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CWI May Day Statement

category international | summit mobilisations | press release author Tuesday May 04, 2004 17:10author by CWI Statement Report this post to the editors

May Day 2004: The struggle against imperialist occupation and capitalism

May Day 2004 takes place at a time of increasing bloodshed and turmoil in Iraq.

The conflict is at centre stage of world politics. Workers and youth across the world watch events in Iraq in horror. As well as marking international workers’ day, this year’s May Day will see protests against the imperialist occupation of Iraq.

The CWI calls for international solidarity by the working class to defend the Iraqi people from imperialist attacks and for foreign forces to immediately leave Iraq. The CWI fights for system change – the overthrow of capitalism. Only the creation of a socialist society – a society based on the needs of people not profits - can see the end of wars and poverty.

As the CWI predicted in last year’s May Day statement, the Iraq war and occupation proved to be a “hollow victory for imperialism”. It is one thing for the only superpower to defeat Saddam’s demoralised forces, but quite another thing to occupy and to hold down an entire country. “Bush’s Vietnam” has brought to the fore all the deep contradictions of global capitalism. Millions of working people, especially the new generation, can see the true nature of the profit system, which means war, exploitation and economic crisis.

The world has become much more volatile and dangerous since the imperialist aggression in Afghanistan and in the Middle East. Sections of the poor and alienated respond to government’s repression with terrorism. Devastating bombings and attacks by Islamic groups have taken place from Saudi Arabia to Uzbekistan to Syria, as well as in Madrid.

The CWI opposes the capitalist system and imperialism but also individual terrorism. Furthermore, these attacks play into the hands of reactionaries. Political Islam is no solution for working people and the oppressed. It is a reactionary ideology that is anti-working class and anti-women. Only united working class struggle against capitalism and right wing regimes can show a way forward.

The US led war and occupation of Iraq was justified by a mountain of lies and propaganda that have been shown to the world to be just that. Bush’s policy of imperialist conquest has resulted in many civilian deaths, including women and children. Thousands have been killed over the last few weeks alone, in heavy fighting in Fullajah, Najaf, Baghdad, Basra and elsewhere. Hundreds of US troops – economic conscripts, in the main - are returning home in body bags. Many thousands of Iraqis are held in US-run prison camps.

In late April, Bush ended his ‘ceasefire’ in besieged Fallujah and unleashed aerial bombardments on working class areas of the city. The US wants to subjugate and humiliate the people of Fullujah, who are a symbol of resistance to the occupation. The near month-long siege of the city has led to over 700 deaths and created over 70,000 refugees. Most people in Fullujah have no water, no electricity and no working sewage system.

This mounting death-toll provokes anger across the Arab and Muslim world, and internationally. The ‘Coalition Provisional Authority’ (CPA) is enforcing an illegal and brutal occupation that denies basic democratic and human rights. It is clear to most people that the invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with bringing ‘liberation’ or ‘democracy’ to the Iraqi people. Millions of Iraqis are still without clean water and electricity and daily face widespread violence and crime. The CPA denies basic trade union rights. Rather, the war was all about asserting and extending US imperialist power, prestige and influence in the Middle East, and, of course, to gain control of vital oil supplies. Bush wants Iraq to be a puppet client state of the US.

In its arrogance, the Bush administration never imagined the consequences of the invasion. But now the so called ‘success’ of the occupation relies ever more on the greater use of military oppression in Iraq, as well as on greater attacks on civil liberties in the US. An indication of the desperate thinking of the White House neo-cons can be seen in a recent article in the pro-White House ‘Wall Street Journal’ (18 April 2004). The piece, entitled, ‘Rethinking Armageddon’, said that the ‘Defence Science Board’, based in the Pentagon, proposes “the case for new low yield nukes” against “rogue states and assorted terrorists”.

The occupying forces have met serious resistance since the overthrow of the brutal Saddam dictatorship. Despite desperate attempts by the White House to present the resistance as the work of “Saddam loyalists” and “al Qaeda terrorists” the truth is that both Sunni and Shia populations now oppose the occupation and many are taking up arms. This marks the beginnings of a national revolt, an uprising against the Coalition and its collaborators.

After weeks of fighting, the US has been unable to crush the resistance, despite overwhelming military superiority. Using brute force to remove opposition figures, like the Shiite cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr, in Najaf, will provoke more opposition and conflict. The US does not have the forces to put down a broad based Shia rising and to crush the Sunni resistance as well.

Occupiers have no authority

Hugely hated, the occupiers have no basis of support in Iraqi society. The puppet ‘Interim Authority’ is despised by Iraqis. The second largest armed foreign force in Iraq, after the US army, is made up of foreign mercenaries. According to US military, 40% of US trained Iraqi forces “went home” and 10% “changed sides” after the US moved against Muqtada Sadr.

In an attempt to save its skin, the Bush administration is now prepared to involve the UN in running Iraq. Some on the Left welcome the UN playing a role, and go further. They call for UN troops to be stationed in Iraq and argue that should be made up of Muslim and Arab nations, to show ‘sensitivity’.

