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!

Trump orders missile strikes on Syria

Trump orders missile strikes on Syria

Ordinary people across the world have watched the events in Syria unfold with horror, particularly the recent escalation of chemical weapons used against civilians and the response of missile strikes from Trump’s US. We are republishing the below article by Niall Mulholland of the Committee for a Workers’ International on the ongoing situation. 

US President Donald Trump’s decision to launch missile attacks against the Shayrat air base, in Syria, ratcheted up the long running conflict in Syria and dangerously fuelled tensions between the US and Russia and Iran, and also with North Korea and China. It will also significantly increase rivalries between Sunni and Shia-based regimes in the Middle East.

Trump claimed that the tomahawk missiles attack was ordered “on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched”, referring to Khan Sheikhun, where over 70 people died earlier this week.

The appalling death of scores of civilians, including children, quite rightly led to revulsion and condemnation from working class people around the world. However the US, supported by other Western powers, cynically seized upon the terrible incident to try to strengthen their position in the Syrian conflict. The Western powers, which want to see the removal of President Bashar al-Assad, were quick to rush to blame the Syrian regime for the deaths. The unstable Trump administration is also using the missile attack as a way to try to boost its domestic support and to divert attention from the failure to meet Trump’s election promises and provide any solutions to the lives of Americans.

In the absence of an investigation into the reasons for the chemical deaths and without seeking a UN mandate, or even a mandate from the US Congress, Trump ordered the missile attacks against Syria. The US attacks were welcomed by European governments, including the UK, Germany and France, as well as Turkey and Israel. The opposition Islamist Ahrar al-Sham militia in Syria welcomed US “surgical strikes.”

Assad will use the US attacks to try to bolster his anti-imperialist credentials at home. But socialists give no support, whatsoever, to the Assad regime, which has shown no concern for the lives of innocent civilians during Syrian’s long and bloody civil war. Assad is a brutal dictator prepared to use ruthless means to stay in power. However, as of yet, there is no hard evidence to say that the Assad regime was responsible for the death of civilians from chemicals. Given that Assad, with crucial help from Putin, is winning the war, it appears counterproductive from his point of view to launch an indiscriminate chemical attack, fully aware that it would a pretext for a possible US-led military attack.

Moscow insisted that the Syrian air force hit a depot of chemical weapons produced by rebels fighting government forces. Günther Meyer, director of the Research Center for the Arab World at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, goes further: “Only armed opposition groups could profit from an attack with chemical weapons. With their backs against the wall, they have next to no chance of opposing the regime militarily. As President Trump’s recent statements show, such actions make it possible for anti-Assad groups to receive further support.” (Quoted by the German broadcaster, Deutsche Welle (6/4/17)).

Counter-revolution

At this stage, the only certainty about this week’s terrible scenes in Khan Sheikhun is that it killed scores of civilians, on top of the hundreds of thousands of other war-related deaths. This is fundamentally a result of the counter revolution that unfolded in Syria following a genuine mass revolt against the rule of Assad in 2011, inspired by revolutionary movements in Tunisia and Egypt. But in the absence of strong united working class organisations and a socialist leadership, sectarian and Islamic forces were able to step into the vacuum, aided by reactionary Gulf States and Turkey and by western powers, leading to the degeneration of the mass revolt into a vicious multi-faceted civil war.

It is unclear whether the US air strikes are a show of strength and limited action or if they presage a broader military intervention in Syria. The Shayrat airbase is an important staging post for Syrian and Russian military operations against the largely Islamic armed opposition and the US attacks will be blow.

Russia condemned the US air strikes as an “act of aggression” and a “violation of international law” and suspended its channel for communicating military action in Syria with Washington, used to prevent accidental conflict.

These developments leave open the possibility of direct clashes between US-led and Russia military forces in Syria, with far-reaching consequences in the region and internationally.

Iran, which has militias fighting alongside Assad’s troops, also strongly condemned US actions. Adding to the dangerous complications on the ground, Iranian forces are also in Iraq, nominally fighting alongside the US-backed Baghdad regime’s troops against ISIS.

