Archive for imperialism

Dr Michael Parenti – US Human Rights Violations & Political Prisoners

Posted in Human Rights, Imperialism, Michael Parenti, Political prisoners, USA with tags , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2018 by The Plough & The Stars

Source: ‘Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary’

See: The PRC’s Report On The Human Rights Record of the United States

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Michael Parenti – Globalization The New Imperialism

Posted in Alex McGuigan, Class Solidarity, Hezbollah, Historical Materialism, History, Ho Chi Min, Human Rights, Imperialism, International socialism, Irish Republican Socialism, Michael Parenti, Socialism, Solidarity, Syria with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2018 by The Plough & The Stars

anti us imperialism

PFLP: Arrests of our leaders will not deter us from continuing resistance

Posted in Ahmad Sa’adat, Alex McGuigan, Anti-Zionism, Armed Struggle, cadre, Gaza, Human Rights, Hunger Strikes, Imperialism, Internationalism, Palestine, PFLP, PFLP/IRSP Solidarity, Political prisoners, Solidarity, Statements, zionism with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 4, 2017 by The Plough & The Stars

Source: PFLP

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine confirmed that the Zionist occupation forces launched a pre-dawn campaign of raids across the occupied West Bank of Palestine on Sunday, arresting a number of leaders and activists of the Front, led by the Palestinian Legislative Council member Khalida Jarrar, feminist activist Khitam Saafin and former prisoner Ihab Massoud, as well as a number of activists in al-Khalil. The Front declared that these attacks will not stop it from continuing its role in resistance to occupation and confronting the crimes and projects that attempt to liquidate the Palestinian cause.

The Front emphasized that these arrests only underline the futility of the choices of the Palestinian Authority to continue to bet on settlements, “peace process” and security coordination. It also confirms the correctness of the Front’s position and its continuing struggle to build the resistance and the primary contradiction with the occupation as a major feature of its approach and political positions.

The Front further stated that these arrests have come after the major campaign of incitement launched by the Zionist entity and its prime minister, the war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu, against the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the resistance factions.

The PFLP urged the Palestinian masses to escalate the popular movement to support the struggle of the brave prisoners in Israeli jails, for Jarrar and Saafin and the prisoner Muhammad Allan, on hunger strike for 25 days.

The Front promised to continue to defend the rights and principles of the Palestinian people. Continued targeting by the occupation only emphasizes the importance of continuing the path to return and liberation.

الجبهة الشعبية لتحرير فلسطين

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
July 2, 2017

The IRSP Women’s Facebook Page

Posted in Uncategorized, Womens' Rights with tags , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2016 by The Plough & The Stars

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The IRSP Women’s Facebook page is THE focal point for Irish Republican Socialist women to take part in discussions, read archived articles, view videos and post views on a variety of issues affecting women in today’s era of austerity and sexism.  It is a well managed page and although it is mainly female-focused, men are more than welcome to contribute also.

The Irish Republican Socialist Party has a proud history of promoting women’s equality and holds the distinction as being the first party in Ireland back in the early 1970’s to campaign for (and from it’s foundation enshrine in it’s constitution) the implementation of full female reproductive rights, including contraception, divorce and abortion on demand.  At this time, this was virtually unheard of in Ireland.  As with so many of the IRSP’s revolutionary politics, they have always been the most progressive party in the country.  Furthermore, women have always played a leading role in the Irish Republican Socialist Movement and many including INLA Volunteers Miriam Daly and Mary McGlinchey paid the ultimate price for their opposition to British imperialism.

Check the IRSP Women’s Page out here via this LINK!  Although it is an IRSP page, all progressives are welcome.  Feel free to visit and find out more about the IRSP’s politics and in Facebook parlance, give it a ‘Like!’  Below is a presumably early IRSP pamphlet and well worth a read:

 

Women In Ireland-IRSP Pamphlet Reprint

(The author and original date of publication of this historical IRSP document is unknown, but it was part of a series of pamphlets produced by the IRSP to give the working class of Ireland a clear vision of the IRSP’s policies.)


“…The first class opposition that occurs in history coincides with the development of antagonism between man and woman in monogamous marriage, and the first class oppression coincides with that of the female sex by the male.” (F. Engels: The Origin of the Family)


The oppression of women is thus directly linked with the institution of the family which emerged for the first time when there was an economic surplus in society, thus creating a material basis for class exploitation. The family became a unit of consumption, a vehicle of inheritance and a means of socialising children into the system.