But the UN is not some sort of neutral body acting on abstract principles of justice and human rights etc. It is an organisation of nation states dominated by the big capitalist powers. After all, it was the UN that implemented a decade of sanctions against Iraq, at the behest of the US and other imperialist powers, which led to the deaths of up to one million Iraqi people. UN rule in Iraq, no matter the make-up of its forces, is just another method of imperialist rule. UN administration in Afghanistan, the Balkans and elsewhere is no more than imperialist rule under a different cloak.

The US will continue to have a huge military presence in Iraq after the 30 June “hand-over” and will decide all the fundamental questions of ‘government’. The ‘caretaker’ government will have no real powers of sovereignty, including control over its territory or armed forces. Real power will reside with John Negroponte, the designated US pro-consul for Iraq, who helped create right wing death-squads in Central America during the 1980s.

US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, tried to explain the relationship expected between the US and the incoming Iraqi ‘government’:

“I hope they will understand that in order for this government to get up and running – to be effective – some of its sovereignty will have to be given back, if I can put it that way, or limited by them….they are going to allow us to exercise on their behalf and with their permission.”

The CWI calls for the immediate withdrawal of imperialist forces from Iraq. We support attempts to unite Sunni, Shia and all other groups in Iraq to expel imperialism. We call for cross community, and democratically controlled, workers’ militias. In the absence of strong class organisations, there is a real danger the situation in Iraq can degenerate into ethnic, religious and national civil war.

Only the working people of Iraq can find a way to end occupation and exploitation, through a mass struggle for fundamental change. Iraq has a rich history of class struggle. With its own independent class organisations, the Iraqi working class, with the assistance of the masses of the Arab world, can struggle to expel imperialism. The building of class organisations may take some time to develop but it is the only way forward.

The ‘alternative’ of Islamic political movements is a dead-end for the masses, as the cruel examples of Iran and Afghanistan have shown. Only a mass socialist movement against imperialism, its local ruling puppets and the profit system, can achieve genuine national and social liberation.

We reject the racist lie of Bush and Blair that the Iraqi people cannot ‘govern’ themselves. We call for elections to a genuine constituent assembly, and for a majority government representing workers and the poor. Instead of selling off the oil wealth and other resources to Bush’s rich friends, a workers’ government would take them into public ownership, under democratic workers control and planning.

The anger towards the Bush administration is compounded by the decision of the White House to openly embrace Sharon’s plans for the continuing oppression of the Palestinians. Bush, with the loyal Blair at his side, tore up forty years of Western ‘diplomatic policy’ on the Israeli/Palestine issue and backed Sharon’s ‘strategic settlement plans’ for the Gaza Strip and West Bank. This, and the Iraqi crisis, provoked retired British and US diplomats to make an unprecedented public attack on Blair and Bush’s disastrous policies.

The CWI supports the right of Palestinians to their own state. An end to oppression of Palestinians can only come through mass struggle for national and social liberation. We stand for an independent socialist Palestinian state, and a socialist Israel, as part of a regional socialist confederation. In the absence of capitalism and oppression, the issue of refugees, water rights, land etc can be resolved between working people. The CWI in Israel stands for independent class politics against the right wing policies and war-mongering of Sharon and the main parties.

"Lesser evil" option?

The Iraqi quagmire is causing deep divisions within the capitalist ruling class in the US, Britain and internationally. The spectre of the ‘Vietnam Syndrome’ has now come back to haunt the White House. A big gulf has opened up between the neo-cons in the White House, that planned and carried out the invasion of Iraq, and the millions of working people and youth in the US that opposed the war and occupation. According to polls, half of the US people now want a quick exit from Iraq.

As well as the growing political crisis in the US, the economy still remains stagnant and inflation is rising. Food and gasoline prices have jumped recently, leading to a fall in workers’ living standards.

There is a strong and growing mood amongst many US workers to do anything to get rid of Bush in the upcoming Presidential elections. This is expressed in the so-called “lesser evil” option of voting for the Democrats candidate, John Kerry. But Kerry, the richest senator in the US, supports the aims of the occupation of Iraq and welcomed Sharon’s policies. Kerry calls for more troops to be sent to Iraq. If elected to the White House, he would continue with neo-liberal policies that attack the working class and poor. Despite some tactical differences between the Republicans and Democrats, there is no fundamental difference between the two parties.

The CWI in the US (Socialist Alternative) supports the presidential campaign of Ralph Nader. Nader is a radical alternative to the two parties of big business, although he does not advocate a socialist programme. He is gaining support from many workers and youth for his criticisms of the big corporations and of the war in Iraq. The CWI calls for the Nader election campaign to be used as a platform by union and community activists, and the radical youth, to launch a campaign for a new mass party of the working class.

There is also a powerful mood to get rid of other right wing, pro-war governments in Europe, Australia and elsewhere. The neo-cons and pro-war supporters are on the back-foot. Bush, Blair and Berlusconi could follow the same route as the Aznar government in Spain. The decision by the Japanese government to despatch troops to Iraq has also polarised that country and put the government under pressure.