Trump appeared to order the air attacks while in talks with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, on his visit to the US, which will only serve increase tensions with the Beijing regime. Earlier this week, Trump indicated he was prepared to take “unilateral” military action against North Korea and has also made threatening remarks over Chinese military “island-building” in the South China Sea. According to the Financial Times (London, 07/04/17), “Liu Binjie, who sits on the standing committee that oversees China’s parliament, warned against unilateral action on North Korea. ‘The entire state is militarised,’ he said. ‘If you threaten them with force, it may backfire on you.'”

As the CWI warned, the advent of Trump’s administration marks a shift to more dangerous and unpredictable world relations. In this situation, the working class and youth of the Middle East, the US and all over the world need a mass anti-war movement and the development of powerful working class parties, with bold socialist policies, to counter the war, terror and poverty of capitalism and imperialism.

  • Stop Trump’s attacks on Syria – Oppose all outside powers’ interference in the region
  • End war and terror in Syria, Iraq and the Middle East
  • No to racism and scapegoating of immigrants and refugees
  • For workers’ unity and socialism

 

Socialist Party statement on the Livingstone suspension

Socialist Party statement on the Livingstone suspension: ‘Slow coup’ against Jeremy Corbyn

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Ken and Jeremy (picture from the Huffington Post)

By Hannah Sell, deputy general secretary of the Socialist Party. Hannah will be speaking at this event in May, in Coventry
The furore around charges of anti-Semitism engulfing the Labour Party is, in reality, an orchestrated and cynical new stage of the campaign by the right-wing pro-capitalist wing of the Labour Party to try and prepare the ground for ditching Jeremy Corbyn at the earliest possible opportunity.

It is not possible to tell what the timescale will be, but this has all the hallmarks of a slow coup.

Iain Watson, the BBC’s Political Correspondent, reports a Labour MP telling him a week before this broke publicly that: “There is a lot more in this anti-Semitism issue – a lot more. And the people we will take out are all close to Corbyn.”

Jeremy Corbyn was elected less than a year ago by a landslide; having enthused hundreds of thousands of people with his anti-austerity policies.

The Blairites were trounced and these 4.5%ers were horrified at the prospect of Labour – a party whose leadership had loyally acted in the interests of big business for decades – being reclaimed by the working class.

Backed to the hilt by big business and the right-wing media, they are dedicating all their time and energy into once again making Labour a party that can be relied on to act in the interests of the 1%.

Compromise no solution

As we have repeatedly warned, no amount of attempts to compromise with the right wing that dominates the parliamentary Labour Party will pacify them.

On the contrary it only emboldens them. Nor are there any limits to the levels they will stoop to. MPs like Jess Phillips, who declared she would happily knife Jeremy Corbyn in the front, or John Mann, who has attempted to discredit Corbyn with the most scurrilous lies since the moment his name appeared on the ballot paper, will be prepared to use any means necessary to achieve their goal.

Hence an attempt is being made to equate criticism of the right-wing Israeli government with anti-Semitism and to smear the whole of the left with the charge.

This has included an outrageous attempt to smear the Militant, now the Socialist Party. The slur was made on Newsnight by former leading SDP member Baroness Neuberger.

She has since admitted that she has ‘no written evidence’ but based her accusation on the reports of ‘personal friends/acquaintances’! In fact Militant (and now the Socialist Party) has always fought against anti-Semitism and all forms of racism, and has a very longstanding position of supporting the right of two states – Israel and Palestine – to exist side by side, which would be possible on a socialist basis.

We have a sister organisation in Israel Palestine that takes the same stance and heroically campaigns against the Israeli government.

Unfortunately, this is not the position of many others on the left. We would criticise Ken Livingstone for his crass remarks mentioning Zionism and Hitler, which were greeted with glee by the right wing because they gave them an opportunity to step up their attack.

However, Jeremy Corbyn made a mistake when, rather than just making clear his disagreement with Livingstone’s remarks, he acceded to the frenzied demands of the right to suspend him from the party.

No action against John Mann

At the same time no action has been taken against John Mann for his brutal public provocation of Livingstone other than a supposed ‘dressing down’ by Rosie Winterton, the right-wing Labour chief whip.

In fact, as the capitalist class’s mouthpiece, the Financial Times (FT), reported, far from being punished, Mann had “Labour MPs…lining up to pat him on the back”.

