Category Archives: CIT

Ascenso y caída de Syriza

Por Andros Payiatsos, Xekinima CIT en Grecia 10 de julio de 2017

 

El 5 de julio de 2015 se celebró en Grecia un histórico referéndum contra el memorando de austeridad de la troika, el resultado fue un contundente 61,5% de los votos por el NO. Dos años más tarde, la sociedad griega con el gobierno encabezado por Syriza se enfrenta a las mismas políticas que fueron aplicadas por los partidos tradicionales de la clase dominante, el socialdemócrata PASOK y el conservador Nueva Democracia (ND). ¿Qué ha ido mal?

Artículo del Blog de SOCIALISMO REVOLUCIONARIO

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A warning to comrades of Offensiv – Marxistische Organisation on joining Izquierda Revolucionaria

Dear Comrades,

I genuinely wish you the best of luck with IR. Undoubtedly you will meet and work with some excellent and dedicated comrades from the Spanish State.

However, I am obliged to warn you about the leadership of IR. I and my comrades from the CWI have been loyal and dedicated members of IR for almost two years. During the debate in the CWI we opposed the reckless policy of the IR leadership which from the outset was to split the most successful Trotskyist international since 1945.

We produced a political document which was never answered by the IR leadership yet we were condemned across the whole of the CWI for supposedly ‘breaking democratic centralism’ and being Mandelites. Last month we were bureaucratically expelled in a discussion and via WhatsApp in one case.

We were given no written charges and we have no right of appeal. This goes against the democratic traditions of the CWI and indeed Trotskyism. I was a branch committee member and top subs payer and paper seller yet I was not informed that my CC members were secretly plotting behind my back to expel me.

This is an unhealthy bureaucratic internal regime which is NOT attractive to young workers and working class people in general. Such methods will never build a mass revolutionary party which is absolutely necessary and possible in the Spanish State.

More details about our expulsions from Izquierda Revolucionaria here

IZQUIERDA REVOLUCIONARIA: NO TO THE EXPULSIONS OF JOHN HIRD, VIKI LARA AND ROB MACDONALD!

Solidarity with Altsasu 8 from CWI in China, Hong Kong & Taiwan

John Hird, Viki Lara and Rob MacDonald, members of Izquierda Revolucionaria have been summarily expelled without any written reasons, accusations or charges. In the case of John Hird, he only discussed it with his CC member individually who informed him of his expulsion with “immediate effect”. His CC member even refused to say what the discussion was about beforehand despite being asked several times. We find all this un-comradely and very questionable.

In the case of Viki Lara, she was contacted by the CC comrade responsible for IR in the region to arrange a discussion about “the situation of the Mexican section and the repercussions in the Spanish section”. The discussion was arranged first to be held after a branch meeting on Saturday evening, and later the CC member tried to move it to a different time before the branch meeting, clearly with the intention of getting the expulsion over with before the branch meeting. It was only after Viki realised what the real “repercussions in the Spanish section” would be, that she requested the discussion should take place during the branch meeting, which was agreed.

Rob was also continuously summoned to a phone meeting without being informed of the real nature of the discussion but with the pretence it was just about party work. Rob was unable to arrange this but suggested a time a week ahead when the intense activity in his political art projects would have been less. After hearing through John of his expulsion he asked the question openly inside the IR WhatsApp group as to why John had been expelled and explaining that due to mistrust in the past Rob requested the issues be explained openly in front of membership. After being denounced on WhatsApp Rob was then deleted from all internal groups. We assume that Rob has also been expelled.

We were also informed that there is no right of appeal against our expulsions. If that is the case, it would be unique in the Trotskyist movement and goes against the norms of democratic centralism, especially in a party operating under legal conditions, but even under certain semi-legal clandestine conditions as was illustrated by the Bolsheviks when they were still operating as a faction in the RSDWP and afterwards. In our tradition in the CWI any comrade who is expelled, is always entitled to appeal to the higher bodies of the party, including the international bodies up to the world congress.