The strong mood of opposition to sitting governments was manifested dramatically in Spain when working people caused a political earthquake and removed the right wing PP government from power in March. This followed Prime Minister Aznar’s attempts to falsely blame ETA for the Madrid bombings. The Spanish people stood against the reactionary terrorism of political Islam but also rejected the pro-war, pro-market PP government.

In several countries, the opposition social democratic parties are the main beneficiaries of this anti-war and anti-neo-liberal mood. But these parties do not represent a solution for working people.

Under huge pressure from below, the PSOE (‘Socialist Party’) government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero in Spain is withdrawing troops from Iraq. The leadership of the Australian Labour Party promises to do the same, if it beats the John Howard government in elections, later this year.

But despite pulling out some troops, and opportunistic rhetoric, the social democracies are fundamentally pro-capitalist parties. Once in power, they will carry out cuts and attack workers’ rights and conditions, as their record in office at all levels demonstrates. Whatever illusions some workers and youth have in these parties, they will soon be dispelled once they take power. The SPD government in Germany, which clung onto government in the 2002 elections, partially due to its anti-war stance, is now carrying out draconian social cuts.

The CWI calls for the creation of new mass parties of the working class. The CWI is also prepared to work, in campaigns and in elections, with other genuine left organisations and workers’ organisations. The German section of the CWI (SAV) is working with other left groups in several areas, to present an alternative to the SPD government and the right wing opposition parties.

The CWI also contests elections under its own banner – and has won local government and national parliament seats in several countries, including Ireland, Britain and Sweden. CWI candidates for the EU elections in June will stand in Ireland, Sweden and Belgium – in opposition to the bosses’ EU and calling for workers’ solidarity across borders.

The CWI in Poland, the Czech Republic and other eastern European states, warn workers that the accession of ten new states to the EU will not mean an end to poverty and exploitation. In fact, the new EU countries will find themselves at the bottom of the pile, used as super-exploited cheap labour by the bosses.

CWI sections are also important tendencies in various left parties, such as the Scottish Socialist Party and the Socialist Party in the Netherlands. The CWI, for example, plays a key role in arguing for socialist policies inside the Scottish Socialist Party. We work to build these parties on a programme promoting clear socialist ideas that will resist the inevitable pressures to bend to reformist policies.

There is no guarantee that new left formations will automatically succeed – this ultimately depends on programme and ideas and taking an independent class stance. The election of Lula in Brazil, the leader of the PT (Workers’ Party), with a huge majority, gave rise to big illusions amongst sections of the working class and poor that he would make real change. Unfortunately, the Lula government has shown it is not prepared to break with capitalism. Instead, it has carried out anti-working class policies, leading to widespread disillusionment and active opposition to Lula. Teachers, health workers, and federal civil servants have taken strike action. The landless rights movement organised 80 land occupations in April. In this new atmosphere, the CWI is currently working with other left forces in Brazil to establish a new left alternative to the PT (Workers’ Party).

Lessons of Haiti

In Venezuela, the forces of reaction have repeatedly failed to topple the left populist regime of Hugo Chavez. However, to safeguard the revolution started in Venezuela, and to extend it, the working class needs to build independent organisations and to take the economy, especially the oil industry, into their hands. A workers’ and peasants’ government, with a revolutionary socialist programme, would prove a beacon for the rest of the continent, leading to other mass movements. Supported by the working class and youth in North America, the Venezuelan revolution would become invincible to capitalist counter-revolution.

The removal of President Aristide in Haiti, earlier this year, by a US-sponsored coup, is a stark warning to the working people of Venezuela and the whole of Latin and Central America. Aristide, a former radical priest, failed to deliver real change to the masses in the poorest country in the northern hemisphere. But the neo-cons in Washington could not stand Aristide’s toothless populism and his support, albeit dwindling, amongst the slum dwellers. They conspired with ex-Haitian army officers and other reactionaries and forced Aristide to leave the country. Now the Haitian masses are saddled with an even more brutal pro-US, right wing regime.

The same urgent need for a working class alternative is also clear in Africa and Asia. Members of the Democratic Socialist Movement, the CWI in Nigeria, play a key role in the opposition National Conscience Party and also campaign for the unions to take decisive action against fuel price rises and other attacks.

The return of the ANC to power in South Africa, on a lower turnout, does not reflect support by workers and poor for Thabo Mbeki’s neo-liberal programme. Rather, the ANC is still able to draw on its legacy of anti-apartheid struggle and also from the fact that there is not yet a mass socialist alternative. This alternative will be built through struggles. Large-scale campaigns have fought privatisation plans by the ANC government in South Africa. The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM-CWI) has participated in these struggles. Along with the Socialist Students’ Movement, the DSM also participates in campus actions, including a current campaign in the University of the Witwatersrand, which was provoked after management slashed student bursaries by half.

Unity of the working class, across all religious, tribal, ethnic and national divisions is needed to pose an alternative to the rule of capitalists and big landlords in the neo-colonial world. The failure of the Megawati government in Indonesia to live up to the expectations of the masses, following the revolutionary movement that overthrew the Suharto dictatorship in the late 1990s, is expressed in the poor election results her party is receiving in elections. In the absence of a mass socialist opposition, this vast archipelago can descend into worse ethnic, religious and national conflict.

