Coventry shows solidarity with the Syrian people

Coventry shows solidarity with the Syrian people

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In Broadgate to show solidarity

A protest was held in Coventry today to stand in solidarity with the people of Eastern Ghouta, Syria – where in the last few days alone 500 have been killed by bombing with many more injured.

At short notice around 65 people assembled in Broadgate, many originally from Syria.  Speakers spoke passionately about the situation facing people – with millions displaced from their homes, families separated and lives shattered.

It was pointed out by speakers that the so called international community have abandoned the people of Syria – the various governments, whether that be the UK, US or Russia are busy vying for influence alongside their regional client states and organisations, all at the expense of ordinary people in the region.

As we wrote

“We need to build mass movements of ordinary people both here in the UK, and across the Middle East. These need to provide solidarity to those affected whilst at the same time being armed with a socialist programme for revolutionary change that can cut across national, religious and ethnic divides, to build a society that puts an end to the chaos of capitalism and imperialism”

Members of the Socialist Party attended the protest to show our solidarity, and also distribute our leaflet outlining where we stand. You can download this by clicking here.

You can see more pictures of the protest by visiting the Coventry Socialists Facebook page.

If you are interested in finding our more, please fill in the form below!

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16 years on from the 9/11 attacks in the United States

16 years on from the 9/11 attacks in the United States

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It is now 16 years on from the deadly attacks in the US that killed thousands of people. We are reproducing this Socialist Party statement that was issued on 12 September 2001, the day after what took place.

There is no doubt that the increased US/UK interventions in the Middle East have not made the world a safer place for working class people, neither in the region, in Britain or elsewhere. In fact the opposite is true. We are still faced with the choice – Socialism or Barbarism. Capitalism does not offer a decent future for the majority of the world’s population. It is time for socialist change.

After the carnage in the USA: World Crisis Deepens

Socialist Party statement, 12 September 2001

THE KILLING of thousands of innocent civilians in New York, Washington and elsewhere in the US has caused horror and revulsion among ordinary working people worldwide.

The suicide tactics of the attackers are condemned and opposed by socialists. Such tactics can never advance the struggles of oppressed nationalities or working-class people anywhere across the globe. In fact the immediate results of such action could be to weaken working-class solidarity as governments in the West whip up the mood for revenge on those who are blamed for carrying out the attacks.

Inevitably, as on 11 September, it will be the workers, the oppressed and dispossessed who pay the price for what the US leaders and commentators describe as an ‘act of war’.

Whilst no group has claimed responsibility as The Socialist goes to press, and Osama bin-Laden is rumoured to have denied involvement, the US government is certainly preparing to revenge these horrific attacks. With leading politicians correctly pointing out that this is a more devastating attack on US imperialism than Pearl Harbour, a US government (particularly one led by Bush) will inevitably have to be seen to do something in the face of such an assault.

Attacks

The attacks will be seen as huge turning point for world capitalism and will have immense consequences for the world politically and economically, apart from the devastating effect it will have on the lives of tens of thousands of people in the USA and indeed worldwide.

As we go to press share prices have plummeted and the price of oil and gold have increased dramatically – a recognition of the scale of the crisis that international capitalism feels it is facing.

Following Tuesday’s horrendous events there will certainly be an escalation of the Middle East crisis, which is likely to see the US and other imperialist powers more directly involved and could lead to all-out conflict in the region. Unfortunately, it is likely to result in further assassinations and reprisals against the whole Palestinian population on behalf of the imperialist powers.

Israeli premier Ariel Sharon has indicated that he sees this as a green light to intensify action against the Palestinian masses and he will draw on US support – either directly or indirectly – to carry out wider repression in the region.

Inevitably in the immediate aftermath, large sections of US workers will temporarily acquiesce in whatever actions the previously unpopular, reactionary President Bush takes.

Pandemonium

And the pandemonium following the scenes of carnage engulfing New York and Washington after Tuesday’s suicide attacks have led to a wider panic about the implications of the strikes.

Immediately following the aircraft crashes into the World Trade Centre and Pentagon – potent symbols of world capitalism’s financial and military might – share prices, which had been falling dramatically in previous days, fell further. The price of oil rose by $2-$3 a barrel reflecting anxieties about increased instability in the Middle East – the likely source of the ‘terrorist’ attack.

The air strikes led to an immediate state of national and international crisis, which will provoke further questioning of the authority of capitalism’s rulers. Government and financial services were paralysed in the USA and stock markets in other advanced capitalist countries dropped dramatically or were suspended following the attacks. Even if capitalism manages to stabilise matters in the short term the medium and long-term effect will be to deepen the underlying economic crisis.

