CPGB-ML » Posts in 'civil liberties and protest' category

Llanelli: The spirit of 1911

On 15 August, comrades from Swansea, Merthyr, Runcorn and Bristol attended the annual commemoration of the part played by Llanelli workers in the rail strike of 1911.

This national strike raged with particular ferocity in Liverpool, where two workers were shot dead by the military, and in Llanelli, where two workers were likewise shot and another four perished in the subsequent struggle against the police and army.

All 500 of Llanelli’s railmen came out in support of the strike, and an estimated total of about 5,000 workers were involved in the occupation of both the town’s level crossings, bringing all rail transport to a halt.

Our party has supported the commemoration of this event every year since the centenary in 2011, recognising it as a milestone in the history of the British working class.

After the hundred or so participants had marched from the railway station to the town centre, we paused for a rally before climbing the hill to Box Cemetery, where our party comrades took their turn to lay flowers in memory of the workers slain by the army. The socialist choir Cor Cochion sang the International in Welsh.

A number of speeches were made at the rally, with the need for unity a strong common theme, but with differing notions of how this unity is to be forged.

Least appropriate for the occasion was the contribution from the Labour MP for Llanelli, whose feeble excuses for having abstained from the vote against austerity cuts drew some well-deserved barracking. One local shouted that the Labour party had had dominance in Llanelli for over 90 years and they had done very little for the town.

In truth, her eulogy for class compromise could hardly have been less in keeping with the true spirit of 1911 – a spirit of courage, solidarity and revolt.

Our own party’s speaker brought greetings to those gathered from the CPGB-ML, and then continued:

“We meet here today to commemorate the part played by the working class of Llanelli in the national rail strike of 1911, and to mourn the deaths of comrades Leonard Worsell and John John.

“The army acted in panic on that day, driven into frenzy by the success with which Llanelli railway station was shut down and occupied by the workers, who were acting in solidarity with railway workers all over Britain.

“This display of the collective strength of the working class – not only by rail workers but also by tin-plate workers and others – should remind us all that, given the right leadership, workers have the power to shut down capitalism for good. We just need to use it.

“With its Trade Union Bill, the government plans to criminalise any meaningful exercise of the right to strike. For public-service workers, no strike ballot will succeed unless at least 40 percent of the total electorate vote to strike.

“To put this in context, the recent Tory victory at the polls, heralded by the media as a ‘landslide’, was voted for by just 22 percent of the electorate.

“If a strike ballot survives all the obstacles thrown in its path by the new bill, other rules are planned that will conspire to remove the sting from industrial action.

“Two weeks notice of a strike will have to be given – to give the employer ample time to hire in agency workers to break the strike. When it comes to picketing, a member of the union will have to make himself known to the police and be available to them at all times. That person will then be accountable for the way the picket conducts itself.

“It is not hard to see what this will mean in practice, when even the most polite effort to dissuade workers from crossing the picket line can be interpreted as ‘intimidation’. To cap it all, supposed infractions of picketing rules will no longer be treated as civil offences, but as criminal offences.

“Capitalism is in the midst of an overproduction crisis which will be deeper than both of those which resulted in the two great wars of the last century. That is why imperialism is imposing crushing austerity at home and generating criminal wars abroad.

‘And that is why the right to strike, the right to resist against the imposition of austerity, the right to resist against warmongering, will increasingly be criminalised.

“Repressive moves against asylum seekers, so-called ‘benefit scroungers’ and disaffected youth are preparing the way for repressive moves against anyone who says NO to austerity, NO to fascism and NO to war.

“That is why, as well as remembering the fallen comrades John John and Leonard Worsell, we also remember Private Harold Spiers, who, when ordered to turn his weapon on his fellow workers, threw down his gun, preferring to face court martial sooner than commit a crime against humanity.

“Since the Nuremberg Tribunal that followed WW2, it has been established that ‘just following orders’ is no defence. It is time for the organised working class to stop following unjust orders and unjust laws.

“It is time for the unions to organise a movement of non-cooperation with warmongering, non-cooperation with austerity, non-cooperation with capitalism.

“Long live the spirit of 1911!”

The case of the Shrewsbury 24 – an object lesson in the workings of the state and the treachery of our social-democratic misleaders

United We Stand is a gripping theatrical account of the case of the Shrewsbury 24, currently on tour around independent theatres in Britain.

United We Stand is a gripping theatrical account of the case of the Shrewsbury 24, currently on tour around independent theatres in Britain.

Some episodes in working-class history remain stubbornly in the collective memory, resisting all efforts either to consign them to oblivion or ‘reinterpret’ them to make them fit the bourgeois falsification of history. One such episode was the persecution of building workers back in the seventies, thrown into jail for the ‘crime’ of picketing construction sites to persuade workers to join the 1972 builders’ strike.

The central issue of the strike was the battle against the ‘lump’ – the practice whereby workers were hired on a daily basis and paid in cash, robbing them of all employment rights and also putting downward pressure on the wages and job security of contracted employees. The strike itself, which achieved some of its aims, concluded after three months. But for the Shrewsbury 24 the nightmare had just begun.

The use of ‘flying pickets’ to spread the strike had been a runaway success, helping to close hundreds of building sites, and was a tactic which the miners were to develop in 1972 (against Edward Heath’s government) and 1984 (against Margaret Thatcher’s government). The threat of such a good example, cheering to the working class but terrifying for the capitalist state, was not lost on the powers that be, who decided to pick on one routine picket in one particular town and do their utmost to criminalise it.

Accordingly, police in the west country and north Wales spent a full ten weeks investigating what did or did not happen when 24 building workers dropped in for a chat at a construction site in Shrewsbury on 6 September. Police interrogated over 800 witnesses in a frantic effort to find, or manufacture, evidence of intimidation.

Then, on 14 February, months after the strike was over, police raided houses in north Wales, arresting six men, including Des Warren and Ricky Tomlinson (later of Royle Family fame). Further arrests thereafter brought the number up to 24 – the ‘Shrewsbury 24’.

After a jury had acquitted eight of the defendants of the charge of intimidation on the grounds of zero evidence, overruling the judge, the state shifted its ground and hit Warren and Tomlinson with ‘conspiracy’ charges – charges which were more vague but carried heavier sentences.

Both were sent down, Tomlinson for two years and Warren for three. Both correctly asserted that they were political prisoners; both took the blanket sooner than wear prison clothes, and both also undertook hunger strikes. Because of his defiant stand, Warren was subjected to a ‘liquid cosh’, consisting of increasing doses of tranquilliser – a form of violence which left him with the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and contributed to his early demise.

