The UK’s EU referendum: Vote leave European Union

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On June 23rd a referendum is being held to decide whether Britain should stay or leave EU. It will be the second referendum: the first was held in 1975 and 67 % decided on staying in the EEC. Nobody can predict the result of the present referendum.

David Cameron’s Conservative government, though divided (172 for remaining in the EU; 132 for leaving it), stands for remaining in the European Union. The main argument is not to lose market position in the continent. A letter from the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT), forum of the 50 main industrial and technological firms in Europe, worth two billion euros a year, wants Great Britain to remain in the Union. The same for IMF and OECD, which foresee all kinds of evils if Britain leaves. Barack Obama is also campaigning for remaining in the EU, as American imperialism speaker, for whom the EU is the platform for business of multinationals. The Labour Party is also in favour of remaining, though unenthusiastically. The SNP and Sinn Feinn share this view. A coalition of left parties has just invited Varoufakis to support the stay campaign under the faked argument of transforming it in favour of workers.

Britain exit EU has the backing of senior Conservatives such as Michael Gove and Boris Johnson. Their arguments are profoundly reactionary: in favour of establishing a more direct relationship with US; controlling immigration; against labour laws protecting working conditions and major liberalization of labour market. These arguments are disguised as “defence of the British nation”. To the right you can find UKIP that is for leaving EU under racist arguments against immigration. In this context Labour MP Jo Cox, was shot and stabbed by a fanatic Brexit. We repudiate and strongly condemned this heinous crime.

It is important not to get confused with these rightist ideas and think they are of any interest for workers and left parties that support leaving EU. If we consider a possible vote taking into account social class The Guardian survey found out that 52 % of middle class members would vote remain, and 32 % leave. Whereas working class member would vote 36 % remain and 50 % leave. Latest polls show a tendency towards exit EU. This is not right parties’ campaign success but it shows the need working class people have to confront both power and the Conservative government.

The revolutionary socialists call to vote LEAVE because EU is not neutral: it is governed by multinational enterprises and there is not a true possibility of making this union one to serve European workers and people in general. EU is a tool that capitalist imperialism uses against workers and popular classes, as it is the case in Greece and in other European countries. French workers are fighting labour reforms. As working class we need to unite and defeat these anti workers measures designed to make them pay this capitalist crisis. We strongly reject EU concept not from a nationalist approach. We are internationalists; we want to unite workers and people throughout Europe. We stand for the union of workers in a Europe free of multinationals, free of bankers and capitalists, free of IMF and exploitation. French workers and youth show the way: strike and demonstrations. We support these methods unconditionally until its victory.

We want an integration centred in what European workers and popular classes need. We fight in favour of the constitution of the United States of Europe, for the people and by the people, not for bankers or capitalists.

International Workers Union-Fourth International (IWU-FI)

JUNE 17TH, 2016

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We condemn the Orlando Massacre

We publish here a statement in condemnation of the massacre in Orlando Florida. We express our solidarity with all the victims’ families and loved ones.-Socialist Core

On the dawn of June, 12th, an armed man entered the gay club Pulse in Orlando, Florida, and shot at the crowd, killing 49 people and injuring more than 50. The American Omar Mateen was the perpetrator of the most heinous individual attack in the history of the US. He was killed by police.

Of Afghan origin and Islamic religion, he claimed the attack to ISIS. Despite this, his own father declared Omar was profoundly homophobic. Two months before, he showed repulsion at the scene of two gay men kissing each other in Miami.

The centrality of this crime is not in the fact of being related to a reactionary organization as ISIS but in the facto of being a hate crime based on homophobia against LGTB and demands the strongest repudiation of every political and social democratic organization.

Workers and left parties must reject this crime, express solidarity with victims and families, and denounce the capitalist governments, in particular Obama’s. These governments marginalize, exclude and discriminate against LGTB. Obama denied this was an Islamic terrorist attack. But in the end he will try to use it as a terrorist attack to justify and strengthen his repressive policies carried out inside and outside the country. Hillary Clinton, the Democrat candidate for next presidential elections, asked for a reinforcement of national security. Donald Trump, the Republican candidate, a well known anti immigrant, anti Muslim, anti Hispanic, anti women and gays fanatic wrote on Twitter: “Thanks to all those who recognized I was right about Islamic terrorism”.  This horrible crime against gays is a result of the monstrosities generated by the capitalist-imperialist global system.