Imperialism’s “revenge”

No doubt Bush and Western imperialism will step up their drive against Islamic ‘terrorism’ in retribution. The co-ordinated ‘assault on America’ will lead to co-ordinated US state action to hunt down and get ‘revenge’ against Islamic groups, regardless of whether they were involved or not.

It is also possible that a witch-hunting atmosphere could develop in the United States and elsewhere against Arabs, Muslims or others suspected of associations with terrorist states or groups.

This could also be used against any radical groups that challenge the capitalist system.

It is also conceivable that governments will use these attacks to ban anti-globalisation protests or restrict demonstrations against their capitalist system. It is very likely that the anti-globalisation protest in Washington at the end of this month will either not go ahead or be banned.

Blair found the bombings a convenient way of avoiding criticism of his privatisation plans at the TUC and has immediately used the opportunity to step up security. Whilst many workers will initially accept such measures – as was the case in Britain in the early 1970s with the adoption of the Prevention of Terrorism Act after events in Northern Ireland and Britain – such measures do not stop the threat of such attacks and have been used against those on the Left and the labour movement generally.

Bush and Blair

Imperialist politicians like Bush and Blair, however, bear a huge responsibility for the policies which have led to global instability and now bring terror onto the streets of the USA. These imperialist powers have pursued policies which have led to the deaths of thousands in the Middle East and throughout the globe.

President George W Bush’s father, the other President Bush, was the world leader who used a war in the Gulf to assert his ‘New World Order’. That new order ushered in the era of globalisation, which has impoverished and alienated billions.

US imperialism’s dominance of the globe has brought increased instability, tension and turmoil to every corner of the planet. Combined with the absence of a mass movement of the working classes and oppressed, this has led some to pursue extreme and futile methods, such as the suicide tactics which led to the carnage in New York and Washington.

Imperialism’s policies have antagonised millions around the world. US Secretary of State Colin Powell had said in May this year:

“Terrorism is part of the dark side of globalisation. However, sadly, it is part of doing business in the world – business we as Americans are not going to stop doing.”

Oppressed People

US and Western leaders talk sanctimoniously about acts of ‘evil’ terrorism but gloss over their own acts of terrorism – military, politically and economically – against oppressed people around the world.

The attacks show that despite all the armoury of the world’s only superpower they are powerless and unable to protect their own citizens in the face of determined suicide attacks. The inability of the imperialist powers to find a settlement to the crisis in the Middle East, combined with the incapacity of the Palestinian leaders to offer a way forward for the Palestinian struggle, has led to increasing use of suicide attacks as a tactic.

Whilst the suicide bombings have struck terror into the heart of Israel and America, they are not capable of bringing forth a successful resolution of the Palestinian conflict. Nor will they deter US and other world leaders from continuing with their policies of state terror and economic exploitation.

Among the lessons that workers internationally will draw from these terrible events is that the imperialists, like Bush and Blair, cannot offer any resolution to the world’s conflicts. But neither can the tactics of the fundamentalist terrorist groups offer a way forward to the long-suffering peoples of the Middle East.

Workers

Furthermore, as well as adding to the panic on the already jittery world capitalist markets the events will confirm to large numbers of workers worldwide the instability of the global capitalist system.

At some stage these events could be a further trigger to exacerbate the economic woes of world capitalism.

Capitalism, at its most naked is a system of conflict, civil wars, wars, poverty, starvation and insecurity for the mass of people on this planet. It is the oppressed people of the world – whether workers in America or Palestinian youth – who pay the price of capitalism’s inability to resolve the crises their system creates.

It is the oppressed people of the world who can provide a solution to this era of global crisis by uniting to end the rule of the capitalist system and establish a socialist world where the horrors and insecurity of imperialism’s so-called New World Order are abolished once and for all.

 

Nakba Day – solidarity with Palestinian hunger strike

Palestinian hunger strikes

Demonstration in support of Palestinian prisoners, East Jerusalem. Photo from Activestills

Today, 15th May, is known as Nakba Day. The Nakba, or catastrophe, refers to the forced displacement and exile of the Palestinian people in 1948 from their land following the creation of the state of Israel.  We are pleased to carry the article below written by a member of the Socialist Struggle Movement, the sister organisation of the Socialist Party in Israel-Palestine regarding the hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners taking place currently. We would also direct readers to a previous post on this site which has further background information.


