AWL bulletin for 'Student Stop the War Conference', Sept 2008

Submitted by AWL on 5 September, 2008 - 4:13 Author: AWL

Class struggle in the Middle East

Student Stop the War, and the whole anti-war movement, should be making solidarity with workers, students and other left/democratic forces in the Middle East central.

The idea that we cannot support these movements against Iran’s theocratic capitalist dictatorship, or reactionary elements of the Iraqi "resistance", without strengthening US and UK imperialism, is as ridiculous as the idea that it was impossible to oppose both American and Russian imperialism in the Cold War.

"Stop the war" is not enough; we must have something to say about every aspect of the class struggles currently sweeping the Middle East. We should make solidarity with the harassed Iraqi trade unions, as well as much stronger workers' movements in countries like Egypt and Iran, central to our activity.

NUS Honorary Vice-President threatened with prison - again

On September 4 Anoosheh Azadbar - the Iranian socialist student activist who, on the initiative of Education Not for Sale, was elected NUS Honorary Vice-President by an
overwhelming majority at NUS conference - was brought before a court on charges of plotting against the Islamic regime, plotting against the Islamic order and acting against Iranian "national interests" with a left-wing group.

The charges are in connection with an anti-war and anti-regime demonstration in which she was prominently involved in December 2007 - part of a series of demonstrations that led to widespread arrests of student activists earlier this year.

Other activists are facing similar charges. To get involved in organising protests, email education.not.for.sale@gmail.com or see www.free-education.org

Iranian regime steps up repression against working-class activists

Repression against working-class struggle in Iran is intensifying. In recent weeks there have been numerous arrests and jailings. This includes the sentencing of two women activists (Souzan Razani and Shiva Kheirabadi) to fifteen lashes and four months in prison - for the "crime" of participating in a May Day celebration.

Some other class war prisoners in Iran:

Abdullah Khani, 40 lashes and 91 days in prison
Seyed Qaleb Hosseini, 50 lashes and 6 months in prison
Khaled Hosseini, 30 lashes and suspended prison sentence
Farzad Kamangar, a Kurdish teacher, sentenced to death
Afshin Shams, arrested
Mansour Osanloo, leader of Tehran's bus workers, in prison since July 2007

For more on class struggle in Iran and to protest, see
www.labourstart.org/cgi-bin/
solidarityforever/show_campaign.cgi?c=416
Also www.workers-iran.org

Iraqi government and militias terrorise workers' leaders

From the General Federations of Workers’ Councils and Unions in Iraq

To all labor unions and federations and progressive parties and movements around the world

On August 24, 2008 GFWCUI called for a mass demonstration against the recent resolutions issued by the Minister of Finance in which he ordered decreasing the wages and benefits of the workers.

On that day, the officials asked the workers to send their delegates for negotiation with the minister's office manager. As a result, Subhi Albadri was elected to head a delegation of labour leaders to represent the workers who took to the street in thousands.

After the meeting brother Albadri was stopped by the exit door of the ministry's building by a number of guards who belong to the Badr militia. The guards confiscated Subhi's personal belongings, beat him up and attempted to kidnap him but with efforts of surrounding workers, brother Subhi was able to avoid the kidnap. The guards shot at brother Subhi, who miraculously escaped the bullets.

Later on the same day, the guards called Saeed Nima (GFWCUI vice president) and vowed to kill Subhi wherever and whenever they find him.

Brothers and sisters,

We appeal to you to support us by sending protesting letters to the Iraqi government and its embassies around the world.

Ask them to refrain from terrorizing workers
Tell them that the workers demands are legitimate but they are not
Tell them "workers rights are human rights"

Down with the occupation! Long live solidarity!

Georgia + South Ossetia: the issue is self-determination

The Stop the War Coalition has chosen to focus on US expansionist ambitions as the main cause of the current conflicts in the Caucasus. Thus Seamus Milne writes in the Guardian: "This is not a story of Russian aggression, but US imperial expansion."

But why can't it be both? Why can't we oppose both the expansion of NATO and Russian imperialist aggression against Georgia? And simultaneously support self-determination for the South Ossetians, Abkhazians and others?

STW’s pro-Russian response is soft-Stalinist
more: www.workersliberty.org/node/11099

SWP students - answers, please!

Three recent (ongoing) incidents in the life of the SWP require SWP members to think long and hard about where their group is going. (Don't take our word for it, comrades - ask your organisers for the truth about these things, and email us to explain why we're wrong.)

1. UAF tries to scupper anti-BNP demo

August 16 saw a demonstration against the BNP's Red, White and Blue “festival” in Amber Valley Derbyshire. It had been organised by local anti-fascist campaigns and trade unions - but without the help of Unite Against Fascism, who for months had refused to support or advertise the protest. Then, when it became clear that this was untenable, UAF began to organise its own, separate demonstration, refusing to merge with the main, locally organised demo until forced to by the police. Even now UAF is trying to take credit for the action, though the vast majority of demonstrators were mobilised by the local campaigns.
For more see nobnpfestival.wordpress.com
For detailed explanations of the events, see
www.workersliberty.org/issues/equality-against-bigotry/issues-and-campa…

2. Six million missing Holocaust victims

Nothing the SWP did at the anti-RWB demo, however, was odder than the text of the petition they were circulating to gather contact names. Using Love Music Hate Racism as a front, their petition’s second bullet point reads: “[The BNP] deny the holocaust where thousands of LGBT people, trade unionists and disabled people were slaughtered.”

No mention of the main victims of the Holocaust, the Jews (or the Roma).

Our charge against the SWP is not that it was a deliberate omission. It is that their hostility to “Zionism” (quite different from rational support for the Palestinians) is now so deep-running, so pernicious, so unthinking, blinkered and automatic, that such an “accident” or “mistake” is possible. By creating an organisation with such a default setting, the SWP’s leaders are building a group which will “forget” the Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

3. RMT election: SWP back the right-wing

The election for the London Transport convenor of the RMT, the main rail union and one of the more militant ones in Britain, is currently taking place. Three candidates: Steve Hedley, a revolutionary socialist central to the current wave of struggles taking place on London Underground; Glenroy Watson, a pan-Africanist leftist who has been central to supporting the recent cleaners' strike; and Neil Hodgson, an out-and-out right-winger (by RMT standards).

Hodgson has the support of the SWP! Now, though Steve Hedley has worked with members of the AWL, on most of the international-type issues which divide us (eg Iraq, Palestine, imperialism), he agrees with the SWP. In other words: bizarre, crazy sectarianism!

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