PODEMOS IMPLEMENT THEIR OWN ARTICLE 155

#CataloniaIndependence

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Pablo Iglesias tonight enacted his own version on the Spanish State’s Article 155 and condemned and withdrew the declaration of PODEM (Podemos in Catalonia) ‘s support for the Catalan Republic by leader Albano Dante Fachin and called elections.

Pablo Iglesias returns to his Stalinist roots.

The struggle for a genuine mass party of the working class continues in the Spanish State.

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#ResistTrump ‘American Dream’ can only be realised through Socialism

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Trump’s speech was a mass of contradictions and demagogic tub thumping.
A billionaire promising to ‘never let down’ the forgotten people, the workers and middle class.
A commitment to build roads, bridges and infrastructure and ‘put Americans to work.’ Some promise! Where will the money come from for that? The banks? The billionaires?
Big words, easy to say, but just wait until they are seen to be empty when his billionaire cabinet get their snouts in the trough. Imagine the disappointment and anger when he does indeed let his supporters down.
Trump blamed every country in the world and foreigners for the problems Americans face. It’s everyone else’s fault apart from the system and that system is called capitalism.
‘America First! American First’ Sounds ominous. He pledges ‘not to interfere’ in other countries but then swears he will ‘wipe out ISIS.’
Everything will be ok because of the US military and because ‘god will protect us.’
Trump’s election reflects not a fundamental shift to the right. The US capitalist establishment and their bought and paid for political parties are both totally discredited. A vacuum has been filled temporarily.
Every process provokes an opposite reaction and Trump has woken up the youth and sections of the working class who are already mobilising against him. There is a polarisation in which socialist ideas can and will grow and not just in the USA. Trump has provoked international protests across the globe.

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Trump, like all capitalist politicians riffs on the ‘American Dream.’ To the working class ‘the dream’ means good jobs, healthcare, quality education for the young and an end to racism and oppression. That dream can only be made real by socialism. Game on!

El Militante & CWI – Retying the Red Knot of our Common History

A political highlight for me of 2016 was the re-encounter and developing cooperation between Izquierda Revolucionaria (Formerly El Militante) and the Committee for a Workers International (CWI)

Original report published in Spanish in La Brecha here

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Representatives of Socialismo Revolucionario, Socialist Party and the CWI attended the XVIII Congress of the Sindicato de Estudiantes (SE) in Madrid. Delegates from schools and universities from all over Spain reported on the massive mobilisation in the General Strike of students on October 24th in the face of pressure from education authorities and the right wing Popular Party.

The SE is growing everywhere because young people want to struggle against brutal education cuts and for a future. The SE consider the changes made to the Education Law, LOMCE are purely cosmetic and so have called another strike in education on November 24th.* But SE is not just a union but an important political instrument which gives young people a platform to discuss and fight for socialist ideas.

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The SE was set up 30 years ago by El Militante which at the time was part of the CWI. In 1980s the SE led a mass movement with millions on the streets when they struggled for the right of university education for the children of the working class.

The Congress included a rally in which ex-leaders of the SE spoke on the lessons of 30 years of struggle of the youth movement for today, along with founders of El Militante, historic union leaders, workers in struggle today and comrades who had been imprisoned during the Franco dictatorship and during the Transition.

It was mentioned that the leaders of the the SE negotiated directly with the PSOE government of Felipe Gonzales at the time. The government actually tried to buy off the SE leaders during the negotiations by offering them money for offices if the SE became a tame union of course!

30 years later some of those same SE leaders are now leading Izquierda Revolucionaria. A former general secretary of the SE Bárbara Areal said that young people in Spain and workers have wanted to fight during the crisis but they have been met by the alliance union leaders and the old political parties repeating “NO SE PUEDE” – (No you can’t). That is why the SE strike of October was so important. IR and SE have shown we can struggle and win.

Bárbara reminded comrades that the SE had kept fighting during the difficult and hard 1990s when the ideas of socialism and struggle seemed to be in retreat. Now the bourgeois hate the youth. They insult the youth by calling them lazy and pretend they do not want to do anything to improve their lives. “They hate what they fear” ended Bárbara to thunderous applause and chants of “Si se puede.”

