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Archive of Communist Workers Group of Aoteaora/New Zealand up to 2006

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French Youth Make Paris Baghdad!

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This article is a freely translated and adapted summary of parts of a longer article by the Internationalist Trotskyist Fraction (Fourth International).
We are grateful for the use of this material for which the responsibility of any errors of translation and interpretation is ours.

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FRANCE

Anti-Capitalist and Anti-Imperialist Youth Revolt opens new stage of struggle in Europe

For a General strike to defeat to the government of Chirac-Villepin- Sarkozy and to impose the demands of young workers, railworkers and all workers in struggle! Long live the heroic revolt of young workers and their slogan “Every night we make Paris a Baghdad”!

For more than three weeks in October, cars, police stations, schools, and factories burned every night in the working class dormitories, called “Cités” of greater Paris and in more than 300 cities all over France. The spark that set alight the fire was the fatal electrocution of two young people of 17 and 15 years when they hid from pursuing police inside a high-tension transformer in Clichy-sous-Bois (department of Seine-Saint Denis, district 93), Paris. On Friday 28 October, a revolt of young workers began all over district 93. On the Sunday the CRS (police anti-riot) tear-gassed women and children in a mosque, and the Interior Minister Sarkozy went on TV and promised to ‘clean up the rubbish’ and the ‘scum’ (“racaille”, or rascals) of the Cités. This reactionary response of the Government poured gasoline on the fire so that the revolt spread all over France.

This tremendous rebellion of young working people all over France was both anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist. To the shout of “This is like Iraq”, and “Every night we make a Baghdad”, youth took as their own fight the heroic resistance of the Iraqi masses against the imperialistic occupation. It was also an anticapitalist revolt of youth for jobs that was inseparable from the resurgence of struggles of French, Belgium and Spanish working classes.

The rebellion was not Islamic. Islamic students did not join their rioting friends even when living in the same neighbourhood. Islamic Mullahs were brought in by the government to calm things down. The result was the burning of the main Mosque in Lyon. Nor is it the rebellion of the ‘marginalised’ or ‘poor’ that can be socially engineered out of existence. Capitalism does not exclude or create poor people, except as a consequence of exploiting and oppressing workers, employed or unemployed. You cannot eliminate poverty without eliminating capitalism; or for starters Sarkosy!

The youth revolt opens a new stage in the fight back of European workers against the boss’s reactionary attacks

It is clear that the rioting youth are one of the most oppressed sections of the French working class – the reserve army of labour made up principally of migrant worker or their descendants. It is no accident that the youth revolt comes at the same time as other major working class struggles are building up in Europe. In France, the transport workers of Marseilles went on strike for 46 days. They have been joined by sailors of the Merchant Marine (SNCM), electricity workers of the EDF , and many other industrial struggles.

On November 21 a national strike of railworkers against privatization and for a wage increase began. This national strike could have become indefinite, but after Chirac promised not to privatise rail the workers voted not to continue the strike on the 24th. In Belgium, also in October the working class made two enormous active general strikes, while in Spain strong struggles are developing in particular that of the workers of SEAT.

All of these struggles threaten to break the tenuous grip that the ruling class has on Europe thanks to the treacherous reformists, Stalinists and fake Trotskyists who so far have rallied workers to the utopia of a ‘social Europe’.

Down with the labour bureaucracies, servants of the European imperialistic bourgeoisies!

Those that give holiday speeches about the “Europe of the workers” and against the “Europe of Capital”, today, when the rebellion of the young workers threatens to join forces with the striking Belgian working class and raises the spectre of a united European workers movement, try to isolate the youth and douse its rebellious spark for fear that it might spread into a prairie fire that can destroy the Europe of Capitalist Imperialism!

