Saturday, December 27, 2014

Bad deal for workers and communities

Press Statement from the Communist Party of Ireland
Bad deal for workers and communities

Having listened to the announcement by the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein regarding the “Stormont House Deal” the Communist Party of Ireland wants to place on record its opposition to what is in effect: the acceptance of the Conservative austerity programme; the signal that major public assets such as the Belfast Harbour are now “for sale” and that public sector workers do not matter in that “the Government will allow £700m of RRI capital borrowing to be used to help deliver a voluntary exit scheme” to be used for redundancies in the public sector.  It appears that despite recent noises the Con-Dem Welfare “Reforms”, (dismantlement of the welfare state) have been accepted with extra debt to offset the worst of their effects.  At the same time as this has been accepted the lowering of Corporation Tax in 2017 – offering tax cuts to corporations with shameful histories of tax avoidance has been agreed.  In short – its tax cuts for the rich, job cuts for the rest!

The money to be spent on “shared” and “integrated” education is a deceit and in moving from integrated to “shared” breaches commitments in the GFA entrenching  rather than breaking down sectarianism.  The Irish language enshrined within the Belfast Agreement has again been left on the shelf – obviously the impatience of the corporations has greater leverage.

The cynicism of giving an ultimatum of midnight December 22nd and extending that to the 23rd shows the manipulation involved. To come to a “done deal” on the eve of Christmas when people are in no position to organise a reaction only reaffirms the view that the parties involved are dishonest and self-interested.  The “deal” like their draft budget of cuts and privatisation dressed as “reform” is a threat to all of us.  The Communist Party of Ireland calls upon the trade union and labour movement, community and women’s organisations to expose this “deal” for what it is and build a movement to combat the watering down of the Belfast Agreement and the attack on our living standards.


For further information contact: National Chairperson; Lynda Walker

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A victory for global solidarity

The Communist Party of Ireland welcomes the release of the final three of the Cuban patriots held in the United States since 1998: Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, and Ramón Labañino. Their release has been agreed as part exchange for the American citizen Alan Gross, who was imprisoned five years ago in Cuba for espionage. Two compatriots of the prisoners to be released, René González and Fernando González, were freed earlier after completing their sentences.
Alan Gross was tried and convicted of crimes against the Cuban state after he was caught smuggling computer and telecommunications equipment into Cuba while working as a subcontractor for the US Agency for International Development.
The release of the last three of the five Cuban patriots is part of the beginning of a possible improvement in US-Cuban relations. A number of positive steps have been agreed, including the re-establishing of diplomatic relations, broken off by the United States in 1961. Restrictions imposed by the US government on travel between Cuba and the United States will be eased, and Cubans living in the United States will be allowed to send money back to their families.
These positive developments are a result of the growth of the global solidarity with the Cuban Five and the campaign for their release as well as the demand for the lifting of the blockade of Cuba imposed by the United States fifty years ago.
The US government has been increasingly isolated throughout Latin America and its political grip has been severely weakened with the advance of new democracies in that continent, which no longer tolerate American dictates, in particular regarding economic and political relations with Cuba.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

December Socialist Voice

December Socialist Voice out now and available at:

Includes the following:

•Government forced onto the back foot [Eugene McCartan]

•Organised labour is essential for resistance [Tommy McKearney]

•Ireland’s odious debt: A wake-up call [Tomás Mac Síomóin]

•Continued success for #WorkMustPay

•The budget, water tax, and inflation [Kieran Crilly]

•Suffer the little children [Alan Hanlon]

•Aistear casta cróga [Mícheál Mac Aonghusa]

 •Corporate terrorism [Robert Navan]

•Mexicans fight dollar imperialism [Bernard Murphy]

•Colombia: Tragedies often contain elements of comedy [Seán Edwards]

•Reclaim the Vision of 1916: A Citizens’ Initiative for 2016

•In defence of the Spanish Republic [Michael Healy]

•Cannibalism, concentration camps, and commodification [Jenny Farrell]

Letter from Venezuala

Seán Edwards

16 December 2014
When I arrived in Caracas it immediately struck me how calm and secure it seemed compared with how I remember it from five years ago, let alone when I first arrived in 2003.
     There are lots of the new national police force on the streets. They speak politely to the people and appear to be trusted. This is new: one of the reasons for the high level of crime in Venezuela was, and is, the incompetence and corruption of all the local and regional police forces. You can add a political reason: some of them were led and administered by the opposition.
     Anyway, the street where I am staying is full of people enjoying themselves until late in the evening; it used to be empty by nine o’clock.
     Another obvious change is all the new housing—beautiful new blocks right in the centre of the city. The established middle-class residents complain about the fall in their property values and about the riff-raff moving in next door having nicer flats. The long-promised housing programme is going ahead at great speed throughout the country.
     President Maduro got a timely propaganda boost from the US Senate, which declared sanctions against Venezuela. This coincided with the fifteenth anniversary of the Bolivarian constitution. A few hundred thousand people marched down to the centre of town from four different starting-points to show their support for the constitution (every Chavista has a copy of the little blue book) and for the president. What he said was excellent.
     There are still terrible problems with the money and with the tricks business people get up to. The economist Manuel Sutherland describes one of their methods as follows. An importer applies to the state for dollars with which to import, say, 100 kg of meat at $100, for which he pays 600 bolivares. He then imports 50 kg for $50 and sells the remaining $50 worth on the black market. He exports some of the meat clandestinely to Colombia, where he will get a much higher price. He will end up with about 6000 bolivares.
     The government has taken some measures to counter these practices, especially to counter the smuggling in the western provinces, adjoining Colombia. Paul Dobson, a young Scotsman who lives in Merida, tells me this has been successful, and now people can find the produce in the supermarket—showing that the shortages were the result of the smuggling and the speculation; the food was being produced.
     Manuel Sutherland proposes a government monopoly on foreign trade to stop this speculation and fraud. He estimates the flight of capital at $100 billion since the election of Hugo Chávez. Chávez. suggested setting up a state import-export agency but didn’t get around to it.

