Friday, August 22, 2014

Hiroshima and Nagasaki sixty-nine years later

From Palestine to Ukraine: The timeliness of the struggle for peace

Marking the sixty-ninth anniversary of the launching by the United States of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August 1945, the PCP draws attention to the serious international developments arising from the escalation of interference, aggression and war led by US imperialism.
     Creating and promoting widespread outbreaks of tension and destabilisation in virtually all regions of the world, the United States, with its NATO allies and the European Union, promotes aggression and launches a war against all those who, defending their sovereignty and national independence, resist their aim of imposing world domination.

     In this framework the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian population of Gaza is particularly serious. After a month of methodical and indiscriminate bombing, which did not spare schools, hospitals, mosques, and even UN facilities, it has already killed approximately two thousand Palestinians and left more than nine thousand wounded—including thousands of children—and destroyed homes and several basic infrastructures, essential to ensuring the living conditions of the Palestinian population.

     This new massacre and act of state terrorism by Israel, carried out with the support of the United States and the European Union, demands the strongest condemnation. The interruption of the military offensive by the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip is not the end of the Zionist aggression: the illegal and criminal occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people continues. It is unacceptable that the Portuguese government, ignoring the explicit constitutional duty, not only has not condemned the Israeli aggression but keeps silent on the demand to apply the UN resolutions that demand Israel’s withdrawal from the Arab territories occupied in 1967 and the recognition of the right of Palestinian people to their own independent and sovereign state.

     Reaffirming its solidarity with the cause and the heroic national liberation struggle of the Palestinian people against the oppression of the state of Israel, the PCP calls for participation in the public act “Free Palestine! End the aggression! End the occupation!” promoted by several organisations, which takes place tomorrow, 7 August, at 6 p.m., in front of the Israeli embassy in Lisbon.

     Moreover, following the February coup—instigated and supported by the United States, EU and NATO and materialised with the decisive participation of forces of an assumedly neo-Nazi and fascist nature—continues in Ukraine, under a cloak of silence and premeditated distortion of the reality, a brutal campaign of repression against the people who reject fascism and do not bow to the powers resulting from the coup. The criminal military operation that the Kiev authorities are stepping up against the Ukrainian population of the Donbass region—involving militarised neo-fascist groups—has already caused, following the Odessa massacre, thousands of victims and hundreds of thousands of refugees, a military operation that is part of a broader campaign of violation of fundamental rights and freedoms, which include systematic actions of intimidation, persecution and violence against the communists and other democrats and the stated aim of outlawing the Communist Party of Ukraine.

     The serious development of the situation in Ukraine is part of imperialism’s advance to the east following the dramatic defeats of socialism and of a dangerous escalation of tension and confrontation by the United Statesd and the EU against the Russian Federation that, if not halted, will represent a serious threat to peace in Europe and the world.

     Stressing the need to engage in a political process between the parties, the PCP reiterates its solidarity with the Ukrainian workers and people and their aspirations and struggle for a free, sovereign, democratic Ukraine of social progress.

     The PCP reaffirms its strong condemnation of the repressive and persecutory campaign against the Ukrainian communists and other democratic forces and its solidarity with those in Ukraine who resist and stand in defence of their rights, against the power and oppression of the oligarchs and of imperialism and against the neo-fascist threat.

     The Israeli military aggression against the Palestinian population of the Gaza Strip and the premeditated worsening situation in Ukraine are an integral part of imperialism’s strategy of global domination, which includes the destruction of Yugoslavia; the war and occupation of Afghanistan, of Iraq and Libya and the breakdown of those countries as sovereign states; the operation against Syria; the sanctions and threats against Iran; the increasing interference, military interventionism and recolonisation operations in Africa; the galloping militarisation of the Far East, targeting China; the permanent tension in the Korean peninsula; Japanese revanchism and expansionism; and the blockade against Cuba and the interference and destabilisation in Venezuela and other Latin American countries.

     Hypocritically instrumentalising “human rights” and the “duty of humanitarian intervention,” with the use of huge campaigns of misinformation and manipulation in seeking to whitewash their criminal objectives and actions, the United States and its allies systematically violate the UN Charter and international law by attacking the sovereignty of states and the rights of peoples, intensifying exploitation, implementing anti-democratic measures, and promoting and perpetrating criminal wars.

