cropped-supporters_of_britain_red_liberation.pngBritain: Grenfell Tower Fire: When a Poor Man’s Life Isn’t Worth £8

 

Fight back against the terror of the rich over the poor!

 

Article by Almedina Gunić, Revolutionary-Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 18.06.2017, www.thecommunists.net

 

 

 

The number of dead from the Grenfell Tower fire is continually rising and will most likely reach more than 100. This was no simple accident or tragedy. We’re not talking about some everyday local news item which is covered by a short article and which is already forgotten while we’re still reading it. In the case of the Grenfell Tower fire, we are talking about a tragedy that, beyond its terrible reality, is also symbolic of something that shapes the life of our entire society: The oppression of us, the working class.

 

Read the articles about the reasons for the Grenfell Tower fire. Read the explanations why, outrageously, highly flammable material was used during the building’s refurbishment instead of investing £2 more per square meter for safe, inflammable material. Calculate that we’re talking about £5,000 of extra cost that wasn’t invested in a building housing 600 people, an expense that would have come to a little bit more than £8 per person (1). Read the statements of the fire fighters who warned, years ago, about the building’s being unsafe as it had no working fire alarms and no sprinklers, infractions that were repeatedly ignored by officials. Examine the map of Kensington and Chelsea and locate where the most and the least deprived parts are, and you will discover that Grenfell Tower is situated in the poorest area not only of London but of the entire country. Last but not least, if you live too far away to speak personally with the poor people living in the area in the vicinity of the Grenfell Tower, then watch the videos of them on the internet, read their comments, listen to the interviews with them. They know why this happened to them or to their neighbours and why it would never have happened just few kilometres away in the wealthy areas of South Kensington and Chelsea. This, they know, is because of class differences. In the eyes of the wealthy classes, the poor man’s life is not worth another £8.

 

Cosmetic improvements instead of concerns for safety

 

The non-fire resistant cladding of the Grenfell Tower was obviously used when refurbishing the building to make it look less shabby for the wealthier elements in Kensington. Besides the suspicion that the cladding of the tower was used illegally, its use shows the priorities of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council and the company with which it worked, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO).

 

The Grenfell Action Group, a local initiative that has been struggling for many years to improve the workers’ living standards wrote: „In May 2013 a serious electrical fault causing multiple power surges at Grenfell Tower posed a major fire risk to residents many of whom witnessed smoke coming from light fittings and other electrical appliances, some of which actually exploded.“ (2)

 

Instead of investing the £10m refurbishment budget allocated to upgrading the building’s clearly deficient safety standards, it was spent on superficial, cosmetic repairs to make the tower look better from outside and to create the illusion of improvement. To economize, the work on the infrastructure of the building was of very poor quality. The building firm Leadbitter made a bid to improve insulation and replace the defective heating and water system, but the price set for this offer was £11.27 million, which was £1.6 million over the allocated budget. Instead, the KCTMO accepted the bid made by Rydon Ltd. to do the job for £8.7 million, which ultimately involved fitting boilers in the middle of hallways, laying exposed pipes across carpets of residents, and so on. (3)

 

They want to get rid of the poor

 

The poor people in North Kensington are a hindrance for the prosperous wealthy areas which are in the process of systematically expanding throughout Kensington. The capitalists who are investing in Kensington real estate are doing their best to get rid of the working class character of the area, i.e., they want to get rid of the poor people currently living in the northern part of the borough. Real estate prices in North Kensington have increased since last year by a staggering 17.93% (4), more than double the average increase of 7% for all of London. (5) Social benefits for public, local projects have been cut, with the result being that the number of private structures has increased, despite many local initiatives having been launched to save public housing. As the Labour MP Emma Dent Coad summed up: „There are groups supporting the community stables (hanging on), the sports centre (partially privatised), the nursery (closed), the construction training centre (closed), the day centre for people with dementia (closed), Citizens Advice bureau (relocated), Acklam Village community space (under review) and, not least, a group dedicated to tackling the vile and toxic air pollution that kills more than 80 people a year in the borough and causes the early onset of dementia.“ (6)

 

However, the heroic, hard work of local proletarian initiatives to improve the living standard of the working class in the area, instead of reaping rewards, turns out to be like the task of Sisyphus battling against the will of the rich gods. These proletarian initiatives are doing their utmost to stop the social cleansing of the workers and poor that is taking place in Kensington. As one resident, Peaky Saku, put it in a BBC live interview: „They want more reasons to knock these blocks down. There is two options: Regenerate the blocks or they can knock them down. And after that I am not so sure that this (the fire) was totally an accident. (…) The way they don’t want us here, that there’s rich man’s block over there (…) these fires have never happened before.“ (7)

 

The rich, anti-social behaviour and capitalism

 

This is the law of evolution written by capitalism. It is not the survival of the fittest as Darwin proclaimed; it is the survival of the richest. And the richest don’t need to fit in as they can buy themselves into everything.

 

Their social behaviour is not one that fits into the needs of humanity. “We have now done 12 separate studies measuring empathy in every way imaginable, social behavior in every way, and some work on compassion and it’s the same story,” the social scientist Dacher Keltner said, “Lower class people just show more empathy, more prosocial behavior, more compassion, no matter how you look at it.” (8)

 

Otherwise it would not be the case that unintelligent children with a wealthy background are 35% more likely to earn more money in later life than extraordinarily intelligent children from among the poor. (9) Similarly, it would not be that the average working household is £345 a year worse off than before the capitalist crisis started in 2008 (10), with the poor being 57% poorer than before and the rich being 64% richer (sic!) than previously. (11)

 

The mentality of the super-rich who are cleaning their shoes with a £50 note to remove the „peasant dirt“ (not a cliché but something that is really happening! (12)) is much more representative of the reality of the capitalist class than what they generally want to admit in public. In Kensington they don’t just remove the „peasant dirt“ from their shoes, but are obviously doing their best to remove the cause of the „peasant dirt,“ i.e., the working class people from Kensington as such. No wonder that the Grenfell Tower fire triggered protests of outrage by the working class.

 

Protestors and politicians

 

Theresa May has proved completely inept in this situation as she hid from the tenants and their working class neighbours, and instead praised the few policemen who used their riot equipment to support the fire-fighters. It is typical that her sympathies go with the repression apparatus and its weapons, even though, atypically in this case, the police violence was used to defend the heroic fire fighters instead of their normal brutally beating down of protestors. May is the authentic public face of the Tories who are arch enemies of the working class and who are working overtime to play at the empathy game with the victims of the fire. No wonder she didn’t show up at the scene of the fire — she would have been attacked by the protestors within seconds.

 

Work for the Labour Party is much simpler, as its ambiguous nature as a bourgeois workers’ party helps their officials to a certain degree to relate to the Kensington workers and poor. Jeremy Corbyn arrived after one hour in North Kensington to talk with people there. He criticized the local council for not using the unoccupied houses of the rich in Kensington to provide the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire with shelter in the same area. Corbyn also backs the demands of the Grenfell Action Group and the Radical Housing Network to have public investigations of the causes of the fire. (13)

 

As a result, the Labour leader’s general political agenda is viewed as radical and socialist by many of his enemies who hysterically warn against a Corbyn-led government: „The Labour Party and the country need rescuing from his dangerous campaign!“ (14)

 

Indeed the progressive ideas in his agenda, like the nationalisation of the railways and the energy sector, Britain’s leaving NATO and the Trident (nuclear weapons) programme, the building of one million homes and others justify critically supporting him in the elections and against the Blairites in the Labour Party. (15) However, we should not forget that we most likely lost more than 100 of our class brothers and sisters in the Grenfell Tower fire because of the system Corbyn, at the end of the day, supports. Not to speak of the untold millions of dead class brothers and sisters who have lost their lives as a result of the crimes of capitalism.

 

Kill the rabid wolf

 

This is a war against us and our lives that has been going on since the 18th century, since the very beginning of capitalism. In this class war we are losing our health and, in the end, our lives and the lives of our loved ones. The location, type and quality of our dwelling places are just one front in this war. According to statistics, disease and injuries (all of them avoidable) caused by poor housing cost the NHS at least £600m per year (16) and 3.8 million workers are in poverty because of high rental housing costs. (17) Studies show that the bedroom tax led to „increased poverty and had broad-ranging adverse effects on health, wellbeing and social relationships“. (18)

 

When we were kids, it was fun to play „Which animal do you see?“ as we looked at the black mould on the walls of the tiny bedroom the three of us shared with our parents. Respiratory illness was the less funny part of the mould game. As adults, we witnessed the painful death of our class brothers and sisters in the Grenfell tower fire and become angry as hell. No wonder, protestors stormed the Kensington town hall to confront the RBKC council, chanting „No justice, no peace!“ Which brings us exactly to the point: There is no justice and there should not be any peace until we end this war being waged by our rulers against us by overthrowing them!

