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We congratulate the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on their encouraging performance in recent elections, and reproduce their latest statement and analysis.
The election results confirm the trend for the rallying of forces around the KKE
The EU parliamentary elections on the 25 May 2014 took place in Greece together with the second round of the regional and municipal elections. This was the first time that these two election battles have been conducted in the same period, while it was the first time that the voters could choose their preferred candidates from the lists of the parties (previously, the parties determined the order of preference).
The results of the EU parliamentary elections
Forty-three parties and 1,299 candidates took part in the elections for the 21 seats that Greece has in the EU parliament (one less that in the 2009 elections). Just under 60 percent of the electorate took part in the elections and an atmosphere of polarisation between the two new bourgeois poles was formed.
On the one hand, New Democracy (ND) sought votes so that, as it said, “there will be no instability and derailment from the way out of the crisis”. On the other hand, the new social-democratic party, Syriza, sought the transformation of the elections into a “referendum”, so that it could demonstrate a significant increase and outstrip the dynamism of the governing parties.
With the slogan “we vote on the 25th so that they leave on the 26th”, Syriza set as its goal victory in the EU parliamentary elections so that the government would resign and early parliamentary elections would be declared.
In these difficult political conditions, when the bourgeois parties promoted false dilemmas for the workers, the KKE achieved a small, but tangible, increase (+1.6 percent), in relation to the elections of 2012 and received 6.1 percent of votes cast.
Syriza, although it emerged as the first party, did not manage any increase on the percentage it received in 2012.
The government parties suffered significant losses. The conservative ND fell by 7 percent and the social-democratic Pasok, which participated in the elections with the ‘Olive Tree’ coalition, had losses of 4 percent.
The ‘Democratic Left’, which for a period had participated in the government with ND and Pasok, was crushed, losing 5 percent and remaining outside of the EU parliament.
The rightwing party ‘Independent Greeks’ lost 4 percent.
At the same time, the efforts for the recomposition of the political scene through the strengthening of fascist Golden Dawn (+2.2 percent), as well with the emergence of a new ‘centre’ party, led by a well-known TV star who has a Pasok background. His party, the ‘River’, received 6.5 percent.
The other 34 parties that participated in the elections but did not pass the electoral threshold of 3 percent and did not elect MEPs, received in total around 17 percent of the votes.
So, of the parties that participated in the elections of 2012, only the KKE and fascist Golden Dawn had an increase in terms of votes and percentages.
In addition, the KKE saw its two MEPs re-elected.
This result acquires particular significance because the political line of the KKE is a line of conflict against the capitalist development path and the imperialist EU, the bourgeois class and the parties that serve its interests.
The KKE posed the framework that corresponds to the people’s interests: disengagement from the EU and unilateral cancellation of the debt, with workers’/people’s power and the socialisation of the concentrated means of production.
This framework was attacked by every means at the disposal of the bourgeois and opportunist parties, and by the mechanisms of the bourgeois state, but it lays foundations for the increase of the people’s demands, for the understanding of the class character of the exploitative system and the imperialist predatory alliance.
The results of the second round of the local elections
On 25 May 2014, the second round of the municipal elections was held.
The lists of ‘People’s Rally’ that was supported by the KKE entered the second round of the elections in four municipalities and were victorious in all four of them.
- In the municipality of Patras (the third-largest city in the country) it received 62.4 percent of the votes (it had 25.06 percent in the first round).
- In the municipality of the island of Ikaria it received 50.8 percent of the votes (it had 44.1 percent in the first round).
- In the municipality of Petroupolis (which is in Athens) it received 53 percent of the votes (26.28 percent in the first round).
- In the municipality of Haidari (which is in Athens) it received 68.5 percent of the votes (18.43 percent in the first round).
We should bear in mind that in the first round of the elections, the KKE had a significant increase and had received 8.8 percent of the votes in the country’s 13 regions and an increase in 214 municipalities, electing dozens of councillors in the regions and hundreds in the municipalities.
Statement of Dimitris Koutsoumpas, GS of the CC of the KKE, on the results of the EU parliamentary elections and the second round of the local elections
First of all we would like to thank all the people that responded to the appeal of the KKE, joined forces with it, supported the lists of the KKE and ‘People’s Rally’ in the four municipalities where the KKE has taken part in the second round.
As to the EU parliamentary elections, up until now the KKE has received more than 6 percent, which means hundreds of thousands of votes and the election of two MEPs. In our opinion, this result constitutes a small step; it is the continuation of the positive result of the previous week in the 13 administrative regions of the country, where the party received 8.8 percent of the votes.
This tendency has been expressed, more or less, in municipalities all over the country, where they the lists of the ‘People’s Rally’ had a strong presence.
In the first round, we increased our percentage in 214 municipalities. At the same time, we received over 10 percent in more than 50 municipalities.
In the four municipalities where we took part in the second round, the candidates of the KKE achieved resounding victories.
In difficult conditions, we won the majority in these municipalities, despite the radically different political line expressed by the lists of the KKE compared to all the other lists of the parties, which all support the political line of the EU and capital in local administration as well is a positive development.
The election result as a whole does not demonstrate any reversal of the anti-people political scene; it does not create any ‘new political scene’ in favour of the people.
Of course, it demonstrates the people’s anger towards ND and Pasok, who undertook the burden of implementing the anti-people governmental political line and the ‘EU one-way street’.
Although a significant part of the voters of Syriza made their choice with the expectation of a left orientation, the first position of Syriza does not express any strengthening of the left, radical, anti-monopoly, anti-imperialist political line, since Syriza has abandoned — even in its slogans — any opposition to the monopolies, the EU and to Nato.
The results — above all in the EU parliamentary elections — indicate the consolidation of the tendency to substitute the bankrupted Pasok by Syriza, as part of the reshuffling of the political scene that started in June 2012.
At the same time, the course of other social-democratic formations appears to be volatile — eg, the Olive Tree, which was the main electoral formation of Pasok in the elections. The Olive Tree rallied some forces, but received a smaller percentage than in June 2012. Furthermore, the percentage of the Democratic Left was reduced in favour of The River, which appeared with slogans of a vague and less social-democratic character.
Although the tendency of the KKE to rally forces and receive new votes is positive, the election results as a whole do not express any significant tendency towards the emancipation of the workers’ and people’s forces from the parties of the ‘EU one-way street’ — the interests of capital and the monopolies.
The most extreme expression of this discrepancy is the high percentage of votes cast for Golden Dawn.