Coca Cola workers who are striking paid tribute to the support of SE and IR in their struggle and called for a boycott of Coca Cola products. A comrade who had been imprisoned by Franco over 40 years ago called on the youth to continue the task of regaining the historic memory of the working class.

There was a revolutionary situation in Spain in the 1970s after the death of Franco but capitalism managed to stay in power only with the help of the leaders of PSOE and the CP.

Today young people are told it was the Monarchy and the ‘responsibility’ of the leaders of the working class who managed to bring about the peaceful ‘transition’ from fascism to democracy. The comrade reminded everyone that thousands were jailed and during the transition workers were shot by the police. ”There was no transition, it was a transfer of power.” His advice to the youth was: “Always tell the truth to the working class and always take the struggle forward.

Xaquín García Sinde, trade unionist at Navantia Shipyards and spokesperson of GanemosCCOO, the rank and file union organisation set up to by IR which campaigns for fighting, combative unions commented that during the crisis union leaders are nowhere to be seen. “They are not lost in combat but rather in the offices of the Government & PP.” This has to change!

There was an electric mood at the rally. Numerous speakers were interrupted with chants and they may have been a world record for standing ovations!

Juan Ignacio Ramos, the General Secretary of Izquierda Revolucionaria / El Militante was the GS of SE in the 1980s when they led hundreds of thousands in strikes and demonstrations.

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He recounted an episode when the SE led a march of 100,000 to the education Minister’s office in 1986. They were invited up to negotiate with a Minister, Rubalcaba, who would later become PSOE leader. He asked the young people facing him, “Who the hell are you people? How have you organised this demo?” Juan Ignacio and the other SE leaders opened their folders which were covered in ‘I SUPPORT LIVERPOOL CITY COUNCIL STICKERS’ and answered, “We’re from the Militant!” Rubalcaba replied incredulously: “I thought we’d expelled you lot!”

Young members from various sections of the CWI came to the platform and a representative from Ireland also addressed the conference. Watch YouTube video here.

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Peter Taaffe, General Secretary of the Socialist Party (England & Wales) was introduced as one of the founders of Militant, ‘the most successful Marxist organisation in the UK.’ Peter assured everyone that he had nothing to do with the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) or Felipe Gonzales – “they want to prop up capitalism, we want to destroy it!”

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Peter gave a brief history of Militant, the forerunner of the Socialist Party. He underlined that the victories of Militant in Liverpool and in the Poll Tax battle were not achieved by reformist measures but through revolutionary struggle.

An important lesson for today is that only through determined revolutionary struggle will we even get reforms. “Say what needs to be done and do it!” Peter summed up with a warning to Donald Trump “the working class is coming” He ended by saying: “This generation has learned the lessons of the 20th century. This time we’re going to struggle. This time we’re going to win.”

Peter Taaffe’s speech here.

The weekend was inspiring as veterans of the struggle and new, young working class leaders of the SE saluted and learnt from past struggles, analysed the present tasks and dedicated themselves to future battles. A timely reminder of the common militant past of SE / Izquierda Revolucionaria and the CWI and the retying of the historical red knot of our common history.

*Students’ union beats PP government
Just days after the last general strike that was called by the Sindicato de Estudiantes against the “Revalidas Fanquistas” (introduction of matriculation), we have been proved correct in what we always said – struggle works.
Following a meeting between the Ministry of Education and the representatives of the Autonomous regions, the revalidas – proposed by Wert, the former education minister – have been abandoned. These reactionary matriculation exams were weighted to exclude working class students progressing to university.

#USElections2016 “Don’t Mourn – ORGANISE!”

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The reaction to Trump’s victory by some on the Left reminds me of Bertolt Brecht’s words:

“Some party hack decreed that the people
had lost the government’s confidence
and could only regain it with redoubled effort.
If that is the case, would it not be simpler,
If the government simply dissolved the people
And elected another?”

Blaming Americans and the electorate is a superficial knee-jerk reaction which we heard after the BREXIT vote in the UK.

Liberals weep and wail that Americans dared to revolt against the US establishment and rejected corporate candidate Hillary Clinton who spent $500,000 million on the election campaign.