But even as they desperately try to hold back independent workers struggles by defending capitalist ‘democracy’ against ‘fascism’, the democratic imperialists, Chirac, Sarkosy, Villepin etc have little faith in the ability of the reformists to hold back the rising tide of labour militancy. A year after calling on workers to vote for Chirac as the ‘democratic’ alternative to ‘fascist’ Le Pen, and months from the ‘victory’ of a ‘No’ vote against the ‘neo-liberal’ Europe, the Socialist Party, Communist Party, Workers Fight (LO) and the Revolutionary Communist League (LCR) etc now see that Chirac and Sarkozy acting like fascist Le Pen. In desperation the SP and CP are using the fake Trotskyists LO and LCR to lend a spurious ‘revolutionary’ credibility to ‘restoring order’ and maintaining ‘social peace’ to keep alive their fading utopia of a ‘social Europe’!

For a continental workers congress, of rank and file mandated delegates

But this fight has only just begun. The street fighting of rebellious youth has been suppressed for now. But it has already revealed ’emperor’ Chirac to be naked. Not only him, but the reformists are naked too. What drove the youth to spontaneously revolt, the terrorism of the French police state, has but one cause – the crisis of French and European imperialism. This cause will not go away and must make the bosses state use more force to suppress and smash the emerging workers struggles.

It is no accident that the state of ermergency came into force on 21 November the same day that the national rail strike began. It has been extended for three months. The French imperialistic bourgeoisie is preparing to use state force to smash the growing anger of the working class which threatens to come together in a single torrent. If the treachery of the reformist leaders manages to isolate the heroic fighters of the working youth of France from the other struggles of workers, and brings about its defeat, the result will be a new slavery and “apartheid” against youth in the reserve army of labour.

The imperialistic bourgeoisies in the US and in Europe are driven to go on the offensive against their own workers. They can use the world wide reserve army to drive down wages and conditions at home.

The restoration of capitalism in China has created a vast pool of cheap labour of many millions of workers. In the former worker states of Eastern Europe, new “assembly plants” have been build to take advantage of the cheap labour. Smashing Afghanistan and occupying Iraq strengthens imperialism’s hold over the middle East and Central Asia where in India and Pakistan there are huge reserves of enslaved manual labor. European Imperialism has within a few kilometers of its coasts a massive labour reserve of hundreds of million workers in black Africa and the Magreb – many from which, risk their skins on the fences of Ceuta and Melilla trying to enter Europe to find work.

But even with this huge world-wide reserve of labour at its disposal, the European imperialist bourgeoisies must go on offensive to take back the most important gains won by their own workers. The crisis of the world economy has revived the rivalry between the US and the EU. To compete with the US, the EU must cut its labour costs also. The revolt of French working youth, to the shout of “Every night we make of Paris a Baghdad”, it is a magnificent answer to these attacks, and joining forces with the railworkers strike, the two Belgian general strikes, the struggles of Spanish and German workers, makes it clear that the united fight of all European workers based on a Transitional Program must be the next step.


* Work for All! A sliding scale of working hours without loss of pay, equal pay for equal work, must be raised against the imperialistic regimes and governments.

* A great united action of workers over the continent, in support of the heroic resistance of the Iraqi masses and for the military defeat of the Anglo-Yankee troops! For the immediate withdrawal of NATO from Afghanistan!

* For the right to national self-determination of the oppressed peoples of Europe – Ireland, the Basque Country, Kosovo, Chechnya! For the right to self-determination of the colonies and semi-colonies of Europe in Africa and the Pacific!

* Smash the labour bureaucracy and its social imperialist parties that led to the betrayal of the former workers states, acting as bourgeois agents of the imperialists to make these countries capitalist semi-colonies!

* For the creation of a new world party of socialism to lead the fight for social revolution in Europe, and the recovery of the former workers states, and a Socialist United States of Europe, from Portugal to the Russian steppes!

From Class Struggle 64 Nov 05/Jan 06

Defeat Bush, Howard & Clark’s War Of Terror

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Support the Dec 1 US Nationwide Strike against Poverty, Racism and War!