The ruling class and the system still possess, unfortunately, significant reserves that allow it to appear with a new mantle. This assessment is based on the votes and programmes both of Syriza, as well as of the Olive Tree and the River.
As a whole, the recomposition of the political system is underway — the creation of new barriers to radicalisation, something that we must specifically monitor in the next period. In the final analysis, nothing has been decided, as the people themselves have not yet utilised their strength.
The election results as a whole in the EU countries can not be anything other than negative for the peoples. It is now necessary in every country — in all the EU countries — for a movement for rupture and disengagement from the EU to develop and to struggle for the overthrow the power of the monopolies.
This movement with these goals must confront and smash fascism-nazism in every country, and in Europe as a whole. We could say that inside this reactionary framework it is positive that the KKE in Greece demonstrates a trend of a small recovery after the strong pressure it was subjected to in June 2012.
The necessity of the recovery and regroupment of the communist and workers’ movement in Europe as a whole has become urgent — especially in France, Germany, Britain, Spain and Italy, to remove itself from the deadly embrace of social democracy, the prettifying of the EU and the political assimilation and participation in the bourgeois anti-people management.
You can be sure that votes for the KKE will be utilised from tomorrow morning in every workplace, in every neighbourhood, in the schools and in the universities — to impede new measures, to struggle for measures to relieve the unemployed, for the regroupment of the labour and people’s movement, for the social People’s Alliance.
The people must rally in the mass radical struggles around the KKE’s proposal for the way out — to organise and confront the anti-people measures that remain and to chart their own course for government and power in their own class interests. They must be rallied in a political line of rupture against the EU.
What is an immediate need is a strong People’s Alliance — a strong people’s opposition and a revived labour-people’s movement, which will confront the capitalist system, the EU, the monopolies and their power, charting a victorious course in favour of the people.
The KKE will continue to show the way for the real pro-people solution for our people, together with the readiness, starting from tomorrow, for a tough confrontation and struggle to relieve the workers, the unemployed, the popular households, the pensioners, the youth, and all those who suffer.
We call on the people to resist the false dilemmas of ’stability and recovery’ vs ‘destabilisation’, the false expectations fostered by the ND-Pasok government, since the ’stability’ and ‘recovery’ will be for big capital and not for the people.
Syriza, on the other hand, neither wants nor is able to save the people and pave the way for the overthrow of capital.
The people should trust in the KKE, which warned and struggled in a timely fashion (and not only with words and slogans), and which is not bound by anti-people decisions, dishonourable signatures and dangerous consensus — unlike the other parties that seek the people’s vote and want either to continue their anti-people work, or to sow illusions and false expectations.
From tomorrow onwards, we must all struggle together to create the preconditions for the revival of the people’s movement for the concentration of forces to the benefit of the people.
We repeat tonight that we are aware of our responsibilities. We must contribute more decisively to the regroupment, the combativeness and mass character of the labour and people’s movement, to the organisation of the daily struggle of the people, to the creation of a great people’s alliance, with the KKE strong everywhere.
We need a strong KKE everywhere in order to prevent worse measures being taken by the anti-people local administrations in the municipalities and regions; so that we can struggle for the satisfaction of the contemporary needs of the people; so that we can pave the way, with the people in the forefront of the developments, for the breaking of the shackles of the EU, the monopolies and their governments — whatever name they may go under.
We congratulate the Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB) on their successful performance in the 25 May elections, and reproduce their latest statement.
On 25 May, three elections took place in Belgium: for the federal, regional and European parliaments. The main winner turns out to be the Flemish nationalist party N-VA (rightist), obtaining more than 33 percent of the vote in Flanders. But there was also a major advance by the Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB), which now enters both the federal parliament and the regional parliaments of Wallonia and Brussels.
Raoul Hedebouw, for the province of Liège, and Marco Van Hees, for Hainaut, have been elected to the federal parliament on the PTB-go! list. Raoul Hedebouw, the PTB’s spokesman stated that,
For the first time in 25 years, a new political family, genuinely leftist, and active in Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels, enters the federal and regional parliaments. We are sending two deputies to the federal parliament, two to the regional parliament of Wallonia and four to the Brussels parliament.
In Wallonia, the PTB-go! list received 5.81 percent of the votes (and in the province of Liège, 8.30 percent), making it the fifth political force in the South of Belgium. In Brussels, the list received 3.84 percent, and, thanks to a technical agreement with some small lists, the undemocratic threshold of 5 percent could be surpassed, giving the PTB-go! no less than four seats in the Brussels parliament.
In Flanders, the PTB waged an exemplary election campaign in a very difficult political context, with the dominance of the Flemish nationalist N-VA, the existence of the fascist party VB and the Green party in a comfortable situation of opposition.
In these conditions, and with the 5 percent threshold, unfortunately the PTB was not able to get its chairman, Peter Mertens, elected, although it got an honourable result of 4.52 percent in the province of Antwerp and 8,85 percent in the city of Antwerp, making it the fourth largest party there.
As regards the elections for the European parliament, the PTB-go! received 5,49 percent of the vote, largely insufficient to obtain a seat (Belgium has only 21 seats in the EP, to be divided over the different language groups).
On election evening, Peter Mertens told party militants gathered in Antwerp:
120 years ago, the first Belgian socialist, Edouard Anseele, who hailed from the Flemish city of Ghent, was elected in the Walloon city of Liège. Anseele spoke the language of the working class. Today, Raoul Hedebouw has been elected in Liège as well, and he will also speak the language of the entire working class.
We are a national party that cannot be divided — not by place of birth nor by the language spoken at the kitchen table. For us, what prevails is the social interest of the people, of all people in this country.
During this long election campaign, we have laid the foundations for a strong social current at the grassroots level, and we will absolutely need this in the years to come. Our commitment is to defend the interests of the working class, in all its diversity; of the youth, with all its dynamism; of the voiceless, of those whom this society considers as nothing but numbers; of all people who are going through difficult times.
Raoul Hedebouw, national spokesman of the PTB, echoed these words at the party meeting in Liège:
As member of parliament elected for a national party, I will also be the representative of the workers of Flanders, in Antwerp, Limburg and Ghent. And no, the votes for the PTB are not protest votes, they are votes of hope. Votes for a left that refuses austerity policies, that believes that we, the workers, will further build up self-confidence in order to be able to write the social history of this country.
