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Italian metalworkers, Western Australian maritime workers call for boycott of apartheid Israel

Italy's metalworkers: Prosecute Israeli war crimes, suspend EU-Israel agreement

Federazione Impiegati Operai Metallurgici nazionale (FIOM), the largest metalworkers' union in Italy, whose membership numbers 360,000, called for prosecution of Israeli officials for war crimes and suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, as well as of the military cooperation agreement between Italy and Israel. The following is FIOM's January 13 2009 statement on Gaza, published on the union's web site.

Federazione Impiegati Operai Metallurgici nazionale, Corso Trieste, 36 - 00198 Roma, tel. +39 06 85262341-2 fax +39 06 85303079, http://www.fiom.cgil.it/, email: protocollo@fiom.cgil.it.

COMITATO CENTRALE F.I.O.M.

13 gennaio 2009

GAZA

Palestine government salutes Venezuela's Hugo Chavez

Palestinian National Authority

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Deputy Office, Gaza

January 12, 2009

In the Name of God; the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

President Hugo Chavez,

Your Excellency, President Hugo Chavez,

We, the people of Palestine, commend your courage to speak and act upon your conscience regardless of your detractors' criticism or cowardice.

Mr. President, we have watched death rain upon our families and children in Gaza for weeks; and yet we stand proud and ready for any outcome. We are a resilient people who wish for peace but will fight rather than bow to injustice. We live and die by the codes of our forefathers -- codes of honor, integrity, truth and bravery.

Throughout history, in a just conflict, there always emerges a champion, a single hero who, by his actions, embodies all the virtues the masses aspire to. You have demonstrated that you are such a man.

`We are all Palestinians!' -- International left solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine (updated Jan. 13)

Below Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal publishes a range of statements from left parties and groups around the world. More will be added as they come to hand.

* * *


Respect's George Galloway on January 8, 2009, addresses a London meeting organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign

New Palestine solidarity journal: Jafa -- A Bulletin in Solidarity with Palestinian Workers and Unions

Labour for Palestine (Canada) is proud to launch:

Jafa -- A Bulletin in Solidarity with Palestinian Workers and Unions

*** Available for download at www.caiaweb.org/labourcommittee or click HERE (14mb PDF)***


As an initiative coming out of the first Labour for Palestine conference, held in Toronto May-June 2008, we are pleased to bring you the first issue of Jafa: A Bulletin in Solidarity with Palestinian Workers and Unions.

Jafa will be published quarterly and aims to bring together news and analysis on the situation of Palestinian workers and unions wherever they are -- in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, citizens of Israel, refugee camps and across the diaspora.

We stand in solidarity with the 2005 call from Palestine for a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israeli apartheid. This call was signed by all major Palestinian trade union federations, including the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions.

A brief history of the Western Saharan people’s struggle for freedom

A Saharawi fighter on May 20, 2008, at a parade
to mark 35th anniversary of the Polisario Front. Photo by EPA/MOHAMED MESSARA.

By Margarita Windisch

[Read more on the Western Saharan people's struggle HERE.]

Spain colonised Western Sahara and its mostly nomadic people in 1884 claiming it as a protectorate of the Spanish Crown. Spanish rule over Western Sahara was codified in Berlin in 1885, where Africa was carved up among the European powers. The period of Spanish rule was marked by ongoing resistance, revolts and armed clashes with the indigenous population, with its liberation movements being brutally repressed by the Spanish authorities.

A 1966 UN resolution called for Saharawi people’s right to self-determination to be exercised via a referendum which never eventuated. The lack of political developments led to the formation of Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro (the Polisario Front) in 1973. Polisario was conceived as a nationalist front with the aim of achieving independence, and encompassed all Saharawi political trends.

Proceedings of Fourth Congress of the Communist International to be published

In October, John Riddell, co-editor of Socialist Voice, completed a draft translation of the proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International. This ambitious effort (more than 500,000 words) will make all of the resolutions, speeches, and debates from that important 1922 meeting, together with full explanatory annotation, available in English for the first time. The work, which Riddell is preparing in collaboration with the London-based journal Historical Materialism, is planned for publication in 2010.

The British newspaper Socialist Worker interviewed John Riddell (below) about this project for its November 22, 2008, issue.

*  *  *

By Ken Olende

In 1922 socialists from around the world travelled to Russia to discuss and debate the future of the workers’ movement.

Trade unionists call for solidarity with Western Sahara

UGTSARIO congress delegates

By Margarita Windisch

The 6th Congress of the Western Sahara General Union of Saguia El Hamra and Rio de Oro Workers (UGTSARIO) took place from October 19-21, 2008, in El Aaiun, one of four Saharawi refugee camps in the Hamada desert in south-west Algeria.

The brutally harsh Hamada desert, justifiably termed the most inhospitable place on Earth, has become the home away from home for more than 160,000 Saharawi refugees since Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara in 1975.

