from persecuted to persecutors: the lessons of zionism

by João Bernardo

Reflecting on the recent Israeli aggression against the Mavi Marmara and the feckless impunity with which this country spreads terror in its region, I thought that most commentaries limited themselves to the obvious but fell short of the most important conclusion.

members of the Irgun terrorist group

Everyone knows that Jews were the victims of great persecution, the Nazis making anti-semitism one of their main ideological bases. From the first day of his regime Hitler persecuted Jews and during the Second World War attempted to exterminate them. It is also widely known that the  State of Israel inflicts suffering on the Palestinians, dispossessing them and subjecting them to a system of terror beyond even what the South African racists could achieve in the Apartheid era. Between these two moments: Jews as victims and Israel as aggressor, there is not a contradiction but rather a logical nexus, which this article seeks to explain.

Continue reading “from persecuted to persecutors: the lessons of zionism”

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the social fabric of stalinism

Second in a series ‘Laurat in wonderland’ by João Bernardo: see here for part 1

When free expression and open organisation was allowed – before February 1922 when Lenin authorised the political police to operate within the Communist Party itself – the leftist opposition never ceased to criticise the economic system then being established. In 1920 and 1921 the Workers’ Opposition attacked the power the old management had won back in the Soviet economy and the control political organs exercised on workplace union organisation: yet this tendency was closer to the union bureaucracy than it was to the rank-and-file workers.

Within the Communist Party the rank-and-file perspective was expressed above all by the Democratic Centralist group, formed in 1919. Contrary to what one might imagine, the name of this group was not at all a reference to the Leninist form of internal party regime, bur rather the means of economic organisation. Members of this faction admitted the necessity of central planning but considered that this must be premised on democratic bases, characterised by the management of enterprises by workers’ committees: and not Lenin and Trotsky’s system of management by a technocracy of specialists, including former administrators and even the old factory owners. Continue reading “the social fabric of stalinism”

el alto, bastion of social struggles in bolivia

by Bruno Miranda

Even if in the context of the 1952 revolution the centrality of mining workers was indisputable, today the shape of the working class has changed. It is true that manufacturing workers remain an important part of the Bolivian working class, but the casualisation of labour relations and informal economy have created a large majority of the working class facing unfavourable conditions for organising.

In Bolivia there have been at least seven important uprisings in the last decade, based on the struggle over the control of natural resources [1]. Among these it is worth mentioning the battle normally called the “Gas War” of September-October 2003, and the “Second Water War” in May-June 2005, both of them in the city of El Alto. Continue reading “el alto, bastion of social struggles in bolivia”

the early russian revolution: laurat in wonderland

by João Bernardo
Passa Palavra

After the fall of the Berlin Wall – which did not ‘fall’, but rather was cut to bits and sold at graffiti and souvenir auctions – journalists and even many historians promoted the illusion that  the only critiques of the Soviet system were elaborated by the social-democratic left and the anti-communist right. Continue reading “the early russian revolution: laurat in wonderland”

unemployment, salaried work and “the right to a job”

Ricardo Noronha explores the limitations of the objective of a full employment economy

Italian mural: "no work, guaranteed income and all production automated"

“Holloway against the right to work”. It was under this heading that Francisco Louca published an article in the online journal Vírus, critiquing in a polemical tone an intervention by John Holloway at the International Colloquy “May ’68: Politics, Theory and History” which took place at the Franco-Portuguese Institute in April 2008. The notes which follow look to contextualise Louca’s article in the wider politics of the party he leads – the Bloco de Esquerda [‘Left Bloc’, a reformist party in Portugal established by Trotskyist and Maoist groups] – and a political conception common to the ‘anti-capitalist’ or ‘anti-neoliberal’ parliamentary left in Europe. We will avoid using the terms in which Holloway puts forward his views and those Louca uses to critique them. For the purposes of what interests us, we will limit ourselves to explaining their analyses. Continue reading “unemployment, salaried work and “the right to a job””

border controls: we are all “illegals”!

by Ricardo Noronha

From the Moroccan coast to Poland, from Cyprus to The Canaries, every day thousands of people attempt to abandon their countries of origin and reach the European continent. The whole way along their route they are confronted with the same repressive strategy: the same barriers and persecution, the same racism and violence.

One might think that these people who cross oceans, deserts and mountains, hostile territories and foreign countries, are victims of misunderstandings or police excesses: but this is not the case. The immigrants who try and reach Europe are held back by practices, objectives and measures ingrained at the very heart of European institutions and approved by individuals elected by European citizens. They are confronted with a type of inhumane violence and repression which we would tend to associate with dictatorial states, but all this has been decided “democratically”. Continue reading “border controls: we are all “illegals”!”

free cesare battisti!

On 18th November the Brazilian Supreme Court announced its intention to extradite the Italian leftist militant Cesare Battisti, a former member of Armed Proletarians for Communism. Below we publish an open letter he wrote to Brazil’s President Lula, translated by Carlos Ferrão.

“Thirty years can change a lot of things in somebody’s life, and sometimes those years can be the whole life itself”.
(The Rebel – Albert Camus) Continue reading “free cesare battisti!”