We warn the traditional parties: if you plan to impose more austerity measures as is the case elsewhere in Europe, you will find yourselves confronted with the PTB deputies, as with the workers who want to stop these policies of budget cuts.
With these election results, and on the basis of an enthusiastic campaign, the PTB commits itself, in the words of its president Peter Mertens, to build, stone upon stone, a social future.
We congratulate our comrades in Sinn Féin for their excellent performance in recent council and European elections. The party won the largest number of first preference votes in the north’s local government elections, while it secured the highest number of councillors across the 26 counties. Sinn Féin now also presents four MEPS to the European parliament.
We reproduce extracts from various articles to summarise the events.
‘Shindependents Day’ as political landscape is transformed
“Something profound has happened in the people’s attitudes to politics,” said Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald, as results came in across the 26 counties on Saturday.
“Sinn Féin has not has this strength since 1918,” said party leader Gerry Adams, recalling the original election under the leadership of Arthur Griffith, which inspired the struggle for national independence from British rule.
The party made incredible gains on city councils in Dublin and Cork, and is set to be the dominant party on both councils. In Limerick and Waterford, and in towns and rural areas across the 26 counties, the party doubled and tripled its representation or broke entirely new ground.
There was also a huge increase in support for independent candidates and the small left-wing parties. With 292 out of 949 seats filled by the end of counting on Saturday night, Sinn Féin won 81, Independents and Others 77, Fianna Fáil 76, Fine Gael 47, and Labour 11.
After months of fractious debates and contentious media coverage, the polls were largely borne out, although the result has still deeply shocked the political establishment. In the next Dublin parliament, Sinn Féin will now almost certainly be on a par with the two traditional conservative parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael — a radical rebalancing of politics in the 26-county state, which for years treated Sinn Féin as an irrelevant ‘other’.
The question now is how these three parties with a historic distaste for each other can form a government after the next general election in 2016, and what kind of coalition, if any, can emerge.
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has said the day marked a “step change in politics”. Speaking at the Dublin West by-election count in Citywest this evening, where Paul Donnelly came very close to winning a seat, he said that the party was open to the possibility of coalition government.
We need two things, one is to be in government — a mandate — the other one is an agreed programme for government. The second could be more challenging than the first. The other parties are now wedded to conservatism, austerity.
He said that the party wants to see a “realignment of politics” which he hopes would be “accelerated after this election”.
He said he did not know if his recent arrest and interrogation by the PSNI had an impact on the Sinn Féin result.
Mr Adams said:
What we do know is it galvanised our own activists and I would like to think that the way that we responded to those events was positive and that that may have helped.
Mr Adams said that he heard some members of the coalition condescendingly dismissing Sinn Fein’s gains as “the people giving us a scolding”.
He says what has happened is that the people have given “profound notice that that want to quit this type of politics”.
We’re the largest party in Derry, in Belfast, in Mid-Ulster and perhaps now in Dublin and Meath.
I keep stressing in my interviews, we want to use our mandate wisely, people are hurting. It’s what I’m hearing when I talk to people. I would appeal to people who seek change. I’d appeal to people to join the party, we’re here to build a democratic republican party across the island of Ireland.
Adams thanked those who had worked to deliver the result for Sinn Féin, but admitted there wasn’t the “resources, infrastructure or capacity” to run the number of candidates or scale of campaign he would have wanted. However, he said Sinn Féin will continue to build from their result.
I think we have been mandated to change, this is a change of the political landscape in this state. Sinn Féin is here and Sinn Féin is here to stay.
Sinn Féin singing as it elects fourth MEP
Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy has just become the party’s fourth MEP after being elected after seven counts in a marathon count in Castlebar, County Mayo.
As the new totals were announced, finally confirming he had passed the quota, supporters cheered and held his hands aloft. As the presiding officer deemed him elected, he was hoisted up on shoulders and lusty singing broke out among his Monaghan-based team.
In advance of his election as member of the European parliament for the Midlands-North-West constituency, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams hailed the election of the party’s first male male MEP. “Quite an achievement,” he tweeted.
Mr Carthy’s surplus will now decide the recipient of the fourth and final seat in the constituency, which is likely to go to Sligo-based independent incumbent Marian Harkin. That result could incredibly see the three establishment parties deprived of three out of the four seats in Ireland’s largest Euro constituency.
Sinn Féin sings
On Monday night, Sinn Féin’s Liadh Ní Riada was elected as MEP for Ireland South. She was elected on the fourth round of counting that only concluded this evening, two days after counting began.
The returning officer had barely announced the result when Sinn Féin and the O Riada clan, one of the most acclaimed traditional music families in the country, starting singing in close harmony.
Brother Peadar produced an accordion and members of a traditional choir gathered round and performed a rendition of ‘Mo Gille Mear’, a song with deep personal connections to the O Riada family. Peadar said:
That was originally a recruiting song in the Gaelic nation 300 years ago. And when my father Sean died, I started using it as an anthem to try and draw us together as a community.
Corkwoman Ms Ní Riada was elected on the fourth count with 132,590 votes, nearly nine hours after Fianna Fáil poll topper Brian Crowley.
The former Irish television producer was virtually unknown outside arts and culture circles up until a few months ago.
She thanked “every single person” who voted for her and said that her election was a victory for the ordinary people of Ireland.
Speaking from the count centre, she said there was a “better, fairer alternative” to the politics of austerity and cuts.
My election is a victory for ordinary people who have suffered so much under the regressive policies pushed by the European Commission and implemented with such relish by successive governments here at home.
Diarmuid O’Flynn of Ballyhea protest group narrowly failed to secure election in the face of careful vote management by Fine Gael, which secured two seats in the South constituency. O’Flynn led a campaign which marched weekly against the 28 billion euro ‘bondholder bailout’ of international investors and speculators who held stakes in Irish banks.
Ms Ní Riada said the Dublin government and MEPs had failed to lift the “toxic banking debt” off the shoulders of the Irish people.
This is an injustice and it must be addressed and addressed genuinely — not just kicking the debt down the road to be endured by future generations. It is not our debt and it is not the debt of our children and grandchildren.
In the north, all three outgoing European MPs were re-elected for another term after another a lengthy count in Belfast, and almost five days after polling took place.
On Monday evening, Sinn Féin’s Martina Anderson was declared elected after she topped the poll and reached the quota. Giving her acceptance speech a day after she was elected, Ms Anderson noted that Sinn Féin was on its way to taking four seats across the island of Ireland and hailed the party’s success.