Catholic and Protestant churches as well as other religious institutions develop permanent campaigns against gays and against the recognition of their rights. There’s a systematic constraint in their democratic rights and an ideological apology of homophobic aggressions. This context permeates these hate crimes in which thousands around the world are victims. There’s no recognition of equality or rights for gay couples, no protection against labour segregation and social stigmatization. In US gay males cannot become blood donors, a 1980’s anachronism due to AIDS crisis. This regulation was suspended in Florida for the massacre. This attitude is not based on scientific proof but sheer bigotry.

We hold responsible for the massacre in the first place, the American imperialism, in the second place, all the capitalist governments, the Vatican and the other religious institutions for creating the conditions for these crimes to take place.  These crimes are part of the abominations of contemporary capitalism.

The IWU-FI repudiate once more this massacre and we summon the people to organize demonstrations and unified campaigns (workers, youth, women and LGBT and revolutionary left  to stop this. To fight for equal rights for LGTB as part of a program against all forms of oppression and exploitation, towards the defeat of the capitalist-imperialist system and   a socialist world.

INTERNATIONAL WORKERS UNION-FOURTH INTERNATIONA (IWU-FI) JUNE 13TH 2016.

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Repudio a la masacre de Orlando, EEUU

Unidad Internacional de los Trabajadores-Cuarta Internacional (UIT-CI)

En la madrugada del domingo, 12 de junio, un hombre con armas de fuego irrumpió en el club nocturno “Pulse”, frecuentado por sectores de la comunidad gay y arremetió a tiros contra la multitud, asesinando a cuarenta y nueve personas e hiriendo a más de cincuenta. El estadounidense Omar Mateen, perpetró la masacre de Orlando, Florida, una de las más cruenta de un ataque individual en la historia de EEUU, y fue abatido en una refriega con la policía.

Si bien el joven de padres afganos que profesaba la religión islámica reivindicó al ISIS, previo y durante el ataque, el mismo padre del agresor descartó que la tragedia haya sido desencadenada por motivos religiosos y apunta a la homofobia de su hijo, que dos meses atrás, demostró repulsión al ver a dos hombres besándose en Miami.

Independientemente de si el accionar fue perpetrado por una organización terrorista reaccionaria como el ISIS o no, lo que queda claro es que se trata de un brutal crimen de odio homofóbico  contra la comunidad gay y merece el mayor repudio por parte de todas las organizaciones sociales y políticas que se reclamen democráticas.

Especialmente desde el movimiento obrero y la izquierda debemos repudiar este crimen, solidarizarnos con las víctimas y sus familias y allegados, denunciando el rol que juegan los gobiernos capitalistas y en especial su cabeza, el gobierno imperialista de los Estados Unidos, en el sostenimiento de condiciones de exclusión, marginación y discriminación contra los homosexuales.

Aunque Obama negó que sea un atentado de terrorismo “islámico”, el imperialismo tratará de utilizar este hecho repudiable para aumentar los mecanismos de represión interna y externa. Ya salió Hillary Clinton, la candidata del Partido Demócrata y de Obama, a pedir “reforzar la seguridad nacional”. Mientras el ultra derechista Donald Trump, candidato republicano, famoso por sus comentarios y propuestas contra los inmigrantes, musulmanes, hispanos, las mujeres y el matrimonio gay, escribió en Twitter: “Agradezco las felicitaciones por estar en lo cierto sobre el terrorismo islámico”.

Este crimen aberrante de Orlando, contra la comunidad gay, es consecuencia de las monstruosidades que genera el sistema capitalista-imperialista mundial.

La Iglesia Católica, iglesias protestantes y otras instituciones religiosas realizan campañas permanentes de odio contra las relaciones homosexuales y contra el reconocimiento de sus derechos.

En este marco de permanente restricción de los derechos democráticos de un importante sector de la población, y de apología ideológica de las agresiones homofóbicas, ocurren estos atroces crímenes de odio, de los cuales son víctimas miles de personas en el mundo. Desde el no reconocimiento de la igualdad de derechos para las parejas homosexuales, la no protección ante la discriminación laboral y la estigmatización social, hasta normas como la prohibición de donar sangre. Por ejemplo, la prohibición en los EE.UU de donar sangre para hombres homosexuales, un anacronismo de la década del 80 cuando estallaba la crisis del SIDA, fue levantada en Florida luego de la masacre, pero aun así sólo de manera temporal. A pesar de que existen pruebas de VIH que con una altísima efectividad impiden que sangre con el virus sea utilizada en transfusiones, y que una persona de cualquier extracción social u orientación sexual podría ser portadora del virus, se sigue aplicando esa absurda discriminación contra la población homosexual.