The United Socialist Party (USP - CWI) in Sri Lanka recently made important gains in national elections. Uniquely on the Left, the USP stood in both Sinhalese and Tamil areas of the country. The CWI in India, Kashmir and Pakistan, offer working class unity and socialism in contrast to the barbarism of capitalism, and the communalism and national oppression the system fosters.

‘Third World’ conditions

The last few years have seen huge opposition movements and popular revolts in Asia and Latin America. This is as a consequence of the terrible conditions the masses face in the so-called ‘Third World’.

Since the early 1980s, the numbers of people living on $1 a day has doubled, from 164 million to 314 million. More than half a billion Africans survive on less than two dollars a day.

Joblessness and underemployment are endemic under capitalism. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), unemployment worldwide reached a record 185.9 million last year, “despite higher global growth”. Young people face a joblessness rate of 14.4%. The ILO estimates that the number of “working poor” in the world stands at 550 million.

According to the World Health Organisation, life expectancy is falling and child mortality is rising in the world’s poorest countries as the global gap in healthcare widens. Around the world, 60 million people are infected with HIV/AIDS, which kills thousands each day, mainly in Africa.

Worldwide, 840 million people are chronically undernourished. At least 96 countries are nowhere near reaching the ‘millennium goals’ of universal education by 2015. In fact, 104 million children receive no formal education at all.

At the same time, the Bush administration spent an astronomical $20 billion on waging its colonial war against the Iraqi people and many billions more on its occupation. The Administration has also handed out fat tax breaks to the super-rich US elite.

The masses of the neo-colonial world are not helplessly accepting the status quo. Deteriorating economic and social conditions, combined with the corruption and oppression of the ruling elites, have also resulted in search for an alternative.

In the Western countries, socialists are also building an alternative to the right wing parties. The CWI in Germany (SAV) helped to initiate the first protests and demonstrations against the social cuts programme of the Schroeder government. Around 100,000 people marched in Berlin last November. This started a movement that saw up to half a million marched against the ‘reforms’ in several German cities on 3 April. The SAV is helping to organise important rank and file networks in key unions, like ‘ver.di’. Although at an early stage, these activists’ organisations represent the beginnings of a fight by union members to reclaim the unions from the right wing bureaucrats.

The 1990s saw the leaders of the trade unions wing to the right. Union membership fell and there were fewer shop floor activists. Many low paid, part time workers are left unorganised. In several countries, the CWI is involved in helping to organise these, mainly young, workers. The ‘Unite!’ anti-low pay campaign in Australia has already received wide media attention and forced many of Melbourne’s downtown shop bosses onto the defensive.

After a decade of plummeting living standards as a result of the disastrous restoration of capitalism, a new generation of youth are looking for a way out in the former Soviet Union. Russians were promised “US-style capitalism” ten years ago and instead found living conditions falling below Soviet Union levels. The rise in oil prices is the main reason the economy stays afloat. In the Ukraine, which has the second largest population in the region, a third of the population officially lives in poverty.

Russian President Putin returned to power by forcing any real opposition out of the election race. He is increasing his powers and the imperialist ambitions of Russian state. At the same time, the bloody war in Chechnya continues.

Armed conflict is also looming in Georgia, between the central government of Mikhail Saakashvili and the province of Ajara. Following the ‘Rose Revolution’, last November, which overthrew the corrupt regime of Edward Shevardnadze, the US-backed Saskashvili regime has failed to meet the needs of the people of Georgia. The economy is weak and people live in poverty. In these conditions, conflicts between a weak central power and secessionist regions, including Abkhazia and South Ossetia, are more likely. But it is the working class that will be the main losers from a descent into civil war.

That has been clearly demonstrated in the former Yugoslavia, where hundreds of thousand died in a decade of wars. But UN/NATO rule has not provided a solution. Their rule is undemocratic and in the service of the big powers and big business. The ethnic and national fault-lines remain. Recent fighting broke out in Kosovo/Kosova, between ethnic Albanians and Serbs, and thousands of Serbs were ‘ethnically cleansed’. The communities also clashed with UN/NATO troops.

CWI members in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe fight for independent class politics and for the building of workers’ organisations to unite across ethnic and national communities.

Far right threat

The far right, neo-fascist and right populist parties in Europe, such as the BNP in Britain and the Vlaams Blok in Belgium, are attempting to make electoral gains in a situation of increased alienation from the corrupt and pro-market political establishment. They are helped by the anti-immigrant and anti-asylum-seeker demagogy and policies of governments and politicians.

Earlier this year, the Chirac government in France introduced a ban on young Muslim women wearing the hijab or headscarf in schools. They tried to present this as a ‘progressive’ act, and, disgracefully, some on the left supported the coercive measure. The CWI in France opposed the ban, and pointed out that it plays into the

hands of racists. It also strengthens the position of the reactionary leaders of the Muslim community and divides communities even further.