Palestinian prisoners on mass hunger strike protest

By Shahar Ben-Horin, Socialist Struggle Movement (Israel-Palestine)

The “Strike of Freedom and Honour” is the name given to a mass hunger strike of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, which started indefinitely on the Palestinian Prisoner Day, 17 April. The prisoners are demanding the ending of discrimination on national grounds in prison and arbitrary detention without charge or trial (‘administrative arrests’). Among other things, the prisoners protest against medical neglect, incarceration in isolation, violation of rights to visits, prohibition of telephone calls and denial of the right to academic studies.

Every week sees dozens of military raids on homes of residents throughout the West Bank. Residents are removed from their beds in the middle of the night as a matter of routine. According to Israeli Prison Service (IPS) figures, at the end of April more than 6,100 Palestinian prisoners classified as ‘security prisoners’, including nearly 500 administrative detainees, were held in Israeli jails. Three hundred of the prisoners are minors, according to the Palestinian prisoners’ rights association A-Dameer (‘The Conscience’). Aside from the Security Prisoners held by IPS, further hundreds of Palestinians are held after being criminalised by the occupation authorities as ‘illegal stayers’, usually after seeking work in Israel, and a further dozens of Palestinians are held in facilities of the military and police before being transferred to the hands of the IPS.

In a special statement issued prior to Prisoner’s Day on behalf of the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners Affairs, the Palestinian Prisoners Association and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, it was noted that since 1948, about a million Palestinians have been incarcerated in Israeli detention facilities. Since October 2015, at the beginning of the  ‘eruption’ of protest and escalation in violence, some 10,000 Palestinians have been arrested by Israel, about a third of them teenagers under 18.

Discrimination in incarceration conditions

Israeli regime propaganda, generously assisted by enlisted media, seeks to systematically mark all Palestinian ‘security prisoners’ as murderers. Even if this was true, and it is not, criminal murderers get definitely better incarceration conditions. However, the sweeping incitement is intended to silence public criticism and torpedo discussion on the reality of the occupation. Many of the prisoners were imprisoned for the sole fact of their involvement in a political struggle against the occupation and the national oppression of the Palestinians.

In this context, the State of Israel does not differentiate between those who were imprisoned after taking part in demonstrations or military activity against the military occupation forces in the territories of 1967, and those convicted of killing innocent civilians out of motives connected with the national conflict. In any case, the Palestinian ‘security prisoners’, whether Israeli citizens or residents of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are sweepingly discriminated against in legal procedures and conditions of imprisonment.

Ami Popper, a Jewish ‘security prisoner’, who slaughtered seven Palestinian workers on nationalist grounds, is entitled to holidays from prison, regular phone calls with relatives and even a place of work outside the prison. However, Palestinian ‘security prisoners’ are not entitled to any of these. Since 2011, they have been deprived of the right to study at the Open University, because they are not Jewish, and that is following a cynical measure of collective punishment that was implemented with the pretext of serving as a means of exerting pressure on Hamas to release the Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit. The policy remained in place even after the prisoner exchange deal that was eventually conducted in the same year.

The prisoners’ main demand is for public telephones to be installed in their prison wings so that they can talk to their relatives. Not only does such an arrangement exist in the criminal wings, but also the most famous Jewish security prisoner, Yigal Amir (who assassinated Israeli prime minister Rabin in 1995), is allowed to talk to his family by telephone. Palestinians are forbidden from doing so. The prisoners are dependent on the smuggling of mobile phones. For allegedly assisting in such smuggling, former Palestinian MK (member of the Israeli parliament, Knesset) Bassel Ghattas (National Democratic Alliance party) was sentenced earlier this year to two years in prison.

Hunger strikes threaten Establishment

During half a century of occupation in the territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, Palestinian prisoners succeeded in improving their conditions of imprisonment through collective and individual hunger strikes, and obtained recognition by the prison authorities of their elected representatives. The current action is the largest hunger strike since 2012, when about 1,500 prisoners went on hunger strike for nearly a month and achieved some improvement in conditions, including partial renewal of family visits from the Gaza Strip. A series of hunger strikes by administrative detainees managed to bring about the release of detainees without an indictment, which only proved the claim that they were arbitrarily detained and refuted the claim of their alleged danger.

In 2014, an extended hunger strike, which at its height involved around 250 administrative detainees, was isolated and eventually collapsed against the background of the military offensive in the West Bank (operation Shuvu Ahim – ‘Come Back Brothers’) and the mass arrests that accompanied it. But the Israeli establishment continues to view hunger strikes among Palestinian prisoners as a threat. In addition to international criticism of Israel, the hunger strikes could ignite military confrontations – Hamas’ military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, has already threatened to take action if the demands of the prisoners are not met – and much more significantly also mass protests on the ground, the more so as the lives of the prisoners and strike leaders become endangered.