 

It is like a rabid wolf attacking a village, killing most of the villagers. The Tories and Theresa May are the owners of the wolf, and enjoy watching him attacking the village and say „Sorry, folks! We hadn’t planned it this way.“ The left wing of Labour headed by Jeremy Corbyn is merely trying to become the new owners of the rabid wolf, and their plan is to hypnotize the beast and to transform it into a calm, healthy and happy bunny rabbit. But somehow, this just won’t work out.

 

The wealthy wolf

 

For more than a century, Social Democrats are trying to convince our class to come to an arrangement with the oppressors. South Kensington’s Labour MP, Emma Dent Coad, uses this tack when she says:

 

South Kensington has stepped up for North Kensington with donations, love and expert help. Kensington has come together to grieve and to help and to show it cares. This is a huge first step and over the next weeks, months and years we will work together, with honesty and transparency, to address and resolve the issues around the horrendous and frightening event that has revealed Kensington’s true face.“ (19)

 

What is true is that many of the people from the wealthy areas of Kensington offered their help, donated money and even worked as volunteers during the days since the fire. But at the end of the day, they don’t go back to shabby houses and have to struggle to meet the basic needs of life. At the end of the day, they need nearly a hundred dead around the corner to bring them to the notion that they should somehow help their poor neighbours. But this is cynical hypocrisy, because the affluent of Kensington, like the well off everywhere, live with poorness in front of their eyes every single day and consistently ignore it. Not because they were born bad but because they were born well-off.

 

If the median annual income in Kensington is over £100,000 (20), why don’t the “enlightened” prosperous of Kensington, those who felt so moved to help following the fire, voluntarily cut down their own standard of living to a more moderate one and donate the rest to the poor families? For a couple with two children who are among those living within the lowest 10% of UK incomes, the average annual income is only £19,700. (21) In other words, the median income of a Kensington household is equivalent to that of 5 poor families in UK.

 

The answer why the rich and well-off don’t share their wealth with us is that they are not wealthy despite our being poor – they are wealthy because we are poor. Their wealth is not a gift of fate. The profits of companies and multinational cooperation are stolen money from us, the workers. The way those companies and multinational corporations generate profits must, by necessity, harm our health, our lives and the nature in which we all live in. Not only in case of the murderous profit-thought which killed our brothers and sisters in the Grenfell Tower fire, but in all areas of our lives as working class persons.

 

A side-note on the Grenfell Tower fire and the Daesh terror attacks

 

Finally, let us note that the Grenfell Tower fire cost about as many lives as the combined number of all victims of all so-called Islamist terrorist attacks in Britain since 2005 (92 dead). (22) But while the ruling class whipped up public hysteria about the danger of “Islamist extremism,” they didn’t give a damn about the deteriorating living conditions of the working class and the accompanying danger to our lives!

 

Naturally, this does not diminish the vile, reactionary nature of the terrorist attacks by Daesh against innocent civilians. (23) But it is revealing that such terrorist attacks are exploited by the ruling class in order to drum up hatred against Muslims and to invest many millions of pounds in expanding the domestic repression apparatus, including increasing the surveillance of the people. Compare these sums to what they are doing now! How much money will they now invest, after the Grenfell Tower fire, in better and safer housing?! How much will they actually and effectively increase the regulation of all the companies involved in construction and public safety?!

 

Fight back the rich people’s terror

 

The anger and the hate against all of those people who are directly or indirectly responsible for the cruel death of our brothers and sisters in the Grenfell Tower fire is exploding, as the protests in its wake have demonstrated. This is a very important step towards ending such tragedies for good, but it is only a very small first step on the path of doing so.

 

Those guilty for the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire must be held accountable. Let us fight for:

 

* Immediate public investigations organized and led by local structures of the working class in Kensington like the Grenfell Action Group, the Radical Housing Network and others and with the participation of the fire fighters union! These public investigations should be conducted together with the victims of the fire and their families and friends!

 

* For a tribunal of the workers and poor of Kensington, including the victims of the fire, to decide on the punishment for those guilty and the compensation for the victims!

 

* Open the books of KCTMO and all the companies that have worked with it in the past and present — their bookkeeping ledgers, bank accounts, tax returns, etc. — to the public investigation organs and the tribunal of the workers and poor of Kensington! There must be an end to their “business secrets”!

 

* Investigation of each and every tower building and other project initiated by KCTMO by the fire fighters of Kensington and local action groups of the workers and the poor to prevent another tragedy. Every measure that the fire fighters and local action groups demand for the security and the health of the tenants of each building run by KCTMO must be met immediately and completely!

 

* All unoccupied houses in Kensington and Chelsea must be opened for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire, as well as for the homeless and the poor who are living in overcrowded, unhealthful flats and houses! Why should those houses be unoccupied for the profit of the speculators and landlords while people lack an intact and healthful home?!

 

* Stop the closure of fire stations! Re-open modernized fire stations (including those, which were closed during the last years) and massively increase the number of firefighters and pay them a higher wage for the heroic job they are doing!

 

* Social Housing is not a privilege that can be taken away – it is rather a basic human right that we fight for! For the expropriation of the wealthy landlords and the housing companies to organize a decent living standard for all!

 

* Immediately end the bedroom tax and every other housing law that harms the poor! For public control of rent, organized by local, regional and nationwide organs of the workers and the poor!

 

* Massive investment in all public structures that the workers and poor of Kensington and Chelsea demand, including nurseries, sports centres, schools, etc. This should be financed by the expropriation of the super-rich of Kensington and Chelsea and by a massive increase in taxes for the rich! Why should we continue to tolerate that the average annual income in Kensington is over £100,000 while the workers and poor in Kensington are crowded in small and shabby flats and can’t afford enough food and medicine?

 

Activists inside as well as outside the Labour Party, in the trade unions and in local initiatives, should fight for such a program aimed at a massive improvement in housing conditions all over the country. We urge all Labour MPs, including Jeremy Corbyn and Emma Dent Coad, to support all of these demands, to fight for their implementation and to express solidarity with and participate in the people’s protest actions. You say that you are willing to fight for the interests of the poor. Now prove it! Of course, these steps need to be taken even if Corbyn is not willing to take them.

 

The storming of the Kensington town hall showed the militant spirit of the workers and poor. We need a mass movement throughout the entire country for the massive improvement of the housing conditions, paid for by the rich. It is urgent that we organize local people’s assemblies in all working class and poor estates nationwide and bring together all local housing initiatives. These assemblies should elect delegates and hold a national conference in order to build a national housing movement that will fight for our rights.

 

Activists must fight inside the trade unions and local initiatives as well as inside the Labour Party for official support and the active participation of their organizations for such movements.

 

All class-conscious activists inside Labour should put pressure on their MPs to prove in deeds their solidarity and loyalty towards the poor in Kensington. The Blairites and their friends in Labour will do whatever they can to stop such a consistent proletarian politic. Every class-conscious activist inside Labour should fight for the expulsion of the Blairite party apparatus from Labour.

 

Whatever the concrete steps now taken, it is clear that we need a new workers’ party that authentically fights for the interests of the working class and the poor, not only in Kensington or London but throughout all of Britain. We believe that such a new workers’ party should be based on a revolutionary program. We need to kill the rabid wolf. We need to smash capitalism via a socialist revolution!