Last chance to see Neil Gore’s fantastic play about the Shrewsbury 24, United We Stand, in Bristol on Tuesday 5 May. Call 07718 666 593 for tickets. £10 / £3.

Facebook event page for the showing with full details

Since his release, Tomlinson and his supporters have been tireless in pursuing justice. In 2012, Tomlinson tried to get the convictions overturned by the Criminal Cases Review Commission, and the following year he raised the issue again at the Durham Miners’ Gala. In 2014, MPs voted for the disclosure of files relating to the arrests in 1973, but still the government stonewalls.

Labour hypocrisy

As election day approaches, the Labour PR machine has scented a cost-free opportunity to strike a ‘progressive’ pose on the issue and pull in a few ‘left’ votes.

Labour’s shadow minister Lisa Nandy pointed out that the government had “no justification” for keeping the Shrewsbury 24 files under wraps, declaiming that “The minister may refuse to act, but a Labour government will act. We will release those papers with the urgency that the situation demands.”

Stirring words. Yet when Heath’s Tory government was replaced by Harold Wilson’s Labour administration in 1974, at a time when the issue of the Shrewsbury 24 was convulsing the whole labour movement, how did Labour approach the question?

Did it bravely denounce this naked exercise of class war against workers? Did it release these political prisoners? On the contrary: the Labour home secretary Roy Jenkins withstood all pleas and kept them under lock and key.

And what about when the papers relating to the case came up for release under the 30-year rule in 2002? Did the Labour Lord Chancellor Lord Irvine (Tony Blair’s former pupil master) release the papers as expected? Not a bit of it. Did the then Labour home secretary David Blunkett insist that he do so? Of course not. He duly signed them away for another 10 years under the pretext that their release was ‘not in the public interest’.

How about the TUC, did it support the campaign? Quite the reverse. The TUC did nothing beyond issuing a few ritual declarations to get the convictions overturned and the prisoners released. Still, on his release in 1975, Tomlinson sought the help of the TUC. Instead of assisting the campaign, the TUC refused to let him address the annual conference, obliging him to disrupt the proceedings to hold the labour aristocracy to account.

And what did Des Warren think? In his book The Key to My Cell, he made his disgust at the cowardice of the trade-union movement very plain, writing: “I feel bitterness, anger and loathing when I think of some of our trade-union ‘leaders’ bemoaning the nation’s ills and how the workers must endure a cut in their living standards in order to save the country from disaster – even my kids would recognise that as a load of crap. [But not evidently those who today campaign for a Labour government committed to austerity!]

“Their phoney dealing with the government (which is holding me prisoner) is to batten down the working class and force them to accept capitalist answers to capitalism’s problems. Leaders? As far as I can see, the only time some of them take a lead is when they go to the front of the queue when honours are dished out.”

Scorning those who supposed his anger was just a subjective response, Warren had this to say:

If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times that I don’t take my imprisonment personally.

The Tory government wasn’t interested in me or my 23 co-victims. They were attacking the trade-union movement and, by failing to stand by us, the Executive Committees of Ucatt and the T&G failed to protect the movement – a job they were well paid to do. (The Key To My Cell, 1982, p190)

Fight the blacklist

What has helped stir the pot and bring this burning historical injustice back to the boil is the continuing struggle to expose and resist the blacklisting in the construction industry of union reps who dare to blow the whistle on unsafe practices.

Such practices took the lives of 42 construction workers last year, 14 of whom were self-employed (the lump by any other name). Whilst the construction industry only accounts for 5 percent of the working population, it accounted for 31 percent of fatalities.

On 12 March, Home Secretary Theresa May announced a public inquiry into undercover police espionage operations targeting peaceful protests and bereaved parents of murder victims. But on the same day that the state embarked upon yet another damage-limitation whitewash exercise, the exposure of police malpractice went up another notch with the publication of a book by leading anti-blacklist campaigners Dave Smith and Phil Chamberlain: Blacklisted: the Secret War Between Big Business and Union Activists.

Launching the book, Dave Smith pointed out that

There are secret political police in the UK; they are called Special Branch, MI5, GCHQ, Netcu and SDS. These coercive arms of the state see their role as supporting big business against anyone who may threaten their profits.

Trade unions and peaceful campaign groups are viewed as the enemy. Undercover police infiltration of justice campaigns set up by bereaved relatives, anti-racist and environmental groups and trade unions is an affront to democracy – it is essential that this is part of the remit of the public inquiry announced by Theresa May.

Blacklisted workers should be consulted before the inquiry starts. Blacklisting is no longer an industrial-relations issue: it is a conspiracy orchestrated by directors of multinational companies and the security services against trade unions.

Blacklisting is not just in construction, it is endemic across UK industry from NHS whistleblowers, airlines, North Sea, retail and railways. We now know that the fire brigades’ union, Unison, CWU and NUT were also targets of this national scandal. The full extent of the corporate and police spying against trade unions demands that blacklisting is given a full standalone public inquiry of its own.”

Less then a week after publication of the book, Dave Smith was arrested on a peaceful protest outside the Construction News Awards in the Park Lane Hilton. The protest was to highlight the sacking of workers on the Crossrail project for raising health and safety issues.

One example was the sacking of employees who objected to working in the darkness without torches on their helmets. Days after the sackings, 13 workers suffered falls. Campaigners reported that the police went in mob-handed at the demo and made a beeline for Smith.

As Smith’s own book makes plain, such arrests are entirely political in character and demand a political response from unions.

As was to be expected, ‘left’ Labour luminaries are now clutching onto the coat-tails of this momentous grass-roots revolt for all they are worth in the hope of getting some reflected glory and a few more working-class votes. The reality, however, is that blacklist operations have been in full swing throughout Tory and Labour administrations alike – an immutable necessity for the functioning of the secret state.

What’s more, when the notorious Consulting Association was busted in 2009, the then Labour government declined the opportunity to criminalise the actual practice of blacklisting itself, outlawing only such instances where it could be proved that someone had been forbidden employment on the sole grounds of a negative comment on a blacklisting database – a basically impossible requirement which lets MacAlpine and the rest of the unsavoury bunch completely off the hook.

Unite: the gloves come off?

On 19 March, Len McCluskey took to the columns of the Guardian with an article with the promising title ‘Unions must be able to fight for workers – even if it means breaking bad laws’.