The forced-feeding law approved by the Knesset in 2015 is designed to help the state to subdue hunger strikes by restoring the practice of de-facto torture conducted in Israel in the past, and which ironically has led to the only deaths of hunger strikers, so far.

The Israeli Medical Association (doctors’ trade union), as part of the policy of the World Medical Association, issued a vocal criticism against the law and ordered doctors not to cooperate with it. Doctors in hospitals in Ashkelon and Beersheba, for example, refused in 2015 to forcibly feed administrative detainee Muhammad ‘Allan, and last year, doctors in a hospital in `Afula refused to forcibly feed the journalist Muhammad al-Qiq, who was also held as an administrative detainee. The lack of collaborationist doctors who would agree to break the hunger strike has now led Netanyahu’s officials to consider flying doctors from abroad to do so. In the meantime, the Health Ministry is briefing hospital managers to prepare for the possibility of forced feeding, and at the same time, IPS, MDA (emergency medical service) and the military are preparing to set up designated clinics in the prisons.

The IPS claims that the number of hunger strikers has dropped to 850 within the first two weeks of the strike, but prisoners’ rights organisations estimate that the number actually climbed to 1,500. In any case, the prison authorities do not hide their concern that the strike will expand, especially if the movement of solidarity with it accelerates. So far, most of the hunger strikers are identified with Fatah. About 3,000 prisoners support Fatah, and despite political divisions between them, there is a possibility that many of them will be convinced to join the protest later on. Additionally, hundreds more prisoners identified with Hamas and PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) are taking part, and the hunger strike may expand among the supporters of these political movements, as well. On 4 May, a number of prisoners who had served as senior commanders in the Hamas militia joined in, and additionally the secretary-general of the PFLP, Ahmad Sa`adat, joined the hunger strike, as well.

“Israel transformed basic rights into privileges”

The most prominent leader of the current strike is Marwan Barghouti, one of 13 Palestinian MPs (members of the Palestinian Legislative Council) imprisoned by Israel, and considered the most popular Palestinian leader today, who is sometimes called the ‘Palestinian Nelson Mandela’. In all the polls, he consistently appears to be the candidate who can draw the most support if in the future he runs – as he plans – for the presidency of the Palestinian Authority.

In an article he succeeded in getting to the New York Times at the start of the strike, Barghouti wrote that the State of Israel has “turned basic rights that should be guaranteed under international law — including some painfully secured through previous hunger strikes — into privileges its prison service decides to grant us or deprive us of.” He added that “Israel has established a dual legal regime, a form of judicial apartheid that provides virtual impunity for Israelis who commit crimes against Palestinians, while criminalising Palestinian presence and resistance. Israel’s courts are a charade of justice, clearly instruments of colonial, military occupation”. He concluded, “Only ending occupation will end this injustice and mark the birth of peace”.

Barghouti, who was one of the leaders of the militias affiliated with Fatah – the Tanzim and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades – survived an assassination attempt in 2001 (“targeted prevention”) by the Israeli military. He was arrested during a military raid on Ramallah the following year and convicted in a civil court for responsibility for approving terrorist actions against civilians on both sides of the Green Line, in which five people were murdered. Barghouti denied the allegations, gave up legal defence as a protest against the trial and claimed he was opposed to harming innocent people.

It should be emphasised that the socialist left opposes the use of terrorist methods in struggles. As opposed to the propaganda of the Israeli establishment, not every person who wages an armed struggle against the occupation is a terrorist. The militias of Fatah, for example, have conducted military actions against the military occupation. Nevertheless, they did not refrain over the years from killing civilians – which has, in fact, not harmed at all the occupation regime and even played into its hands politically, with more brutal attacks being carried out against Palestinian civilians. It is reasonable to assume that as one of the militia commanders, Barghouti has also been responsible for the killing of civilians. But what about former Israeli Prime Minister Menahem Begin, who as the commander of the Irgun, was directly responsible, among other things, for the massive terrorist attack on the King David Hotel in 1946, in which 91 Britons, Arabs and Jews were killed? And is not present Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu responsible for issuing instructions for actions, such as the bombing of highly populated areas in the Gaza Strip, in which many Palestinian civilians died? In the war in 2014 alone, the number of Palestinians killed was twice that of Israelis killed in all the years of the second intifada.

