Donate to Links


Click on Links masthead to clear previous query from search box

GLW Radio on 3CR



Recent comments



Syndicate

Syndicate content

national question

Kanaky: Interview with jailed pro-independence trade union leader Gérard Jodar

Gérard Jodar (right).

This interview with Gérard Jodar, president of the pro-independence trade union federation USTKE (Union of Kanak and Exploited Workers), was published in Libération, issue #14790, on August 17 2009. He was interviewed by Matthieu Ecoiffier. Translated into English for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by Annolies Truman.

Sentenced at the end of June 2009 to a year in prison for ``hindering the circulation of an aircraft'' [click HERE for background information to the struggle], Gérard Jodar is one of very few trade unionists to be imprisoned in France –- and his lawyers’ application for a lesser sentence has just been rejected by the appeals judge of the Noumea Supreme Court.

Gérard Jodar explains the conditions of his detention as well as the situation on the ``Pebble’’ [the nickname for New Caledonia, the colonial name for the South Pacific territory of Kanaky, which remains a colonial possession of France -- translator].

Versailles vs Comintern: two visions of world peace

Lenin addresses the opening of the second congress of the Communist International.

By Barry Healy

June 28, 2009, was the anniversary of the two bookends of World War I, in which it is estimated more than 15 million people died. On that date in 1914 Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo and, five years later, in 1919, 90 years ago this year, the Versailles Treaty was signed in Paris.

The first war in which the capacity of modern industry to deploy, feed, arm and dismember people was so hideously demonstrated, WWI was experienced by its victims as the "war to end all wars". Unfortunately, it proved not to be.

Out of the ashes of the conflict two competing visions of world peace arose: Versailles and the revolutionary and democratic alternative represented by the Communist International (Comintern) emanating from the 1917 Russian Revolution.

US President Woodrow Wilson swept into the treaty negotiations declaring: “The world must be made safe for democracy.” Over six months of intense horsetrading at Versailles a new imperialist order was hammered out, resulting in many of the conflicts that followed.

Troops out of the Tamil homeland, release the prisoners!

London, June 20, 2009. Photo: Tamil Voice.

Statement by Socialist Resistance (Britain)

June 21, 2009 -- Socialist Resistance -- The massive demonstration in London on June 20 reflected the widespread shock and anger of the Tamil diaspora. The key demands that have to be raised are the right to live in the Tamil homeland, freedom for internees and political prisoners, and immediate withdrawal of the army, which is overwhelmingly Sinhalese. These demands can help refocus a movement focused on the demand for a ceasefire, and provide an antidote to the retreat of the LTTE leadership into building a transnational government committee in exile rather than a real movement.

300,000 children, men and women -- many elderly -- have been interned in concentration camps. Over 50,000 have been killed or disappeared. 10,000 political prisoners have being held, accused of being Tamil Tigers, who have no chance to face trial or otherwise be freed.

DSP reiterates support for the right of self-determination for the Tamil people

Democratic Socialist Perspective (Australia) statement in response to the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka

June 12, 2009 -- The Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP) -- a Marxist organisation affiliated to the Socialist Alliance of Australia -- supports the right of Tamils to self-determination. We have campaigned in solidarity with the Tamil people for several decades. For example, at the time of the 1983 massacre the DSP worked with the Tamil community in Australia to organise protests. This year too, the DSP, Socialist Alliance and Resistance worked closely with Tamil communities, including helping organise rallies, to highlight the calls for a ceasefire and for self-determination.

New pamphlet: The Tamil Freedom Struggle in Sri Lanka

The Tamil Freedom Struggle in Sri Lanka
By Chris Slee, Brian Senewiratne, Vickramabahu Karunarathne
Published by Resistance Books
2009, 40pages
$5.00

Click HERE to order.

June 3, 2009 -- Ever since Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon) gained independence from Britain in 1948, the basic rights of the Tamil minority have been under attack.