Por todo esto responsabilizamos, en primer lugar, al imperialismo norteamericano, en segundo lugar a los gobiernos capitalistas, al Vaticano y a las instituciones religiosas por crear las condiciones que propician estos terribles crímenes, que son parte de las aberraciones del capitalismo contemporáneo.

Desde la UIT-CI repudiamos una vez más este crimen aberrante de Orlando y llamamos a seguir movilizándose, como ya ocurre en gran parte del mundo, impulsando campañas unitarias desde las organizaciones de los trabajadores, de la juventud, de las mujeres, de las comunidades LGBT y de la izquierda revolucionaria para enfrentar este terrible flagelo. Para que la lucha por la igualdad de derechos para la comunidad homosexual sea parte del programa contra toda explotación y opresión, en el camino de terminar con el sistema capitalista-imperialista y lograr un mundo sin opresiones, un mundo socialista.

Unidad Internacional de los Trabajadores-Cuarta Internacional (UIT-CI)

13 de junio de 2016

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Crisis in Brazil and proposals from the left

Brazil a political crisis after the debacle of the PT government. We are publishing here a list of proposals from the Socialist Workers Current inside the PSOL coalition party.

Considering the current political situation the CST proposes the following:

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1) The PSOL and the leftist opposition to the illegitimate government of Michel Temer proposes to workers and the people to struggle in the streets and bring down the government through demonstrations, occupations, roadblocks and strikes.

2) The PSOL should review its policy and  break the political/social front with the PT, PCdoB and treacherous Leadership from CUT, UNE and the MST by promoting the construction of a political alternative outside of the PT and the PMDB blocs. To struggle against Temer, Renan, Dilma, Aécio, Serra and Lula and build independent and working class demonstrations, ALL POLITICIANS MUST GO.

3) The PSOL must cease its argument on the alleged coup and its defense of bourgeois democracy. It must fight the corrupt Chamber of Deputies and the reactionary senate and combat the false capitalist democracy, where  local  business and multinational companies are in charge. It must denounce setbacks in democratic freedoms made by the traditional parties such as the recent anti-terrorism law or gag law against leftist parties in the electoral legislation.

4) The PSOL should propose the broadest unity of action in defense of the rights of workers, youth and the people. It should demand that the unions abandon their agreements with governments and employers, unify their May salary campaigns and carry out a general strike in June to defend our wages, working conditions, threatened rights and in solidarity with the ongoing struggles.

5) The PSOL should propose to the unions; to strike committees; the occupy movements of schools and student organizations; urban and rural organizations; leftist political organizations; and combative movements: the implementation of a national union, popular movement and student assembly to discuss a workers’ and popular solution  to the crisis by building an alternative  economic program that will start with the immediate suspension of debt payments in order to allocate resources for social services.

Socialist Workers Current, Brazil

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Translated by Emmanuel; Proofread Cynthia.

 

 

 

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In support of Verizon workers on strike

We express solidarity with Verizon workers who went on strike on April 13th all across the United States. Verizon workers–40,000 strong– are fighting to demand higher wages and end capitalist greed.  With this strike, Verizon workers are  also standing up  for millions of non-unionized workers. Their fight is our fight. An injury to one is an injury to all. – Socialist Core

For more updates on the Verizon strike go to standuptoverizon

 

 

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Between Havana and Buenos Aires: The reasons for Obama’s trip to Cuba

By Miguel Sorans

Español  | Português

Many wonder why Obama is traveling to Argentina on 24 March on the 40th anniversary of the genocidal coup backed by the US. Obama is not interested in having demonstrations or rejections of his visit to Argentina. He is not interested because his visit is part of a political operation in Latin America that has two legs: Cuba and Argentina. The reasons for traveling to Buenos Aires are obvious. Obama wants to support the new reactionary and pro-Yankee government of Mauricio Macri. It is a trip to ratify they will be allies, to continue paying the debt and to favour the multinationals and financial capital against the working people.

This is clear and requires no further explanation. But what are the reasons for the trip to Cuba? Answering this question does require a longer explanation. It is not explained with just two sentences. Because, unfortunately, the background of this historic journey is the ratification that Cuba continues to make progress in the process of restoration of capitalism under the leadership of Raul Castro. Obama travels to support this “Cuban” capitalism and to advance US investments in the island.