The voices of the voters have been heard throughout Ireland, they have endorsed the Sinn Féin message that there is a fair way. The Sinn Féin result is part of a national story reflecting the growth of support for Sinn Féin’s strategy for change. There will be a national Sinn Féin team of MEPs going to Europe who will put Ireland first — north, south, east and west.
None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who believe they are free - Goethe
Red Youth statement of aims: We Want Freedom!
The following short piece was written by a CPGB-ML member in reply to a Facebook discussion on the usefulness of participating in bourgeois elections.
We should understand that democracy is not an abstract concept, but a class one. Democracy means imposing the will of one section of the population on another. In a class society, democracy is always democracy for the ruling class and dictatorship over the oppressed.
What Comrade N is really objecting to is bourgeois or capitalist democracy, which is democracy for the capitalists and a dictatorship over everyone else. That is why Marx called bourgeois democracy the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, in which workers are allowed to choose once every four or five years which representative of the ruling class should oppress them in parliament.
Our goal as socialists is to smash capitalism – the rule of the billionaires who control our industry, our media, our elections and our governments – and replace it with the dictatorship of the proletariat. That is, democracy for the majority (for the first time ever in this country!), but a dictatorship over and strict repression of the exploiters and their hangers-on who want to get back their privilege and power.
The proletarian democracy ushered in under socialism will be the widest yet, with the broadest-ever real (as opposed to pretend) participation. But any democracy involves repression and coercion of those who do not agree to the decisions taken under its rule. The exploiting classes consider proletarian democracy to be the most dictatorial state possible, because they are the ones being repressed. And, through their control of the media and political institutions, they ask us to identify with their feelings on the subject.
Comrade N is absolutely right – we need to stop identifying with our oppressors and look with fresh eyes at what is really going on. This system does not serve us and cannot be made to serve us.
When real socialists and communists stand for parliament or other elections, they do so not to try to make the system work for ordinary people, but to expose it in their eyes, and therefore develop a revolutionary consciousness among those who still harbour illusions that a change of personnel can bring about a change in the nature of the system.
Sadly, I’m not aware of any real socialists or communists standing for election this time around. So all we can do is get on with building our movement to the point that it has the resources to put such candidates forward in a meaningful way.
Read more about what proletarian democracy looks like here: The Socialist Sixth of the World by Hewlett Johnson.
Appeal from the Central Committee of the Communist party of Ukraine
The current government of Ukraine is carrying out a policy to create intolerable conditions for the existence of the Communist Party of Ukraine, as well as pressing towards banning its activity.
We want to inform you that Ukrainian secret service is actively collecting materials about the activity of the Communist Party, falsifying CPU documents, creating activist databases, destroying property and real estate with the help of controlled radicals [ie, spies], banning electioneering work with voters, and organising moral pressure and physical attacks on communist members of the Ukrainian parliament and on heads of regional party committees.
Today it is officially admitted that the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine expects contributions from the secret service and is going to ask the Supreme Court of Ukraine to ban the Communist Party of Ukraine. Top officials of Ukraine are responsible for such activity. Among them are the head of national security and the defence council Andriy Parubiy, the head of the security service Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, the head of parliament and Acting President of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchinov, etc.
This reinforces the harsh treatment of all Ukrainian communists, who are the only political force that has always pursued a policy of defending the interests of ordinary people. The Communist Party of Ukraine now represents a real threat to the current government, given its integrity and unity. The Communist party of Ukraine is one link for millions of people dissatisfied with the actions of the authorities and their allies – the ultra-radical forces.
Putting the question of violence over the objectionable political force, the current government reiterates its anti-people, anti-state and divisive policy that uses double standards – and, under the guise of fighting for ‘European’ values, actually contradicts itself, transforming Ukraine into a country with a fascist dictatorship.
Accusing its opponents of disloyalty and demanding that they renounce their beliefs, the current government of Ukraine are proving that they no longer recognise democracy, freedom of speech, or the supremacy of law.
However, as one can never attain peace by inciting hatred and xenophobia, the current government of Ukraine are provoking social conflict and creating the conditions for a civil war.
We appeal to you, dear comrades, to show solidarity with 120,000 Ukrainian communists, and by a united front to condemn the system’s actions of the Ukrainian authorities to ban the Communist party of Ukraine.
The First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine, the head of the parliamentary faction of Communists in the Ukrainian Parliament
Iris at the memorial meeting for Godfrey in 2012, and in Shackleton Hall, Birmingham with Godfrey and Katt in 1984.
Always there, always inspiring others – an unflappable leader, and a humble servant of the working class.
It is with great sadness that the CPGB-ML has to announce the death of one of its key founder members, Comrade Iris Cremer. She died peacefully on the evening of Wednesday 2 April, just five weeks after she had been diagnosed with an aggressive and already far-advanced lung cancer. Comrades and family were at her side.
Iris leaves behind a daughter, Katt, and a grandson, Fred – along with a host of honorary sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, grandsons and granddaughters to whom she was a mother, sister, aunt and grandmother in all the ways that really count.
Iris’s contribution to the British working-class movement was incalculable. For 45 years she worked tirelessly and without ego, thinking only of what needed to be done and what would bring British workers closer to socialism. To her own convenience or preference, she was utterly oblivious.
Despite the heartbreak of losing her lifelong partner, husband and comrade-in-arms Godfrey Cremer two years ago, Iris never flagged in her commitment or her activity. Quite the reverse in fact – after his death, Iris not only carried on determinedly with her own work but also did everything she could to fill the huge gap that Godfrey had left in our ranks.
As a couple, Iris and Godfrey set the bar high. With a common purpose in life, the strength of their union was reinforced daily, and their shared priority was always to get the work done, come what may. On the morning of their wedding, they were writing a leaflet for a Palestine demo. And on the morning of the day she died, Iris instructed her daughter Katt to hold off calling the ambulance for 40 minutes while acetates for printing the latest issue of Proletarian were printed out. She left home for the last time content in the knowledge that the printing workers could carry on and that the paper would be published by nightfall.
It was Iris and Godfrey’s great sadness to live in a country and at a time when the communist movement was temporarily retreating. Nevertheless, Iris was the stuff that revolutions are made of – dogged, determined, completely single-minded and utterly uninterested in herself. She would have been as at home on the Long March as she was mailing papers and manning literature stalls – no sacrifice or difficulty was too much for her, and nothing made her hesitate in her commitment.