We understand there is an EC resolution calling for our expulsion but we have not been given a copy. The resolution was signed on 31 May, which was after John’s expulsion and the first contacts with Viki by her CC member. Clearly, going by the actions of the IR leadership, no opposition is tolerated in IR and this unfortunately is the reason for a number of expulsions from IR over the years.

The tradition of the Bolsheviks and in the CWI until this dispute occurred, was to allow sufficient time to listen to the arguments, digest them and to try to convince the other side even if that takes a number of months or years and events to clarify the issues.

There are many trends in society and in the workers’ movement and maximum unity and proletarian discipline is required in the face of the class enemy. However, democracy, which needs patience and political understanding, is not a petty-bourgeois luxury for the workers movement, but an objective necessity to obtain voluntary proletarian unity.

Of course the revolutionary party aims to group together the most developed and class conscious workers, youth and other layers ready to put themselves fully on the standpoint of the working class. Nevertheless the revolutionary party should reflect this desire for proletarian unity and while in some cases splits and expulsions are inevitable, they should only be as a last resort and after exhausting the discussion.

We understand that the EC are saying an ‘agreement’ they had with Eric, from the Belgian CWI and the CWI majority, concerning the militancy of John, Viki and Rob was broken by the intervention of André F from CWI-Brazil in Mexico. We raised that with Eric. He says: “I asked at the Spanish EC following the IR congress what leaving the CWI meant for Rob, Viki and John who were clearly in opposition to that move and supporting the coordination. In response to that question the Spanish EC confirmed that the three comrades were welcome as long as they loyally build IR. A remark was made by JIR on John not contributing to the financial appeal at the congress, which I proposed the comrades should raise with John himself. That’s it.”

Eric says there was no ‘agreement’ made, except for the obvious one of staying in contact and exchanging major political documents and solidarity work, and that he would not have had a mandate to make one anyway. He himself intervened in the IR congress in Madrid stating his and the coordinations’ position, just like André did in Mexico. At the time of his participation in the congress this was not seen as hostile, but as a valuable, open and honest contribution to the debate, something the former allies of the IR leadership in the ‘Working Class and Trotskyist Committee for a Workers’ International’ Faction refused to do even though they were invited by the IR leadership to defend their position in front of the IR CC. At that time the IR leadership raised on several occasion their disappointment over this refusal.

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We have been loyal members of IR and participated in activities, tried to build the party, sold the paper, suggested and developed initiatives such as the Altsasu international solidarity campaign and paid substantial amounts in subs. Both Viki and John were members of their local executives and held posts within the branch.

Rob’s case was slightly different in that he has only been semi active due work projects, but also due to the previous disagreements politically and organisationally with the IR in Barcelona. It is noted the whole of the previous group of CWI SR Barcelona left or resigned very shortly after unification, all due to the internal methods of IR. Despite this Rob stayed loyal to the organisation albeit less active than before in the hope of internal change after a period inside the CWI. We will also develop these points later.

We can only guess the IR leadership are panicking because some Mexican comrades do not agree with splitting from the CWI. This has been twisted and termed a ‘hostile act’ by the leadership of IR in the Spanish state. We feel like it is as if we have fallen victim to collective punishment for IR being incapable of convincing every member of the Mexican section to follow the course advised by the leadership in Spain.

We hope our fellow rank and file comrades who we have been proud to struggle alongside over the last two years, agree we must have the democratic right to appeal against these expulsions.

We wrote a document during the CWI dispute questioning the position of the IR leadership. We characterised their active support for the ‘Working Class and Trotskyist Committee for a Workers’ International’ Faction as unprincipled as was borne out by subsequent events and we openly said their enthusiastic agitation to split the CWI was incorrect, irresponsible and destructive. Our document has never been answered politically in a sober and measured way. Instead, we were accused in a dramatic and over the top way, across the whole international of being ‘opportunist’ and having committed ‘a gross violation’ of democratic centralism. This has never been explained by the leadership of IR. Ironically, in their response, the Spanish leadership took issue to our references to comrades being disciplined or expelled for maintaining a different position to the leadership and they said we were accusing them of anti-democratic methods. We were also told we put personal friendships above the structures of the party and used informal methods. We believe the leadership of IR took a denunciatory, ultimatist and hearsay attitude in the international debate using Facebook snapshots, Facebook attacks etc and twisting facts. The very nature of our undemocratic, informal expulsions, which go against all the norms of democratic centralism shows we were correct to raise these issues in our document.