Related article: Adjustment Cuban Style

This concept may impact or clash with many anti-imperialist and left workers and youth who have always had Cuba as a benchmark of struggle for socialism. The reality is that for more than 20 years the Cuban Communist Party (CPC) and its leaders Fidel and Raul Castro have been opening the economy to foreign investments and installing a system of joint ventures. Thus they have followed the path of capitalism restoration opened by China. Of course, the Cuban leadership has been hiding this reality, arguing that they are “updating socialism” to make it “prosperous and sustainable”. The communist leaders of the Chinese dictatorship say the same, while exploiting their people for the multinationals. This is not socialism.

Cuban reality refutes the lies of Raul Castro and the CPC. For years Canadian and European multinationals and investors from other countries have been established in Cuba. In the hotel business, for example, there are already the foreign groups Melia, Barcelo, Iberostar, Accor, among others. In nickel mining is the Canadian multinational Sherritt, operating since 1992. In tobacco, formed in 1994, there is Habanos SA, a joint venture with the Spanish Altadis, which is owned by an English group. Havana Club rum is associated with the French Pernod Richard (owners of Chivas Regal whiskey).

On the other side are the Cuban workers who receive a monthly wage of between 15 and 20 dollars, one of the lowest in the world. This in a country where strikes and protests are banned, unions are official and there is a single-party regime.

Obama’s agreement with Raul Castro seeks to end the lack of US entrepreneurs and investments. This is why Obama is betting on this agreement and he intends to bring an end to the remains of the blockade. Part of the agreement is the new investment law passed in Cuba in April 2014, authorizing the establishment of 100 percent foreign capital companies and that Cuban emigration can do business on the island as legal entities or individuals.

As a result, for the first time since the 1959 revolution, an American tractor factory will be established in Cuba without partnering with the state, i.e., without being a joint venture. It will be located in the port of Mariel, which is a free zone they have prepared for the direct installation of private companies (see more data in Clarin, Argentina, 16 February, 2016). The other opening is the 30 daily flights that will take place between the US and Cuba. These will be by US airlines only, with 20 flights to Havana and 10 to other cities. The US telephone company AT&T and the Starwood and Marriott hotel chains will soon announce agreements to do business in Cuba, as reported yesterday by The Wall Street Journal. “We are optimistic that we will get soon a green light from the US government to have hotels under the Marriott banner in Cuba”, said Tom Marder, a spokesman for Marriott, who confirmed that Arne Sorenson, chairman of the hotel chain, will travel to Cuba from 20 to 22 March”(Pagina 12, Argentina, 12 March, 2016).

Some US companies are already acting. Western Union has had 220 stores open for years; Airbnb offers to rent private apartments and homes to tourists; the telephone company IDT and cellular companies Sprint and Verizon Wireless already offer services on the island. Obama’s visit aims to consolidate this opening of business in Cuba.

Although only remnants exist of the embargo imposed in the 1960s by the US, we continue to support the historical claim of the Cuban people for its total abolition and for the return of the Guantanamo base territory.

As we repudiate Obama’s presence in Argentina we also say that his presence in Cuba will do nothing for the Cuban people. There will be no progress with the multinationals, foreign investment and the restoration of capitalism backed by Raul Castro. In Cuba what is essential is the struggle for decent wages, the right to protest, the end of the single-party regime and the need to recover the gains made with the socialist revolution.

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First published in El Socialista (Argentina)

Translated by Daniel; proofread by Cynthia.

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Five years of revolution in Syria

Statement by the International Workers Unity

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March 15 marks five years of the popular uprising against dictatorship of Al-Assad in Syria. Since then, not for a single day have the Syrian people stopped fighting heroically for their freedom against the dictatorship and several invaders.

They were subjected to crushing attacks, including permanent bombings of population centres, as few people in history. There are more than 300,000 dead and millions of refugees in neighbouring countries, hundreds of thousands desperately trying to enter Europe, and millions driven from their cities and homes within Syria itself.

Nevertheless the struggle of its people continues. An important part of Aleppo, which used to be economically the most important city of the country, suburbs of Damascus and dozens of cities and towns remain in the hands of militia rebels, many clustered in the Free Syrian Army and others that have almost no centralisation. The majority, expressing the popular rebellion, are units formed spontaneously by young students or workers in each town in order to confront the genocidal repression.

On Friday 4 March in a hundred liberated cities in Syria there were significant popular demonstrations with the slogan “the revolution continues”. A demonstration of the incredible strength of the Syrian people, who for five years have been martyred with explosive barrels, bombings, chemical weapons, mass arrests and torture, and sieges of hunger at the hands of the forces of the regime of Bashar al-Assad and his allies, Putin and Iran, by the attacks of reactionary ISIS (Daesh, in Arabic) and by bombings of the US and its coalition of 18 countries.