NZ out of Afghanistan! Stop ANZ war profiteering! International Day of Solidarity with Venezuela, December 2! Unite Workers Against the War Of Terror!

Bosses’ posse

The US imperialist sheriff and his Deputy, John Howard, closely followed by the Deputy’s Dog, Helen Clark, are riding roughshod over the oppressed of this world. They are doing this because US imperialism and its weaker allies such as Australia, Britain and Italy, and its ‘good friends’ like NZ , must grab what is left of the world’s resources to overcome the crisis of monopoly capitalism caused by falling profits.

The cynical wars for ‘democracy’ and the ‘cancelled’ debt in Africa and Iraq are a cover for monopoly capitals plans to re-colonise the world.

In the Pacific region the ‘peacekeeping’ role of Australia and NZ is a front for monopoly capitalism’s plunder of the Pacific’s economic resource base and reserve of migrant labour.

When this fails and resistance rises up against the WOT, domestic anti-terror laws are used to criminalize and jail political opponents of the WOT.

To defeat the WOT it is necessary for workers to mobilize internationally against the roots of the WOT, the crisis-ridden global capitalist economy that threatens to destroy humanity and nature.

War Of Terror

Bush and his neo-cons planned the WOT well before 9/11 to occupy Afghanistan and get a strangle hold on the Central Asian oilfields. Then they lied about WMD to invade Iraq to gain control of Iraqi oil from China, Russia and the EU, and bust the OPEC cartel.

The new Iraqi Constitution guarantees Big Oil like Exxon-Mobil, Shell etc around 80% control of Iraqi oil. Big Oil is backed up by the IMF, WB and the JP Morgan bank consortium (which includes ANZ ) to ‘reconstruct’ Iraq along the lines of a free market where monopoly corporates like Halliburton, Bechtel etc., can rip off the tiny share of oil wealth left in the hands of Iraqis.

The scandal of ‘kickbacks’ paid to Saddam Hussein during the UN imposed ‘oil for food’ scheme in the 1990s is a smokescreen designed to blame companies like Fonterra which supplied vital imports during the embargo which killed a million Iraqis, and to cover up the ruthless imperialist multibillion dollar plunder of Iraq planned in the 1990s and now being put in place.

The imperialist posse is using the WOT to invade, terrorise and recolonise oil rich and mineral rich countries. Not just pre-emptive wars against Afghanistan, Haiti and Iraq, but the threat of preventative war against Cuba, Syria, Iran, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.

The US justifies this mounting genocide, terror and torture as a war for ‘democracy’ against Islamic ‘fundamentalism’, ‘drug cartels’ or ‘rogue states’ for which they themselves are responsible.

From the Taliban and Saddam Hussein to Castro, Chavez and Aristide these regimes are the product of US imperialist policies that created the oppressive conditions out of which they emerged as allies or opponents.

The WOT has got nothing to do with ‘democracy’ and everything to do with eliminating ‘rogue’ nationalist regimes and imposing imperialism’s dictatorship under the cover of ‘democracy’. Thus the recent Iraqi Constitution was dictated by the US to guarantee continued control of Iraq oil by Big Oil and Big Banks.

Anti-terror torture laws

Imperialism and its allies suppress rising opposition at home with draconian anti-terror laws that allow the arrest, incarceration and torture of ‘suspects’ without legal rights.

Blair used the London bombings to immediately suspend basic civil rights and authorised a ‘shoot to kill’ policy the led to the killing of the Brazilian migrant worker John Charles de Menezes.

Bush’s FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Authority) was empowered to suspend civil rights in the emergency of the aftermath of Katrina. Workers can be drafted to work gangs and shot for ‘looting’ food and water for their survival while the corporates move in to profiteer from the reconstruction of New Orleans just like they do in Iraq!