Today, we have been undemocratically expelled without receiving any official resolution or vote of the organisation of which we are a part of. We believe this is payback for us, as rank and file members of IR for daring to question the leadership.

The history of the worker’s movement teaches us that when a leadership resorts to expulsions in such a way, it is because it wishes to avoid confronting difficult political issues it has no confidence of resolving in its favour in front of the membership. Expulsions never solve political disagreements and are a reflection not of the strength of the leadership but precisely their weakness. We implore our rank and file comrades who have seen our political work and commitment to revolutionary ideas not to go along with our expulsion or look the other way. Tomorrow it could be you….

In the future we will go into more detail and analyse our experience in IR. For now we want to salute the rank and file workers and youth in the IR who we consider are still our comrades. These comrades have managed to mobilise thousands onto the streets through LyCs and SE.

We appeal to you our comrades to protest to the leadership about our expulsions and support our democratic right to discuss the issues in front of the whole membership.

NO TO THE EXPULSIONS OF JOHN HIRD, VIKI LARA AND ROB MACDONALD!

STOP ARBITRARY EXPULSIONS NOW! FOR THE RIGHT OF APPEAL!

FOR A COMBATIVE PROLETARIAN PARTY OF ACTION BASED ON THE PRINCIPLES OF WORKERS’ DEMOCRACY!

John Hird
Viki Lara
Rob MacDonald

4 de junio de 2019

¡NO A LAS EXPULSIONES DE IZQUIERDA REVOLUCIONARIA DE JOHN, VIKI y ROB!

John Hird, Rob MacDonald y Viki Lara hemos sido expulsados de Izquierda Revolucionaria sumariamente y sin derecho a apelar.

Protestamos enérgicamente contra esta decisión tomada por la dirección de IR ya que nos consideramos militantes sinceros y dedicados a la construcción de Izquierda Revolucionaria en los últimos años y orgullosos de participar en la muy valiosa intervención de IR en el movimiento obrero.

En un próximo documento haremos un análisis más amplio de esta cuestión……

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Solidarity with Altsasu 8 from CWI in China, Hong Kong & Taiwan
John Hird, Viki Lara y Rob MacDonald, miembros de Izquierda Revolucionaria, han sido expulsados sumariamente de IR, sin razones, acusaciones o cargos por escrito. En el caso de John Hird, solamente tuvo una discusión sobre esta cuestión con el miembro del CC de su sección que le informó de que su expulsión tenía efecto inmediato. Este miembro del CC incluso rechazó informar por adelantado sobre el motivo de la discusión, a pesar de que se le preguntó en varias ocasiones. Todo esto nos parece muy cuestionable y de una gran falta de camaradería.

En el caso de Viki Lara, la responsable de su sección provincial contactó con ella para acordar una discusión sobre “la situación de la sección de México y la repercusión en la sección española”. Primero se planeó esta discusión para después de un grupo de base el sábado por la tarde y más tarde la responsable intentó moverla a una hora o día diferente antes del grupo de base, claramente con la intención de acabar con la expulsión antes de que pudiera discutirse en el grupo de base. Solo después de que Viki se diera cuenta de cuál era esa “repercusión en la sección española” se solicitó que la discusión tuviera lugar durante el grupo de base, lo que se aceptó.

Rob también fue continuamente convocado a una reunión telefónica sin ser informado de la naturaleza de esta discusión sino bajo la pretensión de que se trataba simplemente del trabajo político del partido. Rob no tenía disponibilidad para esta reunión pero sugirió una fecha y hora en la siguiente semana cuando su intensa actividad en sus proyectos de arte político lo fuera menos. Después de escuchar de John sobre su expulsión preguntó abiertamente dentro del grupo de WhatsApp de IR por qué John había sido expulsado y explicó que debido a la falta de confianza por pasadas situaciones solicitó que esta cuestión fuera discutida abiertamente frente a los miembros de base. Después de ser denunciado por WhatsApp fue expulsado de todos los grupos internos. Asumimos que esto supone que Rob también ha sido expulsado.

