Ahed Tamimi addresses Coventry meeting “It is true that suffering is high. But we are not victims. We are freedom fighters”

Ahed Tamimi addresses Coventry meeting 

“It is true that suffering is high. But we are not victims. We are freedom fighters”

dig

Ahed Tamimi speaks to Coventry meeting

The following report was written by a Coventry Socialist Party who attended the meeting with Ahed Tamimi. An edited version appears in the current issue of The Socialist, the weekly Marxist newspaper of the Socialist Party.


“It is true that suffering is high. But we are not victims. We are freedom fighters”

These were the words of 17 year old Ahed Tamimi, the young Palestinian arrested and imprisoned by the Israeli military who rose to worldwide prominence as a symbol of resistance against oppression and occupation.  Ahed spoke via Skype to a recent enthusiastic meeting of Coventry Friends of Palestine, organised around the issue of the treatment of Palestinian child prisoners.

Horrendous treatment of children

Karen, a member of the National Education Union (NEU) in Coventry and regular visitor to Palestine, and Mahmoud, a Palestinian living in Coventry and member of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, explained in detail the situation facing Palestinians with regard to how the occupying Israeli military treats children.

It was explained how between 500 and 700 Palestinian children are prosecuted each year according to UNICEF. Reports have stated that ill treatment of prisoners is “widespread, systematic and institutionalised”.

Night time arrests

The whole process was described in graphic detail – 40 to 50 per cent of children are arrested between midnight and 5am, with the arrestees being blindfolded and tied. They are rarely informed of the reasons for their arrest with parents not being allowed to accompany their children when they are taken without warning by the military.

After arrest they are transferred which can take hours, often being kept at military bases in the West Bank, being denied access to food, water, toilets and other basic human rights.

Mahmoud reported how child prisoners are not informed of their rights, are denied access to legal counsel, suffer solitary confinement and are ‘encouraged’ to sign confessions written in Hebrew.

When in court it may be the first time they have had access to legal support or the first chance to see their parents since being arrested.

Long term effects

Punishments include prison terms, fines, suspended sentences, with 60 per cent transferred to prisons inside Israel – an act which is against the Geneva convention. The average fine is the equivalent of around £300, a huge sum of money for a people often denied the right to earn a living.

But it is not just the immediate effects of military detention, which include dropping out of school. There are long term psychological effects such as repressed memories, sleeping problems, bed wetting – no one let alone a child should have to suffer these things.

All of this needs to be put in to the context of the Occupation, it is not a separate issue but a direct consequence.

Ahed Tamimi – a symbol of resistance

Ahed began by saying that “The most difficult thing for a human to lose is their freedom”

She explained how she had suffered verbal and sexual harassment at the hands of the authorities in an effort to break her. Despite her formal education being interrupted by her arrest and detention, she had continued her education within prison with other Palestinian prisoners including arrested teachers, who organise regular classes for their comrades.

After a battle with Israeli authorities to be allowed out of the country, she and her family had spoken around Europe to large rallies to explain what is taking place and to help increase the solidarity movement.

Ahed went on to explain that in her view “It is true that suffering is high. But we are not victims. We are freedom fighters”

She urged the Coventry meeting to “keep up the solidarity and to put pressure on the government to end the occupation”.

The way children are treated is a direct result of the occupation and is a brutal consequence of this nightmare. As speakers pointed out, this is taking place in the context of the 1948 Nakba, with the forced expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from their land with now millions living outside historic Palestine in refugee camps.

Fight for socialism

Ahed, along with all Palestinians resisting the Occupation, are inspiration to millions around the world.

We need to build a mass movement of ordinary people here in the UK to show solidarity with the Palestinian masses – capitalist governments around the world, with the EU and United Nations, are part of the problem not the solution, only the solidarity of working class people can be relied upon.