Emboldened by Bush, Howard has used the hysteria following recent bombings in Indonesia to deport a visiting US non-violent protest advocate, and to rush through anti-terror laws that include suspension of habeas corpus and ‘shoot-to-kill’.

NZ rapidly passed anti-terror laws legislation modeled on US and UK laws to earn its share of the spoils that fall off the imperialists table. In the Ahmed Zaoui case it used ‘intelligence’ passed on by the French state that fought a bloody colonial war against Algeria to lock up Zaoui as a suspect terrorist. NZ remains an integral part of ‘Echelon’ the US imperialist spy network that monitors internet communications.

Attack on Labor

At the same time the imperialists and their allies impose new labour laws to smash the unions and defeat organised labour as it begins to mobilize against the WOT.

Bush found bipartisan allies in the AFL-CIO to block the Million Worker March against the war in Iraq during the last Presidential election campaign. US corporates are outsourcing most of their production and for twenty years have used bankruptcy laws to close plants, cut jobs, wages and conditions of their remaining US workers in steel, airline and auto industries.

After abandoning the poor people of New Orleans, Bush suspended labour and health and safety laws to rebuild New Orleans with poor, migrant workers. New Orleans his is a metaphor for US imperialism’s attacks on its own workers rights, wages and social security. The vast majority of US workers are not covered by any decent public health or pension entitlements while CEOs payouts are in the millions of dollars.

Howard’s workplace ‘reforms’ are designed to smash the unions and put workers on individual contracts so they have no power to prevent the complete erosion of their past gains like overtime and holiday pay. In this way Howard hopes to follow NZ’s lead in the 1990s in cutting labour costs and boosting the profits of monopoly capital.

Clark’s new Labour led government has moved right in agreements with NZ First and United Future. NZ First will try to shut down the border to migrant workers and refugees.

Fight the WOT as a class war!

The WOT is a continuation of imperialist neo-colonial politics which is itself the symptom of the global economic crisis. To restore profits, imperialism must cut costs.

This is what is behind the ‘drive to the bottom’ – the sourcing of the cheapest supplies of raw materials and labour world wide by monopoly banks, energy corporations and manufacturers. The effect is to concentrate and centralise production and destroy the forces of production. Nature is depleted and exhausted and the surplus population is killed off by endemic disease, overwork or genocide.

There is nothing ‘progressive’ about imperialist globalisation and free trade or investment. In China today, the restoration of capitalism has created a huge multi-million reserve army of cheap labor to boost the profits of monopoly capital. Despite the problems of the former state economy the masses’ needs were better served than by the capitalist world market.

The only way to defeat imperialist destruction of humanity is to eliminate its roots in the capitalist system and replace it with a socialist planned society. Fighting back against the imperialist military machine, and mutinies within imperialist armies, can inflict defeats but they cannot win a decisive victory.
 
The world proletariat must fight a class war to politicise the masses, win over the rank and file of the imperialist armies, and occupy and control vital economic resources. The vital steps towards this socialist revolution are workers’ and peasants’ militias, a popular constituent assembly and workers ownership and control of production, distribution and exchange.

Victory to Iraq and Venezuela!

Leading the fight back today is the armed resistance and rebuilt unions of Iraq, and the workers movement of Venezuela. Here the defence of national self-determination can only be realised by the mobilisation of the workers to found their own state and plan for a socialist economy.


Victory to Iraq!

For a Popular Constituent Assembly!

US reparations for reconstruction!

Big Oil, Big Banks Out!

Bush Out!

For workers control of the reconstruction of New Orleans!

US Hands Off Venezuela!

No Venezuelan Oil for the WOT!

End the US blockade of Cuba!

Destroy Guantanamo!

US and Latin American troops out of Haiti! Reinstate Aristide!

Bring down the Howard Government!

No WOT laws!

No workplace ‘reform’!

NZ Troops out of Afghanistan!

Occupy and Nationalise Air NZ under workers’ control!