Launch of the latest CPI publication

At the launch on Saturday 13 December of Debt: A Weapon Against the People, the general secre­tary of the CPI, Eugene McCartan, pointed out that credit and debt have always played a role within capital­ism, but what is differ­ent today is the huge role that debt plays in our every­day lives. Debt is now a central feature of political and social life, yet it is rarely spoken about by political parties.

Ag seoladh Debt: A Weapon Against the People Dé Sathairn 13 Nollaig dúirt ard­rúnaí an CPI, Eugene McCartan, go raibh páirt i gcónaí sa chaipitleachas ag fiacha agus creidmheas, ach is é atá difriúil inniu an pháirt ollmhór atá ag fiacha inár saol laethúil. Is gné lárnach é na fiacha den saol polaitiúil agus sóisialta, ach is annamh a labhraíonn na páirtithe polaitíochta fúthu.

Connolly Youth Movement Statement on Water Demonstration

The show of power by broad sections of society at last Wednesday's Right2Water demonstration, with a huge amount of young people, especially young women getting involved, is a clear indication that people were not fooled by the governments concessions on water charges.

It is quite clear this whole movement is politicising our youth and now is the time for those young people to join organisations like the Connolly Youth Movement, to deepen their political understanding and to become active in a vibrant youth movement.

The Right2Water campaign has once again demonstrated the power and strength in the unity of the trade unions, community and political organisations. The campaign and all those involved should be commended for all the hard and tireless work that was put in to make Wednesday 10th of December a day of peaceful protest on UN Human Rights day.

As much of a success that the demonstration was, it is quite clear that the government will not be backing down anytime soon. The trade unions, community and political groups that have taken up the mantle for the defence of communities against water charges have a real and unique opportunity to deepen the political and class consciousness of those engaged in this struggle.

Our youth really have to ask themselves, if this government was to collapse in the morning, and another take its place, without a fundamental and mass opposition to the EU and the euro, and the US as the main political entities of Capitalism there would be no change. Nothing drastic would change because the state, and its class of industrialists, financiers, oligarchs, monarchs, land owners and all their collaborators would still be organised in the old way.

Ireland's industries, agriculture and services would still be in the service of the EU, British and US Imperialist regimes. The multi-national corporations and various legal treaties would still bind us to international monopoly capitalism and its unending war on workers. We would still be bound to pay back an unjust and odious debt. The Troika would still oversee our national budgets and the ECB would still gear the euro to suit mainly Germany's needs to the detriment of the Irish economy.

All this means is that our democracy, sovereignty and independence would still be the hollowed out shells that they are. The struggle being waged now, is not a new one and it wont end with a victory over the water charges because we would still lack a mass opposition to Capitalism and Imperialism.

However, we have to work and deal with immediate aims and struggles to not only engage in a real struggle for people to be able to access water, without any discrimination, but also to deepen peoples political and class consciousness.

The most important thing right now is to have a nation united against the water charges and from there, there is huge potential to build a movement of organised, militant and class conscious citizens. The R2W as an independent umbrella campaign should continue to step up and be the unifying force in defeating this governments attempt to commodify and privatise the most basic and important source of life and the CYM will continue to support the campaign.

From there we can move on to the source of the water charges – the unjust, odious private bank debt heaped on our nation, and paid for by the impoverishment of our people and the deporting of a generation of youth.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

CPI Statement

CPI welcomes decision of SIPTU Executive to support campaign against water charges

The Communist Party of Ireland welcomes and expresses its solidarity with the decision of the National Executive Council of SIPTU to oppose water charges. This is an important development and one that can only strengthen the campaign being waged by working-class communities and the Right2Water Campaign, under trade union leadership, to oppose these charges.
This change in SIPTU policy is the result of growing opposition within SIPTU itself from the rank and file, who are deeply unhappy with their union’s stance up to now. Many thousands of SIPTU members have been active in the anti-charges campaign.
Working people have seen through the smokescreen and the cosmetic changes trumpeted by this bankrupt Government.
We now need to build for the rally on 10 December at Dáil Éireann to show the Government that resistance is growing and not weakening, and that the Government’s strategy of demonising communities, and its efforts to split those opposed to water charges into “reasonable” people on the one hand and “political extremists” on the other, is not working.
The CPI calls on the rest of the labour movement to become involved in this important struggle and to support communities that have been opposing these charges.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