It is wrong to think that a law banning female students’ rights in schools will ‘liberate’ these women. Only a united struggle of the working class, across all religious, race and sexual barriers, can win genuine rights for women.

However, the recent local and regional elections in France, which saw Chirac’s government lose heavily to the PS (‘Socialist Party’) opposition, shows that Chirac was not able to exploit the race card as he had hoped.

The Fianna Fail/Progressive Democrats government in Ireland intends to hold a referendum that would prevent the children of immigrants born in Ireland automatically becoming Irish citizens. The Dutch coalition government of Prime Minister Balkenende wants to force over 20,000 refugees to return to war torn and impoverished countries. In both cases, these right wing governments are attempting to deflect attention away from deep social problems and cutbacks, which have worsened as the economic boom of the two countries has come to an end.

The CWI in the Netherlands, ‘Offensief’, has participated in the mass protests against the cruel expulsions of refugees. Socialist Party TD (member of parliament), Joe Higgins, exposes the Irish government’s playing the race card and argues that Fianna Fail are trying to scapegoat immigrants just as they tried to demonise the anti-bin charges campaigners in Dublin last year. The Socialist Party played a crucial role in the anti-bin charges mass community struggle, which saw Joe and other party representatives and members, as well as other activists, imprisoned for fighting the unfair tax.

The CWI campaigns for full employment and massive public investment in housing, health and education to cut the ground from under the feet of the racists, fascists and populist right. This is linked to the struggle to build new mass parties of the working class.

30th Anniversary of CWI

As well as celebrating May Day, this year also marks the 30th anniversary of the founding conference of the CWI. The year 1974 was still under the influence of the mighty revolutionary events of France 1968, when the students and 10 million workers held a general strike. The early 1970s saw huge movements of youth and ferment in the unions and workers’ parties, as well the ongoing campaign against the Vietnam War. Soon after the CWI founding conference the revolution in Portugal broke out and overthrew the military regime.

In this period, the CWI set itself the task of helping to construct a new international of the working class. The other left organisations had failed to provide programme or perspectives for the new world situation that unfolded at that time. In contrast, the CWI emphasised the need to base itself on the working class and to relate socialist ideas to working people and youth. With its collective power and collective consciousness, the working class is the most decisive force on the planet.

Thirty years later, the CWI has built an important presence in Europe and has sections and supporters on every continent, from Australia to the Americas. The second largest CWI section is now in Africa, in Nigeria, where working people face horrendous levels of poverty, corruption, and ethnic and religious divisions.

The CWI has initiated, led and participated in many campaigns and struggles. These include the heroic struggle of the Liverpool 47 councillors in the 1980s and the successful struggle to end the poll tax in Britain, which helped to topple Thatcher. The CWI has built an important base in the workplace and in working class communities. In Ireland (North and South), Scotland, England and Wales, and other countries, the CWI holds positions on the national executives of unions. Many other examples could be given of the struggles and successes of the CWI over the last three decades. What is clear is that the record and current activities of the CWI marks an important step on the road towards a new mass workers’ international.

May Day 2004 will see a coming together of trade unionists, anti-war activists and anti-capitalist protesters. However, sections of the media have announced the death of anti-capitalist and anti-globalisation. This will prove to be wrong. The earlier phases of anti-globalisation protests have been largely fused into the mighty anti-war movement, which saw millions take to the streets across the world. As long as capitalism and imperialism exists, so will poverty and exploitation and the resistance of the masses.

Workers and youth, in particular, will protest against the injustices of the system. Large protests will continue to take place, over Iraq, but also on many other issues, including ‘Third World’ poverty, unfair trade, the arms trade and environmental issues. Youth are incensed by global capitalism’s destruction of the environment. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a quarter of the world’s land animals and plants face extinction over the next 50 years if nothing is done to curb global warming – which is mainly caused by big industry.

Increasingly, workers and youth across the world will conclude they need a party of their own to stop this unprecedented environmental destruction, to resist imperialism and war, and to change society. Through global struggle, they will see the need for a powerful socialist international. On its thirtieth anniversary, the CWI reaffirms to play its part to achieve these goals.

* No to imperialism and capitalism – troops out of Iraq and the Middle East!

* Join the CWI in the struggle for a new mass workers’ international!

* Fight for world socialism!

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author by Conor - SApublication date Tue May 04, 2004 21:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors


zzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzz

what was that? oh the 4th international is still around?

zzzzzzzz zzzzz zzzzzzz zzzzzz

in this months cwi : deformed workers states, trotsky and aliens, the death of that silly situationism

zzzzzzzz zzzzzz zzzzzzz

author by observerpublication date Tue May 04, 2004 21:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Do they seriously think anyone will read this turgid ill thought out stuff?

