Stop killing gays
To mark the first anniversary of Irans hanging of two gay teenagers, Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, gay campaign groups Outrage and Idaho have declared July 19 an international day of action against homophobic persecution in Iran.
They are calling for worldwide protests against the murderous homophobic Iranian regime and in commemoration of Asgari and Marhoni, executed in the city of Mashhad on July 19 last year. Protests are confirmed in five cities: Amsterdam, London, Provincetown, San Diego and San Francisco.
The main demand of the protests is for Iran to stop killing gays and stop killing kids. Outrage is also urging: end all executions in Iran, especially the execution of minors; stop the arrest, torture and imprisonment of Iranian lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, and repeal the Iranian penal codes criminalisation of same-sex relationships; halt the deportation to Iran of LGBT asylum-seekers and other victims of Tehrans persecution; support Iranians struggling for democracy, social justice and human rights; and oppose foreign military intervention in Iran - regime change must come from within - by and for the Iranian people themselves.
Outrage believes the queer rights struggle in Iran should be part of - not separate from - the broader democratic and human rights struggle. When protesting against the executions last year, we received strong support from the Iranian womens movement and from Iranian political dissidents and labour movement activists. Linking up with these progressive social forces within Iran is the key to advancing LGBT human rights in that country.
Stop killing gays
Stop killing gays
I have recently been reading a book titled Boom bust: house prices, banking and the depression of 2010 by Fred Harrison.
The premise of the book is that there is an 18-year cycle in land prices that can be traced back over the last 400 years. It explains that land prices precede house prices by about two years. If one wants to know what is going to happen to house prices, then it is necessary to keep a finger on the pulse of what is happening to land prices.
The book also explains that house prices are likely to peak in 2008, to be followed by a depression in 2010. If the 18-year cycle does exist, then it explains the recessions of 1902, 1920, 1938, 1956, 1974 and 1992.
It is possible that between now and 2008 house prices will go up like a rocket, with 1930s mock-Tudor semi-detached houses in London being worth £500,000. If such prices are achieved around 2008, then the following collapse in prices will bring them back down to more affordable levels.
Unfortunately, you printed our web address with a hyphen between rotten and elements last week. It should be: www.rottenelements.org.uk.
The confusion on the left regarding Israel and Zionism is manifested in Tony Greensteins article, Unholy alliance. This piece serves as an example of the distorted logic shared across the left in Britain today.
Zionism and anti-semitism shared the same political outlook and territory is the essence of Greensteins thesis, which is an absurd statement. Earlier in the article he more accurately concedes that Zionism was a product of pogroms and anti-semitism. To conflate the two social forces is to make the oppressed responsible for their own oppression - a manoeuvre of argumentation that is morally and politically repugnant.
I could go further and say something that the left forget: the success of pogroms and anti-semitism led to Nazism, World War II and the holocaust. Now, do Jews and Zionists share the same political outlook and territory of reaction, and a pathological hatred of the Nazis? The answer to the success of reaction was the failure of the Socialist International during World War I, not Zionism. Likewise, the answer to the success of fascism and the holocaust was the failure of the socialist and communist internationals in the 1920s and 1930s, not Zionism. But rather than look at itself and its own failures, the left prefers to rail against Zionism as if it were equivalent to fascism - which is why on demonstrations today we see absurd and hideous banners attempting to legitimise terrorism against Israeli Jews and Israeli citizens by reactionary forces.
Until the left grows up and begins to think straight on this issue, we will have to continue to ask why it is that socialists and communists defend the right to self-determination of nations - but exclude the rights of Israelis and Jews to their own state. Inconsistency or anti-semitism, comrades?
I read with interest your article, Not fit for purpose. Sadly punishment cannot totally be dispensed with, but the emphasis should be on reform and rehabilitation. Certainly I oppose, like you, the birch, the rope and national service.
Yet the majority of the public have tough views on law and order. A remark which disgusts me is when I hear people say, Sex offenders and other high-risk prisoners should not be segregated. Other prisoners should be allowed to beat them up. Blair, in promising tough sentences, is appealing to the majority of the public.