WFDY on Students' Struggle

17th of November, is a day which marks the constant struggle of the student movement all over the world for democracy, freedom and social justice, for the right to Education. It reminds to us the heroic resistance of Students in Prague against Fascism in 1939 as well as the heroic sacrifice of students during the anti-imperialist popular uprising of Polytechnic in Athens 1973
The International Student's Day, is celebrated in honor of the students who were victims of the Nazis in Czechoslovakia when on November 17, 1939, the occupying armies invaded in the dormitory of the University of Prague killing 9 students while other 1200 students were sent to the fascist concentration camps.
It's been 75 years since the sacrifice of students in Prague and 41 years since the sacrifice of the students of the Athens Polytechnic University. The heroic struggle of students for freedom, democracy and social justice as well as the fight against fascism and imperialism, remains extremely topical in our days.
Commission of Europe and North America of WFDY, note that:
·         Today, the global student movement achievements in many countries are under attack by the monopolies and the capitalist governments whose policies promote the sell-off of the public and free education. Students all around the world are facing an institutionalized attack to the right of Education
·         In several countries, what was considered a right to Education has become a privilege for some, while at the same time class barriers are put in every aspect of the Educational structure. At the same time the field of Education is considered to be a profitable market for the monopolies, therefore it becomes commerce.
·         The context of the offered education is directed in the creation of cheap labor force, in the preservation of the capitalist system. The European Union together with the USA are in the frontline of this direction and their aggressiveness is followed by countries all around the World. IMF and World Bank are used as tools to promote these policies.
·         The ideology offensive keeps being aggravated, with the falsification and distortion of the historical truth, namely with the erasing of the achievements of the workers' and peoples' struggle and with the most aggressive anti-communist propaganda. At the same time, the anti-scientific content of education is promoted together with the attempt to spread individualistic values among the youth.
·         The connection of the education to the needs of capital is enforced by the implementation of policies which promote the privatization of the higher education. Such a policy is the implementation of the Bologna Process carried by the EU.
Taking into consideration all the above, the Commission of Europe and North America of WFDY, declare that:
·         The youth and the students will not become a bystander as the monopolies deprive them from their rights and throw them into misery, preparing them for unemployment and as cheap labor force.
·         We will not stand the attempts to turn Education into commerce. We will resist the antiscientific and undemocratic methods of teaching that result in the distortion of history and the reproduction of the system itself.
·         Our goals for Free and Public Education for all go hand in hand with our struggle for peace, solidarity and the overthrow of imperialism. It is the system that gives birth to exploitation, oppression and withdrawal of rights, but it is the youth that through its struggle will achieve the permanent and universal conquest of their rights.
·         WFDY salutes all the students' struggles in every country against such attacks, for the right to a Free and Public Education for all, as an important contribution to the anti-imperialist struggle of the youth, and we appeal to the students' struggle reinforcement!
In this framework, the Commission of Europe and North America of the World Federation of Democratic Youth decides to launch the “Week of Action on the Students Struggles”. We have chosen the 17th of November, the International Students Day, as the starting point of this activity.

Peaceful, Organised and Militant - CYM Statement

Its unfortunate that when a vast majority of people are so determined to see this Right 2 Water campaign being a peaceful, organised, militant and dignified stance against the privatisation and commodification of water that some elements will use alternative ways to show their anger.

This past weekend has shown how strong an enemy we are up against. All it takes is one or two incidents for the media and the spin doctors to go into high gear and with all their might try and smear this legitimate campaign.

The CYM believe that now more than ever discipline must be maintained at all demonstrations and those that want to provoke more destructive courses should be met with a peaceful resistance to their methods.

The State and the media are in a weakened position and they are reduced to blowing out of all proportion minor events and stunts that are inevitable in the current political climate. We must not give them the fodder in which they can use to load their weapons.

The CYM can understand the anger of many people, but this is a time for clear thinking and clear strategies. We owe it to the thousands and thousands of youth that have left this country and the many thousands more living in poverty and in debt.

People have taken 6 endless years of austerity and for some they are at breaking point. When our Government politicians peer out of their castles to 'walk among the ordinary folk' and are shocked by how negatively people react to them, they like a scared child run to their protectorate and with the loudest speaker vilify the very same people whom they have impoverished. The government, the state and the media are so out of touch with the material reality of millions of Irish people, that they may want to continue the 'End of Austerity' fairytale, but clearly ordinary working people are ready to end the nightmare. All power to the people."

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What was everyday life like in the USSR?

Originally posted here

Last Thursday the Young Communist League (15th Arrondissement, Paris) organized its first movie night since September. "Living in Rostov" is a documentary made by the French Communist Party in the 1970s. Neither a caricature nor Manichaeism, it is a remarkable record of the conditions of Soviet life.
The YCL was surprised and honored to host the historian Roger Keeran to dissect it.

To spend time on a documentary on the USSR from the Brezhnev era -- here, in France, in 2014? Is it nostalgia, or folklore? Not at all! In this capitalist society here in Paris people have seen exorbitant rents the debts that crush us, the education sacrificed, women's rights violated, layoffs.

What a surprise for the twenty young people present - a third of whom came for the first time - to see that these issues did not arise in the USSR, that the Soviets, not without contradictions, had access to another freedom than that which we know here.

in 1974, "To Live in Rostov" was to live in an industrial city of 800,000 inhabitants, structured around the machine tools factory Rostselmash which then employed 22,000 workers (nowadays barely half of that!).

It was a Soviet city like any other, in what was in 1974 the second largest economy in the world, with a GDP of $ 1500 billion, higher than in Japan, France, the United Kingdom, 10% of global GDP, and half of the GDP of the United States.

What did it mean to live in a non-capitalist society, the USSR?

1. - It meant  democracy at the factory. The workers decided about the organization of work.  This goes against the dominant ideology, but actually, the workers in the USSR worked at their own pace but conscientuously. Nothing was imposed on them concerning the pace of work without their prior agreement, without debate, without the help of mechanization. As many of them recall it, they ended the day with "little or no fatigue." This was heresy at the time of triumphant Taylorism-Fordism in France, which was criticized in the May 1968 events!

2 - It meant retirement at age 60, and a day of rest on Sunday.  It meant  two historical conquests now breaking down in France. Workers retiring at age 60 for men, 55 for women, or even earlier, for strenuous jobs. The workweek of 41 hours (it was 40 hours in France in 1974) was also the rule, to guarantee rest on Sunday as well as the famous 8-hour day, a historic attainment of the labor movement.