I would have thought they might be a bit more reticent in making predictions about "great events" after the prohecies of the 1980s and 90s were proven to have as much connection to the real world as the Chronicles of Narnia.

author by sergepublication date Wed May 05, 2004 12:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The CWI's statements about the rights of the working class, its opposition to oppression and its concern for the national rights of minorities would all carry more conviction if the organisation respected the rights of its own members. Indymedia is now full of material from ex-members, such as John Throne, Mulholland, Tourish and others testifying to the exact opposite. I am afraid that workers and the labour movement have a keen eye for hypocrisy and insincerity. The reviolting practices that the CWI shows to present and ex-members guarantees that its polemics against capitalism will have no wide effect. Sect building is all that thsi organisation, sadly, seems really capable of.

author by sect builder!publication date Wed May 05, 2004 13:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Nice to see that the the opponants of the CWI feel they have to come on here and pour out their bitterness.

So, the CWI is all about building a sect. If the CWI is a sect how did the CWI lead opposition to Thatcher's Poll Tax that was the final defeat for Thatcher? This was a mass campaign. In Ireland how did the Water Tax get defeated? How was non-payment built? How was the battle of the bin charges fought? Was it because of the CWI 'building a sect' or was it because the CWI got stuck into a mass campaign with the correct tactics. How can a sect win the support of thousands of working class people in Ireland. In the last election Joe Higgins got 6,500 votes, Clare Daly 5,500 votes. In the last Euro election the SP got over 10,000 votes in Dublin, this year they will likely get more.

Yes, like any organisation there are former members that may disagree or be doing other things. So what!

The internet anti-CWIers are just begrudgers that don't like the fact that the SP are getting good support off ordinary working class people.

author by observerpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 13:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why don't you print that nonsense above and distribute it as part of the election campaign. You run elections under false pretences, not as the moonie sect you are although in fairness I realise that the above was written by people who have no conception of what Higgins has to do to get elected. He certainly does not persuade people to vote for him on the basis of your "persepectives"

author by SP memberpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 13:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The politics that is in the statement above is repeated in the SP election material as well as in the SP paper and journal which is sold in working class estates. Have a look at our material and you will see this. The politics of the CWI/SP is no secret, the people that vote for us (or don't for that matter) can clearly see our politics.

Conor, have Socialist Alternative (SA)released a May Day statement or for that matter any recent publications about what exactly your politics are?

author by Nordiepublication date Wed May 05, 2004 14:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"If the CWI is a sect how did the CWI lead opposition to Thatcher's Poll Tax that was the final defeat for Thatcher? "

Have Tommy and Alan rejoined the CWI then?

"In Ireland how did the Water Tax get defeated? How was non-payment built? How was the battle of the bin charges fought?"

Tell us then. What are you saying, all of this was down to the SP. Catch yourself on!!

author by SP memberpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 14:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Below is a link to the SP ananlysis of the Water Tax struggle.

Of course it was non payment and people themselves mobilising that defeated the water tax but who were the people that advocated non payment, built non payment, reconnected peoples water, organised public meetings...... It was the SP and other activists. If these people were not around to organise the campaign the government would have introduced Water Charges with minimal if any opposition.

Related Link:
author by Bin Tax Activistpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 14:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the fact is that the SP have played the key role in the bin tax campaign alongside other activists. When other groups were putting forward wrong tactics and flitting from issue to issue the SP, ISN, WCA, WSM etc were advocating building up a campaign in the estates and streets, calling door to door, hosting meetings, etc. These people were doing this for years. The same goes for the Water Tax campaign. So yes, without the SP these campaigns would not have been as successful.

author by Not being ledpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 14:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Day by day, week by week, the arrogance of the SP becomes more and more pronounced

Their new anthem to replace the Internationale - with special emphasis on I'm the leader.

Come on, come on
Come on, come on
Come on, come on, come on
Come on, come on
Come on, come on
Come on, come on, come on

I said
Come on, come on
Come on, come on
Come on, come on, come on

Do you wanna be in my gang, my gang, my gang
Do you wanna be in my gang, whoa yeah
Do you wanna be in my gang, my gang, my gang
Do you wanna be in my gang

I'm the leader, I'm the leader
I'm the leader of the gang I am
I'm the leader, I'm the leader
Well there's no one like the girl I am

I can take you high as a kite every single night
I can make you jump out of bed standing on my head

You'll never believe it
Come on, come on
You'll never believe it
Come on, come on
You'll never believe it
Come on, come on

Do you wanna be in my gang, my gang, my gang
Do you wanna be in my gang, whoa yeah
Do you wanna be in my gang, my gang, my gang
Do you wanna be in my gang

I'm the leader, I'm the leader
I'm the leader of the gang I am
I'm the leader, I'm the leader
Well there's no one like the girl I am

I can take you over the hill oh what a thrill
I can make sell me your soul boy you're bout to know

You'll never believe it
Come on, come on (come on, come on)
You'll never believe it
Come on, come on
You'll never believe it
Come on, come on

Do you wanna be in my gang, my gang, my gang
Do you wanna be in my gang,
My gang!

author by YOu're a foolpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 14:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Leadership is a fact. It is not some arrogant thing like some like to think. The fact is that there are people that are involved in organising campaigns, ie organising meetings, building non payment, door-to-door canvassing, organising blockades etc etc. These people exist. This is the leadership. In anarchism there is also leaders. If it were not for these organisers not much would happen.

