imperialism and the world today: 19th october london forum

‘uncaptive minds’ public meeting hosted by The Commune

The next of our London forums will be looking at modern imperialism. The coming to power of the Obama administration in the United States has led many people to believe that there will be a change in American foreign policy: yet the western military presence in Central Asia and Latin America is set to increase; the Eastern European nuclear defence shield has been abandoned with the aim of securing Russian support against Iran; and the war in Afghanistan continues unabated.

19thoctober

What is the strategy of imperialist domination today? With the rise of China and India, are there one, two or many imperialisms? What forces really challenge imperialism? Join the debate with speakers:

Andy Higginbottom
Latin America solidarity activist

Marko Bojcun
Ukrainian Marxist and writer on Eastern Europe

From 7pm on Monday 19th October at the Lucas Arms, Grays Inn Road, near King’s Cross. See below for map, or email uncaptiveminds@gmail.com for more details. Continue reading “imperialism and the world today: 19th october london forum”

cricket for iranian workers: hopi vs. lrc

Fundraising cricket match: Hands off the People of Iran vs. Labour Representation Committee. From noon on Saturday August 1st at Low Halls sports ground, South Access Road, London E17, followed at 8pm by social at Dalston Social Centre, 2 Belgrade Road, N16.

The plans are slowly taking shape for what should be an excellent day with cricket, a barbecue, a bar, and some promising entertainment in the evening provided by our fans and supporters (click here to download leaflet). Continue reading “cricket for iranian workers: hopi vs. lrc”

the tragedy of the left’s discourse on iran

an article on ZNet by Saeed Rahnema

The electoral coup and the subsequent uprising and suppression of the revolting voters in Iran have prompted all sorts of analyses in Western media from both the Right and the Left. The Right, mostly inspired by the neo-con ideology and reactionary perspectives, dreams of the re-creation of the Shah’s Iran, looks for pro-American/pro-Israeli allies among the disgruntled Iranian public, and seeks an Eastern European type velvet revolution. As there is very little substance to these analyses, they are hardly worth much critical review; and one cannot expect them to try to understand the complexities of Iranian politics and society.

As for the Left in the West, confusions abound. The progressive left, from the beginning openly supported the Iranian civil society movement.  ZNet, Campaign for Peace and Democracy, Bullet, and some other media provided sound analysis to help others understand the complexities of the Iranian situation (see, for example, here).  Some intellectuals signed petitions along with their Iranian counterparts, while others chose to remain silent. But disturbingly, like in the situations in Gaza or Lebanon, where Hamas and Hezbollah uncritically became champions of anti-imperialism, for some other people on the left, Ahmadinejad has become a champion because of his seemingly firm rhetoric against Israel and the US. Based on a crude class analysis, he is also directly or indirectly praised by some for his supposed campaign against the rich and imagined support of the working poor. These analyses also undermine the genuine movement within the vibrant Iranian civil society, and denigrate their demands for democracy, and political and individual freedoms as middle class concerns, instigated by western propaganda (a view shared by Khamenei, Ahmadinejad and his supporters). Continue reading “the tragedy of the left’s discourse on iran”

beyond mousavi: the movement of the iranian masses

by David Broder

The explosion of popular defiance following the seemingly fraudulent re-election of Mahmoud Ahmedinejad marks a turning point in the evolution of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

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While in the last two years there were strikes on the Tehran bus network and in isolated factories, as well as illegal student protests thousands strong, the post-election demonstrations were by far the greatest challenge to the authority of the Ayatollahs’ regime since it was established in 1979. Continue reading “beyond mousavi: the movement of the iranian masses”

the commune issue 6 out now!

The sixth issue of The Commune (July 2009) is now available

The paper is published online, but you can order a printed copy or multiple papers to sell (£1 + postage for one copy, or £4 per 5 issues) by emailing uncaptiveminds@gmail.com

Click the image to see PDF, or see articles as they are posted online below.

thecommune6

editorial – migrants are at the heart of our fightback

Adam Ford reports on the Linamar fight and the state of the car industry

Joe Thorne looks at resistance to primary school cuts in London and Glasgow

Dave Spencer argues that the left has much to learn from the local work of the Northampton Save Our Services campaign

Jack Staunton writes on call centre workers’ organising initiatives

Chris Kane counters the argument that we ought to go back to the Labour Party, and stresses that communists need to organise