The continuation of capitalism in the region means war, instability and oppression. We support the fight to build a revolutionary socialist movement across Israel-Palestine with our sister organisation the Socialist Struggle Movement, and the wider Middle East. Mass struggle can put an end to racism, insecurity and the nightmare of occupation. Socialism would guarantee the right to self-determination of all national groups, as part of a voluntary, socialist confederation of the Middle East.

If you are interested in discussing the ideas contained in this article, and want to find out more about the work of the Socialists in Israel-Palestine and the fight for revolutionary change across the Middle East, please fill in the form below.

Advertisements

Join Socialist Students at Coventry and Warwick!

Join Socialist Students at Coventry and Warwick!

Socialist Students

Socialist Students on the march

By Berkay, Warwick Socialist Students

The surge in the popularity of Corbyn’s policies signifies the revival of socialist ideas within the younger generation. But for the people in the socialist movement this is not a surprise.

The rise of Corbyn and the fight for socialism

After decades of attacks on working-class people, living standards for the majority of people have fallen to low levels. Students have also taken a big hit from these attacks caused by the neo-liberal capitalist agenda. The rocketing tuition fees and sky-high rents, combined with zero-hour contracts, have led to the deterioration of the conditions of students throughout the country. Not only the life for students has worsened, the quality of education has also gone down.

In this respect, it is not a surprise at all to see young people showing interest in the politics of Socialist Students. In fact, this interest was perceived by us prior to the rise of the popularity of Jeremy Corbyn. This was shown by the increasing frequency of student demonstrations over the past couple of years and the increase in student activism. Undoubtedly, the Coventry and Warwick Universities have been a hotspot in the fight for free education in this period.

Students must get organised

And now a new academic year is starting. Campuses are being filled by excited new students who are inspired by socialist ideas. The tide is turning and being organised is more important than ever before. Socialist Students is an organisation attempting to bring positive, socialist change to the society that we all live in. It is a growing group and has started to have much more influence on campuses; it shows a good example to other students with its determination in defending the rights of students.

First meetings of term at both universities

Accordingly, the Socialist Students are holding their first meetings of the year on the week commencing the 2nd October.

The first meeting of the year at Coventry University will be on Monday 2nd October at 18:30 in The Castle Grounds, CV1 2UR.  The meeting will be on socialism, where we will discuss how socialism is possible and why we should fight for it. This discussion will also include many contemporary events such as the recent general election and the rise of Corbyn.

A similar meeting will also be organised on Thursday 5th October at Warwick University. The meeting will begin on 18:00 in H0.03, in the Humanities building. The possibilities of a socialist revolution will be discussed in this session.

These meetings will be an immense opportunity for new students to ask questions and join the discussion with regards to Socialist Students or about socialism, revolution and Marxism in general. Hope to see you in these meetings!

We urge you to get involved in Socialist Students, fill in the form below

May and the Tories must go!

May and the Tories must go!

CorbynMay

Tories out! Fight for socialism!

The following is an article by Hannah Sell, the deputy general secretary of the Socialist Party following the election results. We are holding a public meeting in Coventry on Tuesday at Methodist Hall, CV1 2HA, starting at 7.30pm where we will be discussing how we can step up the fight for socialist policies following the election. Come along and join the discussion and get involved!


Organise to fight for Corbyn’s policies!

Theresa May’s failed election gamble is a nightmare for the capitalist class in Britain. Seven weeks ago most of Britain’s elite were hopeful that May would succeed in dramatically increasing the number of Tory MPs, thereby buttressing her government to be able to weather the storms of economic crisis, to carry out vicious austerity against the majority in society and to implement a Brexit in the interests of the 1%.

Instead she is now a ‘dead prime minister walking’, only able to temporarily cling to power by leaning on the reactionary, sectarian Democratic Unionist (DUP) MPs, describing them as her ‘friends’ on the steps of Downing Street.

The DUP, founded by Ian Paisley, are anti-abortion, anti-LGBT rights and deniers of climate change. However, it will not only be the Tories who are dirtied by this new ‘coalition of chaos’.

The DUP’s base is mainly among a section of the Northern Irish Protestant working class who are badly affected by Tory austerity.