Hemos sido también informados de que no hay derecho a apelar nuestras expulsiones. Si este es el caso, sería único en el movimiento trotskista y va en contra de las normas de centralismo democrático, especialmente de un partido que está operando bajo condiciones legales, pero incluso bajo ciertas condiciones semi-clandestinas, como ilustra el caso de los bolcheviques cuando estaban operando como una fracción del POSDR y posteriormente. En la tradición del CIT cada compañero que es expulsado tiene el derecho de apelar a los organismos superiores del partido, incluso a los órganos internacionales, incluyendo el Congreso Mundial.

Entendemos que existe una resolución de la CEE que demanda nuestra expulsión, pero no se nos ha entregado una copia. La resolución fue firmada el 31 de mayo, después de la expulsión de John y de los primeros contactos a Viki de la responsable de su sección provincial. Claramente, como sigue de las acciones de la dirección de IR, no se tolera ningún tipo de oposición en IR y esta es desafortunadamente la razón de un gran número de expulsiones de IR durante un número de años.

La tradición de los bolcheviques y del CIT hasta que esta disputa surgió era la de permitir el tiempo suficiente para escuchar los argumentos, digerirlos y tratar de convencer a los oponentes incluso si esto tomaba un número de meses o de años, y de reuniones, para clarificar las cuestiones.

Hay muchas tendencias en la sociedad y en el movimiento obrero, y se requiere la máxima unidad y disciplina proletaria contra el enemigo de clase. Sin embargo, la democracia, que necesita paciencia y entendimiento político, no es un lujo pequeñoburgués para el movimiento obrero, sino una necesidad objetiva para obtener la unidad proletaria voluntaria.

Por supuesto que el partido revolucionario tiene como objetivo agrupar a los elementos más desarrollados y conscientes de los trabajadores, los jóvenes y otras capas dispuestas a ponerse por completo en la posición de la clase trabajadora. Sin embargo, el partido revolucionario debe reflejar este deseo de unidad proletaria y mientras en algunos casos las divisiones y las expulsiones son inevitables, solamente deberían serlo como un último recurso y después de agotar la discusión.

Entendemos que la CEE argumenta que el “acuerdo” con Eric, de la sección belga y la mayoría del CIT, sobre la militancia de John, Viki y Rob fue roto por la intervención de André F de la sección brasileña del CIT en México. Hemos consultado este punto con Eric. Su respuesta es: “Pregunté a la CEE española después del congreso de IR que significaba abandonar el CIT para Rob, Viki y John, que estaban claramente opuestos a esta decisión y apoyaban la coordinación. En respuesta a esta pregunta la CEE española confirmó que los tres compañeros serían bien recibidos siempre que construyeran IR con lealtad. JIR mencionó que John no había contribuido a la colecta del congreso, y yo mencioné que esto era algo que deberían discutir directamente con John. Eso es todo”.

Eric asegura que no hubo ningún “acuerdo”, excepto el obvio de continuar en contacto e intercambiar los documentos políticos más importantes y campañas de solidaridad, y que no tenía el mandato para llegar a ningún acuerdo de todas formas. Él mismo intervino en el congreso de IR en Madrid señalando su posición y la de la coordinación, como también André hizo en México. En el momento de su participación en el congreso esta no se vio como hostil sino una contribución valiosa, abierta y honesta al debate, algo que sus antiguos aliados en la fracción internacional “Por un CIT de la Clase Trabajadora y Trotskista” rechazaron hacer incluso aunque fueron invitados por la dirección de IR a defender su posición ante su CC. En ese tiempo la dirección de IR mencionó en varias ocasiones su decepción por este hecho.

Hemos sido miembros leales de IR y participado en las actividades, tratando de construir el partido, vender el periódico, hemos sugerido y desarrollado iniciativas como la campaña de solidaridad internacional con los jóvenes de Altsasu y hemos pagado cuotas sustanciales. Viki y John eran miembros de sus ejecutivas provinciales y tenían responsabilidad en sus grupos de base.