Kofi Kyerewaa explains the flaws of calling for the banning of the BNP

Activists participating in the occupation to protest the SOAS immigration raid draw a balance-sheet of the struggle

The story of the victimisation and planned deportation of a Chilean woman who dared to stand up to her employer Fitness First

Alice Robson reports on the campaign against cuts in English classes in Tower Hamlets

Kieran Hunter examines the hostile media and public response to June’s strike on the London Underground

David Broder looks at reactions to the mass movement in Iran against the re-election of Ahmedinejad

Alberto Durango explains how Unite have abandoned cleaner organising

Gregor Gall looks at the victory of the Lindsey oil refinery strikers and its implications for the industry

Joe Thorne looks at resistance to primary
school cuts in London and Glasgow
Dave Spencer argues that the left has much
to learn from the local work of the Northampton
Save Our Services campaign
Jack Staunton writes on call centre workers’
organising initiatives
page 3
Chris Kane counters the argument that we
ought to go back to the Labour Party, and
stresses that communists need to organise
Kofi Kyerewaa explains the flaws of calling
for the banning of the BNP
page 4
Activists participating in the occupation to
protest the SOAS immigration raid draw a
balance-sheet of the struggle
page 5
The story of the victimisation and planned
deportation of a Chilean woman who dared
to stand up to her employer Fitness First
Alice Robson reports on the campaign
against cuts in English classes in Tower
Hamlets
page 6
Kieran Hunter examines the hostile media
and public response to June’s strike on the
London Underground
page 7
Alberto Durango explains how Unite have
abandoned cleaner organising
page 8
Gregor Gall looks at the victory of the
Lindsey oil refinery strikers and its implications
for the industry

what lies behind the crisis in iran? hopi emergency meeting 20th june

With Yassamine Mather and Moshe Machover. Followed by a fundraising social.

Sat 20th, 2pm, Caxton House,129 St. John’s Way, London (Archway).

iranclashes

Iranian society is convulsed by a political crisis on a scale not seen for 30 years. Masses of Iranian people have taken to the streets since the results of the rigged elections. Their outrage is justified. The levels of blatant vote-rigging on show was crazy even by the standards of Iran’s Islamic Republic regime. The final result underlined that the whole process was compromised from top to bottom: Continue reading “what lies behind the crisis in iran? hopi emergency meeting 20th june”

hands off the people of iran on ahmadinejad’s re-election

Support for the mass protests against Ahmadinejad’s re-election! But we should have no illusions that Moussavi would have been any better

Yassamine Mather, chair of Hands Off the People of Iran, assesses the highly fluid situation in Iran

It is no surprise that the highly contested results of the presidential elections in Iran have sparked unrest in Tehran and other cities across Iran. The level of cheating on display seems crazy even by the standards of Iran’s Islamic Republic regime. Clearly, the results are the final proof that confirms that the whole electoral process is deeply undemocratic and rigged from top to bottom: Continue reading “hands off the people of iran on ahmadinejad’s re-election”

the commune issue 3 – out now!

The March 2009 issue of The Commune is now on sale. £1 a copy, email uncaptiveminds@gmail.com to order. Click here for pdf.

thecommune3cover2

The new paper features the following articles:

Don’t moan, organise! – editorial on the recession

Factory occupation in Ukraine – by a comrade in Kyiv

Unions and left parties let down Greek youth uprising – by Valia Kaimaki

Lessons of the oil refinery wildcat strikes – by Gregor Gall

The impossibility of class struggle in the mind of the BBC – by Joe Thorne

Occupations for Gaza: activism goes back to university – by Taimour Lay

More arrests in Iran – by Sam Parsa

School students get organised – interview with Tali Janner-Klausner

Lassalle’s state socialism – from Hal Draper’s Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution

Self-management and the environment – by Steve Ryan

more arrests in iran

by Sam Parsa

Following from last week’s offensive of the Iranian government against student activists, more  were arrested today. Four students, called Amirhosein Mohammadifar, Sanaz Allahyari, Nasim Roshanai and Maryam Sheikh were arrested, all of them members of the Freedom and Equality Seeking Students group, who have led protests and actions against the regime as well as against the war. This has brought great concern among our comrades in Iran.