It seems that the DUP have already demanded the dropping of May’s plans to abolish the winter fuel allowance for the majority of pensioners as a condition of co-operation.

Tories Out! There is no mandate for May

The Tories are split down the middle and now have a leader with no authority inside or outside the party.

She is only remaining in place because the Tories can find no other alternative for now, and fear falling apart if they attempt a leadership contest.

Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell have rightly called on May to resign and pledged to put their programme to parliament and challenge MPs to support it.

Now we need to build a movement for the implementation of their policies, whatever the parliamentary arithmetic.

The general election result was a complete vindication of Jeremy’s anti-austerity stance. On 18 April, the day the election was called, the Socialist Party declared that: “If Corbyn fights on a clear socialist programme – for a Brexit in the interests of the working and middle-class – he could win the general election.” At the time that was met with derision by many including the right wing of the Labour Party: who wrongly thought a general election would give them the opportunity to unseat Corbyn.

Let’s not forget that just last September arch-Blairite Peter Mandelson told the press that he ‘prayed every day for a snap general election’ as it would mean the end of Corbyn’s leadership.

Corbyn strengthened

Instead this general election has enormously strengthened Jeremy Corbyn’s position in the Labour Party and potentially in society.

Labour got over 40% of the vote compared to just over 30% in 2015, the biggest increase in the vote share for any party since the Attlee government in 1945.

This was against the background of a phenomenal increase in the popular vote of 3.5 million, from 9.3 million in 2015, to 12.8 million this time.

This was almost entirely accounted for by the streams of young people that flooded to the polls. The very opposite of apathetic young people participated in a mass electoral revolt to demand a future.

Some estimates suggest that as many as 72% of young people on the electoral register voted, compared to 43% in 2015.

Two thirds of them voted for Corbyn. The Liberal Democrat’s hope of winning young, middle class voters by claiming to be the ‘true remainers’ largely fell flat.

Instead Nick Clegg finally got his just deserts for increasing tuition fees in 2010. Corbyn’s programme of a £10 an hour minimum wage, abolition of tuition fees, rent controls, and council house building inspired young people to take a stand.

The resulting politicisation of young people will not be reversed, and lays the basis for the development of mass support for socialist ideas.

The support for Corbyn among young people was widespread among both the working and middle class; demonstrated by Labour’s victory in Canterbury, which didn’t elect a Tory for the first time since 1918.

This reflects the increasing radicalisation of middle class young people who, as a result of low pay and astronomical housing costs, are increasingly being pushed down into working class living conditions.

It is wrong and scandalous, however, as some in the capitalist media have done, to paint this election as ‘young versus old’. This is a conscious attempt to divide the working class which both generations should consciously attempt to overcome by standing in solidarity with each other, whether over tuition fees or winter fuel allowance.

Many older workers, disillusioned with Blair’s Labour, put a cross next to a Labour candidate for the first time in decades in order to support Jeremy Corbyn. In Wales, despite the Tories dreaming of gains at the start of the election, Labour made significant gains.

The figures are not yet fully clear, but the UKIP vote did not simply collapse into the Tories as May had hoped.

Among some who voted UKIP in 2015 (undoubtedly including some ex-Labour voters) May’s false posturing as being ‘tough on Brexit’ meant that they voted for her this time.

Had Jeremy Corbyn not made an early concession to the Blairites by reluctantly agreeing to campaign for ‘Remain’, and instead stuck to his own historic position (and that of the Socialist Party) of calling for exit from the EU bosses’ club, on an anti-racist, internationalist basis, May would never have been able to make the gains she did among working class voters.

Nonetheless, the position Jeremy adopted during the election campaign – of explaining he would fight for a Brexit in the interests of working class people – was able to win over a section of workers including some who had previously voted UKIP.

Even Nigel Farage had to admit that Corbyn had ‘pulled off’ winning the support of both young ‘remainers’ and working class UKIP voters.