     With the deepening of the structural crisis of capitalism, imperialism seeks to ensure and control the exploitation of resources and geo-strategic positions, suppressing the resistance and struggle of the workers and peoples in defence of their inalienable rights and legitimate aspirations—a policy to which successive governments have been binding Portugal. Portugal must break with the policy of submission to the United States, NATO and the EU which is involving it in imperialism’s aggressive operations, ruining the country and undermining the very sovereignty and independence of Portugal.

     The most aggressive circles of imperialism are launching humanity into a spiral of exploitation, oppression, and war. It is in the hands of the people to stop it. Sixty-nine years after the launching of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki the PCP reaffirms the timeliness and urgency of the struggle for peace and its commitment to contributing to the strengthening of the peace movement and its solidarity with the people who are victims of imperialist aggression. Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki is not forgetting its hundreds of thousands of victims, and in their memory, intervene so that never again humanity will have to suffer nuclear horror.

     In the year that marks the fortieth anniversary of the April Revolution, which put an end to the fascist dictatorship, the PCP calls on all democrats and patriots to intensify the fight against fascism, against militarism, against imperialist interference and war, for peace, disarmament—particularly for nuclear disarmament—for the peaceful resolution of conflicts, the end of foreign military bases, the dissolution of the political and military blocs, respecting sovereignty and national independence, for social progress and friendship and co-operation among peoples.

Demand grows for a living wage

The economic crisis that went global after Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008 is not over, but the free-market system appears, for the time being at least, to have stabilised. Output is increasing while unemployment is falling in Britain, the United States, and even Spain. The euro has survived, and the global bourse is still rewarding those degenerates who manipulate world markets.
     There is nothing new in recognising the cyclical nature of market-driven economies; yet this phenomenon should remind us once again that we cannot wait passively for capitalism to oblige socialism and self-destruct.
     Many of the left-inspired initiatives launched in the wake of the 2008 crisis, while well intentioned, have withered away. Failure was usually due to the fact that these efforts concentrated either on making a moral criticism of the system or attempting to defend a single social issue. It would be churlish to criticise the many dedicated activists who campaigned against these injustices; but ultimately we have to calculate the effectiveness of their actions rather than the aspirations they entertained.
     All too often the left found itself on the back foot, trying to defend old achievements while rarely having the opportunity to advance fresh demands.
     Supported by its own powerful media and a plethora of right-wing ideologues masquerading as academics or civil servants, the masters of neo-liberalism were and are surrounded by a protective propaganda buffer. Their well-oiled publicity machines skilfully dismiss criticism, ostensibly offering a rationale for the harshest of cut-backs and the iniquitous division of wealth. While the layer of misinformation was and is far from being impenetrable, it nevertheless creates an effective barrier to all but the best-crafted critique and adequately supported actions.
     However, just as capitalism appears to be in the process of weathering its latest storm and regaining a certain superficial composure, signs are emerging that at its heart there is a deep-running lack of confidence among some of its most esteemed theoreticians. Central to their concern is the obvious fact that recovery is built upon reducing earnings and income for working people while simultaneously cutting back on the public services and goods often identified by trade unionists as the citizens’ social wage. The difficulty these economists see lies not necessarily in the misery resulting from such policies: what worries them is that a lack of purchasing power is leading to static or falling consumption, leaving the global economy gripped in a non-expansionary or stagnant trough.
     For some time now influential figures from the Keynesian school of economics, such as Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz, have been critical of the fiscal policies being followed by OECD countries. They were considered “old-school,” and were tolerated somewhat indulgently.
     More recently, though, other pro-market economists have added their voices to the list of sceptics, and they are less easily dismissed. Even if we haven’t read it, most of us are aware of the latest work of the French economist Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. He caused a stir by undermining capitalism’s claim of an inherent effectiveness of markets to generate wealth equally across the board.
     Other prominent free-market economists are now adding their voices to a growing clamour to rethink the seemingly unshakable position held by economic movers and shakers since the beginning of the Thatcher-Reagan era. The British economist David Blanchflower, a former member of the Bank of England’s influential Monetary Policy Committee, wrote scathingly in the Independent (London) of British government policy. In his article he described the calamitous drop in living standards and real income levels experienced by a majority of Britain’s working people.¹ This has happened without pause since the present coalition government came into office, and this in spite of a growth in GDP and falling rates of unemployment.
     The Blanchflower article struck a chord when he identified a drop in real wages, which in many cases takes workers’ pay below the cost of living. Of course this issue is not confined to Britain. Labour’s share of income has been falling throughout the OECD countries (including Ireland) for several decades, but the impact was disguised until the economic crash of 2008.² Not any longer, though; and one positive outcome has been an increasing demand for adopting and implementing a living-wage policy.
     In Ireland the call for just such a policy not only has the powerful endorsement of the ICTU and its largest trade unions, SIPTU and Unite, but is supported by a number of well-regarded pressure groups advocating social justice. A report in the Irish Times on 4 July announced the launch of a living-wage campaign, mentioning that “one in six people living in poverty in Ireland has a job, a group often called the working poor.”³
     Achieving a living wage—as distinct from a minimum wage, which often becomes the maximum—is not an end in itself, no matter how welcome it would be for working people. Forcing capital to pay workers an acceptable income does not alter the fundamental property relationships that socialism understands to be essential.
     What the struggle for a living wage does do, nevertheless, is offer workers an opportunity to push back and regain some ground lost over the past years of retreat. In this instance there is not only support for the campaign from the union movement and agencies within civic society but there is the real advantage that capitalism’s ideologues are divided on the issue. In other words, momentum in this case favours workers.
     It is essential to ensure that the campaign does not become restricted or capped. A living wage is an ever-changing target and not a fixed figure. Nor should it be viewed as merely an amount in the pay packet: also included in the demand must be an acceptance of an inviolable social-wage element, guaranteeing all the communal and collective goods that a civilised society must provide, such as a home, health care, education, and daily amenities.
     It has to be recognised, of course, that there is no single panacea that will carry the day for working people. Campaigning in support of a living wage is just one step towards the eventual goal of a socialist society, but if properly supported it can nevertheless become an important step.