The management of the family was no longer a public concern, and so the wife’s production became ‘private’, not recognised as socially necessary labour, ie. giving birth to a man’s children and looking after his house, while doing so increasingly in isolation from other wonen. Hence regardless of her status in wider society, within the family, the women’s relationship to the man became one or exploited to exploiter.


IMPERIALISM

British imperialism in setting up the sectarian statelet in the six counties and through partition, has deliberately fostered sectarianism amongst the working class and fragmented the women’s movement into those who are actively involved in or support the national liberation struggle and those who are pro-imperialist.


ROLE OF THE CHURCH

The church, particularly the Catholic Church, has continually taught that a woman’s main role in life is to marry, have children and stay in the home. Women are seen in the image of the Virgin Mary – pure, and that the sexual act inside marriage is for procreation and not to be enjoyed. Women are positively discouraged from seeing themselves as having their own identity and their own sexual needs. This view reflects itself in the Church’s total opposition to contraception, abortion and divorce and to women working.


CONTRACEPTION

Contraception is now available throughout Ireland from family-planning clinics but the moralising attitude of medical staff and the unnecessary prying questions into one’s sexual habits, prevents many young people from using these facilities. The entire process becomes very humiliating when, not only the clinics, but many family doctors agree firmly with the Catholic stance and refuse to prescribe any form of contraception. When it comes to sterilisation, a wife must have her husband’s written consent before the authorities will perform the operation – the implication being that she is his property.


ABORTION

In the six counties, abortion is illegal except on strict medical grounds, when a mother’s life is in danger or when the child will be deformed. In the twenty-six counties abortion is illegal. It is also illegal to give advice on how to obtain an abortion and at present there are court cases pending against various groups who are giving advice an abortion. A vigorous campaign has also been mounted (DEFEND THE CLINICS) to defend the right to freely give out information on abortion.

The I.R.S.P. totally supports a woman’s right to choose whether to have an abortion or not.

The I.R.S.P. supports the Defend the Clinics campaign for the right to freely give out information on abortion.


DIVORCE

In the 26 counties, divorce is unobtainable, yet another example of the indivisibilty of the Church and State. In the six counties, even with the opposition of the churches, the right to divorce exists, after two yeers with both couple’s mutual consent, or after five years without mutual consent.

The I.R.S.P. totally supports the campaign for the introduction of the right to divorce.


WORK

The Equal Pay Act has had much less impact here than originally expected. Women have traditionally been employed in “women’s work” like clothing factories, cooking, cleaning, typing, etc., so it is almost impossible for a woman to say she is paid less than a man for the same work as this situation rarely exists. Many women find they can’t make ends meet on social security and they’re forced to take on jobs without disclosing this to the DHSS ‘doing the double’. This always results in bad working conditions, low wages and the risk of being sacked at a moment’s notice.

This type-casting of women is reflected in the family and in particular in the education system where boys are steered towards science, metal-work, woodwork and are encouraged to continue their education. Girls on the other hand are trained to prepare themselves for their future lives as wives and mothers and are given no encouragement to continue their education.


CHILDCARE

Pre-school child care has been and continues to be grossly inadequate in Ireland. There are only four day-care nurseries in the six counties and places are few and far between and usually cater for what they call ‘problem families’. Play-groups exist in most areas, but the majority of these are only morning or afternoon care for any one child. This does not suit a working mother.

The I.R.S.P. supports the demand for the provision of free childcare facilities for all those who wish to avail themselves of it.


HEALTH

The recent government cutbacks in health, both north and south, have had detrimental effects on women’s health. Cervical cancer which relies on early detection through regular smears is on the increase, due to long delays in getting results back and long waiting lists for hospital appointments. Breast scanning facilities are almost non-existent. Addiction to nerve tablets is on the increase with doctors prescribing Valium as a cure for all ills.

The I.R.S.P. is actively involved in the campaign against the cutbacks and against increasing government privatisation of health care.


RAPE

Society has created many myths surrounding rape such as: rape is due to sudden uncontrollable sexual urges unleashed in men by the slight of a provocatively dressed woman; no woman can be raped against her will; ‘women secretly enjoy it’.