He reported that the previous week Unite had decided to recommend “the deletion from our rules of six little words that have governed our union’s actions: ‘so far as may be lawful’”.

McCluskey reassured the fainthearted that “Our executive wants these words gone not because we are anarchists, not because we are suddenly planning a bank robbery, but because we have to ask ourselves the question: can we any longer make that commitment to stick, under any and all circumstances, within the law as it stands?”

The answer, coyly withheld until the final paragraph, was basically ‘No’. “When the law is misguided, when it oppresses the people and removes their freedoms, can we respect it? I am not really posing the question. I’m giving you the answer. It ain’t going to happen.”

McCluskey then pointed out the way in which the vagaries of the postal ballot undoubtedly help capitalism to sow confusion and litigation whenever a strike ballot is under way, and seemed to unveil a plan whereby future ballots would be conducted electronically. “We will drive forward with modern technology and use it to increase turnouts in our ballots without being shackled by prescriptions – such as postal ballots – imposed in another age. We are not going to let the Tories destroy our democracy by shackling us to archaic procedures.”

What this ‘grand new plan’ (or storm in a teacup) neatly sidesteps is the rather more important fact that, under both Tory and Labour regimes, ‘our democracy’ has been comprehensively violated for decades by legislation that dares to impose preconditions on the exercise of the right to strike.

In truth, the right to strike, curtailed as it is in practice, is not really ‘hanging by a thread’ (as McCluskey suggests) but has long since ceased to have any real meaning at all. Modernising the method by which unions submit to state scrutiny of their internal affairs does nothing to deal with this fundamental reality.

McCluskey is right: unions should resume their proper function and act as fighting organs of the working class. Yet so long as the argument is cast exclusively in terms of the need to struggle against evil Tory governments, letting Labour off scot free, the real character of the political struggle of labour versus capital will remain obscured.

At one point in the article, Len tells us that the Labour victory in 1997 was “one of the happiest days of my life”, and it is clear that, even after experiencing what followed, he still preserves the belief that a vote for Miliband will somehow soften the blows of austerity and give the unions a fairer deal in the courts.

The happiest day for the trade-union movement, meanwhile, will be when it wrenches itself free from its enslavement to the imperialist Labour party and uproots the debilitating influence of social-democratic misleadership.

Charlie Hebdo, the free press and racism

We reproduce this excellent article from Workers World with thanks.

Hollande: 'This is an act of exceptional barbarity.' Assad: &That's not what you say when you send them my way.'

Hollande: 'This is an act of exceptional barbarity.'
Assad: 'That's not what you say when you send them my way.'

By Sarah Flounders

How do we put in perspective the international media focus on the massacre of 12 journalists in Paris on 7 January at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, notorious for its racist anti-muslim caricatures and lack of response to the routine, daily, racist police murders of black youth in the US? Why were any protests banned in France of 15 journalists who were killed among the 2,000 deaths in the Israeli assault of Gaza this past summer? Don’t those lives matter?

The Charlie Hebdo assassinations strengthen the hand of the state, which is using them in an ideological offensive — even if the state had a role in arming and training the killers.

Why are other murders not mourned, not respected, not even reported — even the murders of other journalists? A crucial role of the corporate media is to try to shape the perception of which lives matter.

Consider the mass outpourings following several different, very public killings in the US. Hundreds of thousands of youths have been in the streets again and again in the US confronting the refusal of the state to prosecute killer cops — even when their murderous crimes have been seen on video by millions.

Hundreds of thousands of people were in the streets of Paris on 11 January. French, other European, US and Israeli politicians led the march honoring the slain journalists.

Twice, on 27 December and 4 January, thousands of police in uniform from all over the US converged on New York City for separate funerals of two police officers shot in their patrol car on 20 December. Jet Blue offered free flights to all police traveling nationally to the funeral. The US vice president, New York state’s governor and the city’s mayor attended the funerals. Roads in the areas were closed; giant outdoor TV screens were erected.

Not a free speech issue

The French government’s protection of the racist journal Charlie Hebdo had nothing to do with protecting freedom of speech. This is a deception that must be confronted. In 2012, the same government that protected this vile publication banned any demonstrations or protests or even public prayers opposing the racist publication.

French law allows for the prosecution of ‘public insults’ based on religion, race, ethnicity or national origin. But the racist, sexist, bigoted, grossly insulting cartoons in Charlie Hebdo magazine were never once a source of any successful legal action.

However, France did ban anyone from even protesting the cartoons that insulted muslims or the prophet Muhammed.

In 2012, as protests swept the muslim world in response to an anti-muslim film made in the US, French interior minister Manuel Valls said prefects had orders to prohibit any protest and to crack down if the ban was challenged. “There will be strictly no exceptions. Demonstrations will be banned and broken up.” (Daily Mail, 21 September 2012)

Even prayer meetings and street prayers were banned. (CNN, 19 September 2012)

In the same week, Charlie Hebdo put out an extra run of cartoons featuring a grossly obscene caricature of a naked prophet Mohammed. The magazine was given extra police protection.

Freedom of speech and of the press is hardly sacred in France. It was punishable by a year in prison to even post on the internet a notice of a demonstration opposing the Israeli onslaught on Palestine during the Israeli 2014 summer offensive on Gaza.

France was the only country in the world to bar all demonstrations and protests in any form supporting Palestine during that time. The penalty was one year in jail and 15,000 euro fine.

It is worth noting the double standard: There is no similar crackdown against the current right-wing, fascist demonstrations against immigrants.

Role of Nazi caricature

Charlie Hebdo serves a very important purpose for French imperialism, and that is why its virulent racism has been protected at the very time that protests against it are prohibited.

Charlie Hebdo may have run cartoons to ridicule the powerful 40 years ago, when it claimed to be left wing, irreverent and nonconformist. But there is a big difference between satire ridiculing the powerful — a French tradition going back to Voltaire — and the current imagery promoting fear and loathing of the oppressed and powerless. The latter is right-wing and fascist in character.

In this period, when muslims are facing increasing, extreme right-wing attacks, and fascist mobilisations are growing in Europe, Charlie Hebdo functions as did the Nazi publication Der Sturmer, with its vehemently anti-semitic caricatures. Jewish people in Der Sturmer, as muslims in Charlie Hebdo, were depicted with exaggerated facial features and misshapen bodies. Both publications use obscene, sexually explicit caricatures.

