the spanish revolution

In memory of Terry Liddle, a member of the Commune who died recently, we republish his short summary on the Spanish Revolution.

In 1931 the Spanish King Alfonso XIII, having supported the discredited dictator Primo de Rivera, went into exile. The Second Republic was proclaimed. Articles 26 and 27 of its new constitution placed stringent controls on church property. Members of religious orders were banned from the ranks of teachers. It also allowed divorce, gave women the vote and stripped the nobility of its special legal status. It established a legal procedure for the nationalisation of public services, banks and railways.

In 1934 Catalonia attempted to establish its autonomy with the Spanish Federation. This moved was suppressed and Catalonia only became autonomous in 1936. Its government was called the Generalitat.

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government coalition targets working class poor

The Coalition leaders,the Government front bench team of  David Cameron, George Osborne and Danny Alexander  are probably still laughing,at the lack of opposition from Labour, to their attack, in the autumn budget statement, on the  most disadvantaged stratum of the working class, those of working age on state benefits, says Barry Biddulph.

CapitalismIsntWorking

George Osborne defined the rules of the parliamentary game: ‘Fairness is about being fair to the person who leaves home every morning to go to work and see’s their neighbour still asleep, living a life on benefits’. This is classic divide and rule strategy; victimize and stigmatize the poor. Blame the reserve army of workers, forced to be ready to provide cheap labour for any kind of job, even if one was available. Continue reading “government coalition targets working class poor”

crisis! so what else can we do?

The Commune is hosting a debate on organisation this month. Roy Ratcliffe offers his contribution.

Among the anti-capitalist left there has been much debate of what is an appropriate course of action in the present circumstances of developing capitalist crisis. A great deal of conflict exists together with considerable impatience. Discussions and debates among the ‘left’ are tending to orientate around assisting and initiating class or population wide actions, and this via competing forms of organisation. Such attempts are largely by either invigorating existing ones, such as trade-unions and political parties, (eg the Labour-Party in the UK) or initiating new ones such as Occupy and Syriza in Greece.

However, some of these initiatives stem from a mistaken view, that small groups, with the correct orientation and ideas can stimulate  significant and sustained actions, involving large numbers of people – before the vast majority of the population are ready to do so. In this case, they are bound to fail. And of course, simply turning out in large numbers to demonstrate or vote will be insufficient to solve this present structural crisis. A parallel problem is that promoters of these initiatives generally appear to have insufficient understand of the dynamics and evolution of protest, uprisings and revolutions.

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britain: ‘to fight austerity we need a united left’

Simon Hardy of the Anticapitalist Initiative says the urgent need for unity on the radical left is something that has been eloquently put forward by Dan Hind on the Al-Jazeerawebsite. Asking a very pertinent question as to whether there can be a SYRIZA-type organisation in Britain, Hind draws out some of the most important lessons of the Greek struggle and poses a challenge to the British left — can we break out of the ghetto as well?[1]

To plot a possible trajectory we have to be clear of the political alignment that has emerged for the left under the Conservative Party-Liberal Democrat coalition government. While Ed Miliband’s Labour Party might be surging ahead in the polls, the possibility of a Labour left revival is simply not on the cards. The Labour Party is hollowed out and bureaucratically controlled and all the best intentions and actions of Labour left activists will not change that. The Labour left is reduced to the old argument that there is nothing credible outside the Labour Party. They mockingly point to all the twisted contortions of the far left in Britain in the last decade (Socialist Alliance, Scottish Socialist Party, Respect, Trade Union and Socialist Coalition, Left list, Respect renewal, etc.) to forge a new unity and conclude that the Labour Party is the only show in town.

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a report on the situation in greece

During a recent visit to Greece, Eric Chester was able to get some sense of the enormous problems confronting that country.

Greeks are very proud of their past, not only the legendary era 2500 years ago, the time of the Parthenon, but more recently when Greeks fought the Nazi invaders. Nevertheless, along with the national pride is a bitter sense of despair, a feeling that there is no way out of the current catastrophe. The number of suicides has been increasing rapidly, as young Greeks try to cope with massive unemployment and the disintegration of the educational system, along with clear indications that the crisis will only grow worse.

Walking along the streets of Athens I saw people living on the street everywhere, children begging, sidewalks crumbling, and riot cops ready to come down on the next demonstration. Greece is a poor country, perhaps comparable to Mexico in economic development. Furthermore, global warming has hit Greece with a vengeance. Temperatures climbed to over 40 degrees every day, and the stagnant, humid, polluted air was oppressive.  Heat wave of this sort can last for weeks. Continue reading “a report on the situation in greece”

bnp humiliated in dalkeith

Our comrade in the Republican Communist Network saw the BNP fail to infiltrate an anti-rapist demonstration in Midlothian

Nick Griffin and 5 others i.e. his driver and minders turned up outside Dalkeith Country Park after cancelling their planned rally in Glasgow earlier that day. Their stated aim was to support an intended rally against the presence of, convicted rapist, Robert Greens in our community. It was good that there was little spontaneous support for the BNP despite a lot of media coverage e.g. in The Sun newspaper. There was little visible presence from BNP supporters, one demonstrator counted 17, I thought there were less, but it was hard to tell, all were driven in by car. The BNP website promised 50 Nationalists would turn up and they urged other British nationalists to join them.

The BNP presence was opposed by the majority of the anti-rapist protesters plus about 30-40 local anti-fascists who had been alerted via Midlothian Trades Council. There were groups from Palestinian Solidarity, Unite Against Fascism, current and ex SSP members, trade unionists representing, Unison, EIS, UCATT, and UCU, the local FE college, independent socialists, two members of Socialist Appeal and at least one other Labour Party member. There was no identifiable SNP presence but, we did receive a message from local SNP MSP Colin Beattie supporting Midlothian Trades Council stance, saying there was no place for BNP in Midlothian and that he would have liked to have been there to show his support but had a previous appointment. In the event no councillors, MSPs or our MP were present. Continue reading “bnp humiliated in dalkeith”

serwotka sellout sets seal on olympic exploitation

By Adam Ford

As women footballers were getting ready to unofficially kick off the London Olympics, the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union general secretary was preparing to bow to ruling class pressure, and call off a strike of workers in the Border Agency, Criminal Records Bureau, and the Identity and Passport Service. In doing so, darling of the fake left Mark Serwotka was setting the seal on years of collaboration between union officialdom and the London Olympics authorities.

Brendan Barber (TUC), Sebastian Coe (Olympics) and Ed Sweeney (ACAS)

Tomorrow’s aborted strike was originally called as part of a dispute over 8,500 Home Office jobs the PCS say are at risk as a result of government cuts. Had the walkout gone ahead, it would have caused some disruption to last minute Olympics preparations, particularly with spectators, athletes and others in their entourages still arriving in the country.

Serwotka faced a storm of pressure from the right wing abuse over the strike, with the usual papers seizing on the opportunity to bash the supposed “arrogance” of workers choosing to withdraw their labour at a time when it might have most impact. As could be anticipated, the media ‘debate’ weighed heavily on the ‘national pride’ side of the Olympics, and against working class consciousness. Continue reading “serwotka sellout sets seal on olympic exploitation”