The first responsible for this genocide is dictator Al-Assad, heir to a dynasty with 40 years in power. Al-Assad was the one who initiated the bombing of rebel cities, first with missiles and then with barrels loaded with bombs.

The so-called Islamic State, ISIS, is an ultra-reactionary organisation armed by the oil monarchies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which are also allied to imperialism. ISIS acts as a “fifth column” dividing the anti-Assad front and establishing its reactionary dictatorship in regions formerly controlled by rebel popular sectors.

Russia, which has a military base on the Syrian coast, is the mainstay of the dictatorship. From the beginning it has sent missiles, bombs and other weapons. Now, under pretext of fighting ISIS, it is directly involved in systematically bombarding rebels and civilians to actually promote the advancement of the military dictatorship. The United States, that says to oppose Al-Assad, also bombs the civilian population with the same argument. Turkey, US ally and member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), covertly protects ISIS because its central objective is to attack the Kurds, oppressed national minority within its territory and also in northern Syria.

All these powers, imperialist and regional, neither act nor acted at any time to defend the freedom of the Syrian people, but to try to keep the “lesser evil” of Bashar al-Assad and expand their own regional domain.

Russia and the United States recently agreed to a military “truce” that would supposedly allow help to arrive in the besieged cities. But the truce is a sham because the bombings continue, with the pretext that “the truce does not include terrorists”. That is, the main function of the “truce”, agreed at meetings in Geneva and Munich, it is to uphold the dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad and reach a “political solution” in which the United States and Russia direct a “transition” that keep the dictatorship and protect their respective allies and interests.

In turn, European governments armour themselves with all kinds of laws that expel, rob, imprison, and criminalise the refugees, while bombs fall on Syrian territory and in Geneva a ceremonial is prepared to rescue the regime of Al-Assad. We need to knock down all these walls and claim the right to free movement of all those fleeing war and persecution.

Under extreme conditions and under the ruins, the Syrian people are trying to build a future of freedom and social justice that will only be possible with the fall of the genocidal regime. In this struggle it is opposed by the governments of the region, the great powers and ISIS. They only have the solidarity of the peoples, which so far has been hampered by the paralysis of a sector of the world left that either gives explicit support to Al-Assad and Putin or else abstains.

Thousands of Syrians, taking advantage that military action was partially reduced, took to mobilise on the streets in Aleppo, Homs and other cities to repudiate Al-Assad and the bombardments; showing that the revolution is still alive. In the battle for Aleppo the fate of the Syrian people is in play. We call on the peoples of the world to show solidarity with the rebel people of Aleppo and the entire Syria. From the IWU–FI we support the fighters and rebel militias without giving any support their political leaderships.

Down with Al-Assad! Stop the bombings by Russia and imperialism! No to ISIS! Turkey and Iran out of Syria! Unity of Syrian and Kurd rebels! That the governments break relations with Bashar al-Assad! No to the walls of Europe! Freedom of movement for refugees!

International Workers Unity-Fourth International (IWU-FI)

March 11, 2016

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France: Pour la défense des droits ouvriers et démocratiques

Since the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, France, the French government has enacted a number of repressive measures to destroy democratic gains and weaken the labor movement. We publish here a statement in French by the International Workers Unity-Fourth International (IWU-FI) on this new political situation developing in France. We express our solidarity with  all of those under attack by state repression in France and call for the defense of democratic and workers’ gains. -Socialist Core.

Déclaration de l’UIT-QI sur la situation française

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Depuis le mois de novembre et les attentats qui ont frappé Paris, la France se situe à un tournant de sa situation politique. Dans un contexte d’aggravation de la situation économique et de multiplication des conflits sociaux, le gouvernement français a instrumentalisé cette situation en jouant sur la peur des travailleurs de France pour avancer dans la remise en cause des conquêtes démocratiques et ouvrières en instaurant l’état d’urgence et en réprimant le mouvement syndical.

Dès le soir des attentats, le 13 novembre 2015, le président français, le « socialiste » François Hollande, a décrété l’état d’urgence, utilisant pour cela une loi de 1955. Cette loi avait permis au gouvernement de l’époque d’instaurer l’état d’exception dans le cadre de la guerre d’indépendance d’Algérie.

L’instauration de l’état d’urgence c’est la remise en cause des droits démocratiques fondamentaux et c’est la généralisation de l’arbitraire : perquisition sans autorisation, assignation à résidence, interdiction de manifestation, fin de la liberté d’expression.