The Nazi newspaper’s caricatures were part of a policy to make jews an object of hatred, fear, ridicule and disdain. At the end of World War II, Julius Streicher, the editor of Der Sturmer — though he didn’t run death camps but used the press to incite hatred — was put on trial, convicted of crimes against humanity and executed.

Charlie Hebdo is protected because it hardens the population against muslim people in order to divide the population. The French government has announced a grant to Charlie Hebdo of 1 million euros, and Google donated 250,000 euros.

Charlie Hebdo is not freedom of expression and freedom of press. It is an instrument of war mobilisation. It ran cartoons demonising Serbs during the Nato campaign against Yugoslavia, and it supported Nato’s attack on Libya.

No free press

Although ‘free speech’ and ‘free press’ are being lauded and glorified in the murder of the French journalists, no such thing exists in any capitalist state. The press in France or in the US is not free, open or accessible.

The media are owned by and serve the interests of the ruling class. What can be said and who can say it is tightly controlled. The corporate media in capitalist society are owned to serve class rule. What is covered depends entirely on who can pay for publication or airtime.

A handful of multibillion-dollar media conglomerates control almost all information, culture and entertainment in the western capitalist countries — though in the past decade social media and the internet have opened a few tiny cracks in this overwhelming corporate control [just as small-scale people's printing presses did formerly].

The media industry has an enormous impact in shaping which lives have value and which deaths go unreported, unmarked or consciously covered up.

The hundreds of thousands of deaths in wars initiated by US imperialism, and with the full support of French and British imperialism, are unmarked, unmourned and callously labeled ‘collateral damage’. The media ignore or barely mention the enormous toll in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan. No mass sympathy is created when a US drone wipes out a wedding party in Pakistan or a whole village with a hellfire missile.

The assassinations of journalists in these wars are hardly noted. There were no state funerals for the 166 journalists killed in Iraq under US occupation. Chelsea Manning is in prison for releasing videos of US helicopters gunning down two Reuter’s camera operators in Iraq and then circling back to kill the family who stopped their van to try to help them.

According to the Palestinian Centre for Development and Media Freedoms, 15 journalists were killed in the 2014 Israeli bombing of Gaza. They “were killed in civilian sites that are supposed to be safe for civilians”. Eight media centres were targeted and bombed.

US bombers targeted and destroyed the RTS, Radio TV Serbia, in the 1999 US/Nato war on Yugoslavia, killing 17 journalists.

The most dangerous country in the world for journalists is Honduras. Since the US-backed coup, 46 media and information workers have been assassinated.

The International Federation of Journalists sharply criticised Nato’s 2011 air strikes against Libyan television, which killed three people and injured 15. The IFJ stated that the strikes violated international law and UN resolutions.

If a free press existed, then Chelsea Manning would not be in prison or Edward Snowden and Julian Assange on the run, living in exile.

What media are even allowed coverage in imperialist countries demonstrates how little freedom of the press is respected. For example, Press TV, an Iranian news channel broadcasting in English, is banned from broadcasting via satellite throughout Europe, Canada and the US. Al-Manar, a Lebanese satellite station affiliated with Hezbollah, has also been banned by France, Germany and the US.

Both Press TV and Al-Manar have protested, to no avail, that this is a grave breach of freedom of speech. While both news channels are available via the internet in limited form, Apple and Google have removed Al-Manar mobile apps.

National oppression

National oppression and racism in France cannot be ignored. There are 5.5 million residents of African origin, many of them born in France and most of them citizens. A large number are from muslim backgrounds [usually from former French colonies], although not all are practicing. They are isolated by poverty in suburbs that have high unemployment, inferior schools and substandard housing.

Just as prisons in the US, overwhelmingly imprison black and brown youth, so too do French prisons. About 60 to 70 percent of all inmates in the country’s prison system are muslim, according to muslim leaders, sociologists and researchers, though muslims make up only about 12 percent of the country’s population. (Washington Post Foreign Service, 29 April 2008)

Imperialism needs hatred of targeted peoples. Western politicians have cynically used islamophobia to advance right-wing political agendas and curtail freedoms.

Who benefits?

Regardless of whether a police conspiracy is ever exposed, we do know that the French ruling class and the corporate media are always primed to take full advantage of such acts to reinforce the repressive state apparatus and sow division among the working class.

There should not be an iota of confidence in the news stories of this massacre at Charlie Hebdo. We know only what we are being told in the corporate media by French military police and state intelligence agencies.

We do know that three men, who are now dead, were tools of imperialism in their wars of conquest in Syria and Libya. More than 1,000 French citizens of Arab and North African descent have been recruited, trained, armed and used as weapons conduits, saboteurs and terrorists in the efforts of US, France, Britain, Turkey and Saudi Arabia to overthrow the government of Syria.

This leads to the fundamental question of whose policies are responsible for the massacre and who gains from the massacre?

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, US imperialism, aided by the old colonial powers of Europe, has been engaged in a whole series of wars to reconquer countries that had achieved a high level of development based on sovereignty and control of their resources.

In their frantic efforts to recolonise Iraq, Syria and Libya, they have cynically whipped up sectarian divisions, organised deadly militias and promoted fanaticism and anarchy. That has aroused deep-seated rage against the US, France and Britain.

It is also highly unpopular that French imperialism is widely involved in Africa — primarily in the majority-muslim countries of Mali, Central African Republic, Chad, Ivory Coast and Djibouti, and in Abu Dhabi on the Arabian peninsula.

The French ruling class wants to divert mass attention from its expanding wars and increasingly militarised society. The mobilisations claiming to defend a free press by defending racism must be opposed and countered.

Ding Dong – press freedom is dead?

Margaret Thatcher and the Wicked Witch

Margaret Thatcher and the Wicked Witch

So the first fruits of the Leveson Inquiry’s push for press censorship turn out to be a BBC ban on playing ‘Ding Dong! the Witch is Dead’.

How successful this belated attempt to starve Judy Garland of the oxygen of publicity will be in suppressing unseemly public glee at the passing of Baroness Thatcher is doubtful.

But if Sunday’s unlikely victim of nervous self-censorship is just a musical theatre child prodigy from the thirties, we can be sure that future victims will include those with the ‘bad taste’ to speak out against the criminal wars and domestic repression engineered by our ‘democratic’ rulers.

With the NUJ busy patting Leveson on the back and the BBC jumping into self-censorship without waiting to be pushed, only journalists of unusual courage can be expected to resist the big freeze that’s coming.

Who can doubt now the urgent need to build a movement of collective non-cooperation with the war plans of our masters, at home as well as abroad?