3 - It meant culture for all, the democratization of knowledge:  Imagine our surprise to find that the workers at the plant read, read a lot: from the verse of Heinrich Heine, and Balzac's novels, and verse and prose of Victor Hugo. How many French workers in France today read literary works of this quality? Libraries, cultural centers, study centers were present in every neighborhood, every factory. On Sunday, they were filled with workers relaxing, like young children, thirsty for reading more than for television.

4 - It meant lower rents, rents which did not impede life.  In 1974 housing was no longer a problem in the USSR. As in France in the 1950s, 1960s, housing  had been an urgent question. It was decided to build large complexes of apartment buildings which addressed, as best they could, this emergency.  Result: The relative weight of rent in the salary of a worker in the USSR amounted to, on average, 5%. In Paris now, for us, it is between 20% and 50% in general!

5 - They were loans at zero percent interest. In the 1970s, the Soviets had wide access to household appliances, their color TV, their cars, their houses. The difference here is the financing. No greedy banks, the state as guarantor whose loans were at a zero percent rate of interest, a payment schedule.

6 – Instruction was available to all, with priority to all-round education. This was not only high-quality education from kindergarten to college level, which produced illustrious scientists. It was a people’s education, reflecting the social welfare.

For example, the early childhood /motherhood bond was ensured in the same structures ("educational combines") without the breaks of framework that people know today (this is a very recent thinking in France!) which can be traumatic for the child.  Another example, evening classes set up for workers who want to learn, to get skills training. They were widespread in every factory, with a credential of national value. What a surprise for us here, when they have destroyed our occupational training!

7 - It meant real gender equality, defending women's activity in society. Even today, gender equality is a battle in France. In the USSR, gender equality was a reality , first in the salary. And in specific rights, we often forget that the Soviet Union was the first country to give the right to abortion! This genuine equality, was lived, not only in the laws, but in reality. Men actually helped women in their household tasks, as women were also involved in the production process.

8 - It meant the care for small children, and the possibility of being both a mother and a working woman. For a woman to be active, there must be time and energy for her to devote to activity. The Soviet state guaranteed it especially for young women who got maternity leave longer  than what was in force in France at the time, and access to affordable nurseries open 24 hours, 7 days a week, with no waiting list.  Still, what a contrast with France, where waiting lists are becoming an urgent problem (especially in Paris), where privatization has become synonymous with outrageous costs, where maternity leave as a fundamental right is questioned.

9 - It meant the complete satisfaction of material goods. Still another piece of the dominant ideology: in 1974 people said that the USSR was the second largest economy in the world. Like any country, it had its contradictions. However, stakeholders lived in assured material comfort, at least in the satisfaction of all basic needs: food, clothing, appliances, shelter. From the 1960s there starts the great turning to meeting cultural aspirations, centered on culture, art, education, and recreation in the broad sense. In Rostov, workers had access to courses in classical dance, to theater performances, to chess clubs, scientific conferences national and even international level. Not only would they go to them in huge numbers but they participated as amateurs and fans.

10 - It meant an "economic miracle" after the destruction of 1945. People have spoken of the Japanese economic miracle, the German economic miracle, but what about the Soviet economic miracle? In a country one third of which was destroyed, which had lost 25 million human beings, in 15 years became the second power in the world and met all the needs of its population.  In the documentary, the memory of war is traumatic: the buildings razed, relatives dead, the city sacked by Nazi barbarism. The cry of "Never again!" and "No to war" was not abstract, but a reality lived in the flesh of each person.

11 - Unemployment in the USSR did not exist, there was no fear of the future. You can finish with this, but unemployment did not exist in the USSR …since 1927. Each enterprise restructuring forced the state to reclassify workers to find employment in another enterprise, or in another sector related to their skills, or even to offer them re-training.

A debate was kindled by a young Russian Communist, a young expert on the Russian world and our friend the American historian Roger Keeran, noted author of the book "Socialism Betrayed", explaining the causes of the collapse of socialism in 1991. The exchange offered a wealth of information.  Roger Keeran won over everyone with his first sentence: "I am not here to teach but to learn" (Je ne suis pas ici pour professer, mais pour apprendre). Such humility is that of an honest researcher, a true communist.

Relevant questions emerged from the new faces present, who were visibly challenged by the film.

Why did the Soviets did not resist in 1991, if they were so well off?
Few people know this but in March 1991, 65 percent of the Soviet people voted for the USSR in a referendum when Communist Party leaders already thinking of liquidating the Party and the State. Six months later, Gorbachev and Yeltsin scorned the popular will and dissolved the USSR!

But this brings us to a critical reflection. The party was identified with the state; it did not effectively play its role as organizer of the masses (including resistance), nor did it nourish the ideological debate, nor serve as an antidote to the underlying pro-capitalist ideologies. This shortcoming had cruel consequences in 1991. Faced with Communist leaders who were turncoats, who despised the popular will, the Soviet workers found themselves helpless against counter-revolution.

This does not address the question of democracy in the USSR. All the same, wasn't there was a kind of comfortable inaction, an illusion of safety without action, in the USSR?
Absolutely, but not in terms of "bourgeois democracy". There was a democratic deficit in the organization of the party and the state. It was a policy for the people, but without the people. Certainly, mass education, culture for all, the right to decide in the workplace, social laws, these are fundamental democratic elements. But the lack of democratic debate in the party and the state was evident. That encouraged passivity, even among the leaders, and the kinds of duplicity and manipulation that can be found in a Gorbachev.