No to FTAs with Chile, China and the US! Socialise Big Oil, Big Banks and MNCs!

For Workers’ and Peasants’ Governments!

For a United States of Socialist Republics of the Pacific!

Build and International Workers opposition to the WOT!

International solidarity with the December 1st US Nationwide Strike against Poverty, Racism and War!

International Day of Solidarity with Venezuela, December 2nd!

WAWOT (Workers Against the War on Terror) 027 2800080

From Class Struggle 64 Nov 05/Jan 06

Written by raved

January 6, 2012 at 8:04 pm

VICTORY TO IRAQ!

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Only a victory to Iraq can defeat the US imperialist invasion and occupation. Industrial strike action can make this happen

The US AFL-CIO (main labour organization) recently adopted the call to ‘Bring the troops home now’. This is an important step for the official labor movement caused by pressure from rank and file antiwar groups like Million Worker March Movement. But it falls far short of what is needed.

First, it does not mean that Iraq will be liberated as the US can bring the troops home and leave a puppet regime in place.
Second, it does not raise the need to take action against the US war machine or the torture camps like Guantanamo!
Third, it makes no mention of the occupation of Afghanistan and the US military bases being used around the world in the ‘War on Terror’.
Fourth, it does not attack the fundamental capitalist economic cause of the drive to war by the US imperialist system in crisis.

The only way to free Iraq and stop the US drive to war is to build for a general strike to smash the US war machine!

US WORKERS RISE UP AND SMASH THE WAR MACHINE

Camp Casey shows the way! Pickets everywhere! Picket the US bases! Build the mutiny in the US forces! Strike action in the military industrial complex! Strike action in the workplaces and schools! Call for a strike by the rank and file of the military against the war in Iraq. Paralyze the US military machine at home!

US NATIONAL STRIKE DECEMBER 1 TO STOP THE WAR

The US Troops Out Now Coalition and other anti-war groups in the labor movement are calling for a nationwide strike against Poverty, Racism and War on December 1. http://www.troopsoutnow.org/
No school, No shopping, No work!

This strike is endorsed by the MWMM, the Black Caucus of the Teamsters and other union movements. It is good that it calls on workers and students to take strike action. But it needs to go further and raise the demand for the rank and file of the Military to go on strike.
Strike in the US military and war industry!
Form rank and file committees to break with the military command of the army of Bush, Halliburton and US imperialism!

SUPPORT THE IRAQI RESISTANCE

Missing is any call for US labor to support the Iraqi resistance. Yet the US constitution has the provision for the right of citizens to be armed to resist tyranny.

The right of Iraqis to militarily defend themselves and defeat the US occupation is a basic right that must be acknowledged by the anti-war movement. US workers have no right to impose any conditions on how the Iraqis resist the occupation. Their duty is to smash the war machine at home!

At the same time we do not condone attacks on Iraqi workers by any element of the resistance. Only an organized working class can lead the resistance to liberate Iraq.
Victory to the Iraqi resistance fighters!
Only the working class can win the liberation of Iraq!

REBUILD NEW ORLEANS UNDER WORKERS CONTROL

The nationwide strike links the war in Iraq with the destruction of New Orleans and calls for solidarity with the Katrina survivors. It demands:
The people of New Orleans and the Gulf must Control the Rebuilding, not Bush’s rich friends!
We demand an independent investigation!
A Job at a living wage, healthcare, housing and education not war and occupation!”

Meanwhile the Community Labor United has founded the Peoples Hurricane Relief Fund and Oversight Commission to ‘oversee’ FEMA and ensure that the people get the benefit of relief funds. http://www.communitylaborunited.net/

While these are important demands they don’t go far enough. Workers control of rebuilding and the demand for billions of dollars to be redirected from war to meet social needs do not seriously challenge the capitalist system. They involve a redistribution of wealth from rich to poor. But they do not raise the need for workers to take power and socialize private corporations.