 

 

 

Footnotes:

 

(1) The chronicle of a tragedy foretold: Grenfell Tower, by Jamie Doward, The Guardian, 17 June 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/17/grenfell-tower-government-councils-fire-safety

 

(2) The Grenfell Action Group Blog, https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/

 

(3) Grenfell Tower refurbishment used cheaper cladding and tenants accused builders of shoddy workmanship, by Sarah Knapton, The Telegraph, 16 June 2017, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/16/grenfell-tower-refurbishment-used-cheaper-cladding-tenants-accused/

 

(4) Foxtons Market Trends, North Kensington, How is the North Kensington property market performing? https://www.foxtons.co.uk/living-in/north-kensington/

 

(5) London Housing Market Report, updated March 2015, https://data.london.gov.uk/housingmarket/

 

(6) For years, I’ve seen Kensington’s poor treated with disdain, by Emma Dent Coad, The Guardian, 18 June 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/17/for-years-ive-seen-kensington-poor-treated-with-disdain

 

(7) Grenfell Tower resident Peaky Saku told BBC Victoria Derbyshire his thoughts on the fire that engulfed the West London tower block on Tuesday 14 June: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buV929MqlWc

 

(8) Social Class as Culture: The Convergence of Resources and Rank in the Social Realm, Article (PDF Available) in Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20(4):246-250, August 2011, https://www.researchgate.net/journal/0963-7214_Current_Directions_in_Psychological_Science

 

(9) The triumph of Tim Nice But Dim: Posh but stupid children end up earning more than the poor-but-gifted, by Thomas Burrows for Mail-Online and Eleanor Harding, Education Correspondent For The Daily Mail, 26 July 2015, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3174961/The-Triumph-Tim-Nice-Dim-Report-says-posh-stupid-children-end-earning-poor-gifted.html

 

(10) UK inequality narrows but many working people are worse off, by Phillip Inman, The Guardian, 10 January 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jan/10/uk-inequality-working-people-pensions-ons

 

(11) Britain’s divided decade: the rich are 64% richer than before the recession, while the poor are 57% poorer, by Nigel Morris, INDEPENDANT, 10 March 2015 http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/britains-divided-decade-the-rich-are-64-richer-than-before-the-recession-while-the-poor-are-57-10097038.html

 

(12) MILLIONAIRE-HEADS Rich Kids of London spark fury by flushing a Rolex, using champagne as a door stop and wiping ‘peasant’ dirt off their shoes with £50 notes, by Sarah Barns, 19 September 2016, https://www.thesun.co.uk/living/1811057/rich-kids-of-london-flush-away-a-rolex-use-champagne-as-a-door-stop-and-wipe-their-shoes-with-50-notes/

 

(13) The Radical Housing Network, http://radicalhousingnetwork.org/

 

(14) Jeremy Corbyn must be stopped, by Telegraph View, 22 August 2015, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/labour/11817162/Jeremy-Corbyn-must-be-stopped.html

 

(15) See on this RCIT Britain: Britain: Elections are a disaster for Theresa May and the capitalists! Now is the time to strike! Bring down this weak and discredited minority Tory coalition! 14 June 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/uk-elections-disaster-for-may/; RCIT Britain: UK General Election 8. June 2017: Vote for Labour – but organize the resistance! Critical electoral support for Jeremy Corbyn on an anti-war and anti-austerity program! For a constituent assembly, peoples assemblies and action committees to fight for a real workers government! 25.04.2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/uk-general-election-6-2017/

 

(16) The three housing problems that most affect your health, by Jake Eliot, The Guardian, 8 August 2014, https://www.theguardian.com/society-professionals/2014/aug/08/housing-problems-affect-health

 

(17) Housing crisis ‘creates in-work poverty’, by Kevin Peachey, BBC, 7 December 2016, http://www.bbc.com/news/business-38219881

 

(18) Tenants hit by bedroom tax suffer range of health problems, study shows, by Patrick Butler, The Guardian, 16 March 2015, https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/mar/16/tenants-hit-by-bedroom-tax-suffer-range-of-health-problems-study-shows

 

(19) For years, I’ve seen Kensington’s poor treated with disdain, by Emma Dent Coad, The Guardian, 18 June 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/17/for-years-ive-seen-kensington-poor-treated-with-disdain

 

(20) Income in wealthiest area tops £100,000, The Telegraph, 24 August 2007, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1561185/Income-in-wealthiest-area-tops-100000.html

 

(21) UK incomes: how does your salary compare?, by Patrick Collinson, The Guardian, 25 March 2014, https://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/mar/25/uk-incomes-how-salary-compare

 

(22) See Wikipedia: List of terrorist incidents in Great Britain, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_terrorist_incidents_in_Great_Britain

 

(23) See on this RCIT Britain: Second Terror Attack Comes to Britain, 5th June 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/london-attack/; RCIT Britain: Britain: Terror Comes To Manchester – War Comes Home, 23.05.2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/manchester-terror/

 

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cropped-supporters_of_britain_red_liberation.pngBritain: Elections are a disaster for Theresa May and the capitalists!

Now is the time to strike! Bring down this weak and discredited minority Tory coalition!

 

Statement of the RCIT Britain, 14 June 2017, www.thecommunists.net

 

 

 

The British general election of 8th June produced not the overall victory for May and the Tory government that they hoped for. May who called the elections in the hope of pushing through a hard Brexit which was aimed directly against working-class interests, hoping to politically destroy Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party has made a grave-mistake – she failed to get a majority in the parliament! The British ruling class is now in deep crisis.

 

Furthermore the results show that the right-wing-populist UKIP has been wiped off the political map. We have already seen a disastrous result for UKIP during the local elections last month as well as the fact that they have continuously been losing ground since autumn 2016. The collapse of the far right-wing UKIP saved the Tories at the general elections as the overwhelming amount of former UKIP voters swung to the Tories. It is the concrete policy of Theresa May with her aggressive approach against immigrants, her determination to cut ties with the EU by a hard-Brexit strategy, her anti-liberal sentiment that attracted UKIP voters to come back to their rightful home i.e. the Conservative party.

 

The Scottish Nationalists did badly losing seats to the Tories as well as Labour. Nicola Sturgeon’s call for a second referendum on independence did not go down well with voters. Beside the harsh alienation of the Scottish Labour Party bureaucrats against Corbyn caused many working class voters who supported SNP until now to return again to Labour because of Corbyn. The more nationalist sectors who are in favour of the Brexit support the Tories and the hard-liner May (we shouldn’t forget that a third of the SNP voters backed Brexit).

 

The tactic of the Tories to push for new elections was obviously based on the hope to win more seats by the sympathy of Brexit supporters of various political backgrounds for the hard-liner May. However the result is a loss of 13 seats and a massive gain for Labour led by Corbyn gaining 30 seats.

 

Hence “Britain has a hung parliament, with no party holding an absolute majority in the House of Commons. After 650 results out of 650 in the snap General Election the state of the parties is:

 

Con: 318 Lab: 262 SNP: 35 Ukip: 0 LD: 12 Others: 23 (326 needed for a majority)

 

Theresa May has said she intends to form a government, with the support of the DUP (the North Irish loyalist party), and guide the country through Brexit talks.

 

Jeremy Corbyn called on Mrs May to resign and said the Conservatives should stand aside for a Labour minority government”. [1]

 

May has cobbled a coalition together with the extremely reactionary Democratic Unionist Party led by Arlene Foster from Northern Ireland. It is doubtful whether the May Government will last long and it is a probable chance that new elections will have to be called.

 

“An online petition demanding that the Conservatives scrap plans to form a government with DUP support, gained nearly 300,000 signatures in just 12 hours. Signed by 278,843 people at the time of writing, it also calls for Theresa May to resign after she lost her parliamentary majority. Speaking outside No 10 after the result became clear, the prime minister said she would seek to form a minority government with a “confidence and supply” agreement with the Northern Irish party”. [2]

 

Although Corbyn and the Labour Party failed to win more votes than the Tories he is the political victor in this election. His anti-austerity and anti-war campaign found resonance among large sections of young and working people who despise the Tories because of their austerity policies, including zero hour contracts, privatisation of the NHS, food banks, cuts in social care and welfare benefits as well as for their racism and chauvinism towards migrants and their families.

 

The Blairites have been keeping their heads down and have made no comment on how close Corbyn came to being elected Prime Minister and forming a minority Labour government. At the moment they are keeping their powder dry and waiting for an opportunity to attack and eventually remove him as leader. They are bitterly disappointed that Corbyn did so well and confused about the outcome of the elections. Even though the Blairites managed to win the support of the Scottish Labour Party which goes so far that the SNP even tried to convince Corbyn supporters in Scotland to vote rather for the SNP than for Labour if they want Corbyn to have a chance their open war against the popular demands of Corbyn harmed them a lot. Furthermore it has not been helpful for the Blairites that Jon Cruddas explained the growing support for Corbyn inside Labour with strange conspiracy theories about a “Trotskyist invasion” of Labour led by Corbyn. The arch war criminal Tony Blair has had nothing to say since the result of the general election.

 

Michael Roberts a Marxist economist made this comment on his blog about the effect on British capital and their jitters at a weak conservative government. “The UK election result is a personal disaster for the Conservative leader Theresa May. She called the snap election to get a big majority and crush the opposition Labour party and its left-wing leadership. But instead the Conservatives lost seats and its majority in parliament and Labour under leftist Jeremy Corbyn increased its share of the vote dramatically after a vigorous campaign. The turnout was 69%, the highest since 1997, when the figure was 71.4 per cent. It seems that young people turned out for Labour, particularly in the big cities. Labour gained 10% to reach 40%, while the Conservatives also increased their share by 5% to 42%. The big loser was the anti-EU anti-immigration party UKIP which collapsed”. [3]

 

Most of the centrist groups like the British affiliates of the IMT (Socialist Appeal), L5I (Red Flag), CWI (Socialist Party) and the SWP opportunistically tied themselves to Corbyn’s coat tails without realizing and openly stating that he is a left reformist and ultimately a defender of British capitalism. Corbyn has always had a close relationship with the labour aristocracy and the labour bureaucracy. He even stated that he will put 10.000 extra police on the street which is against the aspirations of class consciousness workers, blacks and migrants as well the youth in Britain. Corbyn argued against the sharp oppression of young activists who were on the streets in the London uprising in August 2011. However defence of the youth in words and an increase of police forces in deeds demonstrate the ambiguous character of Corbyn. It shows the danger of following blindly and uncritically the left reformist Corbyn instead of openly challenging his politics.