What comparison can be made with life in the United States at the same time?
Roger Keeran comes from the birthplace of the American auto industry - Flint, Michigan, also known as home of Michael Moore - from a working class family, he tells us.
It's simple, an American worker had an undeniable material comfort. But he did not read, did not go to the museum, the theater, ballet. Access to culture, education was a stark poverty, especially among workers, among minorities.  Roger recalled that UNESCO had classified the USSR as #1 by far for two things: (1) the Soviets were those who read the most, and they were subscribers on average to 4 newspapers; (2) they were the ones who were most went to museums, the theater, to cultural venues.

What enabled the Soviet regime after 1917 to produce such a society?
Huge question. It should first be noted that Lenin - unlike all other politicians - kept his promises: land to the peasants, peace for workers. This, despite the opposition of Trotsky or Bukharin. Afterwards, the Soviet Union gave a high priority to education, to culture for all. In an era when Russia was economically battered, it turned Tsarist Russia, with its 80% illiteracy, into a country free of illiteracy by 1930. It  also met the basic demands of the most humble: the workers, peasants, women, national minorities. This is the social base which allowed the USSR to hold on for 70 years, to fall only by the action of leaders who had switched sides.

What happened after 1991? What do the Russians think of the Soviet era?
It was a disaster for the Russians, Ukrainians and others. Production fell by 50%, prices jumped, sometimes by a factor of 10 or 100 (such as transit fares!). We went from a Russia with zero poor to Russia counting 70 million poor! The Russians have discovered many things they did not know before: insecurity, unemployment, lack of medical coverage, commodified human relations.  Between 1991 and 2014, Russia lost several million people. The mortality rate has climbed, life expectancy has fallen. According to the British medical journal Lancet, at least 2 million Russians died as a direct result of the privatization of the Russian healthcare system. Not surprisingly, the Russians are now nostalgic for the Soviet era. Two-thirds of them regret the loss of the USSR and its socialist model based on collective ownership and central planning. In 2014 as in 1991, Russian leaders do not care about the will of the people!

The twenty youth present were delighted by this meeting of rare quality. They thanked our friend Roger for his accurate analysis, humility and availability. We promised to lead the fight here and now, for a different non-capitalist society, but not opposed to the one experienced in the USSR!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Magnificent turn-out by an awakened people

Statement by the Communist Party of Ireland

1 November 2014

The Communist Party of Ireland expresses its solidarity and its admiration for the magnificent turn-out out around the country today [1 November].  Nearly 200,000 people across the country participated in local demonstrations, many people  taking to the streets for the first time.  The trade union led  Right2Water Campaign has unified and rallied the people.

The people are speaking as one in their demand for the scrapping of the proposed water charges. Working people are clearly saying they have had enough of austerity, enough of the spin and lies of the Government and the major parties, enough of the cuts and charges. They are sick of watching house prices and rents skyrocketing beyond their reach. They are sick of watching the elite grow ever richer while workers’ wages are cut to pieces and their families are stretched to breaking-point.

Speaking at the Right2Water Campaign rally in Cabra, Dublin, the general secretary of the CPI, Eugene McCartan, called for maximum unity of all those opposed to water charges. “The people have awakened to their own power and strength in numbers,” he said, “and will not be deflected."

“Only an amendment to the Constitution that guarantees to the people their ownership of water can prevent this or any future Government commodifying and privatising water.”

The CPI believes that it is now time for the rest of the trade union movement to stand up, not only to oppose these charges but to defend their members’ interests and those of all workers, and to cut themselves free of the cosy behind-the-scenes deals with a bankrupt Government and a discredited Labour Party.
The trade union movement now needs to catch up with its members and the wider working class. They have to become radical or they will become as redundant as the Labour Party will be after the next general election. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Young communists in Venezuala attacked

This is an announcement by the Word Federation of Democratic Youth referring to the recent sadly news that took place in Venezuela. WFDY received the news about the criminal terrorist attack that took place in Venezuela, against the National Headquarters of the Youth Communists of Venezuela which is a Member organization of WFDY, and consequently WFDY would like to officially vigorously condemn this attack, and demands the clarification of those facts by the same time that it is calling for the most wider international support about the said attack.

As it is known and understood this attack endangered the life of the brigade leaders and activists of JCV, who were at their offices by the time working and completing their tasks, and they received a bombing attack that created a fire to their offices while they were inside working.

By the time where the imperialism offense exist and continues against the Bolivarian Revolution, WFDY supports the positions of the Communist Party of Venezuela in the calling message which calls the revolutionary militants to decidedly fight and defense for the deepening of the process change, so that they will strengthen the revolutionary monitoring that will effectively continue answering to the attacks and provocations by the right pro-imperialists.

The Word Federation of Democratic Youth eventually and with a realistic respect ratifies its solidarity with the Communist Party and the Young Communist League of Venezuela. Further, WFDY honestly condemns the terrorist and fascist attack against JCV on the same time that it calls for an international solidarity with the people of Venezuela.

On Behalf of the Head Quarters of WFDY


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

CPI on right2water

Need to build the widest possible opposition to water charges

Speaking at a meeting of CPI activists after the massive Right2Water street protest on Saturday 11 October, under trade union leadership, against the imposition of water charges, Eoin McDonnell, Dublin District chairperson, CPI, called on more trade unions to join the Right2Water coalition to ensure that the widest opposition is built against this unjust charge on the people.

      We need to build opposition in every community, in every work-place, linking the organised labour movement with communities. This is the only way to prevent it being turned into another beauty contest between contending political groups intent on gaining short-term electoral advantage over each other, as well as to block the divide-and-rule tactics being developed by the Government.