The fundamental reason that Jeremy Corbyn started the election campaign so far behind was that the majority of the population had not heard what he stood for.

Of course, this was partly because of the inevitable hostility of the big-business media, but that was – if anything – stepped up in the course of the election campaign, yet support for him soared.

The difference was that, instead of staying quiet in a vain attempt to appease the Blairites, the Corbyn wing of the party took their programme to the country.

The right tacitly accepted this, hoping that Jeremy would then ‘own’ the defeat – instead he ‘owns’ the highest Labour vote since 1997.

This would have been even higher if Jeremy had earlier and more clearly stated he supported the right of self-determination for the people of Scotland, including a new independence referendum if they so wished.

As it was, increasing disillusionment with the SNP’s implementation of austerity in Scotland, meant that Corbyn was able to win increased votes in some working class Scottish heartlands, but it was far less than could have potentially been achieved.

At the same time the Tories made considerable gains in more affluent areas of Scotland, largely by mobilising a certain ‘anti-independence’ vote. (For more information see Socialist Party Scotland article: May Must Go! – Build mass struggle to drive out the Tories).

Trade union mobilisation needed

Jeremy Corbyn’s success now needs to be urgently built on. The trade union movement should call an immediate national ‘Tories Out’ demonstration against austerity – calling for the scrapping of the Tory attacks on the NHS and schools, and for the abolition of tuition fees.

Such a demonstration could be millions strong and the springboard for a 24 hour general strike. This in turn could force May to call a new general election.

At the same time Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour left should make a clear call for Labour councils to stop implementing Tory cuts.

In a short campaign very impressive numbers were convinced to vote for Corbyn despite their initial scepticism about whether he would implement his programme.

This scepticism is a result of the betrayals of New Labour in office, and the experience of Labour councils at local level that have presided over 40% cuts in services since 2010.

To consolidate the enthusiasm that was generated for Corbyn in the election it is necessary to now make clear that he opposes any more council cuts, and that this Tory government is too weak to force Labour councils to implement them.

This is particularly important in urban areas, where the surge to Corbyn was strongest, and where every council in England has elections next year.

Transform the Labour Party

“Big up Jezza for reviving so many ppls hope in politics. If Labour was united behind Corbyn this past year he coulda won this outright!” said Riz Ahmed of the hip-hop trio Swet Shop Boys (one of the many musicians who supported Corbyn) – stating what is obvious to many Corbyn supporters.

Jeremy has not only faced the relentless hostility and sabotage of the capitalist elite, but also from the Blairites – the representatives of capitalism inside the Labour Party.

In the immediate aftermath of this election they will not dare to try and launch another coup against him, but we can’t be fooled into thinking that they are reconciled to his leadership. Labour remains two parties in one.

For the capitalist class Jeremy Corbyn’s policies, and even more the hope they are creating for millions, are a real threat.

Therefore their representatives in the Labour Party will search for a new way to defeat Corbyn. Even in the week of the election right-wing Labour MP Joan Ryan openly attacked Corbyn and banned Labour canvassers from using leaflets which mentioned him! Now in the aftermath of the election Blairite Hilary Benn has poked his head above the parapet to mutter about how ‘Labour must learn from its third electoral defeat’.

Even those Blairites who temporarily make statements supportive of Jeremy cannot be trusted. They will do so in order to try and surround him and force him to retreat from his radical programme.

What else does the ultimate Blairite and would-be assassin of Corbyn, Peter Mandelson, mean when he talks about Corbyn needing to ‘show respect’ to all wings of the party? It was the rights attempts to gag Jeremy which were largely responsible for most people not knowing what he stood for before the election.

We cannot allow this to happen again. Instead a campaign needs to be immediately launched to transform the Labour Party into a genuinely anti-austerity, democratic party of workers and young people.

This requires the introduction of compulsory reselection of MPs. The next general election could be at any time and Labour must not face another election with the majority of its own candidates opposing Jeremy Corbyn.

