Archive for the ‘Community organising’ Category

Free Ahed, free all the children AND all the adults!

by Phil Duncan

I have no problem with the highlighting of the situation of Ahed Tamimi, the teenager being held in an Israeli prison for slapping an IDF soldier after the IDF shot her cousin in the face – not to mention that the IDF is an occupation force which, even by the standards of bourgeois law, is breaking the law.

What I do object to, however, is when people single out one young Palestinian prisoner and/or Palestinian child prisoners and demand only their release.

Why should Ahed Tamimi be freed and Karim Younis, who is now starting his 36th year in prison, remain behind bars?  And what is the cut-off age for children?  Should the 16-year-olds be released, but forget the 17-year-olds?  What about the old folks?  Should an imprisoned Palestinian in her or his 70s  be forgotten about while we protest solely for the release of the ‘children’?

Karim Younis, now entering his 36th year in a Zionist prison. Fight to free ALL the Palestinian prisoners!

I can’t help but have the uneasy feeling that a whole layer of people in this country who ‘support’ the Palestinians are uncomfortable (more…)

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Marikana massacre of workers carried out by ANC government, August 16, 2012; the single most number killed by any Slouth African government in a single action since the 1960 apartheid regime massacre of black civil rights protesters at Sharpeville

Billionaire Cyril Ramaphosa has been made president of the ANC, although Jacob Zuma will continue as president of the country.

Ramaphosa says the ANC will spend 2018 reconnecting with the people and making up for its mistakes.

The idea of this super-rich capitalist reconnecting with the masses is a hoot.  Ramaphosa, who supported the massacring of mine workers just a couple of years ago, leveraged his time as a militant trade union leader to get into business and epitomises everything that went wrong with the ANC in the first place. 

by Peter Manson

Readers will know that president Jacob Zuma was replaced by Cyril Ramaphosa as leader of the African National Congress at the ANC’s elective conference in December.

Zuma will remain South African head of state, however, until a new president is elected by the national assembly following the 2019 general election – unless, of course, action is taken by the ANC and parliament to remove him earlier, which is a distinct possibility.

Just before the elective conference, commentator Peter Bruce pleaded to ANC delegates:

The fact is that policy uncertainty is crippling foreign investment … And try not to think of foreign investors as fat, white capitalists smoking cigars in a club somewhere and deciding which ideological friends to finance … They’re investing the savings and pensions of people like you … They need a return on those people’s money, just like you need a return on yours.1

Corruption

Such commentators wanted Zuma out – and were equally opposed to his replacement as ANC president by his former wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who was seen as a mere continuation of the current corrupt regime. Zuma not only stands accused of using state funds to upgrade his private residence, and of allowing the Gupta family to exert huge influence over government appointments – so-called ‘state capture’ – but he still has no fewer than 783 charges of corruption, fraud and money-laundering hanging over him. These are connected to the multi-billion-dollar arms deal finalised in 1999 just after Zuma became deputy president. His financial advisor at the time, Schabir Shaik, was jailed in 2005 for facilitating those bribes and, while Zuma faced charges too, they were conveniently dropped just after he became president in 2009.

During the pre-conference campaign Ramaphosa repeatedly insisted that all those implicated in ‘state capture’ and corruption must be (more…)

This is the first in what will be an occasional series of articles we are running about specific revolutionary women; we say ‘occasional’ simply because they won’t be daily or weekly.  This article was not written to be part of this series; Yassamine wrote it for a different purpose, but we thought it was a fascinating article and so we’re re-blogging it to kick off the series.

by Yassamine Mather

One hundred thousand women demonstrate in Tehran against the imposition of the veil by the theocratic regime in 1979

Taher Ahmadzadeh, a veteran member of Iran’s Jebheh Melli (National Front – Mossadegh’s political coalition) and the Freedom Movement, who became briefly the governor of Khorassan province after the Iranian revolution of 1979, died on November 30 in Mashad, northern Iran. Most of the Persian language press inside and outside the country published lengthy obituaries. He had been imprisoned both during the Pahlavi period and after the Islamic Revolution and the obituaries dedicated paragraphs to his sons Massoud and Majid, founders of the Sazman-e Cherikha-ye Fadayee-ye Khalgh, OIPFG, who were executed by the Shah’s regime, and his youngest son, Mojtaba, a sympathizer of another communist organisation, who opposed armed struggle, killed at the age of 25 by the Islamic Republic.