Demonstration to mark the 1911 Llanelli railway strike

On Saturday 18th August, CPGB-ML and Red Youth joined the march and rally to commemorate the anniversary of the Llanelli rail strike of 1911. The strike was memorable both for the slaughter of two workers by the British army, and for the heroic and steadfast spirit of resistance which animated the strikers and their many supporters. Our contingent was proud to support this event, distributing our literature as we marched through Llanelli.

At the rally many spoke about the spirited local campaign to prevent the downgrading of the Accident and Emergency service at the local Prince Phillip hospital. Sadly, a number of speeches seemed more concerned with point-scoring between Labour and Plaid Cymru, with each blaming the other for the threatened cuts coming down the line. A speaker from our party was invited by Llanelli Trades Council to say a few words, a welcome opportunity to put the historical events of 1911 in the context of today’s crisis of capitalism and the tasks facing the working class. The comrade spoke as follows:

“On behalf of the CPGB-ML I would like to thank Llanelli Trades Council for inviting me to say a few words on this day of commemoration.

When we recall the murder by the British army of John John and Leonard Worsell, we do not comfort ourselves with the false idea that this was the last time workers were slain by the British state.  It is sufficient to recall

  • the fatal battering of anti-Nazi campaigner Blair Peach in 1979;
  • the judicial murder of Jean Charles de Menezes in 2005, shot seven times in the head whilst pinned to the ground in Stockwell tube station;
  • the killing of bystander Ian Tomlinson at the G20 demo in 2010, now revealed to have been the subject of a criminal cover-up by the official pathologist;
  • and the public execution of father-of-three Mark Duggan in 2011 on the streets of Tottenham.

All four were victims of state violence. In their case, the instruments of the state wore police uniforms. The army in recent years has been reserved for the slaughter of workers in faraway places – though we note that the Irish murdered in Ireland by the Parachute Regiment on Bloody Sunday (to mention but one of the myriad crimes against the Irish nation) were said by the colonisers to have met their deaths on “British soil”.

In remembering the events which took place in Llanelli one hundred years ago, we are inspired by the fighting spirit shown by working people resisting capitalism, by the spirit of non-cooperation which erupted even within the army itself, and by the electrifying effect this resistance had throughout the whole community. So far from being merely a historical footnote, the events of the 1911 Llanelli rail strike have real and urgent lessons for all those workers today who are fighting to prevent their living standards being ground down by a capitalist system in crisis.

The uprisings triggered last summer by the assassination of Mark Duggan revealed a depth of anger amongst young workers deprived of a decent future by the crisis of capitalism, and a willingness to fight back against a system that is effectively declaring war on the entire working class. Those uprisings were closer to the true spirit of 1911 than anything the TUC has yet come up with by way of “coordinating resistance”, despite the proven willingness of local government workers, doctors, construction workers, teachers, transport workers, students and Occupy activists to make a fight of it. All that is missing is the political leadership.

It is time to stop lying to the working class about the character of this crisis. The choice which faces us all is not “destructive cuts” versus “humane cuts”. The choice is between a warmongering capitalist barbarism spinning out of control – or socialism. The best commemoration of the martyrs, strikers and fighters of 1911 will come when the red flag is hoisted over Wales, Scotland and England. Bring it on! Join the struggle! Long live the spirit of 1911!”

After the rally, we marched up the hill to the cemetery where our two fallen comrades are buried. We laid one floral tribute (from the CPGB-ML) on the grave of Leonard Worsell, and a second (from Red Youth) on the grave of John John.

*****

SEE ALSO:

More photos of event (Flickr)

1911 special: Working-class struggles in Britain

Uprisings terrify the ruling class

YOUTH UPRISING SUPPLEMENT: Rage against capitalism

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Dear [insert MP or other 'representative's' name here]

I should be most grateful if you would consider giving your support for the following.

**********

Petition to Mr Keir Starmer QC, Director of Public Prosecutions, Crown Prosecution Service.

Yorkshire Police have brought a charge against Azhar Ahmed for “a racially aggravated public order offence” for his comments on Facebook, which can be seen here: http://www.sabotagetimes.com/life/azhar-ahmed-and-scott-mchugh-a-tale-of-two-states/.

His comments amount to rage about civilian deaths that Nato and ISAF forces, including British soldiers, are seen as responsible for. There is nothing ‘racially aggravated’ about the comments, and they are not a direct plan for violence or incitement to violence. They are rage expressed in symbolic form, in terms of hell.

I believe this kind of charge brings our justice system into disrepute in the public conscience, is not in the public interest, and that this case should be urgently reviewed by the Director of Public Prosecutions himself, to consider whether it is a sensible interpretation of the law and whether bringing a charge is in the public interest.

In support of the above, I would like to remind you that the right of peoples to defend themselves against foreign invasion is enshrined in the UN Charter. Just as the French, Russian, Yugoslav, and other peoples had the right to defend themselves against German soldiers, and the Vietnamese people had the right to defend themselves against American soldiers, so too do the Afghan people have the right to defend themselves against British soldiers.

Many thanks

[Your name here]

Working masses’ anti-Wall Street protests have continued unabated

By KCNA, 23 November 2011

Riot police are hurled to put down the protests but only fell short of blocking the masses’ advance.

This has stoked fears among the rulers of the capitalist countries.

This proves capitalism is reactionary system and ailing society where the rich get ever richer and the poor ever poorer as a 1 percent tiny handful of exploiters oppress toiling masses making up 99 percent of the population.

A recent opinion poll conducted in the U.S. showed the majority of Americans voiced resentment against the ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor. In the poll jointly conducted by the Washington Post and ABC TV, over 6 out of 10 respondents said the rich-poor gap is widening in economic aspect. The income disparity between the people in the upper brackets of income and the rest of Americans is now all time high since the great depression about 70 years ago.

The income of wealthy people grew about 275 percent for the past 28 years. In 2010 the number of the poor increased by 7 million from 10 years ago.

The widening gap between the 1 percent rich and the 99 percent poor is an inevitable result of the structural contradiction of capitalism.

The history of capitalism is characterized by the accumulation of wealth by monopoly tycoons. In this course a crucial change took place in the relations of class forces, sharpening contradiction and conflict.

In the capitalist society the well-to-do people get ever richer while the poor are reduced to extreme poverty. The rich take to itself products and almost all wealth of the society, wallowing in luxury while the toiling masses languish in hunger and poverty. The people are degenerated, becoming slaves of money and the broad masses suffer from unemployment, hunger and poverty.

