Letters

Attack on left

A group of parliamentary deputies of the Freiheitliche Party (FPÖ) around MP David Lasar has proposed an official inquiry in the Austrian parliament. In this inquiry, the deputies of the FPÖ - an extreme rightwing party, which got 20.5% at the last national election and is currently leading the polls - accuse the Austrian section of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency, as well as the leading organisation of Egyptian migrants, of “leftwing extremism”, “anti-Semitism” and “radical Islamism”. As a consequence, they ask the federal ministry of the interior to officially investigate the two organisations.

The FPÖ justifies its inquiry by referring to the anti-racist demonstration on November 26 2016 and the role which the contingent of the Austrian section - together with our allied migrant organisations - played there. As we reported at that time, Muslim migrants who participated in our contingent - which was the largest at the demonstration and had many migrants from Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran and other countries in its ranks - were physically attacked by hard-core pro-Zionist people from the Black Bloc (so-called ‘Anti-Germans’).

As concrete evidence for their smear, these rightwing deputies refer to our pro-Palestinian slogans at the demonstration (like “Freedom for Palestine” or “Israel and US are mocking human rights”), to Arabic slogans directed against the Egypt military dictatorship (concretely, Lasar is referring to the slogans, “Down with the military dictatorship” and “The people want to overthrow the regime”), as well as the use of the R4BIA symbol (in memory of the thousands who were killed demonstrating in Rabia Square on August 14 2013).

The rightwing extremists of the FPÖ, led by HC Strache, are well known for their militant Islamophobic and anti-refugee hate campaign. They also call for an increase in the monitoring and repression directed against revolutionary organisations and Muslim migrant forces. They have close relations to the Russian Putin regime and are fanatical supporters of Israel.

David Lasar, the initiator of the parliamentary inquiry, is a prominent member of the party. He is the official contact person for the Israeli state and has built many links to the extreme rightwing parties dominating the Israeli government. He is also a prominent member of the Zionist federation in Austria and tries to help his party in overcoming its historic image as anti-Semitic. It is symbolic for the reactionary character of the party, as well as Lasar himself, that in summer 2011 he personally went to Libya during the popular uprising to meet - in a show of solidarity with the reactionary dictatorship - Gaddafi’s son.

With the victory of Trump, it is clear that extreme reactionary forces like the FPÖ feel encouraged to push for an increase in state repression against revolutionary organisations, as well as Muslim migrant forces. This parliamentary inquiry is only the latest and most significant attack which the Austrian section of the RCIT has experienced during the past few years. We are not surprised by these attacks, as we are raising our voice and are participating in many practical solidarity activities with various migrant organisations. It is a result of our unambiguous revolutionary opposition against imperialist wars and occupation, as well as against racism and Islamophobia. These latest events will only strengthen our determination.

We call on all progressive forces to show their solidarity with us by protesting against the rightwing parliamentary inquiry and to reject any legal measures by the Austrian state against the RCIT or the Egyptian migrant organisations.

Revolutionary Communist International Tendency
www.thecommunists.net

Inexcusable

Is it an inexcusable error of political judgment on the part of president Donald Trump, or simply a silly mistake, that he didn’t include the UK on his list of ‘banned’ countries likely to be a source of terrorist individuals? The populations of those countries are now to be the subject of “extreme vetting”.

OK, so we’re not “predominantly Islamic”, but we do have a certain Jack Straw both resident and prominent within our shores. Of course, he’s the chap accused of being involved in a conspiracy with MI6 and the CIA to commit acts of state terrorism; acts such as illegal kidnap, torture and criminal denial of basic human rights, specifically in relation to Abdul-Hakim Belhaj and his wife, Fatima Boudchar.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but surely Trump and his alt-rightist co-reptiles don’t want Jack Straw or indeed any others of his kind, such as Tony Blair, wandering around freely in the USA and thus putting the lives of wholly innocent American citizens severely at risk.

Or am I unaware of some finer considerations, comrades? Am I missing some obscure point here? Ridiculous, I know, but possibly something connected to that other presidential ‘executive order’ simultaneously signed by Trump - the one about “rebuilding the military” with “new planes, new ships, tools and resources”?

Bruno Kretzschmar
email

LRC appeals

The following letters have been sent to the Labour Representation Committee:

“Dear LRC national committee comrades,

I wish to appeal against the disaffiliation from the Labour Representation Committee of the Irish Republican Prisoners Support Group.

The organisation has successfully moved motions in defence of the civil rights of republican prisoners for several years. These motions were passed with the support of John McDonnell and other leftwing MPs and only those most pro-imperialist groups and individuals opposed. Just this past weekend (January 27-30) we sent a delegation of nine members and supporters to Derry for the 45th anniversary of the state massacre of 14 innocent victims on a peaceful march in 1972. This followed the interdiction of internment in August 1971, the massive torture of republicans and the random killings in the Ballymurphy massacre - a series of incidents involving the killing of 11 civilians by the 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment of the British Army in Ballymurphy, Belfast, during Operation Demetrius. The shootings have also been called ‘Belfast Bloody Sunday’ - a reference to the other massacre of civilians by the same battalion a few months later.