Iris was a hard taskmaster – but because she drove herself far harder than she drove anyone else, and because she never criticised or scolded, she was able to encourage people to work without them realising she had done so – usually with a smile or a kind word, and always with an understanding tone to her voice that made those she spoke to feel special and valued.
Together with Comrade Godfrey, she lived a life that, just as much as anything they read at study classes hosted in the Cremers’ living room, taught a whole generation just what it meant to really be a communist. Their selfless, work-focused home was as warm and welcoming a place as any of us have ever known, and their example lives on in all who had the good fortune to experience their generous hospitality and gentle guidance.
Indeed, in this world of alienation and stress, where so many people are searching fruitlessly to find individual paths to personal fulfilment, Iris and Godfrey had found a formula for true happiness. A shared purpose and a life dedicated solely to that goal and lived entirely for others kept them calm despite the mountains of work that constantly confronted them, and kept them positive and determined despite the apparent enormity of the task they had set themselves.
Iris’s many political contributions are too numerous to be listed here. Having met her close comrades the Brars in the women’s movement in the late 1960s, she went on with them and Comrade Ella Rule to form the Union of Women for Liberation and then the Association of Communist Workers in the early 1970s.
A committed proletarian internationalist, she opposed British imperial policy in all its forms. In her younger years, she was especially active in the anti-Vietnam war movement, and in her solidarity with the Irish and Zimbabwean armed struggles. Later on, she gave the same dedication to opposing the British imperialist wars against Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria – never giving an inch to the imperialist propaganda that threw so many in the anti-war movement off their course.
Her hatred of imperialism and its divide-and-rule policy meant that she was equally active in opposing racism at home on the streets of Britain. In fact, she gave many years of her life to working for a progressive organisation of which she was not even a member – the Indian Workers Association (IWA-GB) – since she believed that it gave opportunities to bring revolutionary theory to at least some of the masses in Britain at a time when the revisionist CPGB (and later the CPB) and others who called themselves communist were abandoning that task.
Through the ACW, and through her practical support for Comrade Harpal Brar’s work as editor of the IWA’s journal Lalkar, Comrade Iris was part of a small but vital movement to keep Marxist-Leninist science alive in Britain. To this end, she spent a small legacy when her uncle died in 1979 on buying a printing press, to which she and Godfrey were chained from that moment forwards.
From the time of her involvement with those organisations there is hardly a single ACW or IWA leaflet, nor a single issue of Lalkar or of our own party’s paper Proletarian, that Iris did not have a hand in producing. Understanding the vital importance of theoretical understanding as a guide for the working-class movement, she gladly took on any and every practical task to facilitate bringing the knowledge and the masses together – whether writing, laying out, printing, collating, posting or selling on the streets.
No meeting was too small for her to attend, and no potential comrade too marginal to be worthy of her full attention. If she thought it might further the cause of humanity’s liberation, Iris, like Godfrey, was totally unstinting of her time.
She was also a great organiser upon whom a whole host of practical responsibilities rested. Almost every party stall, demo contingent and public meeting in London was run under Iris’s watchful eye – delegating where possible or simply doing herself what needed to be done to make sure that every event was as successful as possible.
For many years she was also one of the main driving forces behind the Stalin Society. The society was formed in 1991 when a group of anti-revisionist communists that included many of our own leading comrades came together in response to the collapse of the USSR, and in opposition to the deluge of anti-Soviet and anti-Stalin propaganda that followed the collapse. Understanding that the attacks on Stalin were in fact attacks on Leninism and on the building of socialism, the society set itself the unfashionable task of defending the world’s first and mightiest socialist state, and of countering the plethora of lies about its achievements and its leadership.
As secretary of the Stalin Society, Comrade Iris for years coordinated its programme, managed the practical aspects of meetings and communicated with the society’s members. She was greatly cheered in her last months to see the establishment of a host of new Stalin Societies around the world. Many of these have been directly inspired by the work of the British society, and all of them are a recognition of the fact that the question of Soviet socialism and Stalin’s leadership of socialist construction is becoming more, not less relevant as time goes by and as the crisis of the capitalist system deepens.
It was the great joy of both Iris and Godfrey’s life to see their long years of struggle come to fruition in the founding of our own party 10 years ago. They had put huge efforts over seven years in the attempt to build Arthur Scargill’s Socialist Labour Party (SLP) into a real alternative to the social-democratic left in Britain, and into bringing a Marxist understanding to the party. However, having been eventually expelled by Scargill and his acolytes for this activity, our founding comrades decided that the time was ripe to found a new, truly revolutionary party in Britain.
Long years of even harder work followed, as our small band had to establish a presence on the ground, to develop a consistent policy and analysis that could demonstrate our worth and seriousness to British workers, and to break through the barriers of hostility and suspicion that greeted our arrival on the political scene.
Iris and Godfrey threw themselves into this work. They never doubted that it was the right thing to do, or that it would eventually succeed. In the last weeks of both their lives, the subject to which their conversation turned again and again was the great encouragement they felt when looking at the direction and growth of our party, and at the seriousness and commitment of its new young cadres.
Comrade Iris lived her life for the struggle – she was truly the stuff that revolutions are made of. As we bid a last farewell to one who was a mother, an aunt, a sister and a comrade to so many, we make the only tribute our fallen comrade would ask of us – we promise that the example she set us will strengthen our resolve and that we will continue to struggle until the final victory of socialism in Britain.
Red salute to Comrade Iris Cremer, soldier of the revolution.
Iris’s funeral will be held on Thursday 17 April. All comrades and friends are invited to come and give her the send-off she deserves.
Iris Cremer’s funeral will be held at 3.00pm on Thursday 17 April at Mortlake Crematorium in south-west London.
Kew Meadow Path
All comrades, family and friends are welcome. You are also invited to join us from 5.00pm for a wake at Saklatvala Hall in Southall, where there will be food, drink, photos on display and a memorial book for anyone who wishes to write in.
Map showing the hall
No flowers please, but Iris’s family and comrades would welcome donations to the CPGB-ML. Our project to buy a new printing press was particularly dear to Comrade Iris’s heart.
Mercenaries from all over the world are using safe houses in Turkey as a base for jihadist attacks on Syria
The cornered rats infesting Syria are being driven into an ever-deeper hole by the patriotic forces. As they descend deeper into murderous internecine squabbling within their own ranks, the West is finding it ever harder to prevent a true and shameful record of the proxy war from swimming into clearer focus.