It has become frequent occurrences in the capitalist countries for even the middle classes to lose properties due to bankruptcy and unemployment and join the poor.

A big group of the unemployed are in the making in the Western countries bogged by financial and debt crises.

The rulers and monopoly capitalists are talking rhetoric about “class cooperation” and “welfare policy” to calm down the daily worsening socio-class contradiction in the capitalist countries.

Cooperation between the exploiting class and the grassroots people in the capitalist society is sheer sophism little short of a wolf and a sheep living in the same pen as friends.

It is an inevitable process of the historical development that the people intensify their actions to win the right to existence and democracy against the arbitrary practices of the monopoly capitalists.

The widening gap between the rich and the poor will escalate the people’s protest against it.

Capitalism can never solve its socio-class contradiction by itself but will meet a final ruin by the people’s actions for independence.

Developments in Palestine

From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 1 October

The United Nations published a report on 2 September (the Palmer Report) finding that Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza is legal and that the Israeli commandoes who boarded the Mavi Marmara had a perfect right to defend themselves against the “organised and violent resistance” which it claimed a group of passengers had put up.

It is not clear how the universally unarmed passengers, shot from the air before the commandos had even landed, had been able to put up organised and violent resistance, and this was not explained. The report did, however, admit that the force used by the Israelis was “excessive and unreasonable”. Nevertheless the report put blame on the flotilla for “recklessly” running the blockade, and on Turkey for not persuading them to keep away.

The finding that the blockade of Gaza by Israel was a legitimate security measure designed merely to prevent armaments being supplied to Palestinians, rather than a deliberate collective punishment of the people of Gaza that is contrary to the Geneva conventions, is also outrageous. There are plenty of ways Israel could monitor the cargoes of ships headed for Gaza without actually blockading the Strip and preventing any ship from entering or leaving, even those carrying only humanitarian aid.

This hugely biased report has of course infuriated Turkey, which has expelled the Israeli ambassador and announced that it is freezing military ties with Israel until Israel both apologises and compensates the victims. Obviously, there is no chance of that happening any time soon! Furthermore, Turkey has announced that it will be providing future aid convoys to Gaza with naval escorts to guarantee their safety.

The bias in the report is readily understood by observing a number of factors. Three of the four members of the Palmer enquiry team were appointed only on Israel approving them. They included that arch violator of human rights Alvaro Uribe, former president of Colombia.

Moreover, the team heard no evidence at all from the survivors of the attack. It took for granted that the Mavi Marmara carried weapons when in fact it was well established that it did not. As to suggesting that the boarding of the Mava Marmara was legal because of the threat it posed to Israel, this argument would have been completely inappropriate even if it had been true, since even then it would not have been legal under international law to board a ship in international waters, as happened in this case.

In truth, the Palmer Report makes a mockery of justice – and of the United Nations as a credible international organisation.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian bid to be recognised as a state by the UN has caused major upheavals. Israel has been backed 100 percent by Barack Obama in its opposition to such recognition, which cannot have failed to open the eyes of those who had pinned all their hopes of justice for the Palestinian people on his sense of fair play.

Threats and bribes were proffered to try to persuade Abbas to withdraw the bid, but his hands were tied by the fact that his followers, against a background of mushrooming jewish settlements all over the West Bank at the cost of Palestinian homes and livelihoods, would simply not allow him to abandon, compromise or postpone this basic demand and entitlement of the Palestinian people.

It is clear that the US can and almost certainly will exercise its veto in the UN Security Council to prevent full recognition of Palestinian as a state within the pre-1967 boundaries. What they will have much more difficulty with is preventing the Palestinian Authority from having its status elevated by the General Assembly of the UN from non-voting ‘observer entity’ to ‘observer state’, a status equal to that of the Vatican.

This status would give the Palestinians not only the right to observe but also to submit resolutions and join other United Nations bodies and conventions. It would also give them status to pursue legal cases in the International Criminal Court, something that alarms Israel and the United States in particular.

For the moment, the issue has been postponed insofar as it is tabled to be discussed by the Security Council some time next spring. Only after the Security Council reaches its decision will the General Assembly have the chance to cast its votes. Between now and then one can expect heavy US pressure on various UN members – pressure that has already commenced – to vote as directed by the US or else face various highly pernicious and damaging unilateral sanctions.

For the moment, even France has broken ranks with its co-imperialists to express support for recognition by the General Assembly of the Palestinian state, as has Russia.

Finally, the High Court in the UK has ruled that British government’s detention of Sheikh Raed Salah was illegal and that he is entitled to damages in respect of this illegal detention.

Evidence before the court showed that the detention was prompted by pressure put by the notorious lobbyist for zionism, the so-called ‘Community Security Trust’. This outfit made all kinds of unfounded allegations against Sheikh Salah, which the Home Secretary took just 17 minutes to investigate. The zionists’ aim, in which they were successful, was to prevent Sheikh Salah attending and speaking at a meeting scheduled to be held in the House of Commons.

Sheikh Salah’s appeal against the deportation order that was made against him is still pending.

Britain’s riots: thuggery, looting, lawlessness … by the ruling class

Via Global Research

Fires blaze on Tottenham High Street, north London, on the night of 6 August

Fires blaze on Tottenham High Street, north London, on the night of 6 August

After a conflagration of arson attacks, riots and looting in several British cities, including the capital, London, there is a sense of order having been restored from a massive mobilisation of police forces.

There now follows the tracking down and prosecution of individuals involved in the mayhem. Conservative Prime Minister Cameron is leading “the fight back” to punish anyone who has inflicted damage and destruction on Britain’s society.

The events have visibly shocked the political establishment of all parties, police chiefs and the mainstream media. But what should be more shocking is the myopic and incredibly banal commentary that is being offered to ‘explain’ the outburst of street disturbances and violence.

As pundits sit in comfy television studios trading inane insights about the ‘evils’ of individual immorality, criminality, dysfunctional families, gang culture – in the background, so to speak, are the glaring signs scrolling across the screens of the cause of this societal breakdown. And yet the preponderant signs escape the mental radar of pundits and politicians alike.

The fact that the capitalist economic system is in worldwide meltdown is not even registered in the mainstream commentary. This is the system that the mainstream political parties have facilitated and fawned over, whether Labour, Conservative or Liberal, and which has resulted in social devastation across Britain while the corporate and financial elite has ransacked economic resources. This system of legalised looting has been going on for decades, but certainly took on a precipitous dynamic starting with Cameron’s Conservative predecessor Margaret Thatcher in the early 1980s. Labour’s Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were merely purveyors of the same dynamic.