      Eoin McDonnell stated that this campaign can be developed into a broadly based popular struggle not only against this anti-people policy but also to raise the whole question of the odious and unjust bank debt imposed on our people by the European Union and its Irish lackeys.

      Access to water is a basic human right. There is no escaping the clear links between the bank debt and water charges, which can only lead to one conclusion: the privatisation of water, with access based on ability to pay.

      We need to move beyond anger and mobilise a conscious risen people, to build the people’s resistance. A politicised conscious people will not be fooled by short-term political opportunism, nor by the gimmicks of this Government.

      Eoin McDonnell also pointed out that after the next general election the greater Dublin area will be a Labour Party-free zone, with the other two major establishment parties reduced to their bases in the well-heeled suburbs.

      It is clear from the politically orchestrated leaks that they are already attempting to divide and rule, to control the people’s anger. We must build the people’s resistance.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Exhibition revealing the horror of the Odessa Massacre in Ukraine to open in Dublin

An exhibition highlighting the massacre of Ukrainian trade unionists and political activists in Odessa on 2 nd May 2014, opens on Sunday, 12 th October, at 4.00 p.m. in the Teacher’s Club, 36 Parnell Square West, Dublin 1.

The exhibition will include photographs showing the events that surrounded the Odessa Massacre in which far-fright gangs killed at least 42 political activists. The exhibition also includes images from the conflict in other parts of Ukraine and a presentation by Oleg Muzyka, a survivor of the Odessa Massacre.

The exhibition is being hosted by Mobius, an organisation of Ukrainians in Ireland that seeks to highlight the violent activities of the fascist militias which support the Kiev Regime. The exhibition runs from Sunday until Friday, 17 th October.

Mobius spokesman, Sergey Menshakov, said: “People in Ireland are largely unaware of the horrors that are being perpetrated by fascist gangs in the Ukraine. These gangs, which act in support of the regime that was installed in Kiev after the coup in February, have killed many men, women and children.

“In Odessa in May political activists and trade unionists that were protesting for a federal Ukraine were chased into the local trade union hall. The building was then set on fire and as people tried to escape the flames they were set upon and killed by a fascist mob”.

He added: “We are calling for a proper investigation of this mass murder and for the Irish people to be aware of the horror that is happening in another European country.”

The exhibition runs for one week from Sunday 12th October to Friday 17 th October. Opening times are Sunday, 4.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. and Thursday 10.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

People's News

Latest issue of the People's News looking at all things EU from a people's perspective.

Referendum results show a continued decline in support of the European Union and the direction it has went.

The AKP, IS and imperialism must be stopped!

Declaration of the communists on Kobanê, IS, and imperialism

The Communist Party of Turkey strongly condemns the policy that aims at keeping the threat of massacre alive over the Kurdish people in Kobanê, the civilian and official fascist attacks against solidarity demonstrations in several cities of Turkey, and the imperialist assault carried out by using IS, the “Free Syrian Army,” and other similar terrorist organisations. We call on our people to raise the following demands against this blood game staged by the AKP [Justice and Development Party] government together with the United States and other reactionary forces.
     1. The hostile policies adopted against Syria must be ceased.
     2. All kinds of assistance given to those forces of “opposition” in Syria must be stopped immediately.
     3. The present situation, which is a violation of the sovereign rights of Syria and paves the way for IS, must be terminated.
     4. In the context of the struggle against IS, the “Free Syrian Army,” and similar organisations, the world must collaborate with the Syrian government. The plans and demands for excluding Damascus from the struggle against IS must be abandoned.
     5. All demands of the Ankara government that are targeting the sovereignty of Syria (including forming security and no-flight zones in Syria and supplying training and equipment to the so-called moderate opposition) must be withdrawn. The governments must be forced to retreat from being partners of an international coalition, that has been formed in reality not against IS but against Syria.
     6. The volunteers who want to cross the border into Kobanê must be allowed.
     7. Plans to carry out cross-border military incursions must be abandoned.
     8. The curfews declared in six cities of Turkey today [8 October] must be revoked.
     9. Investigation must begin against the aggressors who caused the death of protesters in the demonstrations held in several cities.
     10. The reactionary educational practices that help IS and similar organisations in recruiting people and gaining a social support base must be abandoned.
     11. The reactionary religious organisations that function as a support base for IS and similar terrorist organisations must be dissolved.

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Socialism: a historical necessity

The deepening environmental crisis—described in various articles in Socialist Voice over the years—makes the requirement of a transition to socialism not just desirable but absolutely necessary for the survival of humanity.
      To prevent the destruction of a biological environment necessary for the reproduction of the human species in a meaningful sense, a planned, sustainable system is required. Growth—in capitalism’s meaning of the word, as the re-creation and accumulation of profit—runs contrary to this principle and in fact is driving the very destruction that needs to be reversed.
      Capitalist reproduction has come to the end of its progressive phase, has hit a number of brick walls, and now reproduces itself in the main through destructive and damaging processes, such as the insane drive for natural resources, ever-expanding military production and destruction, and unnecessary and wasteful packaging and advertising, not to mention a highly destructive financialisation process.
      The planned alternative that is necessary and has historically evolved is socialism. By “historically evolved” I mean that it is not the fantasy of someone’s mind but the logical product of human struggle and the existing social nature of production. It is “socialism” because work is collective, and everything that is produced is produced by human labour, which comes into conflict with the private and increasingly monopolised nature of accumulation and the private possession of profit.
      It is this conflict between labour and capital—i.e. between workers and owners—that, if it is pursued on the basis of strengthening labour, is the foundation on which a planned economy can be built, in which the social nature of production and the socialised distribution of wealth are elevated to be the dominant characteristic of society.
      The system that can save humanity, therefore, is not a utopian or idealistic notion of a better or fairer capitalism but a transformation to a system based on the self-interest and the needs of the vast majority of humanity and that ultimately is in the interests of all future generations of humanity.
      A planned socialist economy will not of necessity be environmentally sound, so it is our responsibility as communists to inject the necessary understanding into our socialist politics and to advance our class understanding of how to combine efficient socialised production with care of the environment and the necessary rolling back of irresponsible industrial practices to avoid the destruction of threatened species and other environmental tipping-points.
      Francis Fukuyama notoriously announced the “end of history” with the victory of the counter-revolution in the Soviet Union and the socialist countries of eastern Europe. Well, he may have been celebrating the victory of capitalism, but if capitalism is allowed to continue it will be the end of history as we know it, through the destruction of the environment necessary for human survival.
      To avoid the end of history, the transformation to socialism—rather than the reform of capitalism—is required, for it is the logic of capitalist accumulation and commodification that is driving the destruction of the environment and the dehumanised existence that a majority of people on this planet suffer.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Paramilitarism: the main obstacle to peace in Colombia