Barghouti’s popularity is a cause for concern for the Israeli establishment. While Palestinian Authority President Abbas hastened to lavish praise on Trump and met with him on 3 May, and continues to work to maintain full arrangements with the occupation regime, Barghouti corresponds with the public rage against the Palestinian president who is reaching the end of his road. As he explained in an article he leaked to the Palestinian daily al-Quds last year, Barghouti attacks Abbas’s authoritarian rule, explains that the negotiations with Israel and the Palestinian Authority’s diplomatic campaign on the international level have failed, and demands that the PA ends the “security coordination”.  In recent years he has called for a new popular intifada. His challenge to Abbas’ leadership is also the reason why, despite coming first in the election in December to the Fatah Central Committee, Abbas refused to appoint him to the position of deputy chairman of the Fatah movement. Abbas has paid lip service in support of the hunger strike, but has no interest in it. He does not want Barghouti to profit politically from the hunger strike or the development of a popular protest movement around it – at the time when he puts his trust in Trump and wants to show he has control on the ground in the Palestinian Authority enclaves.

Barghouti was sent to solitary confinement at the start of the strike. The IPS, using secret video camera surveillance, claims that Barghouti ate on two occasions since the beginning of the hunger strike. In 2004, during another hunger strike involving around 2,200 prisoners, in which Barghouti was amongst the leaders, the IPS also claimed Barghouti was secretly filmed eating a meal in solitary confinement. These claims are angrily denied by Palestinian prisoners’ campaigners, who say the IPS are deliberately spreading black propaganda by using old video footage that was made when there was no prisoners’ hunger strike and that the face of the man eating food in the latest footage is obscured.

If Barghouti is evacuated for medical treatment or forced feeding, or if his life becomes in danger, an escalation in the solidarity protests outside the prisons can be expected. It is not inconceivable that if one of the hunger strikers – and certainly one of the leaders of the hunger strike – pays with his life over the next few weeks, it will ignite a mass protest similar to the response to the deaths of hunger strikers in Northern Ireland in 1981, led by republican prisoner, Bobby Sands, who was elected to Westminster during his protest. Already, now, the hunger strike serves as a mobilising and uniting factor for significant layers among the Palestinian public, on both sides of the Green Line.

Solidarity protests

Many thousands took part in protest marches held on Prisoner Day throughout the West Bank, particularly in Ramallah, Hebron and Bethlehem. In towns and villages, solidarity protest tents were set up in solidarity with the hunger strike. On 27 April, a protest shut-down of public services and small businesses was held in the Palestinian Authority territories and in East Jerusalem. On the following day there were demonstrations and confrontations with the military and the Border Police in at least 15 locations in the West Bank as part of a ‘Day of Rage’ called for by the Fatah.

The protests in the West Bank are facing military repression, which could worsen later. During the first two weeks of the hunger strike, the highest number of Palestinians injured by Israeli forces in the West Bank was recorded since the beginning of 2017, with 191 injured, including 45 minors (OCHA figures). The vast majority of them were injured during solidarity protests with the hunger strike, and about a tenth were injured from live bullets.

Within the Green Line, as well, a number of protest vigils were organised locally and a solidarity tent was set up in Umm al-Fahm. Solidarity demonstrations have been held in several countries around the world, and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), of which the Histadrut (Israeli trade union organisation) is affiliated, published a solidarity statement.

As usual, the Israeli government and the tops of IPS declare that they allegedly are not moved by the protests and have no intention to negotiate with the prisoners. In a number of cases in recent years, the state, under the Netanyahu governments, was prepared to bring hunger striking prisoners to the brink of death before reaching an agreement. In the meantime, the IPS is working to punish the prisoners by psychological pressure, isolation, transfers between prisons, confiscation of clothing and personal equipment, and even the confiscation of salt used by the hunger strikers to improve their physical condition during the strike.

According to reports, negotiations between the prisoners and the IPS, nevertheless, took place during the weeks leading up to the strike, and if the strike intensifies, they will probably be renewed. It is possible that the Netanyahu government may be willing to try to push the line a bit further this time to demonstrate toughness against the demands of the prisoners, but they are playing with fire and may lose control over developments.

More protest actions, of Palestinians and Israelis, to support the hunger strike, represent a potential threat to Netanyahu’s fanatical right-wing government. Israeli demonstrators must stand alongside Palestinian demonstrators. And the Israel Medical Association is, on this issue, an example to other trade unions: it is necessary to rebel against draconian legislation and attacks by the right-wing government. The protests against forced feeding, discrimination in incarceration conditions and administrative detentions should help to build a stronger movement against the occupation and perpetuation of the national conflict, against the war on workers and poor, and for peace, equality and a socialist change.