El caso de Rob es ligeramente diferente ya que solamente estaba semi-activo debido a sus proyectos laborales, pero también debido a desacuerdos políticos y organizativos previos con IR en Barcelona. Cabe señalar que todo el grupo previo del CIT en Barcelona, SR, dejó la organización o dimitió poco después de la unificación debido a los métodos internos de IR. A pesar de esto Rob siguió fielmente dentro de la organización aunque menos activo que antes, con la esperanza de que llegaran cambios internos después de un periodo dentro del CIT. También desarrollaremos este punto más adelante.

Solamente podemos suponer que la dirección de IR está aterrorizada porque algunos camaradas mexicanos no están de acuerdo con la escisión con el CIT. Esto ha sido tergiversado y nombrado como “acto hostil” por la dirección de IR en el Estado español. Nos sentimos víctimas de un castigo colectivo por el hecho de que IR haya sido incapaz de convencer a cada miembro de la sección mexicana de seguir el camino aconsejado por la dirección española.

Esperamos que los camaradas de base con los que estamos orgullosos de haber luchado durante los dos últimos años, estén de acuerdo con que debemos tener el derecho democrático de apelar estas expulsiones.

Durante la disputa dentro del CIT escribimos un documento cuestionando a la dirección de IR. Caracterizamos su apoyo activo a la fracción como un apoyo sin principios, como ha sido confirmado por los acontecimientos posteriores, y dijimos abiertamente que su agitación entusiasta por una escisión del CIT era incorrecta, irresponsable y destructiva. Nuestro documento nunca ha sido contestado políticamente de una manera sobria y medida. En su lugar, fuimos acusados de una manera dramática y desmesurada en toda la internacional de ser oportunistas y de haber cometido una “burda violación” al centralismo democrático. Esto nunca ha sido explicado por la dirección de IR.

Irónicamente, en su respuesta, la dirección española protestó por nuestro llamamiento a que los camaradas no fueran disciplinados o expulsados por mantener una postura diferente a la de la dirección, y afirmaron que los estábamos acusando de tener métodos antidemocráticos. También se nos dijo que poníamos las relaciones personales por encima de las estructuras del partido y que utilizábamos métodos informales. Creemos que la dirección de IR ha tomado una actitud denunciatoria, ultimatista y basada en la rumorología en el debate internacional, utilizando pantallazos de FB, ataques a través de FB y la tergiversación de hechos. La propia naturaleza de nuestras expulsiones antidemocráticas e informales, que van en contra de las normas del centralismo democrático, muestra que teníamos razón en plantear esta cuestión en nuestro documento.

Hoy hemos sido expulsados anti-democráticamente y sin recibir ninguna resolución oficial o voto de la organización de la que formamos parte. Consideramos que esto es una venganza hacia nosotros, como miembros de base de IR, por atrevernos a cuestionar a la dirección.

La historia del movimiento de los trabajadores nos enseña que cuando la dirección recurre a este tipo de expulsiones es porque desea evitar enfrentarse a cuestiones políticas importantes que no tiene confianza en resolver a su favor frente a la militancia. Las expulsiones nunca resuelven los desacuerdos políticos y son el reflejo no de la fuerza de la dirección sino precisamente de su debilidad. Rogamos a nuestros camaradas de las bases que han visto nuestro trabajo político y compromiso con las ideas revolucionarias no aceptar nuestras expulsiones y mirar hacia otro lado. Mañana podrías ser tú.

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En el futuro analizaremos en más detalles nuestra experiencia en IR. Por ahora queremos saludar a los trabajadores y jóvenes en las bases de IR, a los que consideramos aún nuestros camaradas. Estos camaradas han conseguido movilizar a miles en las calles a través de LyC y SE.

Apelamos a nuestros camaradas a protestar ante la dirección nuestras expulsiones y apoyar el derecho democrático de discutir estas cuestiones ante toda la militancia.

¡No a las expulsiones de Izquierda Revolucionaria de John, Viki y Rob!

¡Basta ya de expulsiones arbitrarias! ¡Por el derecho a apelar!

¡Por un partido proletario combativo basado en los principios de la democracia obrera!