Workers Education Circle Co. Louth

Friday, August 15, 2014

Scrap the TTIP

The main goal of TTIP is to remove regulatory ‘barriers’ which restrict the potential profits to be made by transnational corporations on both sides of the Atlantic. Yet these ‘barriers’ are in reality some of our most prized social standards and environmental regulations.

Because TTIP would allow EU investors in the U.S. and U.S. investors operating in EU member states the opportunity to bypass established methods of complaining about laws and regulations they don’t like and sue sovereign governments of EU member states directly in private arbitration tribunals made up of for-profit arbitrators rather than full-time judges. This ‘investor-State dispute settlement’ (ISDS) mechanism effectively elevates transnational capital to a status equivalent to the nation-state itself and poses a grave threat to democracy.

We should oppose TTIP because multinational corporations’ lawyers have extended the definition of ‘expropriation’ to cover almost everything that is to their employers’ financial disadvantage. Egypt has been sued by Veolia for raising the minimum wage, Germany is in court for abandoning nuclear power, and Canada has been challenged by US pharmaceutical giants for restricting the use of high price drugs.

TTIP would threaten democracy, would attack worker’s rights; erode social standards and environmental regulations, dilute food safety rules and regulations on the use of toxic chemicals, rubbish digital privacy laws and strangle developing economies.

Please sign and share the below petition

Monday, August 4, 2014

New Issue of Socialist Voice

August issue of Socialist Voice out now:

Imperialism, trade unions, international solidarity, history and much more...

Arrest of peace activist a disgrace and an affront to justice

The Communist Party of Ireland strongly condemns the imprisonment today of Niall Farrell to serve a two-week sentence in Limerick prison for a peaceful protest against the continued use of Shannon Airport by the US war machine.
Niall Farrell was standing up for peace and for an end to the transporting of US soldiers and munitions through Shannon Airport.
No doubt some of those munitions have gone on to Israel to allow it to continue its genocidal war against the Palestinian people.
As Niall Farrell said, “my actions at Shannon Airport were specifically to oppose the continuing criminality taking place there . . . Indeed as I speak, cargoes of death that have travelled freely through Shannon airport or Irish air space are raining down in an act of genocide on the helpless people of Gaza.
It is not I who is the criminal, rather those in the Irish state who have willingly been an accessory to these crimes against humanity carried out through Shannon Airport and Irish air space by the US war machine and its proxies.”
We demand the immediate release of Niall Farrell and the closing of Shannon Airport and Irish air space to the US military and an end the collaboration of the Irish state with death and destruction.
We draw the people’s attention to the contrast between the sentence handed down to Niall and his fellow peace campaigners and that of the bankers. We note that Niall has been sent to prison while two bankers whose actions have brought great hardship to working people of this state were sentenced to “community service.” Clearly there is one law for the rich and prison for peace campaigners.
We call on peace campaigners throughout the world to demand the release of Niall Farrell and to call for an end to the use of Shannon Airport by the US war machine.