In surveying today’s Britain, Karl Marx words are so right: “An accumulation of wealth at one pole of society indicates an accumulation of misery and overwork at the other.” That is the hallmark of capitalism in today’s Britain, the US and Europe.

All other problems are largely secondary in causation. Crime, racist policing, disorder, the lack of police budgets to restore order (so ironic), alienation and self-destruction, and so many other ills including the mobilisation of resources to fund illegal wars – most of our present day problems flow from the tap root of dysfunction that is the capitalist economy.

Speaking in the House of Commons Thursday, Prime Minister Cameron’s ‘explanation’ for the outbreak of street disturbances across England demonstrates a total ignorance and poverty of understanding on his part of the nature of the breakdown in his society. He blames it on “criminality pure and simple” and “pockets of sickness” and “lack of individual morality and responsibility”.

This view is largely echoed in the British political establishment of all parties and the media.

The looting, thievery and lawlessness that Cameron so condemns is but the reflection at the street level of British society of what is taking place on a much greater scale at the upper echelons of government and the economy.

Despite the appearance of pinstripe suits and well-groomed accents, we can, if we are honest, see decades of looting and thievery of economic and financial resources by corporate elites aided and abetted by Labour and Conservative governments. The taxpayer bailout of corrupt banks initiated by Labour PM Gordon Brown and now overseen by Cameron, paid for in large part by austerity in public spending cuts, is but the latest manifestation of official robbing of the majority to swell the already outrageous wealth of the ruling elite class.

Cameron and his gang of plumy-accented thugs are gunning for $150bn in public spending cuts to pay for the criminal enterprise known as British banking. This is racketeering that a street gang in London’s east end can only marvel at … and indeed, in a very real way, only emulate.

Combined with that looting by the elite we see the total lawlessness and criminality of British governments who have worked hand in glove with other criminal governments to launch wars of aggression (Nuremburg standard war crimes) in Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Libya, resulting in the deaths of over one million civilians. Where is individual responsibility for that mass murder and destruction Mr Cameron?

This social decay and necrotism is a symptom of the collapse of capitalism, an economic system that enriches an elite at the cost of the majority. It polarises political power beyond democratic accountability to the point where, among other deformities, wars and planetary looting are being carried out even blatantly against the consent of the majority public.

So when Cameron and his political cronies fulminate about pockets of sickness, looting, criminality, lawlessness, and the need for “consequences for actions” – his words and exhortations are richly ironic and benighted.

For he is inadvertently describing the very society and world that capitalism creates in its own image. The indoctrination of Cameron’s mind and that of the entire political establishment prevents them from seeing the inferno for the sparks. An inferno that the government of Cameron and his Labour predecessors, and in other western countries, have been dousing fuel on with their slavish policies aiding and abetting capitalist kleptocracy, both at home and abroad.

The real lessons from Britain will not dawn on, never mind be drawn on, by mainstream politicians or media. And the same can be said for the US and other western countries. To paraphrase a slogan used by former US President Clinton: “It’s the capitalist economy, stupid.”

Finian Cunningham is a Global Research Correspondent based in Belfast, Ireland.

What is the PSC executive afraid of?

(Post updated on 11 Feb 2011)

The following resolution was vociferously opposed by the Executive Committee of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign at its AGM on 22 January. Since a resolution containing many of the same points had been passed virtually unanimously at the Stop the War conference last year, this came as rather a surprise to the comrade who moved the motion.

We will be writing in more detail about this soon, but in the meantime, a few of the arguments posed against the resolution went like this:

- The list of actions is ‘too prescriptive’; we can’t agree to it.

Rather strange given that most of the other resolutions also had lists of actions attached, which related to the specific spheres of action they were looking at (ie, boycott and divestment, trade-union work, student work etc). In fact, resolutions are by their nature prescriptive. That doesn’t mean the movers expect the actions suggested in it to be carried out exclusively.

Quite clearly, in this case, the idea here was to be complementary to other work being done by the PSC. Equally clearly, this argument is just a cover - perhaps for reasons that the opposers don’t feel comfortable sharing with the rest of us!

- We can’t put resources into campaigning/fundraising for the Gaza protestors; it’s a diversion from what we do.

Unbelievable, considering that it was PSC who called the demo at which these young people were arrested. And crazy, given that if we launched a big campaign to have the sentences overturned, we could really draw attention to the British state’s role in supporting Israel. Not to mention highlighting islamophobia, bringing many more young people and muslims towards the PSC and generally highlighting the issue that people have been criminalised for merely objecting to war crimes!

- We can’t promise to support all those arrested for opposing Israel’s war crimes (including the Gaza protestors); we don’t know who they might be.

The clear implication here was that some of the people being targetted for their principled stand, whether direct action activists or newly politicised young muslims, might somehow be ‘asking for it’!

- We can’t ask workers to refuse to cooperate with war crimes in the current climate, when they’re worried about losing their jobs.

Not sure we really need to comment on this, except to say that you could make the same argument about concentration camp guards! Either it’s a crime or it isn’t. Either we’re against the British state assisting in Israel’s crimes or we’re not. The fact is that we can’t force anyone to do anything they don’t want to - but surely it’s our job to take the arguments to them and help them to make informed decisions? Why is it ok to campaign amongst union members as individuals around the boycott demands, but not to try to mobilise them collectively?

It’s also worth bearing the student example in mind. Two years ago, students were occupying their universities in support of the people of Gaza. The confidence and experience they gained in these actions no doubt contributed to the militancy we’re seeing today in the anti-fees movement and occupations. Far from making working people nervous, encouraging them to use their power to stop crimes against Palestinians might actually help them to get more militant in using their power against the current cuts in benefits, pensions, wages and public services!

It’s clear the above arguments don’t add up, so we have to ask ourselves, just what is it that the PSC national executive is really afraid of? If we want to build a MASS movement in support of Palestine, why are we afraid to try to mobilise broad sections of the working class or muslim communities? And why are we avoiding the question of REAL, CONCRETE solidarity with Palestine?

Jeremy Corbyn’s closing statement blethering on about Early Day Motions in Parliament was a joke. Anyone who knows anything about how the House of Commons works can tell you that EDMs aren’t even relevant within its walls, never mind outside of them. They don’t even get debated!