At least the SP acknowledge that there is a leadership and therefore can put democratic restraints upon the leadership. In Anarchism because they refuse to see the reality that leadership does exist they allow themselves the possibility to be completely undemocratically dominated by an unaccountable few.

author by Joepublication date Wed May 05, 2004 15:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The SP doesn't seem to understand what leadership is or rather that it comes in more than one form. Anarchists accept one form and reject the other. The SP want to pretend one is the same as the other

Form 1
Some people have more experience and/or knowledge than others. So when they speak about a topic they know about we tend to pay a bit more attention to them. Over time individuals and organisations can be recognised as having a good understanding of stuff and tend to get listened to more that those that don't. All of us have friends whose opinions of films or horse racing we respect more than others on the same basis. This is one form of leadership, anarchists call it 'leadership of ideas'.

Form 2
Some people have positions of power. This enables them to order others what to do. Leninist parties are constructed so that there are layers of leaders each telling those below them what to do. From time to time these layers may be elected but in between they issue the orders. This is the basis of 'democratic centralism'. We can call this leaderhip of position.

Leninists try and fool people that Form 1 = Form 2

Anarchists insist that Form 2 actually works against Form 1 and that the only legtimate authority is that found in form 1.

This is not a new argument. Bakunin wrote about the two forms nearly 150 years ago but leninists have still to catch on. See

author by sodderpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 15:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You have a misunderstanding of Democratic Centralism. Democratic Centralism is not about telling people below what to do, it is the opposite. The leadership is accountable to the memebrrship and must execute the will of the memebrship. If they do not they can be recalled.

By the way,
Under the anarchist point of view those leaders that you outline in 'form 1' are still not accountable to the people. They are completely free to do as they please and not subject to any democratic control. At least the SP put the leaders you outline in 'form 1' under the control of their memebrship.

author by Leaderlesspublication date Wed May 05, 2004 16:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Having a leadership encourage old people into courtrooms and scaring the lives out of them and hoping that they would be prepared to go to jail.
And then being being afraid to go to court themselves, signing waivers and not even contemplating jail.

Quare leadership that!

author by sp memberpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 17:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

there is a lie going around indymedia that some sp members were sent 'undertakings' in the post that they signed and returned to the council. that's a complete and utter lie.

legally there is no such thing. so it could not have happened. no sp member complied with a bin tax injunction to 'save themselves'. you idiots should get into the real world.

author by Joepublication date Wed May 05, 2004 17:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm not aware of any trot party that has a usable mechanism for recalling the leadership but feel free to sketch out how this would happen in the SP and if you really want to convince us details of the last time this happened.

Democratic centralism as you may have noticed contains two and not just one word. So what is the centralist aspect. This is the idea that you must pretend that party policy is what you believe and this party policy is set between conferences by the leadership. In all cases I'm aware of the leadership can and do reverse party policy when the 'situation changes'. [Go read Lenin or trotsky on this as well].

DC ends up pretty much like a really crap version of parliamentaryt democracy. Conference gets to elect the leadership, quite often by the anti-democratic slate system, at one conference and if they don't like the orders they receive they can do fuck all about it till next conference.

If someone has leadership of form 1 then accountability is not an issue because people will only follow them as long as they talk sense. As soon as they say something people don't agree with they will be ignored. They have no power to impose their viewpoint on the organisation and compel the members to follow this.

This leninists pretending to have libertarian forms of decision making is a bit patheic BTW.

author by Troll watcherpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 17:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

That some clever dick cut and pasted the CWI may day statement to kick off another nonsensical debate about the CWI merits. Nothing to see here. Move on. Don't feed the trolls.

author by Archivistpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 17:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Lying is trolling as well.
So once more for the slow learner's (that's you sp member)

An extract from
I forgot to mention
by Count Binula Tuesday, Mar 23 2004, 1:35pm
"The names of the SP and WCA people and activists were taken. The SP members whose names were taken were Kevin McLoughlin, Michael O'Brien, Stephen Boyd and Donal Greene. WCA members had their names taken as well.
Stephen, Michael, Donal and the WCA activists were written to by Dublin City seeking an undertaking of no more protests. Council. Kevin McLoughlin wasn't written to. The letters arrived around the same time as the people in Tallaght had been jailed with minimal publicity and the unions gone into hiding at that stage. By then each jailing was having less of an effect then the previous, provoking a discussion regarding the effectiveness of sending more people in, especially people from outside the local authority area: O'Brien (Swords), Greene (Bayside), Boyd (Cork). It was clear that the corpo were seeking to single out people from outside the area to paint a false picture of outside agitators. If it was just those comrades and the WCA people jailed we had to factor in the prospect of the communities and unions been mobilised. All by the way while giving written undertakings were at further protests in Fingal."