It does not sound politically correct, but intellectuals are more likely to have humane views on law and order. Do not idealise the masses.
We, the detainees of Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre, have come to the conclusion that we are being held hostage by a monster that appears to be out of control. It presides over heart-rending injustice, bone-crunching torture, psychologically destabilising malevolence and spiritually crushing methods of handling immigrants.
We have run out of pleas and petitions or reason to explain, or question, the ethics behind an organisation that dedicates itself to the dehumanisation of already distressed, displaced and disturbed people. These can be divided into three groups.
Group A is made up of asylum-seekers, refugees who fled their native country, forced to abandon their wives, children and all they loved to save their life. They have always complied with the conditions given them. They were detained when they went to report weekly to the immigration office, and since then they have been at Colnbrook IRC.
What disturbs these people the most, apart from their indefinite imprisonment without a crime, is that they cannot be in contact with their family. They are haunted by what may happen to them. They suffer psychologically, they are chronic insomniacs, they can sometimes be seen talking to themselves, they have become forgetful, detached, absent-minded and can hardly concentrate when they are spoken to.
Group B is the disabled who suffer a health or handicap problem and they have never been able to earn an income to take care of themselves in their poverty-stricken country. They have been detained for countless months, without proper medical attention, in a condition where there are no disabled access facilities. In their time in detention, they have been verbally and racially abused by officers and detainees alike. They are discriminated against by the home office in getting special consideration given to people who are physically challenged in normal society.
Group C, which is a minority, are ex-convicts who, although they have lived in England for a long time (some more than 20 years), have become political scapegoats, but there are no prospects of removing them. Most of these people have been in detention for more than the time they served in prison. Mr C, for example, served a nine-month sentence for using a false passport, but now he has been in detention for 19 months. If that is not double punishment, we do not know what it is.
We have repeatedly called for help and intervention, for an investigation of these crimes against humanity. We have appealed and will continue to appeal to whoever is willing to listen, to come to our aid. We are beginning to believe the silence which has greeted our cries is either inevitable because no one can help, or deliberate because no one will help, or no one is willing to or bold enough to help.
This is why we have resolved to proceed on a hunger strike, to begin from June 22. There are 40 of us, but five others already started on June 15. We will all continue until someone in authority takes notice of our plight. We make the following requests with all respect for the authorities:
1. We humbly demand an audience with the immigration minister, Liam Byrne MP.
2. We request parliament to set up an independent committee to investigate the injustices being perpetrated at detention centres.
3. We request temporary admission for any detainee in custody for over one month.
4. We humbly request a temporary work permit for every detainee granted temporary admission, so they can earn a living and support themselves. And those who had work permits before detention to be reinstated.
5. We request temporary NASS assistance for all detainees made destitute by the long periods of detention.
We have resolved that we will embark on any and every form of civil disobedience along with the hunger strike, to make sure our voices are heard. We have decided to go the whole hog. Although we are being persecuted because of our protests, we will not comply with the coercions until we get some results and our plight is addressed. We cannot go on like this: we are dying slowly and painfully, in a land where we believed we would find solace and survival.
We beseech you in the name of every humanitarian virtue, in the name of mankind, and above all in the name of god, the creator and judge of all men - stop this detention. Stop the killing of the spirits of countless able young men.
We plead for an amnesty for all.
With reference to your recent coverage of the events relating to Tommy Sheridan and the Scottish Socialist Party, a cult of the personality was always encouraged in Militant, which, like all left groups, attracted people who subconsciously needed to compensate for their lack of power in life by achieving notoriety.
Of course, it is a position that people feel the need to defend and it tends to override political necessities. We have seen this with Derek Hatton, George Galloway and numerous less well known individuals. This quest for personal power apes capitalist power structures that socialists are supposed to fight.
Only when we have a socialist movement whose leaders gain temporary prominence out of political need will we be able to challenge the system and not be absorbed by it.
