The article below is taken from Samidoun, the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network.  Please support their work.  You can donate to them here.  

14 March 2017 marks the 11th anniversary of the attack on Jericho prisonby Israeli occupation forces and the abduction of six Palestinian political prisoners. Ahmad Sa’adat, the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, his comrades Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh, Majdi Rimawi, Hamdi Qur’an and Basil al-Asmar, along with Fateh veteran leader Fouad Shobaki, were seized from the PA prison after US and British guards suddenly left their posts in a violent attack by Israeli occupation forces. Today, all six of the kidnapped Palestinians remain imprisoned. Two Palestinians were killed and 23 injured by occupation forces as they waged a military assault on the prison.

The attack on Jericho prison not only reflected yet another Israeli crime against the Palestinian people and the targeting of one of Palestine’s most prominent political leaders, Ahmad Sa’adat, the General Secretary of the Palestinian leftist party, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. It also clearly indicated the joint role of imperialist powers like the United States and the United Kingdom and the devastating impact of Palestinian Authority “security coordination” with Israel.

This anniversary is particularly poignant today, following the Israeli assassination of Read the rest of this entry »

by Tony Norfield

At a recent talk I gave on imperialism, there was an interesting question raised on what I thought about Marx’s theory of value. This seemed to be prompted by my reference to Marx’s theory, while I spent little or no time using the terminology in Capital. So the logic of the question was: what is the point of Marx’s theory if one can do without it when explaining what is going on in the world?

Partly, the question is answered by saying that one does not always have to use specialist terminology to express ideas. For example, I have found it to be simpler in presentations to avoid Marx’s term ‘fictitious capital’, because that concept would take some time to explain properly and most people are not familiar with it. Even those who are commonly misunderstand it. Instead, I usually develop the same ideas more directly through discussing the role played by equities and bonds and their relationship to what the economy produces. However, the question needs to be put in a broader context.

Marx’s value theory analyses social labour under capitalism and the increasingly odd forms that it takes as capitalism develops: from being represented in the prices of commodities, to being the source of interest, profits, dividends, rents and tax revenues, to underlying, in an even more distorted fashion, the prices of financial securities. Marx’s theory shows how the capitalist market gives the system a particular dynamic, one that leads to the monopolisation of production and the creation of a world market as capital accumulates. The labour embodied in commodities may not tally directly with the prices they command in the market, but those prices remain strongly influenced by changes in social productivity. Furthermore, we get a longer-term process by which barriers to capitalist production are set by the Read the rest of this entry »

In recent decades there has been a rise in the West in opposition to the state of Israel and its dispossession, and continuing repression, of the Palestinian people.  Most recently, the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, modeled on similar campaigns against apartheid in South Africa, has won wide support and put the Zionist state, and the various Israeli parties and governments which uphold it, on the back foot.  The response of the Zionists to opposition is usually to go on the offensive.  Central to their political offensive against the growing support movement for the Palestinian cause has been to equate hostility to Zionism with anti-Semitism and try to make out that if you are politically opposed to Zionism (a political movement) than you must be some kind of anti-Jewish bigot.

The article below is not immediately relevant to New Zealand, but it provides a useful illustration of this new Zionist offensive against Palestinian rights and free speech in Britain.  Plus, we can be pretty sure that as the pro-Palestinian movement becomes more active in this country, a similar campaign will be launched here by supporters of the Israeli state and its racism and repression against the Palestinians.  So forewarned is forearmed.  The author of the article is a veteran anti-imperialist and independent Marxist activist in Britain.

by Tony Greenstein

In the past two weeks Palestine societies on university campuses in Britain have been organising activities around the annual Israel Apartheid Week. This year, however, the right to organise such events has come under systematic attack from university authorities.

Two weeks ago Jo Johnson, the universities minister, wrote to Universities UK demanding the suppression of Israel Apartheid Week as a way of combating “anti-Semitism”.1 Apparently holocaust denial leaflets had been distributed at Cambridge University and swastikas found at Exeter University. Ipso factothis meant that the responsibility lay with supporters of the Palestinians! A classic example of the McCarthyite guilt-by-association technique, combined with the big lie.

At least three universities have reacted by either proscribing Israel Apartheid Week or severely limiting its Read the rest of this entry »

from mondoweiss
Jonathan Ofir on March 5, 2017

From the Israeli leadership perspective, a Palestinian state in any true capacity has always been a ‘Never-Never Land’ that should remain in the realms of fiction. When Israel and the Palestinians embarked upon the famous ‘peace process’ in Madrid in 1991, Prime Minister Itzhak Shamir coined the ‘teaspoon policy’: endless negotiating sessions at which countless teaspoons amounting to mountains of sugar would be stirred into oceans of tea and coffee, but no agreement would ever be reached. For Israel, with or without a ‘peace process’, this continues to be policy: the more it draws out the time, the more opportunity it gets to annex, the more it shrinks Palestinian enclaves into Bantustans and open air prisons.Israel has no intention of realizing a real Palestinian state, and it never had.