 

The RCIT in Britain in its most recent statement on critical support for Corbyn pointed out the weaknesses of the centrists and their attitude to the united front.

 

“Centrists either of the ultra-left variety or the opportunist’s variety has never being able to understand the role of the Marxist united front as practiced by Vladimir Lenin or Leon Trotsky. The RCIT in a major study of the Marxists classics explained our attitude to the United Front and our tactics towards reformist parties like the British Labour party.” [4]

 

“However, opposite trends cannot be excluded – at least temporarily. Under certain circumstances such parties can even experience an initial rejuvenation (see, for example, the British Labour Party under Corbyn) In contrast to such an opportunistic approach, as Bolshevik-Communists; we would work inside such a party while openly advocating our independent program. While cooperating with other forces within the party, we would uncompromisingly fight against reformist and centrist tendencies. We would try to patiently convince the majority of the party to adopt a revolutionary perspective. If this fails and the party degenerates into an ossified reformist formation, revolutionaries would draw the conclusions and split from such the party, taking with us all amenable militant workers and oppressed, and found an authentic revolutionary party”. [5]

 

Of course, as we have argued in several documents, social democracy and the Labour Party in particular have a history of betrayal and cowardice and will betray as soon as they will have the opportunity to do so.

 

“Of course, as we have indicated above, no one should have any illusions about these new reformist or populist parties. Ultimately they will betray the working class and the oppressed either when they have the opportunity to enter a government or when they play the leading role in a mass struggle. It is for this reason that revolutionaries must warn the masses in advance about the true nature of the leaderships of these parties. But at the same time, Marxists must not ignore the politicization and radicalization of sectors of the working class and the youth which currently find their expressions in support for these new parties. Any sectarian abstentionism against this process would only guarantee the isolation of revolutionaries. This is why critical electoral support for such parties, in addition to entryism under certain circumstances, can be a legitimate instrument for Marxists in the current period.” [6]

 

However, the RCIT in Britain when advocating critical support for Corbyn in the recent election recognized that under his leadership the party had rejuvenated and attracted a huge swathe of youth.

 

“However, with the successful campaign of the left-reformist Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn in summer 2015, this decline has been turned around. Despite open hostility by the pro-Blairite party establishment, Corbyn’s campaign was based on an anti-austerity and anti-militaristic platform which created huge enthusiasm among young people. In the space of a few months, the Labour Party’s “membership jumped from 201,293 on 6 May 2015, the day before the general election, to 388,407 on 10 January 2016. This development is an important indicator that bourgeois workers’ parties, even after a long period of decline, can revive and be rejuvenated if newly-radicalized youth and workers see no alternative to them to politically express their desire for change. Labour’s membership comeback also demonstrates how wrong numerous centrists (like, for example, the CWI) were when they declared in the early 1990s that the Labour Party (and social democratic parties in general) is no longer bourgeois workers’ parties. We authentic Marxists have always rejected this assumption while, at the same time, having also consistently denounced the opportunistic adaption to Labourism and never-ending entryism as practiced by the CWI’s former comrades, the IMT of Ted Grant and Alan Woods”. [7]

 

The RCIT in Britain emphasises the necessity for activists in the Labour Party to organize and accelerate the struggle against the treacherous Blairite wing in the party bureaucracy. [8] The task must be, now more than ever, to expel the Blairites as the most open and aggressive agents of the ruling class inside the party.

 

Furthermore the CLPs and branches must demand from their Labour MP’s to vote in Parliament consistently against all austerity attacks as well against all racist, anti-democratic and militaristic bills.

 

Finally, it is urgent to prepare a general strike to bring down this Tory minority government. Obviously Corbyn and the left-reformist bureaucrats in Labour will not support voluntarily a general strike because this demand is an attack on capitalist society and neither Corbyn nor his left-reformist friends are willing to go down this path. However such a general strike is crucial for the working-class in Britain in order to advance the struggle against the capitalist class, for jobs for all, for an end of racism and chauvinism, for an increase in social benefits, and a marked improvement of the NHS, etc.

 

This general election has produced a hung parliament with a very weak and discredited minority Tory government. This crisis is reflected in all the major metropolitan imperialist nations.

 

The RCIT in Britain puts forward the following transitional demands and proposals for workers and the oppressed who want to join the fight and overthrow this hated Tory Government.

 

* For an indefinite general strike to bring down this discredited weak Tory minority government!

 

* Kick out the Blairite wing of the Labour Party!

 

* Demand from all Labour MP’s to oppose all austerity attacks as well against all racist, anti-democratic and militaristic bills!

 

* For self-defence guards of workers and migrants to defend our communities against fascist and police provocation!

 

* For open borders for all refugees, full equality for all migrants, equal wages full citizenship and the right to speak their own language!

 

* Self-Determination for the people of Scotland!

 

* For a unified Ireland as a 32 County workers republic as part of a United Socialist States of Europe!

 

* For a workers government pledged to bring down capitalism and for the destruction of British imperialism!

 

 

 

We call on all workers and the oppressed to join the RCIT in Britain as the first step and help to build a new World Party of the Socialist Revolution which will be the Fifth International.

 

 

 

Footnotes

 

(1) http://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/general-election-2017-live-coverage/ar-BBCfgRt

 

(2) http://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/almost-300000-people-sign-petition-against-the-tory-dup-deal-in-just-12-hours/ar-BBCnJGj?li=BBoPWjQ&ocid=SK2MDHP

 

(3) https://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2017/06/09/uk-election-british-capital-in-disarray/

 

(4) https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/uk-general-election-6-2017/

 

(5) https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/book-united-front/chapter-4/

 

(6) https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/book-united-front/chapter-6/

 

(7) https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/book-united-front/chapter-6/

 

(8) https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/uk-general-election-6-2017/

 

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cropped-supporters_of_britain_red_liberation.pngFree Nasser Zefzafi and all other political prisoners! Long Live the Popular Protests in Morocco!

Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 13.06.2017, www.thecommunists.net

 

 

 

  1. The arrest of Nasser Zefzafi, head of the Moroccan social protest movement Al-Hirak al-Shaabi (Popular Movement), by authorities has provoked a series of mass demonstrations in that country. These protests are focused in Morocco’s northern Rif region – mostly populated by the Rifian Berbers (also called Amazighen) – and in particular the port city of al-Hoceïma. The regime justifies the arrest of Zefzafi by accusing him of “interrupting an imam’s sermon” at Friday’s prayer in a mosque! Since then, several other activists from Al-Hirak al-Shaabi including political opponents of Zefzazi like the “moderate voice of the movement,” El-Mortada Iamrachen, have been arrested as well. The current leader of Al-Hirak al-Shaabi, a 36-year old female activist and mother of four, Nawal Ben Aissa is, like many others, also threatened with imprisonment. From the arrests and threats of arrest, it is clear that the Moroccan regime intends to smash the protest movement.

 

  1. The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) expresses its full solidarity with the mass protests taking place in Morocco. They constitute a continuation of the protests which began on 28 October of last year in al-Hoceïma, after social media spread the tragic story of Mousine Fikri, a fishmonger crushed to death inside a garbage truck when he tried to prevent the destruction of a truckload of his fish confiscated by police.

 

  1. The RCIT fully supports the demands of the popular movement like its calling for the punishment of those responsible for the death of Mousine Fikri in addition to that of other protestors, demanding the annulment of the martial law in the province of al-Hoceïma, and an end to the criminalization of small peasants for the cultivation of cannabis.

 

  1. The general background of these mass protests is the Arab Revolution which began in 2011 and which encouraged popular uprisings against the reactionary regimes in many countries, as well as the ongoing increasing impoverishment of large sectors of the Moroccan masses. While the official unemployment rate stands at 9–10%, in fact only about 42% of the working age population has a job. According to official statistics, 38.8% of urban youth had no job in June 2016. To this must be added the long-standing discrimination of the Rifian Berbers in the north of the country.