Depuis les attentats, l’état d’urgence a été prolongé deux fois pour des périodes de 3 mois et est en application au moins jusqu’au mois de juin. À cette date, le gouvernement tentera de prolonger à nouveau l’état d’urgence. En effet, Le premier ministre français, Manuel Valls, a déclaré que l’état d’urgence serait maintenu aussi longtemps qu’existerait une « menace terroriste ». En d’autre termes ce que le gouvernement français veut c’est instaurer l’état d’urgence permanent.

Mais le gouvernement a décidé d’aller plus loin dans la remise en cause des droits démocratiques. Il a décidé de faire voter une loi pour inscrire dans la constitution l’instauration de l’état d’urgence. Le gouvernement compte également inscrire dans la constitution la déchéance de nationalité pour les bi-nationaux: cela revient à créer deux catégories de citoyens français : des Français de plein droit et des sous-citoyens.

Le gouvernement PS a instauré l’état d’urgence soi-disant pour combattre le « terrorisme ». Depuis sa mise en place, l’état d’urgence a mené à 3300 perquisitions administratives, 400 assignations à résidences et 28 poursuites pour terrorisme, c’est-à-dire moins de 1 % des perquisitions. Et encore la plupart de ces poursuites ont été faites pour « apologie du terrorisme ». Les cas avérés concernent moins de 5 personnes.

L’enjeu est donc ailleurs. En effet, en même temps qu’il mène sa prétendue guerre contre le terrorisme, le gouvernement « socialiste » a reçu de la bourgeoisie le mandat de liquider toutes les conquêtes ouvrières : durée légale du temps de travail, code du travail, statut des fonctionnaires, services publics. Pour aller jusqu’au bout de cette logique, le gouvernement a besoin d’un état fort qui lui permette de réprimer toute contestation sociale.

Pour la bourgeoisie cela est un besoin d’autant plus impérieux que la colère gronde contre la politique anti-démocratique et anti-ouvrière du gouvernement. Chaque jour des dizaines de grèves – parfois plus de cent débrayages- se déroulent à travers le pays contre les exigences patronales. Que ce soit pour réclamer des augmentations de salaires, pour s’opposer à des licenciements, pour s’opposer aux privatisations les travailleurs et les jeunes sont de plus en plus nombreux à chercher les voies de l’offensive.

Au début du mois de janvier, le gouvernement a passé un cap dans la répression anti-syndicale. 8 syndicalistes de l’usine de pneumatiques Goodyear d’Amiens (située à 150 kms au nord de Paris) ont été condamnés à 9 mois de prison ferme pour avoir occupé et pour s’être opposés à la fermeture de leur usine et aux licenciements de 1200 ouvriers par les actionnaires de la transnationale américaine. En France, c’est la première fois depuis 1955 que des syndicalistes sont condamnés à de la prison ferme dans le cadre d’une action syndicale.

Cette décision de la justice bourgeoise a engendré un profond courant de solidarité et de mobilisation au sein de la classe ouvrière. Plus de 160 000 personnes ont signé la pétition de soutien aux ouvriers condamnés. Le 4 février plus de 20 000 personnes, dont 10 000 à Paris, se sont réunies dans tout le pays à l’appel de la CGT, le principal syndicat du pays, pour manifester leur soutien aux ouvriers de Goodyear.

Des comités de soutien sont en train de se créer dans tout le pays pour amplifier la mobilisation. De plus, il apparaît de plus en plus que les travailleurs font le lien entre l’instauration de l’état d’urgence et la répression anti-syndicale.

L’Unité Internationale des Travailleurs – Quatrième Internationale apporte son soutien inconditionnel aux ouvriers condamnés de Goodyear et condamne la remise en cause des conquêtes ouvrières et démocratiques. L’UIT-QI soutient et s’associe à toute initiative qui ira dans le sens de la satisfaction des revendications de la classe ouvrière de France. C’est pourquoi l’UIT-QI appel à la plus grande unité internationale pour :

La levée immédiate de l’état d’urgence!

La relaxe pour les 8 ouvriers de Goodyear Amiens-Nord!

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US Primaries: What is the Sanders phenomenon?

By Silvia Santos *

Español |Português

As in the rest of the world, new winds are blowing in the political arena of the United States. Faced with a social crisis that advances relentlessly, with its attendant unemployment, low wages and no prospect of improvement on the horizon, the discredit and rejection of the traditional parties has a new expression. The 74-year old veteran socialist Bernie Sanders accumulates victories in primary elections in the Democratic Party, competing head-to-head with Hillary Clinton toward the presidential election of November this year.