John Hird
Viki Lara
Rob MacDonald

4 de junio de 2019

Expulsiones antidemocráticas y bureacráticas de Izquierda Revolucionaria

Durante el curso de esta semana John Hird, Rob MacDonald and Viki Lara hemos sido expulsados de Izquierda Revolucionaria sumariamente y sin derecho a apelar.

Protestamos enérgicamente contra esta decisión tomada por la dirección de IR ya que nos consideramos militantes sinceros y dedicados a la construcción de Izquierda Revolucionaria en los últimos años y orgullosos de participar en la muy valiosa intervención de IR en el movimiento obrero.

En un próximo documento haremos un análisis más amplio de esta cuestión.

FREEDOM FOR THE ALTSASU EIGHT!

UPDATE FEBRUARY 24TH, 2019

The international campaign in solidarity with the ALTSASU Eight has spread far and wide. As well as hundreds of signatures on the petition in Euskal Herria and the Spanish State, socialists, trade unionists and young people around the world are also showing solidarity.

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Solidarity with Altsasu 8 from CWI in China, Hong Kong & Taiwan

On February 4th Dublin City council passed a resolution calling for the release of the Altsasu 8. The motion was proposed by Solidarity Councillor and Socialist Party member Michael O’Brien who received support and advice from Dublin and Brussels based Basque solidarity activists as well as from his comrades in the Socialist Party’s sister group in the Committee for a Workers International Euskal Herria Sozialista.

The resolution deplored the continuing policy of the Spanish State of dispersing Basque prisoners to the farthest extremities of the Spanish State and:

  • Furthermore, along with Amnesty International and 50 MEPs, notes with alarm the case of the Altsasu eight young people who following an altercation with two off duty Guardia Civil in a bar in 2016 have been found guilty of ‘disobeying authority’ charges (under appeal) resulting in severe jail sentences
  • joins the calls of others internationally for their immediate release and the withdrawal of the charges
  • resolves to communicate the terms of this motion to the Spanish Ambassador and the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The Chief Executive of the Dublin City Council is now obliged to write to the Spanish Ambassador in Dublin and the Oireachtas (Parliamentary) Committee for Foreign Affairs which we hope will generate further publicity and embarrassment for the Spanish State Establishment and provide a boost for the prisoners, the Altsasu 8 and their respective families. We hope similar motions are passed by other local government bodies internationally as well as in trade union organisations to add to the pressure for a settlement of the prisoner dispersal scandal and the release of the Altsasu 8

 

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CIT/CWI International Solidarity Campaign

In the early hours of 15 October 2016, in a bar in the small Basque town of Altsasu, a fight broke out between two off duty Guardia Civil officers and local youths during fiestas.

Local police attended the incident but no arrests were made. Later, eight young people were interviewed by police in Pamplona but were released. Four days later a right wing association COVITE filed a complaint accusing the young people of ‘terrorist’ offences.

The Guardia Civil officers and their partners claimed they were viciously assaulted in an organised attack by 20 to 30 individuals. The young people denied the accusation and said although some of them had been in the bar Koxka, others had been in another bar in front or nearby.

The regional court in Pamplona rejected the charges of terrorism and instead charged the young people with causing injuries and ‘challenging authority’ which carried possible prison sentences of between 2 to 4 years.

The Spanish Supreme court overruled the court in Navarre and sent the case to be tried at the Spanish National court where terrorist trials usually take place.

The prosecution accepted the accusation of COVITE that as some of the young people were members of the Basque association OPSA and the campaign ALDE HEMENDIAK which calls for the Guardia Civil to get out of Altsasu, they were therefore supporters of ETA, now incidentally disbanded.

Ohian Arnanz Ziordia, Jokin Unamuno Goikoetxea, Jon Ander Cob Amilibia, Julen Goikoetxea Larraza, Adur Ramirez de Alda Pozueta, Aratz Urrizola Ortigosa, Iñaki Abad Olea and Ainara Urkijo Goikoetxea, who are all in their early twenties went on trial in April 2018.