Trump articulates the policies of corporate America in a blunt way and for sure in a less articulate manner than professional politicians like Clinton but what are the real policy differences? Did Clinton represent a radical alternative to Trump? Obviously not.

Marx commented on this phenomena:
“The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.”

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To people in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan being bombed by Obama, Trump or the first woman US President makes little difference.

Many young people will be shocked by the victory of Trump and fear conflict and war. Let us be clear – the privately owned right wing media have unleashed their own monster. Decades of propaganda from Fox News and shock jocks scapegoating the poor, blacks, Latinos, immigrants and minorities have had consequences.

However, corporate America will seek to rein in Trump and chip-off his rougher edges.

Every process has an opposite. The anti-establishment mood and anger in the US has had its expression on the Left. Don’t forget the mass movement behind openly Socialist Bernie Saunders who was stopped from gaining the Democratic nomination by Clinton’s shenanigans and gerrymandering.

Clearly Bernie made a massive political mistake by not standing as an independent as all the indications show that he would have beaten the false and pretend anti-establishment Trump.

The US election results cannot be characterised crudely and simply as a shift to the right. An election is a snapshot of a moment in time but the movie is more complicated and nuanced and full of opportunities for the Left.

As Trostky pointed out in 1934 in “If America Should Go Communist” the road to Socialist change is not straight but the material conditions do exist:

“Today, quite unprepared, you are being forced to face those social contradictions that grow up unsuspected in every society. You have conquered nature by means of the tools that your inventive genius has created, only to find that your tools have all but destroyed you. Contrary to all your hopes and desires, your unheard-of wealth has produced unheard-of misfortunes. You have discovered that social development does not follow a simple formula. Hence you have been thrust into the school of the dialectic – to stay.

It is clear that today in the 21st century millions of Americans are looking for a radical alternative and that the ‘Tweedledum & Tweedledummer’ corporate politics of the Republicans and Democrats is a dead end for the working class.

Perhaps this whip of reaction will serve to speed up the process of the great American working class finally breaking with the ‘lesser evil-ism’ which has brought Trump to the Presidency and finally get to grips with setting up their own party of and for the 99%. A campaign being led by SOCIALIST ALTERNATIVE in the USA

As the great Swedish/US trade unionist and Socialist Joe Hill said: “Don’t mourn, organize!”

 

And so farewell then (again) #DodgyDave Words on Cameron’s 2nd resignation

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“And so farewell then (again) #DodgyDave …….
Born to rule, red faced toff,
Carried on where Blair left off
Bomber, cutter, lying prig
More time at least to spend with your pig.”

Leon Thribbsky Aged 13 3/4

 

When Las Ramblas Spoke Geordie Scene 7

Scene 7
{ Stevie´s house. }

(Doorbell rings. Sound of front door opening)

Mr. Mearns : Mr. Walker?
Stevie : Yes?
Mr.Mearns : I’m Mr. Mearns. We spoke on the phone about the Fairs Cup programmes. I’m not too late am I?
Stevie : No, I haven’t sold them yet. Come in. We’ll go into the sitting room.
Stevie : Would you like a cuppa?
Mr. Mearns : Yes please.
Stevie : Alright, I’ll get the programmes for you to look at.

Stevie : It’s a complete set of programmes right through to the final and where there were away programmes they’re in there as well.
Mr. Mearns : They’re in almost mint condition.
Stevie : Yes, I’ve kept them in plastic all these years. Only read them once and I’ve hardly touched the away programmes. The final one is autographed by all the players, Bob Moncur, Ian Mc Faul. They´re all there. To Stevie best of luck. Newcastle United, Fairs Cup winners 1969.
Mr. Mearns : You don’t look old enough to have gone to the matches. How did you come by them?
Stevie : Me Dad. He went to every match. I remember the night we won. He came home mortal. He was laughing and crying at the same time. He did this scrap book as well but I’m keeping that. He’d kill me if he knew I was selling the programmes.
Mr. Mearns : So you’re not going to tell him are you?
Stevie : I can’t. He’s dead.
Mr. Mearns : Oh. If you don’t mind me asking. If they mean so much to you why are you selling them?
Stevie : I need the money.
Mr. Mearns : Yes times are tough.
Stevie : Yeah, I´m going to the Nou Camp to see the Toon.
Mr. Mearns : Very poetic.