Picking up the demands of the movement “Occupy Wall Street,” Sanders promises to tax the rich, raise the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour, ensure free universities and public health, and other democratic issues such as the fight against racism, support of the LGBT community and against US military interventions. In all, a very progressive movement essentially of youth has formed, which no longer fears the word “socialism,” which is becoming popular and is engaging, albeit a minority, of workers.

Its growth also expresses a disappointment with Obama (who years ago awakened the same or greater expectations than Sanders), because after two terms, the social divide that separates the billionaires from a working population and an increasingly impoverished middle class, has deepened.

In the state of New Hampshire, Sanders won 85 percent of the vote of those under 30 and 65 percent of the vote of the workers receiving less than $ 50,000 a year. Meanwhile Hillary Clinton is a favorite among older voters and those with higher incomes.

On one hand we have Sanders threatening Hillary Clinton’s primacy; on the other, among the Republicans, is the growing popularity of billionaire Donald Trump, a racist and xenophobe, who campaigns promising to expel all Muslims from the country, among other gems.

On the side of the working class, most of the unions and the powerful AFL-CIO, traditional allies of Democrats, support Hillary Clinton, although sectors that have struggled— such as nurses, postal and communication workers, as well as thousands of disgruntled workers— support Sanders.

At the same time, the economic and social crisis explains why sectors of people 40 years and older, and of white middle-class workers, are frightened by the presence of a population of blacks, Latinos, Asians, etc., who compete for the few and poorly paid jobs, are actively supporting the magnate Donald Trump.

Who is Bernie Sanders?

Independent until 2015, the current senator for the state of Vermont, Sanders, as a young man, became linked to socialism and has always had progressive ideas, vindicating a “Nordic” style or reformist socialism.

He founded and organized various groupings, pitting Democrats and Republicans. In Vermont, he became the Mayor of Burlington and was re-elected four times; in 1990 he was elected Member of the House of Representatives, a post he held for 16 years before being elected senator in 2006, an occasion at which he was officially supported by the Democratic Party. Former Vermont Democrat Governor Howard Dean said Sanders “was an ally who votes with Democrats 98 percent of the time” (he has even endorsed the Democratic Party support for Israel) and Sanders also had the support of then-Senator Obama. He was reelected to the Senate in 2012 and in 2015 decided to contest the presidential nomination of Hillary Clinton and Obama’s party.

In July 1986, at a conference of socialists and activists in Berkeley, Sanders gave this message: “We discuss whether or not we socialists should be working within the Democratic Party to impose our ideas. But the Democratic Party is not the party of the Socialists, but of their enemies, the bourgeois politicians… It isn’t the party of the workers, of their class, of the socialists, because it defends the class that oppresses the workers… If we have shown that we can win elections against the Democrats, participating in that party, wouldn’t we be postponing indefinitely our own birth as a political force? Wouldn’t it be the worst crime against our own ideas?” (International Courier, October 1986).

Unfortunately, 30 years later, Sanders has changed his mind. Instead of strengthening the struggle for the creation of an independent socialist party, which even being reformist would be an extraordinary step, to the extent that it would challenge the traditional bipartisanship, he decided to reinforce it. The bipartisanship between the two major parties of big business monopolies and big capital of the main imperialist country in the world is a straitjacket that prevents political independence of the working class.

So, citing the Argentine political analyst Marcelo Cantelmi, we could say that “Sanders would be an expression of social anxieties, but this does not means he represents them.” Because he not only pledged his vote to Hillary Clinton if she wins the primary, but because his program will be impossible to implement during this period of crisis of capital, unless the people are mobilized to impose the revolutionary way, which is not in Sanders’ plans.

Hence it is wrong to confuse the progressive movement of millions of youth and bands of workers vindicating socialism (even in a social democratic version) with figures or parties that are occasionally at the forefront.

Sanders is far from being an outsider. He is an experienced politician who knows that traditionally the Democratic Party has tolerated or allowed to run various wings and more or less progressive sectors, while at the same time, the Party’s position also makes it possible to keep within the framework of bipartisanship, in this case with the Democrats, the vote of millions of young people.

Unlike Syriza, born as a new anti-capitalist party independent of the traditional parties, expressing a very tough struggle and dozens of general strikes (with Tsipras subsequently surrendering himself into the hands of the Troika), the Democratic Party is one of two parties of the bourgeoisie of the main imperialist country in the world.