  • Expropriate the Oil Monopolies!
  • Expropriate Halliburton and Bechtel and Co!
  • Build workers councils and workers defence committees!


WORKERS CONTROL OF VENEZUELAN OIL

Chavez and Castro have offered medical aid, food aid and cheap oil to the victims of the capitalist disaster in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

US workers must form emergency committees, and self-defence committees to distribute this aid and oil to workers in need, independently of Bush and his capitalist cronies!

Chavez has said that if the US attacks Venezuela he will stop supplying oil. But Bush attacks Iraq every day using Venezuelan oil!

Confronting the US imperialist War of Terror we are all Iraqis!

US and Venezuelan workers must unite to stop Chavez’ sale of oil to the US that is used in the war machine that kills thousands of Iraqis!

AOTEAROA WORKERS ANTIWAR SOLIDARITY

NZ workers must organize to take industrial action against NZ military involvement in the occupation of Afghanistan! 

NZ workers take action against NZ collaboration with the US War of Terror and its military intelligence network! 

NZ workers take action against all the banks and corporations that serve the US military industrial machine or profit from the war of terror! 

 

Iraq Document :
Defeat the Anglo-American Occupation!

We reprint here a call to the Iraqi people and all its patriotic forces for the formation of the Iraqi National Front for Liberation and Democratic reconstruction (INFLD). Our position is that revolutionaries must participate in this anti-imperialist front to take the lead from the national bourgeoisie and fight to turn the national revolution into a socialist revolution.

The armed and political struggle of our people is intensifying against the occupiers’ vile schemes, including their attempts to “Iraqinize” the occupation through divisive political structures based on ethnic and sectarian quotas that aim to shatter the unity of our people and homeland.

The widening struggle calls for the formation of a broad National Front that is capable of leading the country to freedom and democratic reconstruction. It is crucial at this stage to focus on ensuring the basic requirements for building this front, rather than its detailed programs, tactics and organization. Hence the call is all inclusive.

The requirements for establishing the National Front for Liberation and Democratic reconstruction, starting with addressing the obstacles in its way, were discussed at a seminar of Iraqi intellectuals and politicians, some of whom representing the main patriotic movements in Iraq, and others as independent Iraqi activists. [1]

Following a frank, energetic and constructive debate the participants agreed that:

“We aspire to a front that is inclusive of all the patriotic, Islamic and Leftist movements, groups, and individuals in their full spectrum; a front that covers the whole of Iraq’s territory: north, centre and south; a front that represents all the strata and components of our people: Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, and minorities, and aims to guarantee their legitimate aspirations.

In spite of the perceived differences in doctrines and practices; the patriotic forces share wide common grounds, and are increasingly coordinating their work. It is through the development of such coordination that we hope to eventually attain the creation of the desired National Front for Liberation and Democratic reconstruction.

A foremost prerequisite for the formation of the front is resolving antagonisms between the patriotic forces through a bold process of criticism and self-criticism with respect to the mistakes of the past. We need to take steps that lead to developing the national struggle along democratic principles. This self criticism, combined with reevaluation of past practices, should be exercised by all political factions that played a central role in the political sphere in Iraq since the revolution of July 14, 1958, through July 17, 1968 and up to the present time.

Such a process will form the basis for reconciliation amongst all patriotic forces, allowing them to turn a new leaf based on the spirit of forgiveness and common struggle. That in itself is the main defense against international and regional intrigues to fragment our country and people.

A serious and comprehensive review of the past and the desire for rectification will not be achieved by a mere political deal, neither will it be accomplished by a declaration of yet another document of ‘promises and undertakings’. The required challenging process is an intellectual, political as well as a moral struggle that involves both individuals and groups. It is long term struggle, but should, nonetheless, be immediately initiated.

We strive for the unity of our people’s patriotic factions, both in content and methods of struggle. Some patriotic forces have resorted to armed struggle, and some others to non-violent and public resistance methods but do, nonetheless, support the armed resistance against the occupation.

