with liberal fringes of the democratic movement, Western agents, Islamists and the leftovers of the ancien regime, they are trying to stem the social movement. The provisional government of "national unity" is peopled by former members of Ben Ali’s power structure. This includes a prime minister (from 1999), Mohamed Ghannouchi, who was the architect of neoliberal policies dictated by imperialist financial bodies.

The food price crisis and the Egyptian revolution

Since 2008, rising food prices have resulted in 40 mass riots throughout the globe and the United Nations reports that 37 countries currently face a food crisis.

By Billy Wharton

February 14, 2011 -- Socialist Webzine -- Hidden beneath the spectacular street battles that forced the Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak out of office was a trigger that exists in dozens of countries throughout the world – food. Or, more specifically, the lack of it. While commentators focus on the corruption of the dictatorship, or the viral effects of the Tunisian moment or the something akin to an Arab political awakening, the inability of the Egyptian regime to ensure a steady flow of food staples should be viewed as a critical factor driving this seemingly spontaneous movement for freedom.

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