 

  1. As we have already explained in our statement on Morocco published last year, in order to defeat the reactionary regime and its “Makhzen” (as the “deep state” is called in Morocco), it is urgent that the popular movement raise its consciousness and its level of self-organization. We call upon the workers, youth and poor peasants to found local action committees in the workplaces, schools, universities and neighborhoods. These committees should organize regular popular assemblies and elect delegates in order to create an acting leadership for the struggle. These delegates should also coordinate the struggle on the national level. As one can see, even the traditional, religious, moderate voices like El-Mortada Iamrachen are threatened by the state apparatus. Therefore, not a single significant success will be achieved by the movement if it doesn’t cultivate strong self-organization.

 

  1. At the same time, activists should put pressure on the trade unions as well as the leaderships of opposition parties and compel them to support these protests with their significant material resources. Activists should, however, be careful not to hand over control of the movement to the official leaderships of the trade unions. In addition, activists must not give any political support to the opposition parties. Activists should fight for a revolutionary orientation of Al-Hirak al-Shaabi. It is urgent to take steps in building a revolutionary organization that arises from the movement, one that is directed towards becoming a genuine revolutionary party of the workers and the urban and rural poor.

 

  1. The RCIT calls upon activists to link the protests against the murder of Mousine Fikri with a perspective envisioning the overthrow of the reactionary regime and the establishment of a workers’ and peasant government based on popular councils and militias. Moroccan activists should also link the struggle in their country with the ongoing popular struggles against dictatorships and injustice in other countries. It is important to fight for the release of all political prisoners and to fight for the end of the persecution of political activists! We repeat that the struggle of the Moroccan workers and peasants is part of the ongoing Arab Revolution along with the heroic struggle of the Syrian people in its revolution against the tyrant Assad, the resistance of the Egyptian people against the regime of General al-Sisi, the steadfast struggle of the Palestinian people, as well as many other examples.

 

The RCIT sends its greetings to all Moroccan revolutionaries and calls them to join forces with us in the international struggle for a socialist future!

 

* For the forming of action committees in the workplaces, schools, universities and neighborhoods!

 

* For a united front of all forces to protest against the murder of Mousine Fikri!

 

* For a public employment program, against social cuts and for democratic rights!

 

* For a workers’ and peasant government based on popular councils and militias!

 

* For a single Intifada of the workers and peasants – from Al-Hoceima, Rabat, Idlib, Tripoli and Cairo to Jerusalem!

 

 

 

International Secretariat of the RCIT

 

 

 

* * * * *

 

 

 

For the RCIT analysis of the Arab Revolution, we refer readers to our numerous articles and documents accessed from the Africa and Middle East section of our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/. In particular we refer readers to the following documents:

 

RCIT: Following the Murder of Mousine Fikri: Solidarity with the Mass Protests in Morocco! 13.06.2016, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/morocco-mass-protests/

 

RCIT: World Perspectives 2017: The Struggle against the Reactionary Offensive in the Era of Trumpism, Theses on the World Situation, the Perspectives for Class Struggle and the Tasks of Revolutionaries, 18 December 2016, Chapter IV. The Middle East and the State of the Arab Revolution, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-perspectives-2017/part-4/

 

RCIT: Revolution and Counterrevolution in the Arab World: An Acid Test for Revolutionaries, 31 May 2015, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 36, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/theses-arab-revolution/

 

 

 

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cropped-supporters_of_britain_red_liberation.pngQatar-Gulf Crisis: Another Offensive of the Arab Counter-Revolution

By Michael Pröbsting, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 10 June 2017, www.thecommunists.net

 

 

 

On 5 June, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt severed all diplomatic ties with Qatar. These countries also closed all land, air, and sea traffic routes to the small peninsula which is home to 2.6 million people. In the days following this move, several other Arab countries – all dependent on Saudi funding – replicated it.

 

Concurrent with these developments, a cyber attack was launched against the global media outlet Al-Jazeera which is based in Doha, Qatar’s capital. Furthermore, the rulers of the UAE have threatened to impose an economic embargo against Qatar, while Bahrain has said “all options” (i.e., including military aggression) are on the table. According to Al-Arabiya, the United Arab Emirates has even banned persons within its borders from publishing expressions of sympathy towards Qatar and has threatened to punish offenders with a jail term of up to 15 years!

 

However, Qatar has not remained entirely isolated, as Iran and Turkey have already offered support to the besieged country.

 

The Saudi-led bloc justifies its unprecedented aggression against Qatar with the latter’s alleged support for “terrorism.” Coming as it does from a regime that promulgates an extremely reactionary sectarian Wahhabi ideology, this is a rather bizarre accusation, which stems from the residence in Qatar of several exiled bourgeois and petty-bourgeois leaders of Islamist organizations who play a prominent role in resistance to imperialist occupations and dictatorships. In particular, these organizations include: Egypt’s al-Ikhwan (the Muslim Brotherhood), an Islamist mass movement which faces rife persecution under the military dictatorship of General al-Sisi; Hamas, the strongest militant Palestinian force which successfully led the resistance in Gaza against three Israeli invasions in the last nine years; and the Afghan Taliban, the leading force fighting a guerrilla struggle against the Western imperialist occupation since 2001.

 

Furthermore, the Saudi monarchy is worried about Qatar’s less confrontational approach towards Iran – Riyad’s arch-enemy.

 

 

 

The Trump Factor

 

 

 

The timing of the current diplomatic war against Qatar is by no means accidental. Rather, it takes place only two weeks after US President Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia. The mad egomaniac used the visit to deliver a speech calling the Arab states to join the world’s biggest imperialist power in its struggle “against terrorism,” or to put it in the preadolescent language of the racist misogynist US leader: “This is a battle between good and evil.” Following more profane goals, Trump also signed a huge arms deal with the Saudi rulers worth more than $US 110 billion.

 

Trump’s visit was part of the new US administration’s efforts to create a bloc with the most reactionary dictatorships in the Arab world along with the Zionist apartheid state of Israel. The goals of this bloc are: to advance the counterrevolutionary efforts aimed at liquidating the Arab Spring which started in 2011; to kill off once and for good the Palestinian resistance; and to counter the rising influence of Iran (which has the backing of Russian and Chinese imperialism).

 

Unsurprisingly, Trump immediately welcomed the Saudi aggression against Qatar in one of his notorious tweets: “So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!

 

There can be no doubt about the reactionary nature of the Qatari state. It is a parasitic capitalist monarchy with a population that includes only 313,000 Qatari citizens and 2.3 million migrants.

 

 

 

Qatar’s Foreign Policy

 

 

 

However, the present crisis is not about the nature of the constitutional regime in any of these countries. Rather, since the 1990s, Qatar has tried to advance a foreign policy independent of Saudi-Arabia – the dominant power on the Arabian Peninsula – in the Persian Gulf region. Qatar created the global media outlet Al-Jazeera which gives more space to anti-imperialist and anti-dictatorial resistance movements than any other global mass media. As a result, Al-Jazeera bureaus and journalists have been repeatedly the target of assassination attempts and imprisonment by the Great Powers and various dictatorships – for example the Al-Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein has been held in an Egyptia prison for more than 170 days. Qatar’s offers of residence or political asylum to exiled leaders of Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Taliban are other examples of its independent foreign policy.

 

Qatar can stand behind its independent political positions because it possesses the world’s third largest reserves of natural gas and oil reserves, making it the country with the highest per capita income in the world.

 

Without harboring any illusions about the reactionary nature of the Qatari regime, socialists cannot ignore the fact that the present crisis is a direct result of the anti-Qatari offensive by the arch-reactionary Saudi monarchy. The latter regime has supported General al-Sisi since he took power in Egypt in a bloody military coup in on 3 July 2013. It has also been waging a brutal war in Yemen, the poorest country on the Arabian Peninsula and, as a matter of fact, in the Arab world, since having invaded it in 2015. It is by no means beyond the imaginable that, if Qatar does not capitulate to the Saudi-led bloc’s demands, Riyad may even invade the Qatari peninsula as it did with Bahrain in March 2011 when a popular mass uprising threatened to overthrow the reactionary monarchy following the outbreak of the Arab spring.

 

As socialists, we recognize the thoroughly counterrevolutionary nature of the Saudi-led aggression against Qatar. If the Qatari state is forced to expel representatives of resistance movements like Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Taliban residing there, and/or if Al-Jazeera would be forced to change its editorial policy to appease Trump, the Saudi king and the Egyptian dictator, these would represent severe blows to the Qatari state. Therefore, socialists around the world must resolutely oppose this aggression without, at the same time, lending any political support to the Qatari monarchy.

