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.

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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”

troops out of afghanistan!

editorial of The Commune

The withdrawal of the last UK combat troops from Iraq at the end of May 2009 has only served to heap more attention on the ‘forgotten war’ in Afghanistan.

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In April 2006 the then Labour Defence Secretary John Reid told the House of Commons that British troops would preside over Helmand province and leave “without a shot being fired”: yet day-by-day the tally of the dead increases. Over two hundred British soldiers, many of whom were recruited to the Army as mere teenagers, desperate to get out of sink estates, have been killed: the number of Afghan civilian dead, largely ignored by the mainstream media in this country, now stands in the tens of thousands. Continue reading “troops out of afghanistan!”

afghan women bear brunt of hypocritical ‘war on terror’

A piece for The Commune by members of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan

Recently the media has widely reported the deaths of British troops in Afghanistan with the escalation of violence. Additionally, there is much debate of British policies in Afghanistan. What the people of Britain miss here is the suffering of the Afghan people.  Foreign troops have not even killed half as many Taliban as innocent civilians. Blind bombings have killed more than 8000 people, a figure which is bound to increase. Even wedding parties have been targeted several times, killing many women and children. The so-called ‘new’ strategy of Obama’s administration and the influx of troops to Afghanistan has dragged our people further into the bloody war, and this government has proved itself much more war-mongering than Bush with his killings and ever-horrifying oppression. Some people prefer the Taliban over the foreign troops, as they provide better security and safety from attacks of foreign troops, while others simply join to take revenge for the death of their loved ones killed in air raids or other attacks.

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If we glance back at history, US governments have never brought “peace” and “democracy” in any country. It has only forced war on countless countries, causing destruction, killing and disasters. Afghanistan is no exception. Everyone knows that  the so-called “war on terror” of the US and allies is just a fake. It is an open secret today that all of the terrorist bands in Afghanistan and region, from Osama to Al-Qaeda, Taliban and Mujahideen warlords are products of the Cold War-era White House. The US poured billions of dollars into the pockets of Islamic fundamentalists who not only turned Afghanistan to ashes and hell for its people, but also posed a threat to the people around the world. And this dirty game is still going on. Continue reading “afghan women bear brunt of hypocritical ‘war on terror’”

latin america’s future is being played out in honduras

Roberto Sáenz writes of a new situation of crisis, reactionary offensives, polarisation and growing popular resistance in the region, as exemplified by the recent military coup against Honduras’s centre-left president Zelaya.

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“What happened in Honduras is no trivial matter. There is no use taking the word of the constitutionalists who claim that no coup took place since the executive was saved and the other powers of state have been kept ‘intact’. It is not a question of yes to Zelaya, no to Zelaya, yes to Chávez, no to Chávez. They took the president away in his pyjamas: the outcome which is concretising represents a massive backwards step for the democracies of the region and a serious threat to their political systems. Two years ago not even the most fervent conspirator could have imagined a military coup in Latin America. Today, given certain circumstances and taking certain factors into consideration, once again all such options are on the table. This is well-known to those who would split Bolivia, the banana magnates of Guatemala and Ecuador, the followers of General Lino Oviedo in Paraguay and Major Roberto D’Aubuisson Arrieta in El Salvador, the ex-contras in Nicaragua, the Venezuelan employers’ federation and the Argentinian landowners with their blockades”[1]. Continue reading “latin america’s future is being played out in honduras”

imperialism today and the anti-war movement we need: may 11th

The next of The Commune’s London ‘uncaptive minds’ forums will take place on Monday May 11th.

As well as characterising modern-day imperialism and specific struggles, we will be discussing  such questions as – why do we prioritise campaigning about certain national oppressions over others?; why are the tactics of the Stop the War Coalition so conservative, and how can we overcome them?; what is the relationship between international solidarity and our critical distance from particular national movements?

Speakers include the Israeli socialist Moshé Machover, a speaker from the Tamil cause and an activist involved in an anti-capitalist caucus in the Gaza solidarity movement.