Rape is a violent crime often carried out under threat of, if not actual use of force, such as beating, maiming and the murder of victims. 90% of all rapes are planned in advance. Rape is man’s physical expression of his power to dominate women. The victim is humiliated in court and made to feel that she is on trial, her own private sex life will be displayed to the court. Many judges openly sympathise with the rapist, illustrated by the nominal sentences handed out, often less than a motoring offense. Because of the way women are degraded by the courts, many women will suffer rape and not report it, and so the official figures on rape are considered by many to be just the tip of the iceberg.

The image propagated by the capitalist media and the widespread distribution of pornographic literature increases the view of women as sexual objects to be ‘had’ and ‘conquered’. On a wider level it is a reflection of the wider use of repressive values in the capitalist system to make the man/woman relationship one of domination and not of equality.

The I.R.S.P. supports the demand that sentences for rapists should reflect the serious nature of the crime.


STRIP SEARCHING

Since 1982, when strip-searching was introduced for women prisoners, on the pretext of security, there have been over 3,500 strip-searches. A strip-search entails a prisoner removing all her clothes and having her body inspected in full view of prison staff. Sanitary towels must also be removed. Refusal to comply results in beatings and the forcible removal of clothing. Nothing of any consequence has ever been found a prisoner and its sole purpose is to degrade and humiliate the women prisoners.

The I.R.S.P. totally supports the campaign to end the degrading practice of strip-searching.


SEXUALITY

We believe in a woman’s right to define her own sexuality, either as a lesbian, bisexual or heterosexual. Lesbians experience discrimination especially in areas of child-custody, where a lesbian must often face a really hard legal battle for her children. She also faces the possibility of losing her job if she works in such areas as teaching or nursing.

The I.R.S.P. demands an end to discrimination against lesbians and a recognition that women have a right to define their own sexuality.

 

Alex McGuigan

Ireland: Trade unionism and Republican Socialism by Peter Black

Posted in Peter Black, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2016 by The Plough & The Stars
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Big Jim Larkin, an Englishman who united Catholic, Protestant and dissenter during the 1907 Dock Strike. Even persuading the RIC to go on strike!

The so-called “expert writers” on the Irish Trade Unions have no experience of the trade union culture in Ireland. Many of these trendy lefties have never attended a branch meeting, or participated in any trade union activity. Indeed some of these people live and work in Ireland and do not see the need to organise in their own non-union workplace.

According to the European Union half the working population in Ireland are trade unionists. Union density overall in Ireland was around 50% for a number of years in the 1970s and early 1980s, but by 1987 it had fallen to 43.5%. There has once again been a growth in membership since then, and current union density is estimated to lie at around 50%.

These British, French, Italian trendy lefties rather than criticise the Irish Unions should look at their own back yard; at the very least become involved in the trade union movement. Contrary to belief amongst the Continental trendy left, Irish trade unions have both a democratic content and mechanism.

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Republican Socialists acknowledge the Irish Trade Union movement as the organised working class. As such, it is our only access to organise workers. It is not our aim to control and manipulate but rather to give a lead with ideas and action within our specific unions. Republican Socialists need to mobilise trade unionists on the ground to re-engage with their trade unions by participation within the democracy of trade unions at all levels.

However, it must be admitted that it was through this democracy that trade union bureaucracy set in. The struggle to transform the unions inevitably comes up against this conservative bureaucracy, whose jobs depend on maintaining their role as middlemen in the struggles and negotiations between workers and bosses. The top three officials in SIPTU receive nearly £80,000 a year.

In 1987 the propaganda machine of the Free State government and the bosses worked overtime to sell the Social Contract. Trade union leaders too were keen to sell their members the idea of social partnership; management and unions would get together to cooperate over improving the state of the Irish economy in order to share out the subsequent wealth generated. The Programme for National Recovery committed these ‘social partners ‘ to “seek to regenerate the economy and improve the social equity of our society through their combined efforts.”

As long as workers worked harder the size of the national cake would grow and consequently the workers share would grow to.

Today the government and the bosses yell bellicose attacks at workers fighting to defend themselves that there must be no conflict, no challenge to the social partnership, which has produced this redistribution of wealth to the rich, or the whole boom will fall apart.

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Is it the case that the boom was created and is sustained by the social contract, which holds workers wages in check while the bosses rake in super profits? The social contract has been the cover behind which foreign capitalists have sought to boost their profits by rising productivity, that is changing working conditions to make us all work harder and longer.

As ICTU put it, partnership means moving from “the clenched fist of confrontation to the open hand of cooperation.” They are tied to the idea of social partnership, more accurately class collaboration. They act like referees in the fight between workers and bosses rather than leaders. Yet they are not the ones suffering short-term contracts or total quality management.