Related Link:
author by Roebuck Rangerpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 19:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yes, those people were sent injunctions in the post. This does not mean that they "wrote back" and signed and "undertaking". There is NO PROVISION in law for injunctions having to be responded to. If someone is served with an injunction (which can be done by post) it is expected that they are complying with it. It's up to the person taking out the injunction (ie the Council) to go to the court and prove that the injuncted person broke the terms of the injunction. Again: there is no provision for a demand to write an "undertaking" or go to prison.

author by SP Memberpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 19:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors not like parliamentary democracy. There is provision within the SP constitution for the recall of conference and the removal of the national committee.

author by SP Memberpublication date Wed May 05, 2004 19:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors


author by Leaderlesspublication date Thu May 06, 2004 10:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

While you might state that, 'you know the law'.
It would seem that you do not understand English!

"All by the way while giving written undertakings were at further protests in Fingal."

They signed, they gave the undertakings.
Once more I say unto you - Quare leadership.

author by Roebuck Rangerpublication date Thu May 06, 2004 11:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"They signed, they gave the undertakings. "

They could not have "signed undertakings" as there is NO PROVISION IN LAW FOR THAT. I think it's you with the problem with English. It is possible to get an injunction served on you by post. But there is NO provision for "cut out and send back with enclosed pre-paid envelope" injunctions. This is the Law.

author by Leaderlesspublication date Thu May 06, 2004 11:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If the Council writes to you and says unless you sign these papers, we will take you to court to show that you were in breach of the injunction and the named individuals sign the papers the Council sent - Is this not signing undertakings?

author by Leaderlesspublication date Thu May 06, 2004 13:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Gone out to buy yourself a dictionary?

author by braobnopublication date Thu May 06, 2004 13:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Even if they gave these undertakings this does not mean they complied with them. Throughout the bin tax campaign activists told cops in one area they were going home and would lift blockades but then went onto another blockade or stopped a truck elsewhere. As anyone who was out blocking trucks will tell you this happened all the time, it doesn't mean these people are 'sell outs', if that is the case 90% of the blockaders are 'sell outs'

author by Leaderlesspublication date Thu May 06, 2004 13:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Some of these people put lots of pressure on old non-alligned people and put them in positions that scared them out of their wits.
They claim leadership and copped out to the council.
Quare leadership!!

author by qwertypublication date Thu May 06, 2004 14:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So did Joe Higgins, Clare Daly, Mick Murphy, Dave Murphy and Fionn Ryder all 'copp out' to the council?

So what if some people gave undertakings and then went out and broke them within minutes, we all did that!

author by Non-revisionistpublication date Thu May 06, 2004 14:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There was me thinking that Joe Higgins, Clare Daly, Mick Murphy, Dave Murphy and Fionn Ryder were all in court for refusing to give undertakings and some of them went to jail for upholding that principle.

author by qwertypublication date Thu May 06, 2004 14:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

They all went to jail that was my point! And they all went for very long times and incurred huge financial penalties. Clare and Joe went to prison for 3 weeks, and Fionn, Dave and Mick were in for a month with €1,500 in fines.

I was making the point that the SP did not 'cop out' or 'sell out' when it came to refusing to kow-tow to the state as some would like us to think.

author by Non-revisionistpublication date Thu May 06, 2004 14:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I was making the point that some of the 'leaders' particularly those who espouse the whole 'we are leaders' bullshit put pressure on old people to get in the box and make their stand, while they weren't prepared to do it.
Agreeing with Joe's explanation it would seem that the people you mention above are to be found in form 1, while there is no doubt that some of leaders are to be found in form 2.

author by qwertypublication date Thu May 06, 2004 14:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I was actually at many of the court cases and I can tell you that no undue pressure was put on people to go to jail. People who 'apologised' (in most case they continued to break the injunctions) did so for many reasons ie family, work etc and they were not thought less of by anyone in the campaign. The people that did make a stand and did go to prison did so after making up their own minds and were not pressurised or bullied into it.

author by Crystal - Ballpublication date Thu May 06, 2004 14:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"The United Socialist Party (USP - CWI) in Sri Lanka recently made important gains in national elections. Uniquely on the Left, the USP stood in both Sinhalese and Tamil areas of the country.

Prediction for 2005

Newsflash- The CWI have expelled The United Socialist Party (USP - CWI) in Sri Lanka. Citing
(choose one of the following opitions)
rightward trend
a spokesperson for the CWI explained. "The CWI is a democratic Centralist International organisation. We are ultimately the most democratic organisation in the world as democratic centralism ensures a bottom up approach to decision making. I will explain how it works

The members of the CWI affiliate group hold an AGM

The AGM elects a leadership

The leadership decide on a delegate to the CWI

The CWI has delegates from 45? countries over the world

At a CWI meeting a problem in Nigeria was raised by a delegate from the USA

It was discussed for 43.5 hours with every delegate following the lead of the US delegate

It was decided almost unanomously (one abstention-Nigeria) to expell the Nigerian CWI group

Now this is why we are committed to democracy simply because If the membership in Ireland are unhappy with the CWI decision they can at the next AGM replace their existing leadership with a new leaderhip who will, in turn elect a new delegate to the CWI and the delegate can propose the reinstatement of the Nigerian Comrades."

What could be more democratic???

author by Big Leggypublication date Thu May 06, 2004 15:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

(Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights in Nigeria)
Contact Matt Waine, Irish Co-ordinator of CDWRN

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