Socialist Struggle Movement says:

  • Support solidarity protests with the prisoners’ hunger strike. The Histadrut should back the solidarity statement of the ITUC, of which it is a member.
  • No to torture of hunger strikers – no to forced-feeding! Repeal the Forced-Feeding Law. Workers’ organisations should back the Israeli Medical Association’s opposition to force feeding.
  • End discrimination on the basis of nationality in conditions of imprisonment! Yes to supporting the basic demands of the prisoners to improve their conditions, including the right to telephone calls.
  • End administrative detention! End arbitrary arrests and incarceration without trial. Protect the right of every prisoner to know the charges against him/her, to be represented by a lawyer and to have a fair trial.
  • Get the military out of the territories! Abolish the military courts in the West Bank and end the occupation of the Palestinian territories and the settlements.
  • Release all Palestinian political prisoners. Conduct fair trials, through a designated procedure, under the supervision of workers’ and independent human rights organisations, from both sides of the conflict, for Israelis and Palestinians suspected of responsibility for atrocities related to the conflict.
  • For an independent, democratic and socialist Palestinian state alongside a democratic and socialist Israel, as part of the struggle for a socialist Middle East and regional peace.

If you agree with us, want more information or want to discuss the situation in Israel-Palestine please fill in the form below

Coventry commemorates Nakba

Coventry commemorates Nakba 

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Flash mob organised by Coventry Friends of Palestine

Saturday afternoon saw  Coventry people come together to take part in a flash mob organised by Coventry Friends of Palestine, to commemorate the Nakba. The Nakba, or catastrophe, refers to the forced displacement and exile of the Palestinian people from their land following the creation of the state of Israel.

The event was part of week of action taking place across the UK and further afield, starting on Saturday 7th May and culminating on 15th May, the day on which the Palestinians officially commemorate.

Speakers included Andy Pettit from Stop the War Coalition, anti arms trade campaigner Paul McGowan, and Manal Timraz.

Members of Coventry Socialist Party supported this event, carrying the red banner of our international organisation, the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) and holding placards in English, Arabic and Hebrew of the Socialist Struggle Movement, our sister organisation in Israel-Palestine. We also distributed our Israel Palestine Bulletin which details the work of the CWI in the region.

With speeches, brilliant music and leaflets being distributed, the event made sure that the ongoing struggle of the Palestinian people does not go unrecognised. The establishment media and political parties are silent on this issue – therefore it falls to ordinary people across the world to build a movement in solidarity with the oppressed of the Middle East.

Coventry has a proud history of solidarity with the Palestinians, with big demonstrations organised against the attacks on Gaza, and ongoing events and actions to deepen that solidarity.

With the increase in settlement building in the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza by the governments of Israel and Egypt, that solidarity will become even more vital and necessary. Coventry Socialist Party looks forward to continuing the solidarity and putting forward a programme and policies that we think can end the cycle of violence in the Middle East.

We are pleased to share this document from Socialist Struggle in Israel-Palestine that looks at the current situation, and also at our online resources page on this website

If you are interested in getting in touch and finding out more, please fill in the form below

Report from a Coventry Socialist on International Women’s Day protest in Israel-Palestine

Report from a Coventry Socialist on International Women’s Day protest in Israel – Palestine

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Protest in Tel Aviv

On a recent visit to Israel a member of Coventry Socialist Party attended a protest linked to International Women’s Day initiated by Socialist Struggle, part of the Committee for a Workers’ International and the Socialist Party’s sister organisation in Israel – Palestine.  Socialist Struggle then proceeded to support a protest organised to demand bilingual education in Jaffa.

Below is a report with pictures

Demonstrations in Tel Aviv and Haifa

Last week saw protests organised in the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa by members of Socialist Struggle (Maavak Sozialisti / Nidal Eshteraki), to fight against sexism and the oppression of women under capitalist society. The protests, which took place during the same week as International Women’s Day, drew attention to the link between the current system , the situation for women and why socialist change is needed across the world.

In Tel Aviv the vibrant and lively protest saw hundreds of leaflets distributed outlining the Socialist viewpoint, with copies of The Maavak, the newspaper of Socialist Struggle being sold.

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The newspaper ‘Maavak’ and leaflet against sexism and oppression

The poor situation facing women was highlighted – from the fact that since 2011 over 100 women have been murdered in Israel, mostly by their partners,  that there are around 200,000 victims of domestic violence, street harassment and that women receive less pay amongst many other issues.

Struggle together

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Marching through the streets

A speaker for Socialist Struggle won applause by calling for solidarity with the strike of Palestinian teachers in the West Bank which was taking place at the time.