One shining example of this is the comprehensive report, signed off by numerous prominent Turkish lawyers, intellectuals and journalists, which was issued in December 2013 under the title War Crimes Committed Against the People of Syria.
Put together by the Peace Association of Turkey and Lawyers for Justice, the report sets itself the task of drawing up a charge sheet of the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed not only by the terrorist gangs themselves but also by those who support these gangs from the outside – not least Erdogan and his cronies.
Origins of the proxy war
Running through the background to Syria’s crisis, the authors suggest that, whilst popular democratic concerns over neo-liberal aspects of the government’s economic policy and decreased agricultural subsidies underlay some of the original protests, what was opened up by the ‘Day of Rage’ in Dera’a on 15 March 2011 rapidly took on a quite different political colouration.
Despite the accommodating responses by the Ba’ath-led coalition in succeeding months (including the 19 April end of the long-standing state of emergency and the constitutional referendum of 26 April, endorsed by 89.4 percent of voters, under which the state guaranteed multi-party elections and a legal opposition), the jihadist grip on the opposition, running to an agenda set by imperialism and played out by its lackeys in the region, very rapidly made itself felt.
The report makes it clear that armed gangs had already emerged from the shadows before the end of March 2011 – an armed ‘opposition’ with zero interest in Syria’s secular and democratic development.
The main body of the report provides a harrowing but invaluable record of the subsequent long and bloody trail of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the West’s stooges, constituting a body of evidence that cries out for a Nuremberg Tribunal to put it into practical effect and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Of particular interest is the part of the report that throws light on the Turkish state’s reactions when the Turkish border town of Reyhanli was bombed on 11 May 2013 in a murderous car-bomb attack.
It will be remembered how Erdogan and his western backers instantly tried to pin the blame on Damascus, before even bothering to look at any evidence. Yet a subsequent leak of police correspondence proved that the authorities knew as early as 25 April that such an attack was planned by al-Qaeda … and did absolutely nothing to stop it.
Having failed to back up with any evidence the accusation against Damascus, the authorities did the next best thing – and pinned the blame on a non-existent group called the ‘People’s Liberation Army of Turkey’ – a group that turned out to have been defunct for the past 20 years!
Erdogan’s laborious efforts to avoid drawing the obvious conclusion – that the outrage in Reyhanli was in fact the work of the very terrorists to whom he offered aid and succour – were not helped when al-Qaeda itself belatedly laid claim to the deed.
The authorities then demonstrated that they were more interested in punishing alleged whistleblowers than catching terrorists. The report notes that “Officials focused on finding whoever leaked the document instead of inspecting the criminals of the explosion and bringing them to the court.”
To this end, a private was accused of involvement in “leaking the documents regarding state security and its political interests”. However, the case against him collapsed in November 2013 when, says the report, “it was seen that statements of witnesses were contradictory while the evidences were unlawful”.
Reyhanli appears elsewhere in the report, this time in the context of cross-border smuggling – to which the authorities also turn a blind eye.
It seems that the streets of Reyhanli frequently play host to luxury cars driven over from Bulgaria with a view to purchase by gangs in Syria. There is also a brisk trade in four-wheel drives from Hatay, some of which go on to be kitted out with heavy weaponry for use in Syria.
As the Turkish report notes:
It is not possible for the Syrians in our country to organise this illegal trafficking without the support of our government or a mafia structure.
Turkey’s ‘refugee’ camps
The report is also illuminating on the status of the camps dotted along the border that Turkey shares with Syria.
For years, the public has been told that the 20 or so camps along the Turkish side of the divide are ‘safe havens’ for ‘innocent refugees’ fleeing the Syrian army. The reality, however, is that the whole border area has been transformed by years of proxy war into a hellish war zone within which there is little safety or comfort for anyone, Syrian or Turk alike.
The camps, laid on by Ankara at a cost of US$1.5bn, give sanctuary to the armed gangs that hold sway in those areas – enabling them to ply their evil trade in Syria then melt back across the porous border.
It is clear that Ankara’s funding for these camps has been motivated by anything but humanitarian concerns.
It was pointed out by the Humanitarian Aid and Solidarity Platform, in a letter to the UN High Commissioner for refugees, that the “establishment of the refugee camps a few kilometres close to the border is both against the Refugee Law and also poses a risk for the unarmed refugees”.
This is especially so when the same camps also harbour armed fighters – as was admitted and ‘justified’ by foreign affairs minister Davutoglu when he told the Turkish parliament: “It must be appreciated that order is necessary to avoid problems. It is normal for refugees who are also security elements [!!] to be specially treated.” A statement in direct contravention of the provisions in the UN charter requiring universal disarmament in the camps.
Also running counter to international law has been the transformation of the camps into a political circus – with Erdogan sharing joint platforms with ‘opposition’ luminaries to cheer on the troops.
A report from the Turkish human-rights association IHD cites another flagrant abuse in the systematic discrimination practised in the camps, with Kurds, Circassians and other war victims barred on sectarian grounds.
The report includes the moving testimony of the father of one young man who has been misled onto the path of terrorism.
Twenty-two-year-old Burak Yazici was sent to Syria by jihadist groups. Before he left, he told his father: “I have to cut off the heads of Assad’s men and become a mortar. I cannot answer to God if I fail.”
His anguished father points the finger of blame for his son’s death at the Turkish government:
How did he cross the border? I am calling out to the minister of foreign affairs and the interior minister: how do these kids go to Syria? How does my son travel without a passport? Does not this country have a border?
We welcome the courageous decision by progressive Turkish lawyers and writers to publish what amounts to a charge sheet detailing the crimes for which their own government deserves to stand trial, and we look forward to the day when not only Erdogan and his cronies but imperialism and all its lackeys come to face the court of revolutionary justice.
On Erdogan’s current performance, this day might come sooner rather than later.
Report: War Crimes Committed Against the People of Syria
By the Marxist Workers School of South Africa, 15 December 2013
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the first democratic-elected president of the Republic of South Africa, revolutionary and freedom fighter, commander-in-chief of Umkhonto weSizwe, political prisoner, statesman and beloved father of the nation, died on the 5 December 2013.
South Africa is in mourning. Africa mourns, and, indeed, hundreds of millions of people around the world are mourning.
How did a political prisoner of 27 years, classified as a terrorist not only by the apartheid state but by all western powers, become so loved that a young woman in Brooklyn, New Jersey, when interviewed on TV remarked: “Mandela is the only state president who will be missed”?