The FT added that: “One party insider said the row was indeed a proxy for the left-right split within the Labour party. ‘You go to party conference and all the leftwingers are at the Friends of Palestine event and the right are all at the Friends of Israel drinks’.”

They conclude that: “Mr Corbyn is now under pressure from his critics to make a big speech on anti-Semitism with a promise to stamp it out; for the Labour leader, making good on that promise is the politically dangerous part.” The right intend to keep ratcheting up the pressure on Corbyn to denounce all those on the left who have criticised the right wing Israeli government.

Badge of honour

Meanwhile, voting for bombing Iraq or Syria will, in their view, continue to be badges of honour.

It would be a serious mistake for the Labour leadership to retreat in the face of this onslaught. Many of those who were enthused by Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership campaign can see this onslaught for what it is and will be eager to come to his defence.

Outrageously, leaders of Momentum, initially set up to organise those very people, have cravenly gone along with the attacks by the right.

Unfortunately this has been the trend – from refusing to campaign for deselection to attempting to exclude non-Labour Party members, including the Socialist Party, from Momentum.

But by supporting Livingstone’s suspension and demanding he should permanently “exit politics” Jon Lansman, founder of Momentum, has shown he is incapable of organising a movement to effectively defend Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership from the Labour right.

It is urgent that the lessons of this incident are learned. As we have consistently pointed out it will only be possible to defeat the right by mobilising the anti-austerity movement in a mass, democratic movement.

To succeed this cannot be led by those who see the way forward within the narrow and undemocratic constraints of the existing Labour Party and whose approach is for endless compromise with the pro-austerity warmongers that dominate the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Instead it means building a movement – organised on federal lines – that brings together all of those workers, young people and community activists who have been inspired by Jeremy Corbyn and want to see a determined anti-capitalist party. The Socialist Party will do all we can to assist in the building of such a movement.

Coventry protest against bombing of Syria

Coventry protests against bombing of Syria

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Protestors outside the Council House

Dozens of Coventry people protested at short notice tonight against the government’s plans to bomb Syria. The event, organised by Coventry Stop the War Coalition,took place on the eve of the vote in parliament tomorrow (Weds 2nd Dec) and drew much support from passers by with many car drivers ‘tooting’ to show their solidarity.

Local press from BBC Coventry and Warwickshire and Touch FM interviewed activists about the protest and what is happening around the country, with thousands braving the cold across the UK and an even greater number lobbying their MP’s, urging them to vote against the Tory war plans.

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Socialist Party members on the protest

Socialist Party members attended the protest, gaining many signatures on the petition against military intervention. The Socialist Party, alongside sister organisations in the Committee for a Workers’ International, have been part of protests around the world against this latest imperialist adventure which will not bring security for the population here, and only bring more chaos, destruction and death to the people of the Middle East, at the same time strengthening the hand of ISIS/Daesh.

There is an old adage of the movement ‘Socialism or Barbarism’. This is the choice facing humanity today. Capitalism offers us nothing but austerity and war, time to fight for socialism!

To read our detailed analysis of the situation click here

No to imperialist intervention in Syria

Editorial of the Socialist

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Via social media, smart phones and traditional news channels a flood of bloody images, footage and reports of the unbearable suffering inflicted on the Syrian masses has been broadcast around the world.

Initially in 2011, following the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, there was a popular uprising against Assad’s police state. But, as has been explained in the Socialist, interventions and enormous financial and military backing came from the semi-feudal monarchies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar and imperialist forces in the hope of derailing that movement.

The uprising against Assad’s dictatorship has been skewed now into a sectarian conflict and has, moreover, unleashed a dangerous battle between the Sunnis and the Shias on a regional scale. The death toll of Syria’s now years-long conflict is estimated to be over 100,000. Two million people have fled the country and around five million are internally displaced. This is horror piled upon horror.

For the overwhelming majority of people the news that chemical weapons have been used in Ghouta, a district of Damascus, appears to represent the opening of a new circle of hell for the suffering masses. The reports that the dead are numbered in their hundreds and the injured in their thousands are as heart-breaking as they are horrifying.

Given what has taken place, combined with the threat of regional instability looming, a desire for a solution to this horror is a human response. But to hope that the US and UK governments and their allies in France, Germany and Turkey could bring any solution, given history, both recent and long-term, is horribly mistaken.

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