By: Pablo Catatumbo, September 25, 2014.
The growing importance of the Havana peace talks in the eyes of world public opinion makes it necessary to analyze frequent events in our country's recent history that were previously ignored or silenced, and which have delayed the achievement of the much desired Peace.
On the occasion of important events like the start of the discussion on the item "Victims" in the Agenda of the General Agreement, the implementation of the "Historical Commission of the Conflict and its Victims" and the very important "Subcommittee on Gender" it becomes necessary to start a national debate about the nature and existence of paramilitary groups in Colombia, since the clarification of this issue is planned for this stage of the talks, according to the Agenda.
The Colombian case is unique in the sense that what we know as paramilitaries ("death squads" in most Latin American countries), existed before the emergence of revolutionary guerrilla movements.
Interestingly, in our country the counter-insurgency was founded before the insurgency. US interference is to be held responsible for this in the first place, together with the foundation of the "School of the Americas" and early involvement by Colombian troops on the side of the imperialists in the first hot war of the Cold War: The Korean War.
«In Colombia, the anti-communist fanaticism of the McCarthy era was wantonly and slavishly adopted by the ruling class and the military leadership, with tragic consequences for many people in the country»
The Colombian Armed Forces have used anti-communist counterinsurgency manuals, written by the US army since 1958 - long before the rise of the FARC-EP and ELN - in the context of adopting for Colombia the "French counterinsurgency doctrine" applied in Indochina and Algeria. The US updated this as "National Security Doctrine" which it extended and applied throughout Latin America.
Those manuals recommend the creation of paramilitary groups in order to eliminate opponents and opposition leaders, as well as carrying out covert actions of political sabotage, "psychological warfare", "Civil-Military Operations" and the systematic use of torture as a weapon of war. In Colombia, the anti-communist fanaticism of the McCarthy era was wantonly and slavishly adopted by the ruling class and the military leadership, with tragic consequences for many people in the country.
In this regard, we can find ample evidence in the archives of declassified US files as well as in the materials and actions produced by the Army training centers. That's why a real commitment to truth and clarification of the national tragedy should include the publication of their files by the Armed Forces.
Returning to the issue of the application of counterinsurgency tools derived from the foreign doctrine of "National Security", we can observe its practical application in the criminalization of social protest, the selective executions of popular leaders and the organized repression against groups of communist peasants who had accepted amnesty and surrendered arms in southern Tolima.
«The murder of Charro Negro was the trigger that set off, 4 years later, the war in Marquetalia»
The high military command of the time, guided by the Liberal and Conservative parties, sponsored liberal groups that had supposedly demobilized, but who in reality were incorporated in the conflict again as counterguerrilla forces under the hypocritical name "Guerrillas for Peace."
"Mariachi", the brothers Loayza, "Arboleda", "Peligro" and others were part of these groups. Today, the strategy is still the same; demobilized fighters are linked to the conflict again as informants or members of paramilitary groups.
It was these groups, this paramilitary structure, acting as a spearhead, together with the security forces, that started attacking the agrarian project of the communists in southern Tolima and prevented peace from being consolidated. Suffice to remember the backstabbing betrayal and infamous murder of Jacobo Prías Alape, historical political leader of the people from Marquetalia, on January 11, 1960 in Gaitania at the hands of one of the mercenaries of "Mariachi", nicknamed "Belalcázar". The newspaper "El Tiempo" presented it as "the result of an intense gunfight between rival factions." The murder of Charro Negro was the trigger that set off, 4 years later, the war in Marquetalia.
Many years later, Manuel Marulanda spoke these words to a group of guerrillas of the unit "Isaías Pardo", his personal guard: "It was the political and military leadership that ordered the followers of "Mariachi" to commit this murder. With the passage of time, Charro's death has led to a national confrontation which has great prospects for producing changes... Armed uprisings are not always caused by the death of a comandante; this is virtually unique. Anyway, the spark was lit in Marquetalia and that was the serious beginning of the revolution, which we're seeing the result of now".
«Common factors were the connivance of the traditional parties, the direct support of the Army in the areas and of regional economic powers»
The murder of "Charro" was followed by the death of other guerrilla leaders like "Vencedor" and "Media Vida" and the Natagaima massacre, which occurred on September 26, 1962, and left 27 communist-affiliated peasants brutally murdered. This led to the emergence of what later became known as "the 26 of September Movement", one of the groups that gave rise to the FARC.
These events, notable among many other horrendous episodes of working people in this region who suffered massive victimization due to political intolerance, were triggering the logical reaction of the peasantry, which, years later, led to guerrilla warfare, the initial creation of the "South Block" and afterwards the current FARC-EP.
However, these initial episodes were not the only ones. With the progress of the popular movement and the prospects for the unity of the left, new local paramilitary experiments emerged and developed.