The ruling elite from the Sinhala majority have found anti-Tamil racism an extremely convenient device to secure their power and privilege and deflect discontent from below. The history of Sri Lanka is marked by a shameful and bloody series of government-instigated anti-Tamil pogroms.

Socialist Party of Malaysia condemns Sri Lanka's slaughter of Tamils

Tamils demand national self-determination on May 1, 2009. Photo by Peter Boyle.

By the Socialist Party of Malaysia (Parti Sosialis Malaysia, PSM)

May 27, 2009 -- Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared victory over Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as the last LTTE strongpoints crumbled. The victory is for no one but only the chauvinistic nationalist Sinhalese government led by Rajapaksa, which had launched a brutal, merciless and cold-blooded military offensive against the Tamil population for several months, inflicting nothing but death, destruction and misery. The victory proclaimed by Rajapaksa will not put an end to the conflict that has lasted for several decades, but signals a new assault on working people in Sri Lanka -- Tamil, Sinhalese and Muslim.

Tamil self-determination and the LTTE: Some lessons for the struggle

On May 23, 2009, anti-war activists joined members of Sydney's Tamil community in a march to protest the Sri Lankan government's war against the Tamil people, organised by the Stop The War Coalition.

* * *

By Reihana Mohideen

May 21, 2009 -- “To save the lives of our people is the need of the hour. Mindful of this, we have already announced to the world our position to silence our guns to save our people", said Selvarasa Pathmanathan, the head of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam's (LTTE) International Diplomatic Relations on May 17, thus flagging the military defeat of the LTTE.

Blood for oil in Nigeria: Military launches massive attack on Niger Delta villages

May 21, 2009 -- Democracy Now! -- The Nigerian military has been accused of killing hundreds, maybe thousands, of civilians in the oil-rich Niger Delta. The military offensive began eight days ago (May 13, 2009) but has received little international attention. We go to Nigeria to speak with Denzil Amagbe Kentebe of the Ijaw National Congress. We’re also joined by Sandy Cioffi, director of the new documentary Sweet Crude about the Niger Delta. The village of Oporoza, where much of the film was shot, has just been burned down.

CPI (ML) Liberation: A crime against humanity, not a `famous victory', in Sri Lanka

By the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation

May 21, 2009 -- According to an announcement by the Sri Lankan government, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) chief Prabhakaran is dead, killed by the Lankan Army. The LTTE is yet to confirm the death, and some sections are questioning the veracity of the claim.

The exact manner of Prabhakaran's death is clouded in suspicion. The Sri Lankan government claims he was killed when the army opened fire on a van in which he and two top aides were travelling; initially, Sri Lankan officials said the van caught fire under rocket attack and Prabhakaran's body was badly burnt. Subsequently, they claimed to have found his body, dead from a bullet, dressed in fatigues and having identification papers on him, during a combing operation. There are many unanswered questions about the manner of the death: including the suspicion that he might have been captured alive by the Lankan army, or that he might have taken his life before capture.

Sri Lankan socialists call for self-determination for Tamils

Sydney, May 1, 2009. Photo by Peter Boyle.

May 13, 2009 -- The statement below was presented at a press conference by Vickramabahu Karunarathne (``Bahu''), general secretary of the Nava Sama Samaaja Party (NSSP, New Socialist Party). It was first published at Liam Macuaid's blog. Below the statement is a document that outlines the NSSP's position on Tamil national self-determination.

* * *

There is an international commotion about the bloodbath and the human disaster in Lanka. It can lead eventually to an international intervention that could enslave everybody. We called this press conference to make everybody aware of the developing situation.