When Las Ramblas Spoke Geordie Scene 6

Scene 6
{ Magpie Restaurant, St James Park. }

( Sound of knives and forks on plates and glasses clinking. )

Stat : So I’ll book the hotel and Trotsky will deal with the tickets. We’ll catch a flight the day before the match.
Stevie : Try to keep the costs down Stat we’re not all made of money.
Stat : I’ll do my best.
Iddy : This is a bit different to when we used to scran a pie and cup of bovril on the Leazes End, isn’t it ? How do you manage to scoff all this down at half time ? You must miss loads of the second half.
Stat : They don´t serve meals during the match. If you must know they give sandwiches to Platinum Club members.
Stevie : Cucumber?
Stat : Whatever we want.
Iddy : Nah, I’ve never wanted a royal box to meself. I like to be where the action is.
Stat : You mean fighting?
Iddy : Nah, y’knaa the singing, the jumping up and doon when we score, the crack with the lads.
Stat : The Taylor Report just passed you by didn’t it ?
Stevie : Standing’s not dangerous.
Iddy : It is if you stand on your seat.
Stevie : Iddy, did you know that some of the boxes are soundproofed?
Iddy : You’re joking!
Stat : Yes, it’s true. The hospitality guests don’t like bad language.
Iddy : They shouldn’t fucking swear then.
Stat : It’s not them. It’s the crowd.
Iddy : But they are the crowd, aren’t they ?
Stat : No they´re not. They’ve come to be entertained. They’re customers.
Iddy : Ah yeah. We’ve got the same problem on the railways. They’ve tarted the trains up, put us in poncy uniforms and hats and told us to say yes sir no madam to THE CUSTOMERS. To me they’re still bloody passengers.
Stat : Things have moved on. Soccer is part of the entertainment business now. It’s like when you buy a ticket for the theatre.
Stevie : He’s never been to the theatre.
Stat : Let me finish. When you go to the theatre you get a good seat, clean and modern facilities and you don’t expect anyone to hurl abuse at the actors.
Iddy : Yeah, but the actors don’t usually play shite do they ?
Stat : You two are living in the past.
Stevie : No we’re not, we just can’t afford the present. The past was cheaper. Do you really think football is better now?
Stat : 100% better. Attendances are 20% up. There´s been a 1,000% increase in profits in the last 5 years. Newcastle sold 500,000 tops last year. You can´t argue with the figures.
Stevie : I’m not talking about that. What about the atmosphere? The passion? The pride?
Stat : As Sir John says, Newcastle´s success is attracting business to Tyneside, it has a knock on effect.
Stevie : The pits? The Shipyards?
Stat : You don’t understand. The future is leisure and retail. Look at me. We started with one sport’s shop in the Metro Centre. We’ve got five now. I reckon we have sold 70% of the tops in Newcastle. We can’t lose. There are plans to produce special edition tops for the League and FA Cups and of course special limited editions for Europe. The punters can’t get enough, business is booming. I have a lot to thank Sir John and NUFC Plc for.
Iddy : I hope you’ll be bringing tops for the lads to wear in Barcelona then.
Stat : Er, I’ll see if I can sort out a discount or something.
Stevie : You what? Do you not think you’ve had enough money off me?
Stat : What do you mean?
Stevie : We had to fork out over 50 quid this Christmas on a new strip for the lad. Wor lass worked overtime in the Metro Centre to pay for it. You can stuff your bloody discount. You’re not getting another penny off me.
Stat : I think we should pay up and go. 15 quid each should cover it.
Iddy : I thought it was your treat?
Stat : You wouldn’t want me to insult you by paying for you would you?
Iddy : Nah really Stat you can insult me anytime you want.
Stevie : Here tek it.
Stat : I’ll get the bill.