In respect of the Unity and the SSP article, I agree with Jack Conrad. As a Scot living in England for the past 22 years, I see no difference between the class struggle in both countries.
Nationalism, however you dress it up, is a poison - just look at the more extreme examples of children and disabled people being beaten up in Scotland because they wore an English football strip. Forward to international unity and the struggle for self-determination, and down with petty bourgeois nationalism!
Dave Spencers letters seem to mix up some general silliness and serious political questions. Let us deal with the silly bits first. Dave has read in Weekly Worker about disagreements inside the Socialist Alliance. He is over the moon. He decides to give us the benefit of his wisdom. But he doesnt tell us where he stands on the issues. Rather he wants to explain where we have gone wrong.
Apparently disagreements are caused by compromises. If there were no compromises there would be no disagreements. From this Dave conjures up a veritable axis of evil in which Machiavellian deals are made in smoke-filled back rooms. It is pure fiction, designed for Dave to present himself as a man of high principles and his allies as the puritans of the left who oppose compromises made to win the vote. Daves ideal of pure no-compromising-voting-losing is silliness beyond reason.
I reminded Dave of Lenins powerful polemic against the no compromising demagogy of left sectarian communists. They suffered from an infantile disorder, which Lenin called leftwing childishness. Dave now says that some compromises are principled and others are rotten blocs. He claims that at the March 12 2005 unity conference Steve and his pals voted for a new SA, which would have a federal structure, an SSP-type party structure and the whole thing would be a Marxist party. To me that is a rotten bloc. No its Daves rotten memory.
Then he tries to come up with another example. The RDG proposed that the new Socialist Alliance should have a militant line or emphasis on republicanism, internationalism, socialism and the environment. According to Dave, this smacks of a rotten bloc because of a deal with the Alliance for Green Socialism. There was no deal. Indeed leading AGS member Mike Davies voted against militant republicanism. So how does Daves no compromising attitude relate to the principle of militant democratic republicanism? As he asks us, Am I bothered? No, he is not.
Dave should be careful about throwing stones from inside his glass house. His Democratic Socialist Alliance group is proposing to form a Marxist party on the basis of the Socialist Alliance programme People before profit (PBP). This is a non-Marxist or common programme cobbled together in 2001 in smoke-filled rooms and consistent with the economistic politics of the SWP. Left unity and common programmes are one thing. But it is quite rotten to call for a Marxist party on the basis of such a compromise.
Dave admits: We have realised the inadequacies of People before profit and left reformism. That is as close as we can expect to get in admitting the validity of my point. PBP may be inadequate as a common programme. But it is a non-starter as a revolutionary programme for a Marxist party.
Dave was a member of the old Socialist Alliance and the SA Democracy Platform. Neither of them ever claimed to be a Marxist alliance for a Marxist party. Neither of them ever pretended or claimed that People before profit was a Marxist programme. The essence of the SA involved socialists cooperating and compromising in order to strengthen the position of the working class. The DSA is a rejection of the idea of a socialist alliance whilst pretending to be one. It is time to come clean on that.
I have often been puzzled as to what the Socialist Workers Partys programme is, so imagine my shock when it turned out to be the light and breezy world of breakfast TV! There before us all unveiling the SWPs latest plan to bring down the state was comrade Pat Stack, telling us all of his glorious victory over the state.
Yes, the comrade parked his car, with the permission of a traffic warden, but was tragically caught on camera by the evil eye of the system! Luckily the power of the states surveillance cameras was able to prove he was allowed to park - and another daring blow was struck for freedom.
Ted Crawford is clearly not well informed about the very republican evolution of the Lambertists (Letters, June 22). That said, his iconoclastic idea is quite amusing.
In France the www.le-militant.org editorial team, which includes several former Committee for a Workers International members, regularly collaborates with three dissident Lambertist groups: Liaisons, La Commune and the Comité Communiste Internationaliste (Trotskyste).