iranian regime goes on the offensive against activists

On Tuesday 24th hundreds of Iranian students at the Polytechnic University (Amirkabir) rallied for the second day in a row in protest at the burial on the campus of the remains of five members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) left from the 1980-88 war with Iraq. At the demonstration students chanted anti-government slogans as they were attacked by the plain-clothes agents of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and members of the paramilitary Bassij students group dispatched from other Tehran school to help quell the protests, with slogans such as “Death to the dictator” and “We don’t want a fascist regime”.

student_protest2

Twenty-five students were arrested and transferred in police vans to unknown locations despite attempts by their classmates to get them released. This followed ten arrests of student activists in the last two weeks at the orders of the regime’s Ministry of Information. Four of the ten students, all of whom have been denied contact with lawyers or their families, are rumoured to be subject to psychological and physical torture. As this website reports in grim detail, these arrests are just the tip of the iceberg: already in 2009 many dozens of people have been hanged, stoned, lashed or jailed for standing up for the rights of workers, students and national minorities.

But at the same time as repression there are signs of hope, for example the powerful independent workers’ union which arose from last year’s 5000-strong strike at Haft Tapeh sugar and whose leading members are today being persecuted by the regime’s courts. For more information on how we can build solidarity with such movements, see the Hands Off the People of Iran site at www.hopoi.org.

photo-report of 3rd january palestine demo, london

by David Broder

On the day that Israeli tanks rolled into Gaza, threatening a vast escalation of the war on Palestine, tens of thousands of people marched through London in an emergency demonstration.

The march from Embankment to Trafalgar Square (via Whitehall, where around a thousand shoes were thrown at the gates of Downing Street) was followed by a demonstration of around 5000 at the Israeli Embassy in Kensington, where  15 people were arrested after clashes with riot police.

At the demonstration The Commune activists gave out our own leaflet similar to that distributed during the last week’s daily protests at the Israeli Embassy, as well as another collaborative effort calling for the movement to continue. The next demo is at the Israeli Embassy, Kensington at 2pm on Sunday 4th January, followed by daily pickets at 5:30pm every weekday and another march next Saturday (10th January). Pictures and comments about the 3rd January protests below. Continue reading “photo-report of 3rd january palestine demo, london”

video of iranian student activist behrouz karimizadeh

Below is a video of the Iranian student activist Behrouz Karimizadeh – a leading member of Freedom and Equality who spent several months in prison in winter 2007-spring 2008 – speaking at the Hands Off the People of Iran conference on December 13th. Behrouz discusses (via an interpreter) the challenges the student movement faces in building its forces and building its links with the workers’ movement in the face of repression and imperialist threats, as well as outlining the history of the movement. Videos of other talks are available on the HOPI website.

some photos from hands off the people of iran conference

Below are a few photos taken at the Hands Off the People of Iran conference on Saturday 13th December. Much of the event was filmed: a video of John McDonnell speaking about sanctions is featured here, while Yassamine Mather on the Iranian trade unions is here.

Our group now has a Flickr page with photos from meetings, demonstrations and so on, which can be found here.

hands off the people of iran conference report

by David Broder

On Saturday 13th December I attended the conference of Hands Off the People of Iran, a solidarity campaign not only opposed to military attacks, “surgical strikes” and sanctions against Iran, but also supporting struggles against the régime waged by the workers’ movement, women’s and student organisations.

Just over sixty people attended, which was slightly down on last year, no doubt largely because the threat of a US or Israeli military attack on Iran seems lesser now that the US government and its allies are making deals with Islamist élites in order to extricate themselves from Iraq.

After a report on the last year’s activities, there was a general discussion on the current situation, led by Torab Saleth. This particularly focussed on the seemingly more “pragmatic” attitudes to foreign policy now held by the American ruling class, as symptomised by their majority support for Barack Obama in the recent presidential election and the weakening of the neo-conservative voice on Capitol Hill.  Torab and several speakers from the floor warned that the situation could change suddenly, particularly given the continuity shown by Obama’s appointments, the risk of the US ruling class lashing out under pressure from the recession, and even the possibility of an Israeli “surgical strike” without Obama’s approval. A further consideration is, of course, the weakening of the Iranian economy with the collapse in world oil prices.

In any case the situation is in many ways unpredictable because (i) the Obama administration and the Iranian régime are not utterly irreconcilable and could easily reach accommodation: the latter supports the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and aggressively implements IMF neo-liberal reforms (ii)  nor are their relations purely “rational” or reflective of greater economic or strategic dynamics. Continue reading “hands off the people of iran conference report”