Indian communists: India must end support for genocide in Sri Lanka and the elite coup in Nepal

By Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation

May 11, 2009 -- A shameful spectacle of opportunism is being played out in Indian politics even as Sri Lanka is waging a chilling ``final solution'' to its Tamil national question. In the name of a war to eliminate the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Mahinda Rajapakse's regime in Sri Lanka is waging war on the Tamil people. Independent observers, international rights groups and even journalists have been prohibited from covering the reality of the war. Conservative estimates, trickling through, put civilian deaths at a minimum of 5000, including at least 500 children, since January. At least 100,000 civilians are estimated wounded. The Sri Lankan army is using cluster bombs and chemical warfare in blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions. Tens of thousands of innocent Tamils are caught up in the war zone, starved of food, water and medicine. Some 100,000 others, fleeing in desperation are being rounded up behind barbed wire fences in ``camps'', where by all accounts they will be kept under detention for three years. Sri Lankan journalists questioning their government's brutal policy have been silenced by assassination and arrest. International journalists reporting on the detention camps for Tamil civilians have been detained and deported.

Interview with Bolivia's foreign minister: `Communitarian socialism will refound Bolivia’

Interview with Bolivia’s foreign minister David Choquehuanca by Patricia Bravo and Cris González, translated from the original article in the March 20, 2009, edition of Punto Final (Chile) by David Montoute.

David Choquehuanca.

Bolivia’s new ``Political Constitution of the State’’, approved by referendum on January 25, 2009, by 61.4% of the vote and announced on February 7, is clearly of transcendental importance for the refoundation of Bolivia. The recognition of individual and collective rights, popular participation, the principle of equality and the end of all types of exclusion and discrimination are all present in the new constitutional text.

It establishes the creation of “a Unified Social State of Law whose character would be Plurinational Communitarian, free, independent, sovereign, democratic, intercultural, with decentralised autonomous departments, regions, municipalities and indigenous circumscriptions”.

Brian Senewiratne: Genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka while Australia looks on

A Tamil community protest in Sydney,April 27, 2009. Photo by Jamie Kim.

Sign open letter in support of Tamil rights in Sri Lanka. Go to http://fastuntoaction.wordpress.com/sri-lanka-crisis-statement-of-support

* * *

Dr Brian Senewiratne

May 7, 2009 -- Socialist Alliance (Australia) -- I am a Sinhalese from the majority community in Sri Lanka, not from the brutalised Tamil community. I have campaigned for some five decades for the right of the Tamils to live with equality, dignity and safety in the country of their birth.

I am releasing this media briefing as a concerned Australian (here for 32 years), and as a member of the Socialist Alliance, the only non-Tamil organisation [in Australia] to support the struggle of the Tamils for justice.

Who are the Tamil Tigers?

By Chris Slee

April 25, 2009 -- The Sri Lankan government claims to be on the verge of totally defeating the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE — also known as the Tamil Tigers). The LTTE has fought for more than 30 years for an independent state for the Tamil people on the northern and eastern parts of the island.

The roots of the conflict lie in a long history of state-sponsored oppression of the Tamils, which eventually led some Tamil youth to take up arms. When the British granted independence to Sri Lanka in 1948, power was handed to politicians drawn mainly from the upper classes of the majority Sinhala ethnic group. These politicians used racism as a tool to divide the working class.

Second-class citizens

Tamil plantation workers were deprived of citizenship rights. Sinhalese was declared the sole official language of Sri Lanka, making Tamil language speakers second-class citizens. Knowledge of Sinhalese became necessary for public service jobs, excluding most Tamils. Discrimination was also applied in education.

* * *

Ronnie Kasrils -- South Africa and Palestine: Long roads to freedom

Ronnie Kasrils spoke at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow on March 20, 2009, at a talk organised by Pulsemedia.org and the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign. During the years of apartheid rule in South Africa, Ronnie Kasrils was a leader in the banned South African Communist Party and African National Congress, and its military wing Umkonto we Sizwe. Hunted by the security police, he was described as ``armed and dangerous''. Kasrils served as a government minister in post-spartheid South Africa until 2008.

Today Kasrils is an activist in the Palestine Solidarity Committee in South Africa, which recently won support from Durban dock workers to adopt a policy of boycotting Israeli ships that dock in South African ports.