We were sad to see that not only Betty Hunter, but also PSC deputy chair Kamel Hawwash spoke most shamefully against the resolution, causing much confusion amongst those present as to what could be the reason for so much opposition to something so seemingly innocuous, and so obviously fundamental to our work as actively opposing Israel’s war crimes.

We were also sad at the way the whole debate was handled. It was clear from the inconsistency and illogicality of the opposing arguments that the reasons being put forward in such a hysterial fashion weren’t the actual reasons for the executive opposing the resolution. Several speakers said that ‘while there were many good things in the motion, it was impossible to support it all because of [insert spurious objection to half a sentence here]‘.

But if that was truly the case, why not contact the movers of the resolution about changing it, so as to let the good stuff through? Why not put forward amendments that we would all have had time to read and think about before the conference? Why wait and hijack everybody with an unexpected and baffling ‘controversy’ that many present were simply unable to unravel in the time available?

One possible answer is that the executive is afraid of attracting too much negative attention from the state if it openly supports either the Gaza protestors or the various direct-action anti-war-crimes activists, despite the fact that well publicised campaigns along these lines could do much to broaden the appeal of PSC and to extend the reach of our solidarity message (all of which could make a direct difference to Palestinians).

Another possibility is that the executive is afraid to upset the cosy relationship it has built with various Labour party and trade-union officials by raising the question of direct participation in war crimes by British workers - and their power to withhold that participation - within the unions, many of which spend their time trying to squash the notion of collective power, substituting instead the idea of individual pleas to the better judgement of managers and employers.

This fits with the current PSC strategy of spending much time and resource on ‘lobbying’ to ‘change the minds’ of MPs and MEPs, who are then allocated ‘good’ or ‘bad’ status according to whether they’re happy to sign up to one of the aforementioned Early Day Motions or similar. Instead of mobilising the real power of the British people from the street and demanding that the British state withdraw its support from Israel, many in the PSC leadership would like us to confine ourselves to going cap in hand to parliamentarians and asking them to be nicer.

And if nasty MPs, like those unreasonable employers who say no to trade unionists, decline to sign up to a ‘please be nicer to the poor Palestinians’ request? Well, we tried. Come back next year!

On a more optimistic note, despite the bullocking from the Executive Committee and their trade-union and Labour party friends, around a third of those present voted in favour of the resolution, and many members went away determined to discuss the issue in their branches. We hope they will make the arguments in favour there and come back determined to change the organisation’s policy next year.

Full text of the resolution follows.

No cooperation with war crimes: step up the campaign

In the last year, many important developments have taken place, which on the one hand make the work of actively opposing Israel’s war crimes more urgent, and on the other have created an atmosphere that is more receptive to our message.

In this context, conference notes the passing at the Stop the War conference of a motion calling on the coalition to “take the line of non-cooperation into as many arenas as possible”. This resolution included a detailed programme of activities that could take this work forward, some of which the PSC has already been taking the lead in.

Conference notes the attack on those condemning war crimes that was embodied in the draconian sentences handed down to the Gaza protestors. Congress further notes that these sentences were aimed not only at discouraging muslim youth from political activism, but also at dividing the anti-war and Palestine solidarity movements along racial lines, and branding Palestine solidarity as a ‘muslim’, rather than a human rights or anti-imperialist issue.

Conference condemns the murder by Israeli commandos of ten solidarity activists (nine at the time and one who died later) aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in May, despite the fact that the UN had called for the ships to be allowed to pass. Conference notes the UN’s recent findings that these murders were illegal – another war crime to add to the many being committed daily against the Palestinian people.

Conference commends the excellent work done by PSC in getting an enhanced boycott motion passed at the TUC following the flotilla attack, and notes that the acceptance of much stronger language than previously used reflects the sea change in the attitude of many ordinary British workers towards Israel.

Conference further notes that in the atmosphere of international outrage that followed the flotilla murders, even Israeli-friendly politicians such as Cameron and Hague were forced to make statements condemning both the murders and the siege on Gaza.

Conference reaffirms its support for all those who have taken the lead in active non-cooperation over the past year, in particular for the EDO Decommissioners, for the Gaza protestors, and for the many British participants in siege-busting missions by land and sea to Gaza.

Conference notes that the landmark acquittal in the case of the Decommissioners can only facilitate more actions of this kind, since it not only sets a legal precedent, but is a reflection of the general sense of disgust against Israeli war crimes.

Conference reaffirms its belief that the majority of people in Britain are opposed to British imperialism’s support for the criminal Israeli state, and considers that the time is ripe to make active non-cooperation a central theme of our work. Conference therefore calls on the incoming steering committee to work with Stop the War and any other organisations that are willing in taking the line of non-cooperation into as many arenas as possible, including:

  1. Putting on a fundraising concert to draw attention to the Gaza prisoners’ plight and to raise money towards a campaign to overturn their convictions.
  2. Giving full backing, including maximum possible publicity, to all those groups or individuals, whether affiliated to PSC or not, who, like the EDO Decommissioners and the Raytheon activists, are targeted by the state for refusing to cooperate with, or for actively attempting to prevent the many crimes of the occupation, including: the frequent bombings and shootings of civilians; the destruction of Palestinian homes, farms, schools, hospitals, mosques and churches; the crippling siege of Gaza; the building of the apartheid wall, and the seizure of ever more land in Jerusalem and the West Bank for jewish-only settlement construction.
  3. Building on our existing campaign inside the unions to draw attention to Israeli war crimes, and the complicity of the British government and corporations in those crimes, with the aim of passing in each of them, and then at the TUC, motions condemning those crimes and calling on workers to refuse to cooperate in their commission, whether it be by making or moving munitions or other equipment, writing or broadcasting propaganda, or helping in any other way to smooth the path of Israel’s war machine.
  4. Building on the excellent PSC campaign to draw attention to pro-Israeli propaganda in Panorama and working with such groups as Media Lens (see, for example, their recent alert drawing attention to the media’s total bypassing of evidence revealing Israel’s starvation policy in Gaza) and others to draw in as many members and supporters as possible to an ongoing campaign to hold the media to account for their pivotal role in apologising for, covering up and normalising Israeli war crimes.
  5. Continuing and increasing the work already done to make Britain a place where Israeli war criminals can get no peace, through the campaign on universal jurisdiction, through holding protests, through citizens’ arrests and through all other available channels, including using local, national and international courts to file charges and draw attention to the crimes of Israeli military, government and corporate leaders – and those in Britain who back them politically or financially.