You can appreciate the families of these 25 victims and those seriously wounded in those months want justice. Who ordered these brutal killings and who covered it all up and when will anyone at all ever be held accountable for these state murders?

These are vital questions for the whole Labour movement and for the LRC, who claim to be its most politically conscious leftist leadership. Like laws against terror, which are ostensibly passed against the IRA or Islamic fundamentalist ‘terrorists’, they will soon be used against the labour movement itself, when it begins seriously to fight back against the appalling austerity imposed on us by the Tory-led capitalist system.

We therefore appeal to allow the IRPSG to affiliate again to the LRC and thereby raise its concerns with the wider labour movement, as we have successfully done so often in the past when we were affiliated.”

Gerry Downing
Secretary, IRPSG

Burns

Twenty-six people attended ‘A sort of Burns night’, organised by Wakefield Socialist History Group at the Red Shed on January 28 to discuss ‘Robert Burns and other radical poets’.

As convenor of Wakefield Socialist History Group, I argued that Robert Burns’ poetry was the “product of Scottish enlightenment ideas in an age of political revolutions”. Those two main political revolutions were first the American and then the French revolution. Burns himself had radical, republican views.

The second speaker (after haggis, neeps and tatties) was Bob Mitchell, a former councillor and former mayor of Wakefield. Bob spoke about, and read movingly from, the works of radical Irish poets, such as Oliver Goldsmith, Frances Allingham, Fanny Parnell, Jane Wilde and Eva Gore-Booth.

The final speaker was the Nottingham-based radical poet and author, Neil Fulwood. Neil’s poetry has appeared in a wide range of publications and he read a very well-received selection.

The Wakefield Socialist History Group’s next event is on Saturday March 11 at 1pm back at the Red Shed, when Granville Williams will be speaking about the Spanish civil war.

Alan Stewart
Wakefield Socialist History Group

Outraged

I would urge people on the left who are participating in the current struggles against the Trump administration (and I hope that includes everyone I know who is politically active) to think carefully about the words, slogans and analysis that we present.

I am outraged that Trump fired the acting attorney general because she stated she would not cooperate in defending his anti-Muslim executive order in court. I am not outraged about whether her replacement can sign warrants that allow the US government to spy on people. I have no interest in defending the US government, or in making it work better in any way, except to the extent that it benefits and gives power to working and poor people in the US and in the world.

I am outraged that Trump’s EO is keeping people from re-entering the US who have lived here for years and decades. Not because ‘we need their brains’ or ‘they are educated professionals’, but because they are human beings who have rights, whether they work as brain surgeons or cleaning toilets.

I am outraged that Trump’s EO will bar refugees from several predominantly Muslim countries because it is a bigoted, Islamophobic policy, and because international law requires that the nations of the world take responsibility for providing refuge to people displaced by wars. I am not outraged because US refugee policy is part of its ‘war on terror’, or because Trump’s policies will ‘hurt our image abroad’. The ‘war on terror’ is a permanent state of warfare by the most powerful state on earth against any nation that fights back against domination by foreign capital. The US image internationally as a global bully is earned by its actions long before Trump took office.

I am outraged that Trump’s EO may be used to detain or remove people who are lawfully present in the US. But I am equally outraged that immigration policy under Obama and under Bush treats millions of people who are not “lawfully present” as criminals subject to removal and deportation. These are people who came here because US economic and military policies have devastated their homelands. They work hard, contribute to their communities and establish homes for themselves and their families. I welcome them 100%, as much as I welcome refugees or people who are lawful permanent residents. I want amnesty and citizenship for every single one of them.

Peter Goselin
Connecticut

Vote Keable

Below is my election address forMomentum’s national coordinating group, South East division, for which voting has just begun. I also support, with reservations, Jamie Green (also South East); Liz Yeats, Andy Thompson, Rida Vaquas and Phil Pope (Midlands, Wales, East and West); and Gary Wareing and Alan Runswick (North and Scotland).

“I deplore Lansman’s undemocratic January 10 coup, and Momentum’s imposed constitution, with its inbuilt NCG minority of members’ representatives. I was a delegate to London regional committee, supporting a sovereign delegate conference - something we campaign for in Labour. Omov means voting in isolation, without collective discussion - a fake ‘democracy’ traditionally resisted by the left.

Creating a rival Momentum - without Corbyn’s support, or Momentum’s money, database and paid staff - is impractical and divisive. The left should organise within, to make Momentum effective, giving critical support to Corbyn, confronting the Labour right, organising for a left majority at Labour conference, and mandatory selection of Labour candidates.

Momentum’s prime task is democratising and transforming Labour into a genuine party of the working class, winning all trade unions and all socialist groups to affiliate. Labour and the unions must become effective instruments of working class advance and international socialism - the temporary rule of the working class majority, in transition to a sustainable, classless world free from exploitation, oppression and war.

I am secretary of Labour Party Marxists (labourpartymarxists.org.uk), writing in LPM Broadsheet; a Unison branch delegate to Hammersmith CLP; and until December 2016 I was an editorial board member of LRC’s Labour Briefing.”

Stan Keable
Labour Party Marxists