This should be combined with the democratisation of the party, including restoring the rights of trade unions, and welcoming all genuine socialists in a democratic federation.

These measures could create a party which was genuinely able to bring together all the young people, socialists, workers and community campaigners who are inspired by Jeremy Corbyn into a powerful mass force.

Fight for Socialism

This general election campaign has introduced socialist ideas to a new generation. That is enormously positive.

It has also given a glimpse, however, of how far the capitalists would go to try and sabotage any attempts to introduce policies in the interests of the many not the few.

The hostility Jeremy Corbyn faces in opposition is only a pale shadow of how they would attempt to derail a Jeremy Corbyn led government.

To prevent this will pose the need for far-going socialist measures including nationalising the 100 or so major corporations and banks that dominate Britain’s economy, in order to be able to introduce a democratic socialist plan.

This would allow a socialist government to begin to manage the economy in a planned way under democratic workers’ control and management – that really would be “for the many, not the few.”

Join the fight for socialism! Fill in the form below and we will be in contact

 

Cameron resign now! Tories out!

Cameron resign now! tories out!

Take the wealth off the 1%

Get him out!

Get them out!

The following is the text of a Socialist Party leaflet that is currently being distributed across the country. It is clear that with the Panama Papers, the collapse of the steel industry, the EU referendum  and more, that the Tories are in deep crisis. We need to step up the fight to bring them down, and fight for a socialist society. Join us – click here!

Please share this article across social media!


Panama papers, steel crisis, junior doctors’ contract, austerity…

Cameron resign now!

Tories out!

Take the wealth off the 1%

The Tories were already hated before the Panama Papers revelations. That they are a party of the rich and for the rich is constantly confirmed and re-confirmed.

Their vicious austerity measures have brought misery to millions through the cuts to benefits, job cuts, public service cuts, student fee hikes, bedroom tax and more.

And the Tories want to continue to slash government expenditure to further their aim of reducing corporation tax for big business and income tax for the rich.

Watching the movement in Iceland that brought down the prime minister there has whetted our appetite to remove this hated government.

Following Cameron’s admission that he did benefit from his father’s tax haven hoards, the demand for him to resign has rung out. Of the first 5,000 people who voted in a Mirror online poll, 95% want Cameron to resign.

This is a weak divided government that can be defeated. The resignation by IDS gave us a glimpse of this. We need to build a powerful movement that can force the government to call a general election.

National action needed

Never were bold action and socialist ideas more needed. We are facing the fight of our lives. The Socialist Party calls on the anti-austerity forces around Jeremy Corbyn and within the trade union leaderships to organise and build for a massive national demo.

The trade unions have funded a national demo on Saturday 16 April. They should now turn this into the launch of a massive national campaign to demand the Tories Out!

A demo should be linked to coordinating strike action of all those workers with ongoing disputes as a step towards a 24-hour general strike.

The background is crisis-ridden capitalism, a system so unequal that the richest 1% of the world’s population own more wealth than all the rest of us combined. War, poverty, unemployment and austerity blight the lives of billions.

Socialist alternative

Increasing numbers of people are searching for an alternative. A YouGov poll revealed that more people in Britain have a favourable view of socialism than of capitalism. 47% of people surveyed in the US said they would be willing to vote for a socialist for president.

Socialist societies would be able, through planning the use of the world’s enormous wealth and resources, to provide decent jobs, homes and services for everyone.

The Socialist Party fights for:

  • Tax the rich! Reverse the job cuts at HM Revenue and Customs – Close tax loopholes and enforce collection of avoided taxes. Increase taxes on the super-rich and big business
  • End all cuts and austerity
  • Nationalise the banks and the major corporations under democratic workers’ control and management – with compensation only on the basis of proven need
  • For democratic public ownership of our NHS, steel, railways, public services, utilities and banks
  • Through public ownership of the commanding heights of the economy, together we can build a democratic socialist society run in the interests of the millions not the billionaires

Click here to read the full leaflet

Fill in the form below to join the struggle