The trial in the National Court was full of irregularities. One of the Guardia Civil officers claimed that he was punched repeatedly by Adur and kicked in the head and body. He testified that Adur was wearing a red shirt while photographs and a video from the night in question show he was wearing a black one.

Although the Guardia Civil officer claims he was the victim of a brutal attack he is seen in a video after the supposed events in an immaculate white shirt with no visible footprints or blood stains. He is also seen aggressively swiping a mobile phone out of the hand of one of the accused who was filming the incident.

When the defence asked the prosecution for definitive proof that that campaign OSPA was linked to ETA they were told there was none.

One of the bar staff testified that there was no fight in the bar and that she did not see any Guardia Civil injured.

The bar owner was presented in court with a statement he was said to have made to local police in which he claimed the ‘attack was premeditated.’ He swore that it was not his signature on the statement and that things had been added which he had not said and others left out which he had.

The identification of the 8 young people as the ring leaders of the supposed attack was extremely suspicious. The defence pointed out in court that the Guardia Civil and their partners had identified them in a photographic line up. Each of the photos of the eight young people fitted up by the Guardia Civil were shown next to photos of people of drastically different ages, nationalities and ethnic origin, making it easier to identify them.

Two medical witnesses testified clearly that the light injuries suffered by the Guardia Civil officers ‘were not compatible’ with an attack by between 20-30 people as claimed.

The defence petitioned for the lead judge Concepción Espejel be removed from the trial because she is married to a Guardia Civil Colonel and has herself received a Guardia Civil Medal of Merit from the Ministry of the Interior. The petition was of course refused.

Three of the young people have already spent more than 760 days in prison in the special and strict ‘FIES’ regime reserved for dangerous terrorists, in effect a ‘prison within a prison’. They have been incarcerated hundreds of kilometres away from their families for two years.
The judge predictably handed down sentences of a total of 79 years and fines of €100.000 for the Altsasu Eight, 13 years for Ohian and Iñaki; 12 for Jokin and Adur; 9 for Jon, Aratz and Julen; and 2 for Ainara. Today, Ainara is now free and the rest are jailed in Zaballa in the Basque Country.

This inhuman injustice done to eight young Basques is on a level of world famous cases like the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four. The case has provoked a wave of indignation and anger in the Basque Country, Catalonia and the Spanish State.

 

Over a hundred thousand people poured onto the streets of Iruñea/Pamplona in April and June to protest against the injustice. The Spanish right wing including the new fascist party VOX provocatively held a rally in Altsasu in November under the protection of the Guardia Civil and police but only managed to scrape together 200 people while the people of the town and the rest of the Basque Country mobilised to confront them. Their pathetic rally was drowned out by the ringing of the town’s church bells.

Over 50 MEPs have condemned the sentences and irregularities in the case as have Amnesty International.

The Altsasu case is not an isolated incident. The Spanish State whose judiciary and police are infested with reactionary right wing elements, want to teach a lesson to young people today, that the 1978 Regime cannot be challenged. Rappers and tweeters who dare to criticise the monarchy and corrupt politicians have also been jailed as have trade unionists for exercising their right to strike and picket.

Ezker Iraultzailea (Izquierda Revolucionaria in the Basque country) are calling for an international campaign in solidarity with the Altsasu 8 through the CWI and its sections throughout the world. (See details below)

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These young people have been accused, investigated and judged by the reactionary Guardia Civil and given unjust and long exemplary sentences. Eventually the Spanish State ‘justice’ system could be forced to release them through a long legal process in the European court of justice but by then some of the young people could have spent 10 years in prison. We cannot stand by and let them lose their youth in prison.

Further Reading: Interview with mothers of the jailed youth.

Spanish

Catalan

Euskara (Basque)

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Two of the Altsasu 8 mothers, Bel Pozueta and Amaia Amilibia

Solidarity action is urgent now:

Details of International Solidarity Campaign

Send solidarity messages and photos via Twitter @Altsasugurasoak, @EzkIraultzailea and @socialist_world

#AltsasukoakASKE

Do clothes maketh the man?

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Major, Blair and Brown playing the establishment part

Jeremy Corbyn was predictably attacked by the Daily Heil for looking ‘scruffy and disrespectful’ at the Cenotaph this year.  When the ruling class fear the possibility of a Left Labour government any line of attack is legitimate.