Stevie : He never changes does he?
Iddy : Yeah, he’s the only guy I know who throws his money around at himself.
Stat : That’s probably why he’s well off and we’re skint.
Iddy : Listen if this Barcelona trip is too expensive for you I can lend you something if you want.
Stevie : Thanks mate. I’ll manage. I’m due a big cheque soon.
Iddy : Hey, look at that big gadgee on the door.
Stevie : Aye? He’s a big bastard alright. But who is he?
Iddy : (sings.) Remember Nottingham Forest! Remember Nottingham Forest!
Stevie : Yeah. Bryan Clough. Two European Cups. Stuart Pearce. Too good to go down. What else?
Iddy : Nah man. FA Cup ‘74. three one down. Pat Howard unjustly sent off. Pitch invasion. Fightback with ten men. Four three to us. Fucking brilliant.
Stevie : It’s not is it?
Iddy : It is. Big Tommy who led the pitch invasion from the Leazes end.
Iddy & Stevie : (singing.) REMEMBER NOTTINGHAM FOREST! REMEMBER NOTTINGHAM FOREST! REMEMBER NOTTINGHAM FOREST!
Big Tommy : I’m sorry lads but I’ll have to ask you to leave. The management don’t allow singing at St James during the week. There are a lot of people here who are not football fans.
Stevie : And on match days?
Big Tommy : Only in the cheaper seats and the away end.
Iddy : It’s Big Tommy isn’t?
Big Tommy : Me name’s Tommy yeah, so what?
Iddy : (singing quietly.) Remember Nottingham Forest?
Big Tommy : Christ. Keep it down mate, you’ll get me sacked.
Iddy : You were my hero Tommy. You changed football history and got us to Wembley.
Big Tommy : Aye it was a long time ago. Y’knaa Cloughie said that the Forest players were so shit scared after the pitch invasion they didn’t dare win. I like to think I played my part.
Stevie : Pity you didn’t do the same in the final.
Big Tommy : I was banned from going.
Iddy : I always wondered why we lost. Hey Tommy, let us see the pitch, go on mate. We can invade it for old times sake.
Big Tommy : I’m supposed to keep people off the pitch. It’s more than me job’s worth.
Iddy : Go on man, please.
Big Tommy : No.
Iddy : (singing.) REMEMBER NOTTINGHAM FOREST!
Big Tommy : Sssh! Come on then. Five minutes.

( Restaurant sounds end. Silence. Then sound of footsteps and plastic seat backs springing up.)

Big Tommy : Leave the seats alone, will you?
Stevie : Behave Iddy. I haven’t set foot in here since we nearly went down to the third.
Big Tommy : Lost interest?
Stevie : No me job when the yards shut.
Big Tommy : Sorry mate.
Stevie : I’ve spent the last five years in the pub watching Newcastle. It’s not the same as being there though. Are you one of the lucky few?
Big Tommy : What! On these wages? No, working here I sometimes see some of the players and Kenny. That’s enough for me. I still feel I´m part of it all though.
Iddy : Look this used to be the Paddock . We saw our first match here. Who was it against?
Stevie : Can’t remember. Stat will though. He always remembers.
Iddy : And that’s the Leazes End over there. (Singing.) It’s in the Leazes End, where Geordies never end, and all the Sunderland fans lie dead at your feet.
Iddy, Stevie & Big Tommy : La la la la la la la la la la
Iddy : (In Motsonesque voice.) And Newcastle are three one down to Notts Forest. My word! Pat Howard has unbelievably been sent off. The crowd are furious and quite rightly so. But what’s this? Big Tommy from Wallsend has jumped over the wall and yes, he’s on the pitch followed by Long Benton Boot Boys. Big Tommy is running towards the centre circle and his fat belly has flopped out for all to see. Incredible!
( Silence followed by restaurant sounds.)

Stat : Where have you two been?
Iddy : Invading the pitch.
Stat : I hope you get banned for life.
Stevie : Don’t worry we already have been.
Iddy : Are we pissing off then?
Stat : Yes, things to do. Shirts to sell.
Stevie : Money to count.
Iddy : See you Tommy and thanks a lot. Make sure you keep the hooligans off the pitch.
Big Tommy : I will. See y’s lads.

WTRSG