 

Only the future will reveal what role the individual imperialist powers will play in the Qatari crisis. However, we can already see that Russia’s imperialist government is becoming increasingly nervous about the accelerating conflict, because Qatar holds a 19.5% stake in Russia’s state-owned Rosneft petroleum company, which could potentially be adversely affected by the crisis. If the rival imperialist Great Powers like the US, Russia, the EU or China should increase their intervention in the conflict, and thereby transform it from one between the Saudi-led bloc and Qatar into a proxy war between two or more of the Great Powers, socialists must lend no support to any side.

 

 

 

* * * * *

 

 

 

For the RCIT analysis of the Arab Revolution in general and the Syrian Revolution in particular, we refer readers to our numerous articles and documents accessed from the Africa and Middle East section of our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/. In particular we refer readers to the following documents:

 

RCIT: Syria: Condemn the Reactionary Astana Deal! The so-called “De-Escalation Zones” are a First Step towards the Partition of Syria and a Conspiracy by the Great Powers to Defeat the Revolution, 7 May 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/astana-deal/

 

Michael Pröbsting: Is the Syrian Revolution at its End? Is Third Camp Abstentionism Justified? An essay on the organs of popular power in the liberated area of Syria, on the character of the different sectors of the Syrian rebels, and on the failure of those leftists who deserted the Syrian Revolution, 5 April 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/syrian-revolution-not-dead/

 

Yossi Schwartz: Raqqa: Defeat the US Imperialist Offensive! An assessment of the US/SDF/YPG war against Daesh, April 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/us-offensive-in-raqqa/

 

RCIT: Defeat the Imperialist Invasion in Syria – Victory to the Revolution! Down with the American and Russian interventions! No to the imperialist plan to divide Syria! Down with the butcher Assad and his imperialist allies! 13.03.2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/imperialist-invasion-in-syria/

 

RCIT: For the Iranian Revolution! Down with the capitalist Mullah dictatorship! Down with Imperialism! For a working class revolution in Iran! February 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/iran-platform/

 

RCIT: World Perspectives 2017: The Struggle against the Reactionary Offensive in the Era of Trumpism, Theses on the World Situation, the Perspectives for Class Struggle and the Tasks of Revolutionaries, 18 December 2016, Chapter IV. The Middle East and the State of the Arab Revolution, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-perspectives-2017/part-4/

 

RCIT: Revolution and Counterrevolution in the Arab World: An Acid Test for Revolutionaries, 31 May 2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/theses-arab-revolution/

 

RCIT: Yemen: The al-Hadi Puppet Government Calls for an Imperialist Invasion! Victory to Yemen! Defeat the Al-Saud Gang of Aggressors!, 8.5.2015, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/assault-on-yemen/

 

RCIT: Israel Starts Ground Offensive: Defend Gaza! Defeat Israel’s War! Support the Palestinian Resistance! For a Workers’ and Popular International Campaign to Boycott Israel! Down with the Regimes which Collaborate with Israel! For a Free, Red Palestine! 22.7.2014, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/joint-statement-defend-gaza/

 

RCIT: General Sisi – The Butcher of the Egyptian People – Sentences another 683 People to Death, 1.5.2014, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/egypt-mass-death-sentences/

 

Michael Pröbsting: The Coup d’État in Egypt and the Bankruptcy of the Left’s “Army Socialism”. A Balance Sheet of the coup and another Reply to our Critics (LCC, WIVP, SF/LCFI), 8.8.2013, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/egypt-and-left-army-socialism/

 

Yossi Schwartz: Israel’s War of 1948 and the Degeneration of the Fourth International, May 2013, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/israel-s-war-of-1948/

 

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cropped-supporters_of_britain_red_liberation.pngDefeat the US-Israeli Imperialist Warmongering!

By Yossi Schwartz, Internationalist Socialist League (RCIT Section in Israel / Occupied Palestine), 12.6.2017, http://www.the-isleague.com

 

 

 

During his election campaign, Trump proposed a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States, which he said would protect Americans from Jihadist attacks. His racist message was cheered by many of his supporters who opposed former President Barack Obama’s decision to increase the number of Syrian refugees admitted to the US.

 

While trying to block the entry of Arabs from Syria (refugees from Assad), Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen on grounds of public security, Trump went to Saudi Arabia, an Islamic theocracy of the extremist Wahhabi school. In Saudi Arabia religious minorities do not have the right to practice their religion. Non-Muslim religious texts are banned, and conversion from Islam to another religion is punishable by death.

 

So what is his business in Saudi Arabia? The Internationalist Socialist League (ISL) views US President Donald Trump visit to the Middle East as using the Sunni-Shiite conflict for a further militarization of the region and the creation of an arch-reactionary political and military block composed of Saudi Arabia, Egypt of Sisi, Jordan, Israel and possibly the Palestinian Authority.

 

The formation of such a bloc should help those reactionary powers to advance several goals:

 

  1. a) The complete liquidation of the Arab Revolution (pacification of Syria and destroying the revolutionary forces, helping the Egypt dictatorship to smash al-Ikhwan and all forces of the resistance, etc.).

 

  1. b) Allowing Israel to wage another war against the Palestinian people in Gaza with the goal to smash Hamas and all resistance organizations.

 

  1. c) To create the condition for waging a war against Iran and Hezbollah.

 

It is unlikely that the US itself will go to war against Iran, as most Americans do not want to see the US engaged in new wars, but his policy will most likely escalate the conflict between Saudi Arabia and its partners against Iran and of Israel against Gaza or Hezbollah.

 

During his visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, before he came to Israel, Trump signed a joint “strategic vision” that includes $110 billion in American arms. The deal includes naval ships, tanks and sophisticated THAAD missile defense systems. (1) Of course he stated that it is all about peace and jobs.

 

There is a possibility that in a case of a conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the US will provide military aid from the air rather than sending large ground forces. The mass media observes that Trump’s policy for the Middle East may lead to new wars in the Middle East.

 

Thus, the British newspaper The Telegraph wrote in February: “There are now too many indicators that President Trump is preparing for a military confrontation with Iran to just write off as coincidental. Much media bandwidth has been taken up by the so-called “Muslim ban”, but was it really about countering terrorism? It seems that Trump’s main flaw is not that he doesn’t hide his foibles, but more that he can’t help telling pundits in advance exactly what his intentions are. This is particularly the case in the Middle East, where in recent days he, along with his defence chief James Mattis and his national security adviser Michael Flynn, are moving at breakneck speed to curtail Tehran’s power. They want to counteract President Obama’s Iran deal, which, according to Trump at least, effectively gave the country $150 billion and made it a regional superpower overnight.” (2)

 

In Yemen where Saudi Arabia is bombing the Houthi rebels (who are supported by Iran) the US is already involved: “Media reports on Yemen have largely focused on the disastrous raid – apparently ordered by Trump over dinner – in which a U.S. Navy Seal and a number of Yemeni civilians were killed. But U.S. involvement is expanding in other areas too: the president recently loosened the military’s rules of engagement in Yemen, and has dramatically increased airstrikes against al-Qaida. The new administration has also effectively doubled U.S. deployments to the campaign against the Islamic State group in Syria, adding 400 additional troops to the forces already deployed there. Like their counterparts in Iraq, these soldiers are tasked with providing support to local forces in northern Syria, but the mission has nonetheless resulted in the death of one marine, and the injuries of several others.” (3)

 

In Palestine after 40 days of fasting, approximately 1,500 Palestinian political prisoners announced the end of their hunger strike for basic rights in Israeli jails on Saturday without gaining any major concession from the Zionist state. Is it possible that the end of this strike that could lead to a new Intifada is connected to the Trump visit to the Middle East and his meeting with Abu Mazen?

 

According to The Guardian Trump’s so called peace plan is based on an old idea: “That plan was the Arab Peace Initiative (API), unveiled by the then Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah at a summit in Beirut in March 2002. Now the Saudis and their allies are reportedly offering incentives – dangling the prospect of access for Israeli companies, direct communications and over-flight rights in exchange for freezing West Bank settlements and easing the blockade on the Gaza Strip, controlled by Hamas. The ideas were outlined in a paper shared among Gulf countries, according to the Wall Street Journal. These ideas build on significant below-the-radar trade and cooperation between Israel and those states, including discreet intelligence and security links. Diplomats describe a winning combination of Israel’s technical capabilities with Arab human intelligence assets.” (4)

 

If The Guardian is right then what Trump is trying to do is to promise the PA some gains if it will support this plan that does not promise the Palestinians even a mini state and certainly not the right of return of the Palestinian refugees.

 

While we oppose imperialist Russia, Iran and Hezbollah policies in support of Assad regime against the Syrian revolution, in a war of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel backed by the US against Iran and Hezbollah, we see the defeat of the new American–Israeli imperialist war as the interest of the working and oppressed masses of the world.