Thirty seven years ago the MSM carried out an almost identical attack on the then Labour leader Michael Foot.

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Thatcher, praying for a war in 1981 to go up in the polls

Foot was accused of wearing a donkey jacket to the Remembrance Day service in 1981. A right wing Labour MP said he was, “disgusted to see that the leader of Her Majesty’s opposition looked more like an Irish navvy than a party leader”.

Years later the Telegraph admitted that the attack on Foot had been unfair. According to  Foot’s official biographer, Lord Morgan, the coat was not a donkey jacket – which would have leather shoulders – but a “a short, blue-green overcoat” bought for Mr Foot by his wife, Jill at considerable expense.

It was no accident the Tories and the Labour Right-wing through their kept press accused Foot of wearing a donkey jacket and looking like an Irish navvy. Thatcher was low in the polls and they needed to undermine Foot, so any means was necessary. It was also significant that they tried to link Foot to the way working class people dressed at the time, as a couple of years previously thousands of local authority workers, many in donkey jackets had been striking for decent pay. The Tories hated Foot’s opposition to nuclear weapons but they hate the working class more.

Ex-political editor of the Guardian Michael White first attacked Corbyn’s sartorial choices in 2015 when he asked the question, Jeremy Corbyn: is the world ready for his socks and sandals? In a bizarre article White mused: “I woke this morning after a good night’s sleep to face a nagging question in my head. Did Jeremy Corbyn use to wear open-toed sandals around Westminster in hot weather? Does he still? They’re comfy (I wear them myself), but ridiculous. If memory serves, he wore them with socks, white socks even”.

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Corbyn showing he is unfit to be PM by wearing socks with sandals

What is this obsession with the clothing of Left-wing Labour politicians? As Michael Rosen wrote in his poem, The War of Corbyn’s Coat

It’s not his coat they hate.

That’s not really their cause

What gets up all their noses?

He opposes all their wars.

The photo of Corbyn next to Theresa May is telling. Behind them are three former PMs in almost identical coats. Being members of the establishment like Major, Blair and Brown certainly are, brings a certain responsibility to ‘look the part, be the part’ as Proposition Joe said to Avon in The Wire.

The expensive clothes and formal, almost identical way most UK politicians dress expresses their consensus on the big issues of supporting capitalism and keeping the working class down. The look is meant to covey the power and uniformity of the elite. Jeremy Corbyn does not conform politically and is certainly not part of the political elite, so why would he turn up at the Cenotaph looking exactly like Major, Blair and Brown?

The ruling class have a long history of using clothes to differentiate themselves from the great unwashed. Look at the uniforms in the armed services and the rows of undeserved medals on the chests of Charles Windsor and his family.

Over one hundred years ago, Keir Hardie, the first Labour MP caused outrage when he turned up to the Gasworks (as he called Parliament) without a Top Hat! Hardie was clear that a Labour representative should not ape ruling class dress rules.

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Top hats to be worn by all MPs is an official Rees-Mogg policy.

But it is not only the UK where clothes play a part in politics. When PODEMOS made their electoral breakthrough the young deputies turned up to parliament without ties and some of the men even had pony tails!

The establishment parties were outraged. The morning TV magazine  programmes spewed out attacks on the PODEMOS ‘hippies’. A conservative PP deputy Villalobos even expressed a fear she could catch fleas from a PODEMOS deputy who had rastas!

When it comes to clothes socialists and the Left can never please the establishment. A couple of years after Michael Foot was unfairly criticised for what he wore at the Cenotaph, a majority of socialist councillors were elected in Liverpool. The struggle of the City that Dared to Fight Thatcher is still a reference for those who want to implement Left-wing policies at a local level.

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Militant leaders of Liverpool Council like Derek Hatton and Tony Mulhearn were accused of being ‘too flashy’ and wearing sharp suits. So, Michael Foot and Jeremy Corbyn are too scruffy and Derek Hatton and Tony Mulhearn were too smart…..

Maybe it is not really about the clothes and it is all about the socialist ideas…..