`Worse than South African apartheid'

(Updated May 27, 2009) Wiwa versus Shell: Oil company to stand trial for complicity in repression of the Ogoni people

Shell on trial: Landmark trial set to begin over Shell’s role in 1995 execution of Nigerian human rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa

May 26, 2009 -- Democracy Now! -- A landmark trial against oil giant Royal Dutch Shell’s alleged involvement in human rights violations in the Niger Delta begins this Wednesday in a federal court in New York. Fourteen years after the widely condemned execution of the acclaimed Nigerian writer and environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, the court will hear allegations that Shell was complicit in his torture and execution.

Guests:

Steve Kretzmann, executive director of Oil Change International. He was at Shell’s annual shareholder meeting in London earlier this month and has been following the case against Shell. He also worked closely with Ken Saro-Wiwa in the last two years before Saro-Wiwa’s death.

The Tamils need support; Sign the statement against the war on the Tamil people of Sri Lanka

8000 Australian Tamils and supporters protest in Canberra, April 18, 2009.

The following editorial appeared in Green Left Weekly issue #791, April 22, 2009.

April 18, 2009 -- One of the great crimes of modern times is occurring on the island of Sri Lanka without a word of protest from governments the world over. The Tamil people are facing genocide.

Already this year, the death toll of Tamil civilians exceeds 4000. Often dozens, and in some cases hundreds, are slaughtered in a single day in Sri Lankan Army bombings of the so-called safe zone, into which as many as 300,000 people are crowded.

Those Tamils who flee this zone are being placed into concentration camps by the Sri Lankan Army.

This brutal reality is almost entirely unreported, and not simply because the Sri Lankan government refuses to allow journalists access to the scene of its crime. Instead, the mainstream media is once again siding with the powerful.

Who said nearly 50 years ago that Israel was an apartheid state?

By Ronnie Kasrils

"...a colonial racist mentality which rationalised the genocide of the indigenous peoples of the Americas and Australasia, in Africa from Namibia to the Congo and elsewhere, most clearly has its parallels in Palestine."

March 17, 2009 -- Media Monitors Network -- At the onset of international “Israel Apartheid Week” in solidarity with the embattled Palestinian people, I want to start by quoting a South African who emphatically stated as far back as 1963 that “Israel is an apartheid state”. Those were not the words of Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu or Joe Slovo, but were uttered by none other than the architect of apartheid itself, racist Prime Minister Dr. Hendrik Verwoerd.

He was irked by the criticism of apartheid policy and British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s “Winds of Change” speech, in contrast to the West’s unconditional support for Zionist Israel.

Martinique general strike ends in victory: Mobilisations, victories in overseas colonies set example for French workers

Demonstration in St-Denis, La Réunion, March 11.

By Richard Fidler

March 18, 2009 -- Life on the Left -- A 38-day general strike in the Caribbean colony of Martinique ended March 14 with the signing of a protocol between the government and the February 5 Collective, a coalition of trade unions and other social movements named after the day the strike began. The agreement grants the coalition’s key demands. About 20,000 people celebrated the historic victory in a march through the streets.

AFP reported that “the signing ceremony drew a crowd of thousands who gathered outside the island’s head administrative office. They repeatedly chanted a slogan ‘Matinik leve,’ or ‘Martinique stand up’ in the local Creole language.”

`First Victory' in Guadeloupe general strike; Movement spreads to other French colonies

By Richard Fidler

March 8, 2009 -- Life on the Left -- The general strike in Guadeloupe ended March 4, when an accord was signed between the LKP Strike Collective and the local governments, the employers’ federation and the French government that granted the strikers their top 20 immediate demands and provided for continued negotiations on the remaining 126 mid-term and long-term demands. The LKP, or Lihannaj Kont Pwofitasyon – Collective Against Super-exploitation, is a coalition of 49 unions and grassroots organisations.

Signature_protocole-ac186

Signing the Accord, March 4

Syndicate content

Powered by Drupal - Design by Artinet