The First World War—a century of slaughter

Statement by the Communist Party of Ireland

The 31st of July is the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, which resulted in the slaughter of more than nine million people, with millions more wounded and left physically and emotionally traumatised. It was the first “industrial” war, fought on a scale unprecedented in history.

This was not a “war to end war,” nor a fight between incestuous and dysfunctional royal families, the remnants of feudalism in Europe: this war was for carving up the world by the big imperial powers of Europe, a war that was secretly planned for a decade before its eruption.

There is nothing to celebrate in this slaughter. It is a time for reflecting on what those same imperial powers have done over the last century, waging wars against the people on every continent, in almost every country in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, not forgetting our own country, where the British government used political divisions as a pawn in its greater global imperial strategy.

Those same imperial powers are responsible for the deaths of millions of people who were struggling for their freedom from colonial domination. Millions more perished to prevent them taking any path of development other than that of capitalism and subservience to imperial domination.

What we are witnessing today throughout the Middle East—in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Palestine—and the continuing conflicts in Africa, follows from the carve-up of those regions and the decisions taken after the First World War and imposed by those same imperial powers. The century since that war has been a century of barbarism and slaughter.

Irish governments, past and present, have pulled this state into closer integration with the imperial powers and their military alliances and military adventures. Any semblance of neutrality is gone; this is reflected in the positions adopted by the present government in relation to events in Ukraine and Gaza and the use of Shannon Airport. 

They slavishly follow the dictate of the European Union, dominated as it is by the same imperial powers of a century ago. 

No amount of joint unveilings of crosses or plaques can change the reasons why this war took place and the slaughter of working people that resulted.

WFDY Statement for the 100 years since the beginning of World War I

The past 28th of July marked the 100 years anniversary since the beginning of the First World War. It was the beginning of the fist global large scale war conflict created by the antagonisms of imperialist powers. It was the terrifying revelation of the results of the monopolistic stage of capitalism. The millions of dead and the enormous disasters that involved countries from all the continents will forever be a reminder of the results of imperialist antagonisms and aggressions; it will always be a reminder that the imperialist alliances are serving the interests of the bourgeoisie of each country but not the interests of the peoples.

The assassination of the heir of the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, led to the beginning of the war. But the real reasons that led to the first global imperialist war can be found the passing of capitalism to its monopolistic stage, imperialism. The fact that the development of capitalism couldn’t be limited to the borders of a single state, and that the national monopolies needed to expand their markets created tensions over the conquest of colonies and the control of trade routes. This antagonisms together with the crisis of the late 19th century, led to the creation of alliances of imperialist states and to the military build-ups.

Today we can find that history repeats itself with new imperialist alliances, groupings and continuous military build-ups. The re-arrangements of borders and alliances that take place, usually violently are creating sparks that can lead to wider international conflicts and wars. The capitalist crisis once again pushes the tensions to their limits. The need for control of the energy fields and especially the energy routes creates an intensive competition among monopolies. The effort to impose certain political environments and the speculative nature of imperialism generate developments that even their instigators cannot control. We can see this taking place now in the Middle East in Ukraine with unpredictable consequences.

We, as part of the international anti-imperialist movement, as progressive young men and women pay our tribute to the victims of the great imperialist war. Our struggle for peace and friendship among peoples, our struggle to overthrow imperialism is what brings hope for a better future for mankind, for the necessary step of progress. As the great October Revolution gave life through the ruins of the First World War, we commit to defeat imperialism to bring peace to the peoples.

Palestine Solidarity Posters

Telesur in English

The progressive Latin American TV station Telesur can be viewed in English here

From Wikipedia: La Nueva Televisora del Sur, C.A. is a public company which has some Latin American governments as its sponsors. Its sponsors are the governments of Argentina 20%, Bolivia 5%, Cuba 19%, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Uruguay 10% and Venezuela 51%. The channel's news agenda is dictated by its Board of Directors with the aid of an advisory council, which is formed by many international and regional leftist intellectuals, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, poet Ernesto Cardenal, writers Eduardo Galeano, Tariq Ali, Saul Landau, editor-in-chief of Le Monde diplomatique and historian Ignacio Ramonet, Argentine film producer Tristán Bauer, free software pioneer Richard Stallman and US actor and activist Danny Glover. The network carries no commercial advertising.