Therefore, our call is for Sanders to return to the path of his 1986 speech and place himself at the head of an actual independent movement of the left, which would be a powerful lever for the advancement of the working class and youth towards producing a change in the heart of the empire. Otherwise, support for the Democratic candidate will end up reinforcing the imperialist bipartisanship.

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* The author is a member of CST/PSOL(Brazil) and the International Workers Union-Fourth Internaltional (IWU-FI)

Translated by Daniel; proofread by Cynthia.

 

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The Tragedy of 21st Century Refugees

By Mercedes Petit

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The terrible images of the refugees show that this is a humanitarian catastrophe that was covered up by capitalist governments. According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the number of refugees and displaced comes to 60 million people. This group of persecuted would be the 24th country in the world. There is a single explanation: the growth of poverty and wars caused by the capitalist-imperialist system.

This is the largest number of refugees since World War II. The numbers are growing every year from 2007-2008, when the capitalist economic crisis entered a new acute phase with millions of unemployed and new plans of adjustment and looting worldwide.

The military and economic actions of imperialism and the multinationals have exacerbated the suffering of the people. Social inequality keeps growing. Already 1.2 billion people are recordedin poverty, living on US$ 1.25 perday, according to the annual reportof the UN Development Programme(UNDP). Meanwhile the number of billionaires increased. Between 2009 and 2013 it went from 10 to 13.7 million (Clarin, Argentina, 23 November 2014). Africa has 60 percent of arable land on the planet but millions suffer from hunger and only 10 percent is in production and in the hands of multinationals and local elites. The refugees are fleeing from hunger and poverty in Africa, Central Asia (Pakistan), Central America or from the destruction of imperialist wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Also they are fleeing the bombing of al-Assad in Syria.

In 2015 there is a leap in the number of refugees who risk their lives to cross the Mediterranean Sea. The numbers are compelling. Throughout 2014, 260,000 people were recorded crossing the Mediterranean. By August 2015 the figure was already 550,000 people and with a tendency to grow until the end of the year. In 2014, 3,279 drowned and in September 2015 the number reaches about 2,980, while the risk continues for many more crossing in precarious boats and rubber dinghies.

Thousands risk their lives paying people smugglers between € 2000- 3000 per person; when a legal plane ticket from Istanbul to Athens costs € 250-300. Why does this happen? Simply because of the criminal policy of European and imperialist governments who refuse to give legal asylum to those who request it. This is what happened to the family of child Aylan who went to the Canadian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, to seek asylum and they were demanded a certificate of “residence”; when it is known that the reactionary government of Erdogan denies the Syrians this “certificate”. Thus the Kurdish family of Aylan, originally from Kobane, had no choice but to risk the desperate action of crossing illegally in the worst conditions; with the known sad end result.

Where do the refugees come from? According to UNHCR 43 percent are Syrian, 12 percent Afghan, 10 percent Eritreans, 5 percent Nigerians, and Somalis 3 percent. The remaining 27 percent are distributed among Iraqis, Libyans, Pakistanis and, surprisingly, Kosovars (37,500) were also recorded. Kosovo (which was part of the former Yugoslavia) is in Europe and has about 35 percent unemployment.

Thousands come to the Greek islands from the Turkish coast. Initially, and under the pressure of their peoples, the governments of Germany, Austria and France had to open their borders faced with the dramatic and tragic images of refugees. And also due to the widespread repudiation to the repression by the Hungarian police on the refugees and to their right-wing government policy of erecting four metre high barbed wire fences at its borders. European peoples showed a high degree of solidarity. But this opening of borders was short-lived. Seventy-two hours later, Merkel and Hollande resolved to again close their borders and the EU. After long debates, they ended by agreeing to an asylum to 120,000 over two years, when Merkel had spoken of giving asylum to 800,000 refugees this year. An openly hypocritical attitude. To top it off, they agreed to a distribution in quotas where Germany leads with only 17,037 refugees, followed by France with 12,062 (data from EU Council, in El País, Madrid, 23 September). In addition, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark are outside these agreements of the EU and refuse to receive refugees.

Given this drama, the mobilisation of the peoples of Europe and the world should continue supporting the refugees and the rebellious Syrian people to finish with al-Assad. By way of the liberation of Syria it will be possible to stop the tragedy of death or exodus for hundreds of thousands that this war causes. Meanwhile the struggle of the peoples in defence of the refugees must continue, demanding the capitalist governments to open their borders and provide protection, food, shelter and work.

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Originally published in International Correspondence N°37, 2015

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