Three Australian trade unionists (two from the Australian Workers Union --AWU -- and one from the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance -- MEAA) travelled thousands of kilometres to attend the congress and participate in the 4th International Trade Union Conference in Solidarity with the Western Saharan Workers, which was convened as part of the 6th UGTSARIO congress. All three were also members of the Australian Western Sahara Association.

UGTSARIO congress

Cuito Cuanavale: How Cuba fought for Africa’s freedom

By Barry Healy

June 14, 2008 -- This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale, a heroic struggle in which, between October 1987 and June 1988, in some of the fiercest fighting in Africa since the Second World War, the South African Defence Force (SADF) were humiliatingly defeated by liberation forces in Angola.

Cuban assistance to Angolan resistance to the SADF invasion was vital. Defeat at Cuito Cuanavale spelled the doom of apartheid and the victory of the South African liberation movement.

Former Cuban president Fidel Castro famously observed that “the history of Africa will be written as before and after Cuito Cuanavale”. In South Africa’s Freedom Park, outside Pretoria, 2070 names of Cubans who fell in Angola are inscribed alongside those of South Africans who died during the anti-apartheid struggle.

The DSP and the Fourth International

Introduction

On August 17, 1985 the National Committee of the Democratic Socialist Perpective (then named the Socialist Workers Party) voted to end the party’s affiliation to the Fourth International, the international organisation founded in 1938 by the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky and his supporters around the world.

This decision, which was subsequently endorsed by the DSP’s 11th Congress, held in Canberra in January 1986, was the result of a process of rethinking within the DSP about many of the ideas it had shared in common with other parties adhering to the Trotskyist movement.

Building trade union solidarity with Palestine

By Adam Hanieh

``International solidarity is fundamental to a progressive and fighting labour movement. It is not an optional part of labour activism or a form of charity. International solidarity goes to the heart of what it means to be a labour activist. It means seeing the struggle of our sisters and brothers in other countries as our own struggle. Their victories as our victories'' -- Canadian Union of Public Employees International Solidarity Committee: What We Stand For.

* * *

May 20, 2008 -- In July 2005, more than 170 Palestinian organisations urged the world to adopt a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel in the manner of [the campaign against] South Africa's apartheid regime. This call was signed by all the main Palestinian trade union federations, as well as refugee, women's and student organisations from across Palestine and the Arab world. It represented the broadest political statement in Palestinian history, precipitating a powerful global solidarity campaign that has grown dramatically over the last few years.

`Our struggle knows no borders!' -- South African left, unions respond to xenophobic attacks

STOP PRESS: Read the memorandum and pledge delivered by the thousands who marched against xenophobia in Johannesburg on May 24, and the statement of the Anti-Privatisation Forum following the successful march.

See also ``Xenophobia tears apart South Africa's working class'' by Thandokuhle Manzi and Patrick Bond.

Watch South Africa: The New Apartheid, on the South African government's treatment of migrant workers and refugees and the involvement of racist white farmers.

* * *

May 21, 2008 -- According to the UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, as of May 19, 2008, the death toll in a wave of attacks targeting foreigners around South Africa's main city of Johannesburg has risen to at least 32, with an estimated 6000 people seeking shelter in police stations, churches and community halls. The violence has spread to Zandspruit, northwest of Johannesburg, and Tembisa, Primrose, Reiger Park and Thokoza, on the eastern perimeter of the city, as well as other working-class communities.

Resolutions adopted at the Latin America & Asia Pacific International Solidarity Forum in Melbourne, October 11-14, 2007

International Solidarity Forum resolution: Statement of Solidarity

http://solidarityforum2007.org/?q=node/32

 

We came and met together from many different countries.
We came because we are some of those who have to struggle.
We have to fight the capitalists. We have to fight and win.

To fight we need to meet, and talk about our problems.
The ways we get defeated, the ways in which we are winning.

We have to talk together about our common struggle:
The issues that unite us, and where we don’t agree.
We need to make a plan that is a clear way forward.

The world is really ours. But capitalists have stolen it.

Militant: what went wrong?

By Phil Hearse

Phil Hearse came into politics through the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and subsequently joined the Young Communist League in 1962 at the age of 13. He was expelled in 1963 for being a member of a "Trotskyist-led faction". From 1967, he was for 27 years a member of the British section of the Fourth International, before joining Militant Labour in 1994. After three years he left with a small group to help found Socialist Democracy.

Conference reaffirms Marxism in the 21st century

By Margaret Allum

"In the world, the tendency today is to bury Marxism and communism. The equation is simple: the collapse of the European socialist bloc is the end of the ideology and the theory that inspired their existence. But Marxist and communist ideas have today, perhaps more than ever, the possibility of demonstrating their viability.”