The question is, what does Nelson Mandela personify, and what does he stand for which makes him tower above others?
To understand who Mandela was, we need to go back deep into the dark days of Apartheid, when the National Party came to power.
Within the ANC, a conservative leadership had taken control, which had no strategy to counter the offensive of white capital and its National Party state structure. Within the ANC Youth League, a new and more radical leadership formed itself around Walter Sisulu, Nelson Mandela and Robert Sobukwe.
These young revolutionaries were inspired by the anti-colonial struggle gripping Africa at the time; they were inspired by the ant-imperialist struggles throughout the oppressed world; they reached out to the progressive white community; and they recognised the Indian and Coloured communities in South Africa as part of the oppressed and formed an alliance with representative organisations from those communities in a common struggle for freedom and democracy.
Most importantly, instead of debating the plight of our oppressed people in small circles, they went to the masses, organising them around such concrete issues as education, living conditions and political repression.
Through effective mobilisation, they not only frustrated some of the repressive measures of the apartheid system but eventually took over the leadership of the ANC itself.
The movement grew to become such a formidable force that the Apartheid government was unable to control and subdue it. In desperation, the state resorted to mass killings like the Sharpeville massacre.
The response of the people was to redouble their efforts of resistance and to stage even more mass protests. The regime then responded by banning the ANC, PAC and other political parties. All political activities, public gatherings and demonstrations were banned.
Nelson Mandela, together with Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, Govern Mbeki, Raymond Mhlaba, Andrew Mlangeni, Billy Nair, Dennis Goldberg, Rusty Bernstein and others took the historical decision to go underground so as to continue the political struggle of the ANC.
They also formed a military wing of the movement called Umkhonto weSizwe – the Spear of the Nation – in order to confront reactionary and fascist state violence with revolutionary people’s violence. The armed struggle was born.
It is this historic and principled decision, in a situation in which all doors had been closed to peaceful protest, to call for mass mobilisation and armed struggle in order to defeat the enemy that made Mandela a true leader.
He became the first commander-in-chief of Umkhonto weSizwe. After his arrest, which the CIA was instrumental in bringing about, Mandela and nine other ANC leaders were put on trial.
Like Comrade Georgi Dimitrov, who used his trial by the German fascist state to expose Nazi fascism to the whole world, Mandela used his own trial to expose the racist nature of the apartheid system and to defend democratic and anti-racist principles. He closed his defence with the now famous statement:
During my lifetime, I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.
This statement reflected the aspirations of millions of oppressed black working men and women throughout South Africa. His refusal to bow under pressure, torture and repression was a reflection of the steadfastness of our people. Mandela was one with our people.
He was sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labour. He went on to break stones together with other political prisoners under the hot African sun from dawn to dusk for many, many years.
The apartheid state, in accordance with its cruel nature, took those stones from Robben Island and used them to build monuments, court houses and many other symbols of its tyrannical rule and for the glory of the apartheid system.
Mandela did not once complain about his fate. Instead, he was at the forefront of organising the struggle for better conditions within the prison, demanding proper medical care for prisoners, the right to read newspapers and books, and the right of political prisoners to study.
Above all, and from his first day behind bars, he spearheaded the struggle of political prisoners to be treated with dignity.
As a result of these struggles, a number of political prisoners in the 1970s and 80s left Robben Island highly educated. By 1994, many were ready to take up positions in the newly-formed democratic South Africa.
In 1984/85 the struggle intensified. The underground structures of the ANC, the labour movement and the United Democratic Front developed into a mass movement, and South Africa became ungovernable.
The apartheid state approached Mandela and offered him and all other imprisoned leaders the chance to walk out of prison on the condition that they renounce the armed struggle.
This strategy, most certainly under the recommendation of US and British advisors, was aimed at dividing the ANC into exiled and internal wings, and then at setting one faction against the other.
Mandela refused to comply, however. Instead, he issued a statement confirming his unconditional support for the armed struggle and reaffirmed the unity of the ANC under the leadership of Oliver Tambo. He further stated that he would walk out of prison with no conditions attached or he would not walk out at all.
The apartheid strategy to divide the ANC collapsed. It was this principled stand that earned Mandela the respect of the entire movement. Four years later, when Oliver Tambo had just suffered a stroke, all political prisoners were released and Nelson Mandela emerged from prison as the unquestioned leader of the ANC and of the entire democratic mass movement against apartheid.
During the Kempton Park negotiations, he emerged, even before being inaugurated as the first democratically-elected president of South Africa, as a statesmen overshadowing the last apartheid president to such an extent that at the end of negotiations de Klerk was reduced to an ordinary member at the negotiating table.
Mandela exposed de Klerk as a man without integrity in full view of the entire nation when he caught him back-stabbing and double-dealing.
Just before the 1994 elections, ANC security found out that de Klerk and a number of army officers in the South African defence force were planning a military coup d’état.
Mandela understood that the South African Defence Force was still loyal to the arch-racist PW Botha, who had been the apartheid president before de Klerk. He travelled directly to Botha’s residence and, during an extremely heated encounter, insisted that Botha call off the coup, warning that if it went ahead he would call for an all-out war of armed resistance.
Botha backed down and called off the coup, and Mandela helped South Africa avoid what could have been one of the most brutal and barbaric civil wars of the 20th century. This moment was the end of de Klerk’s political life, and Mandela will be remembered for generations to come as the leader who rose up to the occasion, avoiding bloodshed and genocide and ushering in the first democratic government in the history of our country.
Mandela was able to talk with authority, to threaten PW Botha and stand his ground because the entire resistance movement stood as one man behind him, determined and disciplined.
No sooner had Nelson Mandela been inaugurated as the state president than the imperialist countries, especially the United States, escalated their pressure on him to distance himself from socialist Cuba and its leader Comrade Fidel Castro, to distance himself from Libya and its leader Muammar Gaddafi, and to distance himself from supporting the national-liberation struggle of the Palestinian people and the chairman of the PLO, Yasser Arafat.
Nelson Mandela stood firm and held his ground, however. He declared that Cuba and Libya, Fidel and Gaddafi, had supported the anti-Apartheid struggle throughout our darkest years. There was a bond of friendship between our people born out of a common struggle, he said; we will not betray our friends.
On the issue of Palestine, Mandela declared that the struggle of the Palestinian people for national liberation against zionism was a just struggle. We will stand shoulder to shoulder with the Palestinian people and their just struggle, he confirmed.