The leaflet pointed out that Palestinian women in the Occupied Territories are the main victims of the collective punishment measures such as house demolitions and the closure and denial of access to social services, health care and so on, whilst the call by government ministers for Jewish citizens to carry guns only increases the risk of Jewish and Arab women, including from violence by family members.

Furthermore that there needs to be a joint struggle of women and men, Israeli and Palestinian for social justice and peace, an end to the policy of ‘conflict management’ and an end to the occupation and settlements which promises only more rounds of bloodshed.

Fight the system

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Fighting for Socialism

A key aspect of the protest was to point out that

‘Sexism and discrimination against women are nurtured and emboldened by poverty, privatisation, unemployment, wars and environment destruction – these are not an act of fate, but the result of the capitalist system being waged for the sake of profit and not the needs of the majority. International Women’s Day shows a long tradition of working class women’s struggle against discrimination and against capitalist exploitation.’

Demanding bilingual education in Jaffa

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Fighting for bilingual education

After completing the protest against oppression of women, members of Socialist Struggle joined a rally in a main square in Tel Aviv outside the national theatre where hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians met to demand bilingual and integrated education in Jaffa.  In 2014 after the Gaza war far right activists incited by the racist propaganda of the Israeli government executed an arson attack on the bi-lingual school in Jerusalem. The attackers were arrested and identified themselves as activists of the fascist group LAHAVA that receives funding from the state which led to a series of protest on this issue in Jerusalem.

Read more about this protest from 972 magazine here

Socialist Struggle take part in joint Israeli-Palestinian Women’s Day demonstration

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No to the Occupation

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Members of Socialist Struggle also took part in a joint Israeli-Palestinian Women’s day demonstration on 4th March.  This took place next to an Israeli army check point south of the Palestinian village of Beit Jala in the Occupied West Bank as part of a series of monthly protests against the Occupation.

For more information and to find out more about the struggle for Socialism, please fill in the form below. Indicate if you would like to receive a bulletin produced by Coventry Socialist Party on Israel-Palestine

 

7 years ago today – Dave Nellist and Coventry Socialists join 5,000 strong protest against attacks on the people of Gaza

7 years ago today – Dave Nellist and Coventry Socialists join 5,000 strong protest against attacks on the people of Gaza

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Mass protest in Birmingham

17th January in 2009 saw around 5,000 people protest in Birmingham against a war that claimed many lives.

An editorial statement from The Socialist newspaper explained

`One thousand two hundred and fifty confirmed dead, with the numbers still rising as bodies are dug out of the rubble. Around one third of the dead are children. More than 4,000 homes destroyed and over 17,000 damaged, as well as 25 schools and hospitals lying in ruins. Half a million people without water. More than 5,000 injured, many having lost limbs or suffering from severe burns as a result of phosphorus bombs. This is what the Israeli government calls ‘achieving its aims’.

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Dave Nellist addresses the protest. Salma Yaqoob chaired the rally

Members of Coventry Socialist Party joined the huge protest in Birmingham, with Dave Nellist addressing the rally in Victoria Square. Dave received huge cheers from the crowd calling for an end to the siege of Gaza, the breaking of the blockade and an end to the Israeli occupation.

7 years on and the oppression of the Palestinians continues with capitalism offering no prospect of peace and security for ordinary people across the Middle East.

Recent escalations show that the current system offers no way forward in the Middle East for the poor and oppressed, and why we need to fight for socialism.

For recent analysis of the current situation from the members of Socialist Struggle in Israel-Palestine please click here

To read our resources section on the situation click here

If you would like to discuss the work of Socialists in the Middle East, or would like to be emailed a recent bulletin produced by Coventry Socialist Party detailing the work of Socialist Struggle and the programme they are putting forward,  send your details to coventrysocialistparty@gmail.com or here

 

 

Horror in Paris – We will not be intimidated!

Horror in Paris –  We will not be intimidated!

France

We carry below a statement from the Revolutionary Left (Gauche Révolutionnaire), the French sister organisation of the Socialist Party. Coventry Socialist Party sends its solidarity to all victims, and we pledge to redouble our efforts to fight for a socialist world,  a world free from war and terror. We urge all readers to join us in this task


Statement from the Revolutionary Left

Sickening violence has struck Paris once more. Over 120 dead and dozens of injured in places where workers and young people gather at the end of the week (Stade de France, Bataclan music venue, various bars in the 10th and 11th districts). These barbarians had their minds set on indiscriminate mass murder, striking innocent people once again. These were working class districts of Paris, with their diverse populations, which sufferedin this tragedy.