The meeting will take place from 7pm on the 11th at the Plough, on Museum St, near Tottenham Court Road tube. Continue reading “imperialism today and the anti-war movement we need: may 11th”

blind alleys of the israel-palestinian conflict

by Dan Jakopovich

To understand the real context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict it is necessary to cut through the forest of propaganda, distortion and censorship of the mass media, and through misconceptions, ignorance and indifference of the public. The latest carnage clearly illustrates this. On the one side, hypocritical pro-Israeli positions dominate in the Western countries (particularly in the USA), whereas on the other side the discourse is dominated by the fundamentalist Islamist thought pattern, joined in by some inconsistent leftists, according to which the “enemy of my enemy is – automatically – my friend”. What are the mental pointers for us escapees and renegades from such a brutalising discourse, for those among us who want to establish a humanist basis for facing the challenge of peace in the Middle East? Continue reading “blind alleys of the israel-palestinian conflict”

barack obama – putting lipstick on a pig

Ernie Haberkern gives a view from the USA on the Obama presidency

“You can put lipstick on a pig..It’s still a pig.
You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change.
It’s still gonna stink.
We’ve had enough of the same old thing.”
Barack Obama on the Republican campaign

Obama’s attack on McCain/Palin (or was it Palin/McCain?) was intended to expose the hollowness of their attempt to coopt his “the change we need” slogan. There is no question that the Republican Party’s attempt to present itself, rather than Obama, as the anti-Bush party – which is what the “change” slogan meant – was laughable. But Obama inadvertently highlighted what was the real meaning of his use of the “change” slogan.

The fact of the matter is that Obama’s own slogan is nothing more than an attempt to put lipstick on the pig that is American domestic and foreign policy. That he is the first black president of the country is itself part of this charade. There is no question that his election is one more nail in the coffin of slavery and segregation. But that only makes Obama a more effective salesman for the American government’s criminal foreign and domestic politics. In addition to being black, Obama is an intelligent, articulate, suave salesman. A sharp contrast to the mentally challenged George W. Bush and the crazed Dick Cheney.

I myself have been surprised at Obama’s behaviour. How quickly he has betrayed, not only his slogan, but his supporters. Continue reading “barack obama – putting lipstick on a pig”

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.

two hands off the people of iran meetings

Barack Obama has made it clear that he “will do anything” to stop Iran from developing the capacility to produce nuclear weapons. The global economic crisis has made world imperialism more belligerent. How do we fight the danger of another disastrous war in the Middle East?
7pm, Wednesday November 26. King’s College London. Strand Campus, The Strand (Temple tube)

Revolutionary Struggle in Iran
with Torab Saleth (Workers Left Unity Iran)
7:30pm, Tuesday 2nd December, University of Manchester Students’ Union – Meeting Room 1

Click here for details of HOPI conference, taking place in London on December 13th.

press conference with behrooz karimizadeh and kaveh abbasian

On Monday 29th September there was a press conference at the University of London Union with Iranian activists Behrooz Karimizadeh and Kaveh Abbasian. The pair were among the founding members of Freedom and Equality Seeking Students, an organisation which is opposed to war and sanctions as well as the Islamist régime and which last autumn played a central role in student protests against President Ahmedinejad. Following these demonstrations the régime cracked down on the student movement, arresting dozens of activists – Behrooz Karimizadeh was subjected to torture. Ted Crawford has kindly given us permission to reproduce his report on Monday’s press conference: Continue reading “press conference with behrooz karimizadeh and kaveh abbasian”

review of a classic: giovanni arrighi’s ‘the long twentieth century’

by Dan Jakopovich

In The Long Twentieth Century: Money, Power, and the Origins of Our Times (1994), Arrighi centres his attention on the examination of systemic capitalist cycles of accumulation: their immanent logic, the interplay between the emerging and old powers (elements of systemic continuity and discontinuity), and the factors of hegemonic consolidation. Continue reading “review of a classic: giovanni arrighi’s ‘the long twentieth century’”