Let me review the history. Israel took over Read the rest of this entry »

Ernesto Che Guevara, Marx and Engels: a biographical introduction, published by Ocean Press, Melbourne.

by Phil Duncan

Ocean Press is a fascinating little publisher, specialising in publishing the work of Cuban revolutionaries in English.  Some years back, while visiting Melbourne, I picked up a book of theirs on Haydee Santamaria, one of my personal revolutionary heroes, so it was gratifying to come across this little book by Che on Marx and Engels late last year.

Che actually wrote this modest, but highly interesting, little work after his involvement in the revolutionary struggle in the Congo in 1965 and before his final misadventure in Bolivia.  It was originally envisaged not as a stand-alone piece but as part of a much larger work on political economy.  Pressing attachments elsewhere, most particularly his decision to go to Bolivia to help foster revolution there, meant his book was not completed, although fragments that were have been published.  The book arose out of Che’s disquiet about the Soviet bloc and his concern that it was headed more towards capitalism than socialism.  He grappled, both in his role as a leading figure in the shaping of the revolutionary Cuban economy and later in Africa and Bolivia, with the problems of the transition from capitalism to socialism, becoming more and more convinced that things in the Soviet Union had taken a wrong turn.

Left in imperialist world

This small book contains many words of wisdom for today’s left, especially those in the imperialist countries who too often turn their noses up at what they see as mere Third World struggles and revolutions, believing that the imperialist countries are the centre of the world and the only ones that really matter.  And, of course, who are blissfully unaware of their imperialist chauvinism and what they’re missing out on.  Certainly every individual on the NZ left should read this.  They will find little gems like Read the rest of this entry »

Today, March 8, is International Working Women’s Day – or what feminists have hijacked into the classless International Women’s Day.  Last month also marked the 100th anniversary of the February 1917 revolution in the Russian Empire, a revolution sparked off by working class women. 

Working class women sparked off the Russian Revolution

by Anne McShane

The centenary of International Working Women’s Day in Petrograd (St Petersburg) in February 1917 is an important moment to take a more critical approach to this history.

Most of us on the left are familiar with the events themselves. In his classic work, The Russian Revolution, Leon Trotsky provides us with a dramatic and inspiring depiction of the uprising in Petrograd – he describes in detail the five glorious days of struggle. How the Petrograd working class rose up in grim determination against the tsarist state. How the strikes, which began on International Working Women’s Day, ostensibly in protest against the war, developed rapidly into a mass movement with the power to oust the imperial regime. How it advanced on the citadels of power, precipitating mutiny after mutiny among the armed forces, as soldiers and Cossacks refused to massacre the workers. In less than a week the centuries-long rule of the tsarist autocracy was routed by the Petrograd working class.

However, it must be admitted that the revolution was premature. There was no party leadership in place and the left, including the Bolsheviks, was caught unawares. The uprising was also confined almost entirely to Petrograd. It has often been described as a purely spontaneous movement – an angry working class letting off steam against the war, conscription and prohibition. But, as Trotsky makes very clear, to argue that the working class of Petrograd were just acting instinctively or in an unconscious way is absurd. Those (often in academic circles) who want to portray it as such are anxious to deny the depth of revolutionary ideas among workers, or their ability to analyse, decide and act on their own behalf. They want to separate off this movement from October and argue that the provisional government and ‘bourgeois democracy’ was the natural conclusion of February. The October revolution is presented as a putsch in contrast to the spontaneity of February. It is more concerning that some on the left also distinguish the two revolutions in the same way. As always, however, reality is a lot more Read the rest of this entry »

1054Thanks to Barrie Sargeant for passing the following statement on to us. 

IUF (Uniting Food, Farm and Hotel Workers Worldwide) Statement, March 3:

Four hundred workers in Dunedin, New Zealand have been fighting to save their Cadbury plant since parent company Mondelez announced on February 15 that it plans to close the facility. Cadbury Dunedin is the city’s largest private sector employer, and indirectly supports a far larger number of jobs.

The former Kraft Foods Inc. bought UK-based Cadbury in 2010 in a takeover that was financed with massive debt. When Mondelez was spun out of Kraft in 2012, that debt remained on the new company’s books. Mondelez workers around the world have been paying for the takeover with sell-offs, closures, outsourcing and downsizing to fund outsize returns to Read the rest of this entry »