Nothing can justify these mindless attacks which took place on the same Friday in Paris, Bagdad and Nigeria, nor the attacks on a Beirut market on 12th November, nor in Ankara on 10th October, nor in Tunisia. We grieve today for our brothers and sisters, workers, young people, jobless, single parents, pensioners, irrespective of their background or heritage.

Cowardice exemplified

We condemn these attacks and the blind cowardice behind them. To execute defenceless people in cold blood reveals a far right ideology, whatever the supposedly religious or other excuses offered. Incapable of winning support among any section of the population, and certainly not among Muslims, the terrorists of ISIS, who have claimed responsibility for these attacks, use methods which are exactly the same as fascist groups, state dictatorships, and armies of occupation. Terror is a political weapon which aims at preventing workers from uniting, at imposing passivity through fear, at strengthening racism : we will not be intimidated, we will not be divided.

Unity of workers and youth against racism and barbarism

ISIS’ reliance on indiscriminate terror reveals the true nature of this organisation, which is nothing more than a gang of looters and traffickers. ISIS is merely the product of the chaos into which Iraq has been plunged following the destructive wars waged by European governments and in its methods it replicates the indiscriminate bombing raids on Syria and Iraq under cover of the ‘war on terror’.

In striking indiscriminately at working class districts of Paris ISIS plays an arch-reactionary role since it will be Muslims who may end up paying a high price through a renewed wave of Islamophobia, intolerance and racism. Moreover everything will be put in place to justify repression of action by workers and young people, starting with the imposition of a ‘state of emergency’ under which trade union demonstrations can be banned.

Not our war

Politicians, from the Front National to the PS (Socialist Party), are all united in their talk of ‘war’. A war they created and for which the people are paying the price today. But this is not our war. This government of ours continues to support the regime of the President of Turkey Erdogan. This is the same Erdogan who has for years been aiding ISIS, by allowing the terrorists and their contraband to cross the frontier, while keeping it firmly closed to the people of Kobane, a Kurdish town in the north of Syria which resisted and defeated ISIS last January. This same Erdogan bombs towns in Turkish Kurdistan, yet it is the Kurds who have just freed the Iraqi town of Sinjar from ISIS occupation.

It is the governments of Europe who sustain the regimes in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and sell arms to them, at the same time as these countries support ISIS and engage in mass killings in Yemen.

No to the religious or political far right

The position of the Hollande government, with the support of the FN and the Republicans, is to block any mass solidarity movement. The consequence of the ‘state of emergency’ will be to prevent any solidarity demonstrations such as those which took place in January after the attacks on Charlie Hebdo. Similarly, various current disputes, such as the strikes against redundancies in Paris hospitals or at Air France will certainly be banned. The state of emergency provides for ’the banning in general or in particular cases of meetings likely to be provocative or lead to public disorder’ and ‘enables those same public authorities to take any measures necessary to ensure the control of the press and all publications’. We must not accept these limitations on our rights and our activities since only the capitalists – the bosses of large corporations, share-holders – and the politicians who act in their interests will benefit, without creating any obstacle for terrorist groups.

It’s essential that the organisations of the workers’ movement, trade unions, parties, campaign groups, unite and declare their opposition to war and to the murderous policies of capitalism and its wars for oil and profits.

The genuine poverty in which whole sections of the population are plunged can only lead to despair and confusion which plays into the hands of the reactionaries and those who would divide us. The policies pursued in the Middle East and Africa can only promote further chaos. The consequences will be terrible for ordinary workers who will pay the price while politicians use the situation to provide further justification for their wars. In those countries terrorist groups, whose only motivation is pillage and contraband, reap generalised despair and use it to send out suicide bombers while the leaders live in palaces. More war will only bring more terrorism !

How much longer are we going to pay for a system which wages military, economic and social war a majority of the population of the planet to create profits for a handful who are safe and comfortable ?

And we are expected to suffer the worst terror, death, mistrust and fear. Enough ! We won’t let the racists, the far right like the FN and reactionaries win !

We will not be intimidated and divided, we will continue to fight for a tolerant and co-operative society, freed from capitalism and exploitation, for a democratic socialist society.

This will be a massive struggle with workers and youth united, whatever their nationality, skin colour, religion or none, a struggle for a decent life for all to take society forward and eliminate the filth of economic and social poverty in which religious and political reaction can thrive.

We are saddened and pained by the destruction of so many innocent lives. But we draw from these events all the more anger and determination to tolerate this inhuman system and the chaos it creates no longer.