With these words Maria Luisa Fernandez, the Cuban consul-general, opened the Marxism 2000 conference in Richmond, just outside of Sydney, from January 5 to 9. Her speech followed a welcome by Colin Giles, a representative of the local Darug Aboriginal people.

Marxism 2000, initiated and organised by the Democratic Socialist Party (DSP), was the second Asia Pacific Solidarity Conference; the first was held in April 1998, also in Sydney.

Far from being a collective international obituary to the ideas and practice of Marxism, Marxism 2000 was instead a vibrant reassertion of the urgent need to build an alternative to the capitalist system and a reminder that such an alternative is the only way to solve massive global inequalities.

International left collaboration and socialist renewal

By John Percy

Introduction

As we reflect on the tumultuous twentieth century -- ``wars, revolutions, crises and constant technological change -- we have to reaffirm that socialism, now more than ever, is necessary for the future development of humanity. In fact, it's necessary for preventing society's collapse into barbarism and the ecological destruction of the planet. Marxism not only has continuing relevance; it's more applicable than ever. Society continues to be divided into economically opposed classes. Capitalism expropriates the wealth created by working people through their labour. Social production on a world scale is the norm, yet the fruits of that production remain privately owned and controlled. There is an obscene and widening gap between rich and poor, within countries and between countries: in 1995, 358 billionaires had a total wealth equal to the combined income of the world's 2.3 billion poorest people. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, demoralisation among left forces has been extensive. Some were bought off by crumbs from the imperialist table and have become outright defenders of the capitalist system. Some parties shut up shop, like the

Proposals For An International Left Platform

By the South African Communist Party

[This is a working draft prepared by the leadership of the SACP and circulated on the internet.]

Police raid Asia-Pacific Solidarity Conference in Jakarta

By Sundaram

This article originally appeared in the July issue of Liberation, the central organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist).

The Asia-Pacific Solidarity Conference, scheduled June 7-10 at a site 50 kilometres outside the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, was meant to discuss ways of fighting neo-liberal policies and militarism in the region. But thanks to a draconian attempt by police and paramilitary groups to scuttle the event, the participants turned it into a real battle against the neo-fascist forces that are making a bid for power again in Indonesia.

It all started on June 8, the second day of the conference, when more than 100 policemen armed with carbines and tear gas barged into the venue to arrest foreign participants for alleged ``visa violations''. Sealing off the conference hall, switching off the lights and using megaphones to bark out their orders, the gun-toting policemen presented, to the more than 40 representatives of left groups from around the world, a taste of what former Indonesian dictator Suharto's New Order regime must have been like.

Internationalism and international links

By Murray Smith

The development of the Scottish Socialist Party [SSP] is not an isolated phenomenon, but part of a process of rebuilding the left internationally. In this article, we look at the relationship between the building of national parties and an international movement.

As Marxists and internationalists, we do not conceive of building a socialist party just in one country, but as part of an international movement. Until January of this year, the ISM was part of an international organisation based in London, the Committee for a Workers' International [CWI]. We took the decision to leave this organisation as a result of growing political differences which first became apparent when the CWI opposed the launching of the SSP three years ago. It gradually became clear that we had radically different and incompatible views concerning the tasks of Marxists today and the kind of parties we should be building.1

Axes of Marxist internationalism

By Murray Smith

Murray Smith is an international officer of the Scottish Socialist Party and a leader of the International Socialist Movement, a Marxist current within it. This paper has been adopted by the ISM.

The fact that the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) is not part of any international organisation makes it all the more important to have an international perspective. The three axes of the party's international work are participation in the movement against capitalist globalisation, solidarity with workers and oppressed peoples and developing the party's international links, in Europe and beyond. Just as the International Socialist Movement (ISM) has no interests other than those of the SSP, so it has no hidden international agenda. But as with other questions, the ISM has a specific role to play as a Marxist platform. In international terms this means not only playing an active role in developing all aspects of the party's international work. It also means deepening our analysis of international events and taking an active part in the debates that involve all those across the world who are working to build new parties and new international links.

Regroupment and the socialist left today

By Alex Callinicos

Alex Callinicos is a leader of the Socialist Workers Party in Britain. His most recent book is Against the Third Way: an anti-capitalist critique.

CONTENTS

The millennium was celebrated as marking the entry of the world into an epoch of capitalist prosperity and peace. In reality, the years that followed have been marked by the development of a global economic recession and by the most serious international crisis since the end of the Cold War. In counterpoint to these grim events has been the emergence since the Seattle protests in November 1999 of a worldwide movement in opposition to global capitalism and, increasingly, also to US imperialism's war drive. This has provided the context for a significant revival in Europe of what has come to be known as the radical left - parties to the left of mainstream social democracy. Among the most important developments are the success of Trotskyist candidates in the first round of the French presidential elections in April 2002, the shift leftwards by the Partito della Rifondazione Comunista (PRC) in Italy, and the electoral challenge to New Labour mounted by the Socialist Alliance and the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) in Britain.

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