 

 

 

Footnotes

 

(1) Washington Post May 20, 2017

 

(2) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/06/donald-trump-preparing-go-war-iran-likely-think/

 

(3) https://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2017-03-22/president-donald-trump-is-doubling-down-on-wars-in-the-middle-east

 

(4) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/24/israel-palestine-trump-arab-peace-initiative

 

 

 

* * * * *

 

 

 

For the RCIT analysis of the Arab Revolution and the Palestinian liberation struggle, we refer readers to our numerous articles and documents accessed from the Africa and Middle East section of our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/. In particular we refer readers to the following documents:

 

ISL: Support the Demands of the Palestinian Freedom Fighters in Israeli Prisons! Free All Palestinian Political Prisoners! 21.4.2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/palestinian-hunger-strike/

 

Michael Pröbsting: Qatar-Gulf Crisis: Another Offensive of the Arab Counter-Revolution, 10 June 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/qatar-gulf-crisis/

 

RCIT: Syria: Condemn the Reactionary Astana Deal! The so-called “De-Escalation Zones” are a First Step towards the Partition of Syria and a Conspiracy by the Great Powers to Defeat the Revolution, 7 May 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/astana-deal/

 

Michael Pröbsting: Is the Syrian Revolution at its End? Is Third Camp Abstentionism Justified? An essay on the organs of popular power in the liberated area of Syria, on the character of the different sectors of the Syrian rebels, and on the failure of those leftists who deserted the Syrian Revolution, 5 April 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/syrian-revolution-not-dead/

 

Yossi Schwartz: Raqqa: Defeat the US Imperialist Offensive! An assessment of the US/SDF/YPG war against Daesh, April 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/us-offensive-in-raqqa/

 

RCIT: Defeat the Imperialist Invasion in Syria – Victory to the Revolution! Down with the American and Russian interventions! No to the imperialist plan to divide Syria! Down with the butcher Assad and his imperialist allies! 13.03.2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/imperialist-invasion-in-syria/

 

RCIT: For the Iranian Revolution! Down with the capitalist Mullah dictatorship! Down with Imperialism! For a working class revolution in Iran! February 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/iran-platform/

 

RCIT: World Perspectives 2017: The Struggle against the Reactionary Offensive in the Era of Trumpism, Theses on the World Situation, the Perspectives for Class Struggle and the Tasks of Revolutionaries, 18 December 2016, Chapter IV. The Middle East and the State of the Arab Revolution, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-perspectives-2017/part-4/

 

RCIT: Revolution and Counterrevolution in the Arab World: An Acid Test for Revolutionaries, 31 May 2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/theses-arab-revolution/

 

RCIT: Israel Starts Ground Offensive: Defend Gaza! Defeat Israel’s War! Support the Palestinian Resistance! For a Workers’ and Popular International Campaign to Boycott Israel! Down with the Regimes which Collaborate with Israel! For a Free, Red Palestine! 22.7.2014, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/joint-statement-defend-gaza/

 

RCIT: General Sisi – The Butcher of the Egyptian People – Sentences another 683 People to Death, 1.5.2014, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/egypt-mass-death-sentences/

 

Michael Pröbsting: The Coup d’État in Egypt and the Bankruptcy of the Left’s “Army Socialism”. A Balance Sheet of the coup and another Reply to our Critics (LCC, WIVP, SF/LCFI), 8.8.2013, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/egypt-and-left-army-socialism/

 

Yossi Schwartz: Israel’s War of 1948 and the Degeneration of the Fourth International, May 2013, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/israel-s-war-of-1948/

 

 

 

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cropped-supporters_of_britain_red_liberation.pngUK General Election 8. June 2017: Vote for Labour – but organize the resistance!

Critical electoral support for Jeremy Corbyn on an anti-war and anti-austerity program! For a constituent assembly, peoples assemblies and action committees to fight for a real workers government!

 

Statement of the RCIT Britain, 25.04.2017, https://rcitbritain.wordpress.com

 

 

 

The ruling class in political crisis and turmoil

 

 

 

The conservative, Prime Minister Theresa May has decided to call a General Election in Britain on the 8th June 2017. May has said that the country is behind her in her campaign for a hard Brexit, this means to abolish the single market and to get rid of free movement of migrants in Britain. She is opposed in parliament by the Labour Party , the Liberal Democrats , the SNP and a minority of remain supporters in the Tory party. The parliament is sabotaging her political plans and therefor she wants to change it, in the hope that she could go forward with her agenda.

 

As the RCIT said in Liberation 14   May faces an enormous crisis of British imperialism.

 

“The decision to leave the European Union has caused an immense crisis amongst the ruling class in Britain. Theresa May, who succeeded David Cameron as Prime Minister, is trying to negotiate Brexit amongst a deeply divided and split Tory party. She is desperate to hold her party together while she negotiates terms to leave Europe by activating Article 50.

 

A section of the ruling class wants to desperately stay in the EU to have access to the single market. Another section wants to get rid of the restrictions of Strasbourg and other European nations. The situation has been complicated by the legal challenge to Brexit which insists that any decision to leave the European Union must be discussed by Parliament”. [1].

 

This weak and divided Tory Government hopes by calling an election before the expiry of her full term in 2020 to strengthen her position with the European Negotiators to leave the European Union.

 

 

 

A divided Labour Party

 

 

 

The Labour Party also remains a deeply split party between the left reformist Corbyn and the pro-war and pro-austerity Blairite section of the party who is opposed to both Corbyn and Brexit. The Blairites want a relationship with the EU and the single market. Tony Blair – who is a war criminal – although nominally a member of the Labour Party is pushing his democratic alliance to support the Liberal Democrats, which is the most, committed party to remain in the European Union.

 

The Blairites are hoping that Corbyn is defeated and that the party will return to its Blairite fold. The bourgeois press and others are touting Yvette Cooper, a former Minister in Blair’s government, as a possible replacement in the event of a Labour Party defeat.

 

“The Labour Party with the left reformist Jeremy Corbyn as leader is deeply split. Although Corbyn is nominally leader, the control of the party remains in the hands of the Blairites who as well as controlling the Parliamentary Labour party are in charge of the bureaucratic structures as well. Tony Blair, ex-Labour leader and indicted war criminal, has returned to lead the attack on Corbyn and his supporters in Momentum. The Blairites through the PLP have attempted two coups against Corbyn but have been roundly defeated. The issue of Brexit has given them the opportunity to remove Corbyn and his supporters. Corbyn has capitulated to the Blairites at every turn even inviting some of them into his shadow cabinet. Blair is now involved in setting up a new centre coalition of pro-Europeans including Tories and Liberal democrats. His aim of course is to try and reverse Brexit”. [2]

 

The weakness of Corbyn and Momentum was revealed when McNichol the General Secretary of the National Executive committee and a Blair functionary announced that candidates would be imposed on the Labour party membership and sitting Blairite MP’s without any discussion from the membership will be imposed on them. There will be no ‘trigger ballots’ or reselection of sitting Labour MP’s. But we call for a critical vote for the Labour Party and we call upon the rank and file to push the leadership to more radical actions. We answer the following to our “orthodox” (in fact sectarian) critics who will tell us but that is an adaption towards reformism: “We are not adapting our program just one inch towards reformism, but we will try to put Labour in power, so that the more radical rank and file workers can make their own experiences with Corbyn in power and we will try to organize the rank and file and to make Corbyn go further than he wants!”

 

In fact Corbyn and Momentum expect the vast majority of Labour party members to campaign for openly pro-war and pro-austerity candidates. To date Corbyn has said nothing about   the undemocratic procedure now being followed.

 

The RCIT in Britain has consistently followed a revolutionary socialist perspective. We would patiently explain to the masses and the oppressed the necessity to organise a General strike to bring down the May Government in the event of a Labour Party defeat at the polls. If Corbyn was elected  and that is very doubtful, May has an 18-21 points lead in the opinion polls, we would patiently explain to workers and the oppressed our anti-war and anti-austerity message and the urgency for a General strike as a first step towards the establishment of a real workers government, which will be based on workers and popular assemblies, the mobilization on the streets and which will not be simply a bourgeois government, sitting in Westminster and simply lead by the Labour Party.

 

 

 

From Brexit to a united socialist Europe!

 

 

 

In the RCIT open letter after the Brexit result we pointed out the wrong positions of the main centrists groups in Britain who supported either the Leave campaign or the remain campaign.