However almost all of these obituaries failed to mention his daughter Mastoureh Ahmadzadeh, who is alive, who was a political prisoner of the Shah’s regime and became a leading figure of OIPFG, a member of its central committee. The editors, journalists and commentators who remind us everyday how they have become ‘feminists’, the very same people who complain daily about the lack of women ministers in Rouhani’s government (as if that would make any difference to a government led by a reformist Shia cleric) wrote about Taher Ahmadzadeh and his three sons but not a word about his daughter. It is almost as if she doesn’t exist.

This short piece, based on my memories of Mastoureh (comrade Azam) in Kurdistan and later in France, is to (more…)

by Daphna Whitmore

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Ahed Tamimi in a military court yesterday remains in detention without legal representation or charges

So, Lorde has been invited to a meeting with the Israeli Ambassador to New Zealand after announcing she would cancel her concert in Tel Aviv. Mr Yitzhak Gerberg wants to tell Lorde that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and to discuss the the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Sure, Israel is a democracy of sorts for Jewish Israelis. There are anomolies, such as religious intermarriage being outlawed. This does contravene the notion of basic freedoms and resembles the old segregation seen in the Southern States of the US and the former apartheid regime in South  Africa. There are also no civil divorce rights in Israel – only religious bodies can rule on divorce – and there are numerous other democratic shortcomings, but for Jews many of the features of a democracy do exist.

For the 1.4 million Palestinian and other Arab populations in Israel, however, the democracy is very second rate. They face discrimination that is among the worst by Western standards. But all the limitations of democratic rights in Israel pale in comparison to the brutal military occupation carried out by the Israeli state for the past 50 years over the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank.

Will Ambassador Gerberg explain what sort of democracy it is that imprisons children? There are currently 400 Palestinian children in Israeli prisons. This week the case of 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi highlighted the situation when she was seized in the middle of the night by Israeli soldiers after video footage showed her slapping two Israeli solidiers who were on her family property, just hours after a 15-year-old cousin of Ahed had been shot in the head by soldiers. (more…)

The article below was written a little over nine years ago.  Since then the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) in relation to Israel has grown significantly and caused some real headaches to the Israeli state.  Nevertheless, some on the left oppose BDS.  While this is essentially a capitulation to the pressures of imperialism, there are also some genuinely left-wing people who remain confused about the nature of the Israeli state and the political forces within it and the role of BDS.

In the article below, one of the founders of BDS, Omar Barghouti, takes up the left and liberal critics of BDS.

Since the launch of the Palestinian boycott movement a few years ago, we have experienced an awkward phenomenon that demands urgent comment. Several organizations known for years — in some cases, decades — for their tireless Palestine solidarity work stood firmly against the Palestinian civil society Call for Boycott, Divestment and SanctionsBDS, issued on 9 July 2005, for various reasons. Some said such tactics were “harmful” to the Palestinian struggle. Others opined that BDS would undermine the so-called Israeli “peace” movement. Others, still, stated that boycotting Israel would invite accusations of anti-Semitism and betrayal of the Holocaust victims, thereby setting back Palestine solidarity work in a substantial way.Many other arguments were (more…)

PFLP rally, Gaza city, 2010 (photo credit: Mustafa Hassona/Flash90)

The statement below was issued by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine last week:

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine described the declaration of US President Donald Trump as a declaration of war against the Palestinian people and their rights that makes the U.S. position clear as a hostile entity toward our people and a partner of the Zionist state in its crimes against the Palestinian people and land, and it must be addressed on this basis.

Further, the Front considered that Trump also launched a “bullet of mercy” on the so-called two-state solution, the settlement project and the delusions of the peace process. It called upon the Palestinian leadership to learn the necessary lessons from the (more…)

by Phil Duncan

Last Friday (December 1) all the staff at Rotorua Aquatics, which is owned by the local council, were presented with redundancy notices.

The Council wants to bring in an outside management company, and is preparing the ground for this with the redundancy notices.  The Rotorua Lakes Council is so high-handed that it didn’t even bother with the usual employer pretence of “consultation”.

The mayor involved in this assault on workers’ rights is Steve Chadwick, a former four-term Labour MP

Not surprisingly, the mayor involved in this attack on workers’ rights is a former Labour MP, Steve Chadwick.

The Council’s over-riding motive is clear – (more…)