Nevertheless, this can change. One Republican Socialist openly opposed this bureaucracy [and] moreover, using the same democratic mechanism was elected with more than 50% more votes under his hat than the bureaucrat.

Revolutionary change of the unions is about a fight to change the leaders and in many cases the structures and rules whereby all trade union officials are elected, recallable. Moreover, to achieve this requires the organisation of the rank and file of the unions against the bureaucracy. Remember every vote in the trade unions is by postal ballot. It is worth noting that in some cases for a trade unionist to be elected on to the Executive, it takes 5 times as many votes as a local authority councillor. Trade unions might be “schools for socialism”, but trade union consciousness is not spontaneously socialist.

Some have asked the question why trade unions exist. Workers are aware what the Unions do. They know that they defend wages and conditions, and provide legal aid both inside and outside the place of work. These things are important. However, why was it important to fight for them?

The answer to this question is to be found in the foundations of trade unionism and more importantly socialism also. Workers had to fight for these things because the employers and governments were not prepared to give them until they were forced to. That is true and the force which they used was based upon their power to stop work, in other words in their power to strike. For that reason, Trade Unionists have always aimed at 100% organization, and have regarded the non-unionist as a danger and the strikebreaker as a “blackleg“.

Why have the workers had to rely upon their power to withhold labour? “For the reason that workers have no other power than their labour power.” In a capitalist society, the working class is in a distinctive position. In comparative terms, workers have no property. It is dependent upon the class, which exploits it. The capitalist, owns the factories, mills, mines, railways, transport. That is why the removal of labour by the workers can be so powerful a weapon when used on a large scale.

When Trade Unionists fight the employers on wages questions and the conditions of labour they are really fighting against consequences of the capitalist system. The existence of the private ownership of the means of production means also the private ownership of the things produced and their sale as commodities in competition with one with another.

Labour also is a commodity and those who sell their labour power, the members of the working class, manual and brain-worker alike, also compete (…)

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Trade unions are the basic organisation of the Irish working-class. However; they are much more than that. They are the kernel of the future Irish society within the old.

Of course, since the workers’ organisations exist in a capitalist Ireland they are subjected to alien class pressures. This includes both the Irish Ruling class and US imperialism. These pressures weigh heavily on the upper stratum and this often leads to degeneration. We are not dealing with an ideal norm, but with the mass organisations, as they really exist in class society. The distortions that occur, especially in periods when the working class is not on the move, can produce a feeling that the unions cannot be changed. This serious mistake is contradicted by the historical experience of the movement. Repeatedly the workers have moved to transform their organisations into organs and schools of solidarity, struggle and socialism.

The history of the Irish unions is not a straight line. On the contrary, it unfolds in an uneven fashion with various contradictory shifts in one direction or another. It is constantly characterised by the struggle between two traditions and two tendencies. A revolutionary one, reflecting the unconscious will of the working class to change society, and a subservient one, reflecting the pressures of the ruling class on the upper stratum, that then attempts to block the movement to change society and lead it instead like a lamb into safe channels.

In normal periods, the consciousness of the workers is affected by the dead weight of tradition and routine. In such times, most people are prepared to accept the leadership of the Professionals, Bourgeois and reformist politicians, Members of the Dail, Parliament, councillors and trade union leaders.

The Venezuelan CTV (the old national trade union federation) sold its soul to the old two-party capitalist system and governments it produced. For 40 years, the Venezuelan trade union movement lived through its worst period, because workers were puppets in the games played by the old parties (Copei and AD) and the bosses’ organizations. Venezuelan still remember how AD (Democratic Action) decided the fate of workers, bought and sold contracts and worked with the government to control the unions and the CTV. We should remember that the bosses’ strike of 2002-3was led by the CTV and Fedecamaras (the bosses’ organization) working hand in hand. The Irish trade unions were doing just the same when they signed the social contract.

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However, there are periods of crises and upheavals, when the working class is shaken out of the old apathy and begins to take action, demanding solutions, asking questions. Being close to the class, the unions reflect this changed mood very early on. Moreover, what happens in the unions today will be expressed perhaps as problems in the Irish Republican Socialist Party tomorrow?

The pioneers of Irish Labour, Connolly and Larkin were inspired by a vision. They believed that the trade union movement and Republican Socialism would become a powerful weapon of social emancipation. This revolutionary aspiration was, and in many cases remains, enshrined in trade union rules and constitutions.