This happened in regions such as Puerto Boyacá, Cimitarra, Yondó, Urabá and Córdoba. Common factors were the connivance of the traditional parties, the direct support by Army batallions in these areas and by regional economic powers. There were American, British and Israeli (Yair Klein and others) and also Central-American advisors. And the worst complicity: the media, which imposed the discourse of a "legitimate self-defense", the "guerrilla fighters dressed up like civilians" and "everyting is allowed".
«This was an organization that was similar to the one that existed in Argentina, and with which the most cruel of all crimes of state terrorism began in Colombia: the forced disappearance of people»
The emergence of the Patriotic Union in 1984 would open a new scenario for paramilitary actions by the Public Force: the carrying out of a real political genocide against members and supporters of this alternative political proyect for peace. Other political projects in development, like the Popular Front, A Luchar, peasant and indigenous organizations and the nascent United Workers, CUT were subjected to similar treatment.
Names such as MÁS, MRN, the Triple A, "Grillos", "Tiznados", "Mano Negra", etc. followed one after another.
Behind these acronyms was the new alliance between extreme economic and political right, drug trafficking and the top leadership of the Armed Forces.
There is well documented evidence about Harold Bedoya Pizarro, former commander of the Armed Forces, former military attaché at the Colombian Embassy in the United States, student and later teacher of the US military school 'School of the Americas' at Fort Benning (Georgia), being the founder of the "triple A", a sinister local extension of Operation Condor. This was an organization that was similar to the one that existed in Argentina, and with which the most cruel of all crimes of state terrorism began in Colombia: the forced disappearance of people.
In the 1990s, when paramilitarism united around the acronym AUC, many people tended to see it as a sort of "personal project" of the Castaño brothers, to hide the commitment of the establishment and economic power with this "project"; and to conceal the direct connivance of national and foreign entrepreneurs, landowners, legislators, governors, mayors, media, battalions and brigades, with the expansion of the new paramilitary "blocks".
«Prosecutors concluded afterwards that the trucks belonged to the battalion Palacé of Buga»
I directly encountered the warmongering and political practices of the AUC, since I was part of the guerrilla command that was in charge of repelling its project to occupy the Central mountain range in Valle del Cauca in 1999.
We were eyewitnesses of the material and logistical support by the Battalion Palacé of the Third Brigade, based in the city of Buga, to the so-called "Calima Block".
Kodiak trucks that belonged to that battalion transported paramilitary groups from Buga to the mountainous area of Buga, Tulua, Sevilla, Caicedonia and Bugalagrande; they were the ones who carried out the massacres of El Placer, Alaska, La Moralia, Ceylán, La Marina, Monteloro, Santa Lucía and Barragán. As mute witnesses and evidence of what is said here, there are three of those trucks with plates at a place called "El Diluvio", burned by guerrillas after clashes in the village "El Placer". Prosecutors concluded afterwards that the trucks belonged to the battalion Palacé of Buga.
Neither the military and police officers nor the civil authorities of the region moved a finger to defend these peasant communities victimized by those horrifying massacres.
We, the guerrilla fighters of the FARC and the Jaime Bateman Cayón movement, went out in defense of that homeless population, until we managed to defeat the paramilitary threat after nearly two years of confrontation.
While all this was happening, the great entrepreneurs of the sugar industry in Cali, Palmira, Tuluá, Buga, Bugalagrande, Florida and Pradera, met in Cartago in the farm of alias "Rasguño", to agree with Castaño, "Rasguño", "DonDiego", "Chupeta" and other mobsters, regarding the shares of the financial support they would provide to these paramilitary hordes. Confessions of H.H to prosecutors give ample witness to what we say.
«Colombia's Peace requires full elucidation of all aspects of this paramilitary reality and its conjunction with the actual power that is ruling in the regions»
The regional media welcomed and praised the "rescue work" of the AUC, as we can see in articles by the two columnists of the newspaper "El País" from Cali, Diego Martínez Lloreda and some paramilitary scribbler named Mario Fernando Prado.
Colombia's Peace requires full elucidation of all aspects of this paramilitary reality and its conjunction with the actual power that is ruling in the regions. It also requires its effective dismantling and guarantees of non-repetition. Without this, there will be no peace in Colombia, since the paramilitaries remain a clear reality in all regions of the country.
The final question is: Are the Colombian establishment, the State, the entrepreneurs and the traditional political parties mature to assume the elucidation of this truth and the dismantling of the sectors that have boosted, sponsored and exalted paramilitary action in Colombia?
This is not mere rhetoric; we say it with sincere conviction and full patriotic responsibility: In the answer to this question is the likely outcome of the Peace Process in Havana. Because indeed, paramilitarism - the official and the mafia version - ,  is the main obstacle to achieving peace in our country.
President Santos said: "The key point... the heart of the problem, is the point of the victims and what is called transitional justice. Therein lies the heart of the solution to this conflict. The most difficult thing".
Mr. President may be right, this is an obstacle that we must overcome, but to solve what he calls "the heart of the problem", we need to solve the problem of paramilitarism. That is what Peace in our country depends on.
With the active, impune and rampant paramilitarism as currently exists in Colombia, it is impossible to carry out political activity of opposition against the establishment. That's the biggest challenge we face.