 

“The results of the BREXIT referendum in Britain have ignited a political crisis not only in the UK itself but throughout the entire European continent. On the one hand, the referendum has obviously strengthened reactionary nationalism, as is reflected in the increasing numbers of hate-crimes against migrants in Britain as well as in the surge of the far right in other Western European countries. On the other hand, the vote to remove Britain from the EU has also created confusion, uncertainty and nervousness among the forces of monopoly capital both in Britain and in Europe in general. Shamefully, in the months leading up to last week’s historic referendum, large sectors of the left in Britain had called either for the country to LEAVE or REMAIN in the EU. In both cases, the proponents of these diametrically opposed positions were guilty of adapting to one of two imperialist camps. Those who supported LEAVE unabashedly adapted to the reactionary “UK First” imperialist camp dominated by the most extreme right-wing forces like UKIP; those in the left who called for a REMAIN vote no less shamelessly adapted to the pro-EU imperialist camp of the big bourgeoisie and the leadership of the Labour Party. Again, we contend that both strategies were and remain nothing more than variants of social-imperialism”. [3]

 

Centrists either of the ultra-left variety or the opportunist’s variety   have never being able to understand the role of the Marxist united front as practiced by Vladimir Lenin or Leon Trotsky. The RCIT in a major study of the Marxists classics explained our attitude to the United Front and our tactics towards Reformist parties like the British Labour party.

 

The RCIT calls for the formation of people’s assemblies and action committees to organise the struggle throughout the country. Their main goal should be to organize mass demonstrations and an indefinite general strike in order to bring down the (May) government (if elected on June 8th). The road ahead is to confront and defeat the government on the streets and in the workplaces, not by means of political manoeuvring behind the scene. Socialists should demand that the leaderships of the Labour Party and the TUC organize such mass actions to bring down the government! Instead, the RCIT Britain raises the slogan of a Constituent Assembly. Such an assembly would have the task of discussing the political and social system in which the people of Britain wish to live. There must be no pre-conditions on what type of constitution and what laws are possible. In particular, there should be no a priori commitment to protect of the property of the rich, the capitalists, and the financial institutions. Such a Constituent Assembly should be based on direct democracy grounded in workplace and residential constituencies; delegates should be elected proportionate to the numbers in each constituency; any delegate should be subject to instant recall if deemed appropriate by the electorate he or she represents; and each delegate must earn no more than the wage of an average skilled worker. After elaborating a new constitution, such a Constituent Assembly would dissolve itself.”[5].

 

In this period of international global crisis the RCIT in Britain puts forward the following transitional demands as a proposal for to workers and the oppressed who want to join the fight.

 

* Critically support the Election of a Jeremy Corbyn Labour Government on an anti-austerity and anti-war program. Expel and purge all Blairite MP’s and cleanse the party of all pro-war and pro-austerity elements.

 

* In the event of an election of a May Tory government: for an indefinite General Strike and the formation of a revolutionary Constituent Assembly with peoples assemblies in all areas of the country!

 

* For self-defense guards of the workers and migrants to defend our communities against fascist attacks and police provocations!

 

* Battle for open borders for all refugees’ full equality for all migrants’ equal wages full citizenship and rights to speak their native language.

 

* Self Determination for the people of Scotland!

 

* For a Unified Ireland as a 32 County Workers Republic as part of a united Socialist states of Europe!

 

* For a workers government pledged to bring down Capitalism and destruct British imperialism!

 

We call on all workers and the oppressed to join the RCIT and help to build a new World Party of the socialist revolution, which will be the Fifth International.

 

(1) https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/brexit-and-uk-crisis/

 

(2) https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/brexit-and-uk-crisis/

 

(3) https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/book-united-front/chapter-6/

 

(4) https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/bring-down-cameron/

 

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cropped-supporters_of_britain_red_liberation.pngSecond Terror Attack Comes to Britain

 

Statement by the RCIT in Britain, 5th June 2017, https://rcitbritain.wordpress.com

 

 

 

On Saturday 3rd June at approx. 10pm at night 7 people were killed when a van mowed people down on London Bridge near Borough Market. 48 people were also reported to be injured as the assailants started stabbing people on or near the Bridge. The attackers are purported to be members of the Daesh. The three attackers were shot dead by police.

 

The Guardian reports: “At least seven people have been killed and 48 injured after three attackers drove a van into crowds on London Bridge and then went on a stabbing rampage in nearby Borough Market. Police said armed officers shot dead all three attackers within minutes of receiving reports of the terrorist attack unfolding in central London. The three men appeared to be wearing suicide bomb vests that were later confirmed to be fakes.” [1]

 

This second terrorist attack must be understood because of the years of imperialist interventions in the Middle East generally. Not content with invading and occupying Afghanistan and Iraq using overwhelming military power, they now continue their barbaric aggression. In Iraq, Syria and other countries like Somalia and Yemen, the Great Powers rain down missiles, drone strikes and the rest of imperialist armaments on defenseless civilians killing, maiming and mutilating entire families, young, old, men, women and children. Is it any wonder given these circumstances that young men, and they have all been young men who have become alienated and bitter and feeling that they need to hit back, that they do and as they carry out these barbaric acts they in fact mirror the barbarity of the imperialist powers?!

 

With only 4 days left until the result of the British General Election the Daesh or Daesh inspired militants have struck causing maximum publicity during this heightened period of electioneering. There has been an immediate response on social media for the General Election to be suspended in light of these attacks.

 

Politicians are coming under pressure to suspend the General Election after the latest terrorist outrage. Within hours of the attack on London Bridge, there were calls on social media for Thursday’s poll to be postponed. The call for political activity to be put on hold was made by Mark Oxley in a petition he posted on the Change.org website His views were shared by many on Twitter”. [2]

 

The RCIT in Britain denounces unreservedly this cowardly and reactionary attack on people enjoying a night out, including migrants and ordinary workers and their families. In our statement after the Manchester attack at the Aria Grande Concert we made clear our position on the role of the Daesh.

 

The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) unequivocally condemns these attacks as utterly reactionary. Like the Paris attack, indiscriminate deadly violence was directed not against a military target but against ordinary civilians. The ruling class of the imperialist powers will use these attacks to justify and intensify its reactionary offensive against the oppressed peoples of the Middle East, as well as its repressive policies domestically targeting the working-class in general and Muslim migrants in particular.

 

This attack clearly demonstrates yet again the reactionary character of Daesh/IS. This hateful organization wages war mainly against oppressed people, not against imperialism or reactionary regimes. The RCIT repeats that it is the task of the workers and peasants organized in popular militias to wage the struggle against Daesh/IS. Workers and the oppressed must oppose any actions by the Great Powers and their allied butchers, like Assad, since it is the imperialists and their dogs who are the biggest terrorists of all, and they are cynically using the struggle against “terrorism” only as a pretext to advance their own interests. We say: Fight Daesh by fighting its causes – the exploitation and wars of the Great Powers and their crony dictators in the Middle East!

 

This attack must not be used by the capitalist state to increase its dictatorial attacks on migrants and refugees. The RCIT Britain reiterates its principled opposition to all forms of racism and oppression and for the defence of democratic rights. We will continue to campaign for open borders and defend the democratic rights of migrants and other oppressed sections of the working classes.

 

The RCIT Britain reemphasizes the absolute necessity for European workers, migrants and youth to unite in the struggle against racism, state oppression, and attacks on democratic and social rights. Furthermore, it is urgent that we mobilize in order to drive the Great Powers out of the Middle East. We also call upon the workers and oppressed to support the Arab Revolution against the dictatorships and the refugees of the Middle Eastern wars who wish to come to Europe.

 

We warn against May and the Tories using this terrible event to shore up her struggling campaign for the 8th June election with racist propaganda. The workers movement must make sure that she cannot utilize this as a kind of Thatcher’s Falklands/Malvinas moment”. [3]

 

The RCIT in Britain puts forward the following demands to unite the working class, migrants and youth.

 

* No to Daesh and its terrorist attacks!

 

* Against any “State of Emergency” regime and mobilization of the army!

 

* Fight racism and repression directed towards Muslim migrants in Britain and the whole of Europe!

 

* Drive Britain and all other Great Powers out of the Middle East! Support the Resistance against the imperialist aggressors!

 

* Support the Arab Revolution against the region’s dictatorships!

 

* Open the Borders of Europe! Down with the EU’s Iron Wall against refugees!

 

* Forward in the building of a revolutionary World Party!

 

 

 

Footnotes

 

1) https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/03/london-bridge-closed-after-serious-police-incident-reports

 

2) http://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/calls-for-general-election-to-be-postponed-after-second-terror-attack-in-two-weeks/ar-BBBVidg?li=BBoPWjQ&ocid=SK2MDHP

 

3) https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/manchester-terror/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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