Through the experience of collective struggle, the working class gradually raises itself to an understanding of the need to change society. It develops a sense of its own power and ability. One can see this in every strike. Marxists base themselves on this fact and strive to develop this tendency and bring it to the fullest expression.

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The role of Marxists in the trade unions is to make conscious the unconscious will of the working class to change society. The working class has within its ranks a tremendous strength and resilience. Even when it suffers a terrible and crushing defeat, it recovers and again reasserts itself. It is like the Greek god Antaeus of ancient mythology, who when thrown to the ground, drew strength from his mother the earth.

Whatever obstacles lay in its path, the objective conditions of life force it to continually struggle against the system of capitalist exploitation. Those who argue that the class struggle is out of date are obviously out of touch with the reality of Ireland in the first decade of the twenty-first century. Trade unions must be organised to recognize that all the efforts of the working class must be directed to the goal of the conquest of political power. Their fight in the industrial field must be linked with the fight to obtain a Socialist Government which, backed by the might of the working class, would transfer the ownership of the means of production and distribution from private hands to social ownership.

By Peter Black

(Edited by Alex McGuigan.  This article by Comrade Black was originally published in The Plough, E-mail newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party, Vol. 4- No 25, Monday, 19th November 2007)

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Easily Grasped Introductions To Marxist Dialectics

Posted in Karl Marx, Mao, Maoism, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2016 by The Plough & The Stars

 

 

The videos above and the opinions within are solely the work of the creators and go some way to explaining Marxist Dialectics in the means for which it was intended, ie, for the benefit of ordinary working class people…

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War of the Flea: The Classic Study of Guerrilla Warfare

Posted in Imperialism, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2016 by The Plough & The Stars

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“The guerrilla fights the war of the flea, and his military enemy suffers the dog’s disadvantages: too much to defend; too small, ubiquitous, and agile an enemy to come to grips with.” (Robert Taber)

The ‘War of the Flea: The Classic Study Of Guerrilla Warfare’ by Robert Taber arguably surpassess  Carlos Marighella’s ‘Handbook of Urban Guerrilla Warfare”,”On Rural Guerrilla Warfare”,“Guerrilla Tactics and Operations” contained in his book ‘For The Liberation of Brazil’, perhaps the most valued studies in guerrilla struggle.

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‘The War of The Flea’ is timeless and has been utilised as a tactical manual from every group opposing imperialist armies, from the NVA and Vietnamese National Liberation Front (called the ‘Viet Cong’ by the USA).   Robert Taber, quotes Vo Nguyen Giap, the Vietnamese commanding general from 1944-1978, on guerillas fighting a conventional Western army, who obviously concurs that:

“The enemy will pass slowly from the offensive to the defensive. The blitzkrieg will transform itself into a war of duration. Thus, the enemy will be caught in a dilemma: He has to drag out the war in order to win it, and does not possess, on the other hand, the psychological and political means to fight a long, drawn-out war.”

 

Taber is an excellent analyst of anti-imperialist struggles and arguably, even more valuable, has an insight into the mindset of the ‘dog’ attacked by the ‘flea’,

“Whether the primary cause of revolution is nationalism, or social justice, or the anticipation of material progress, the decision to fight and to sacrifice is a social and a moral decision. Insurgency is thus a matter not of manipulation but of inspiration.

I am aware that such conclusions are not compatible with the pictures of guerrilla operations and guerrilla motivations drawn by the counterinsurgency theorists who are so much in vogue today. But the counterinsurgency experts have yet to win a war. At this writing, they are certainly losing one.

Their picture is distorted because their premises are false and their observation faulty. They assume–perhaps their commitments require them to assume–that politics is mainly a manipulative science and insurgency mainly a politico-military technique to be countered by some other technique; whereas both are forms of social behavior, the latter being the mode of popular resistance to unpopular governments.”

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Robert Taber’s classic ‘War of the Flea: The Classic Study Of Guerrilla Warfare’ is a must read for all revolutionaries, students of conflict and those interested in the principles of guerrilla war.  Although written in the 1960’s it has yet to be surpassed in content and is still used by peoples’ repressed by imperialist forces globally, from the Hezbollah, The Popular Front For The Liberation of Palestine, the Maoist Naxelite Guerrillas in India to FARC and ELN in Columbia, to name but a few….

The War of the Flea is available from all good booksellers, including Amazon, where it can be purchased for as little as just over £7.

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Alex McGuigan

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