Ultimately, imperialism had to give up its pressure. Every confrontation with Mandela exposed the reactionary role and intentions of imperialism. Intellectually, the occupants of the White House and Downing Street were no match for Mandela and his integrity!
In the build-up to the Nato invasion of Iraq, Mandela openly confronted the United States, exposing its bloodthirsty and inhuman plans and condemning the invasion as a crime against humanity!
Obama, in his typically hypocritical speech at Johannesburg’s FNB stadium, where the world met to mourn the passing of Comrade Nelson, declared that Mandela had taught him to be a “better man”.
Perhaps this would have been more convincing if, as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the United States of America, Obama had done something to stop the endless slaughter of men, women and children in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Somalia.
Perhaps he could start by ending the torture and sodomising of political prisoners, dismantle the US’s secret torture prisons and close the Guantánamo Bay concentration camp.
Perhaps he could start by removing the US’s armed forces from close to 100 countries around the world and instead behave like the representative of a civilised country amongst civilised countries.
Perhaps he could start by ending the barbaric 60-year economic boycott against socialist Cuba and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – two countries that pose absolutely no threat to the United States.
Perhaps he could start by destroying the biggest arsenal of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons in the world – namely, the weapons of mass destruction of the United States.
US imperialism has inflicted mass murder and genocide, committed war crimes and launched barbaric military invasions against the peoples of Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq, Libya and Syria. In the last 50 years alone, it has installed brutal military juntas all over Latin America, Africa and Asia.
George Bush, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama have nothing in common with Mandela the revolutionary, with Mandela the statesman, or with Mandela the man, who more than once put his own life on the line to avoid bloodshed and civil war.
The heads of all western imperialist countries were present at Mandela’s funeral. Not because they share any of his noble values, but because all of them are in desperate need to be seen to be ‘close’ to Mandela – the only president in the world who is admired and respected by the masses in the imperialist countries.
This is especially true following the criminal invasion of Iraq in 2003, justified by imperialist leaders on the basis of ‘evidence’ of Iraq’s weapon of mass destruction that turned out to be complete fabricated.
It is especially true following the introduction of the ‘no-fly zone’ in Libya, which was justified by the imperialists as being necessary in order to ‘save peaceful demonstrators’. Twenty-four hours later, the world’s people watched in horror as Nato forces launched terror-bombing raids that paved the way for a counter-revolution to destroy all the social, political and economic achievements of the Libyan revolution since the overthrow of feudalism 40 years ago – inflicting terror and genocide against black Libyans in the process.
Moreover, the imperialists organised and coordinated the barbaric slaughter of the popular leader of the Libyan revolution, Muammar Gaddafi, and of thousands of other Libyan revolutionaries.
And since then, in the last two years, the world has witnessed how US, British and French imperialism has organised and financed the counter-revolution in Syria. The routine slaughtering of hundreds of thousands of people, and the destruction of entire states has once again become the order of the day.
Millions of ordinary people around the world, including in the imperialist countries, are aware of these crimes committed in the name of freedom and democracy. The leaders of the so-called ‘Free World’ have been exposed as war criminals, as brutal oppressors and shameless warmongers.
In order to save at least a bit of their damaged image, and driven by sheer desperation as their war crimes are catching up with them, they huddled around Mandela’s body, mumbling phrases about ‘forgiveness’ and becoming a ‘better person’. But Mandela will not exonerate them of their crimes and their victims will neither forget nor forgive them.
Progressive and revolutionary forces around the world should expose these imperialist leaders as opportunists, liars and charlatans. They have nothing in common with Mandela, and we should make sure that they do not succeed in driving a wedge between the real Mandela and the anti-colonial, anti-apartheid and anti-imperialist struggles of our people in South Africa, Africa and the world.
The desperate efforts of our exploiters and oppressors to define who Mandela was, what he stood for and what values he represented, using cinema, TV, radio and print, is nothing but cultural imperialism at its worst.
The aim of this propaganda is to colonise our minds, weaken our resolve, split the anti-imperialist struggles of Africa and open the gates for a full-scale economic and military recolonisation of our continent.
Needless to say, all their reactionary plans will ultimately fail. Africa will not be recolonised either by US or EU imperialism.
Long live the revolutionary spirit of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela!
Let Mandela’s revolutionary life, his discipline, commitment and his loyalty to the oppressed be an inspiration to future generations of liberation fighters!
Our long walk to freedom will continue until oppression and exploitation, war and hunger, ignorance and poverty are a thing of the past. To this end, let us celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela, defend his revolutionary legacy in the face of distortions and lies and intensify the struggle against imperialism! There is no better way we can honour this outstanding son of the African soil!
Long live Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela!
Poem: Tata Madiba, we are ONE with you!
Remembering Nelson Mandela
By ZK Kubu, Marxist Workers School of South Africa
Tata Madiba, they say you left us, but when we prepare for battle to fight for a free and non-racial education system, we feel your presence and your guidance!
Tata Madiba, they say you left us, but when we line up our forces to fight for the nationalisation of the land without compensation, to remove land as an object of speculation in the capitalist game of exploitation and oppression, we feel your presence and encouragement!
Tata Madiba, they say you left us, but when our heroic mineworkers intensify their struggles to form a militant trade union, we feel your presence in their midst!
Tata Madiba, they say you left us, but when the US-sponsored Syrian terror forces are defeated by the great heroic Arab Syrian army, we feel your presence and your gentle smile!
Tata Madiba, they say you left us, but when the Palestinian resistance stands firm, defending their land against zionism and the right of every Palestinian to return home as a basic human right, we feel your presence and encouragement!
Tata Madiba, they say you left us, but when Africa from south to north, from east to west, resists recolonisation by US and EU imperialism we feel your presence and determination!
Tata Madiba, no matter how much they try to use your name, no matter how much they want to bathe in your glory, we know that none of your gentleness, none of your humanity, and none of your integrity will rub off onto them, for they don’t possess gentleness, humanity nor integrity.
We know that you are on the side of the downtrodden, the oppressed and exploited.
We know that you will never abandon a single political prisoner, nor will you ever abandon a single fighter for justice and freedom.
In our struggle against colonialism, racism, zionism and imperialism, we know that we are ONE with you for eternity!
Tata Madiba, NOW we understand that you have not left us, but you have left them!
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, freedom fighter
Remembering Nelson Mandela