Therefore, it should be acknowledged that the two strands of the struggle, the armed and the political, do complement and strengthen each other, and do need each other. An atmosphere of mutual understanding, and coordination between both types of resistance should prevail. At a later stage, we should aim for a single front for liberation, construction and democratization, encompassing all.

We also believe that the unity of our people mandates extending the dialogue to include factions and personalities whose positions have not yet solidified behind the resistance. We need to bring them closer to actively oppose the occupation and to support the armed resistance.

The rallying call for unity requires daily and continuous effort by leaders of political parties, religious movements and by the intellectuals to guide and educate the rank and file. Such guidance is a means of foiling the attempts to fragment and divide our country. The conditions for the establishment of the National Front are maturing. We should, therefore, enhance this trend through further dialogues, joint activities and coordination among the active participants.

Agreement was reached by all participants who attended this meeting, whether representing their respective parties or independents, to form a Dialogue Committee tasked with accelerating the formulation requirements of the broad National Front.

We hail the patriotic forces that are leading the valiant armed resistance to the occupation, and are hoisting the banner of Iraq high and its soul intact. We hail, too, the other patriotic forces that daily confront one of the most brutal occupiers known in history and are sparing no blood or sacrifice in this historic confrontation.”

Salute to the glorious martyrs of Iraq.

Freedom to Iraqi political detainees and prisoners.

Defeat the Anglo-American occupation.

Victory to our fighting people.

Beirut 29.7.2005

[1] This seminar was convened at the conclusion of ‘The Future of Iraq’ symposium that was held in Beirut, Lebanon during July 25-28. 2005. The symposium was arranged and hosted by the Center of Arab Unity Studies (CAUS), whose participants paid for their travel expenses. (The symposium discussed and finalized documents that may aid the Iraqi government after liberation, including the Constitution, Election laws, Reconstruction, Rebuilding of the Iraqi Army, Oil policy and the Kurdish Autonomy. The list of attendance and the documents are available on the CAUS website http://www.caus.org.lb/arabic/nadwa1.asp in Arabic) 

From Class Struggle 63 Sept/Oct 2005

Cops Attack Anti-war Protest in Auckland

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Trade unionists arrested after peaceful occupation of bank…

Police attacked an anti-war march in Auckland today, arresting four peaceful protesters and injuring several more. The march had been jointly organised by Workers Against the War of Terror and Global Peace and Justice Auckland, and was part of a global day of action against the occupation of Iraq.

Earlier, three hundred protesters had gathered outside the United States consulate, where they burnt the Stars and Stripes and heard news of the anti-war strike being held by dockworkers in San Francisco.

After heading up Queen Street the marchers launched a peaceful occupation of the offices of the ANZ bank. A sound system was brought into the bank, and protesters and ANZ staff heard speeches which described the bank’s role in the carve-up of the Iraqi economy by multinational companies based in the West, a plunder which has brought economic chaos and 70% unemployment to Iraq. A message of solidarity from the Federation of Workers’ Councils and Unemployed of Iraq was read, and an Iranian woman spoke about her opposition to US threats against her country.

After leaving the ANZ, the protesters were regrouping in Queen St when a man drove his ute into their ranks at some speed, knocking several people out of the way before being stopped. The police used this incident as an excuse to launch an attack upon protesters. Without warning, marchers were set upon, and pushed and shoved onto the footpath. When a leader of the protest used the sound system to assert his right to march on the street police arrested him, prompting anger from his comrades and a series of scuffles that lasted half an hour.

The confrontation spilled onto Victoria St West, as the police tried to arrest more marchers. The crowd chanted ‘Police brutality!’ and ‘Go home copper’ as the police threw wild punches and tried to arrest random protesters and even passers by. A number of protesters were freed from police clutches by their comrades, but four ended up in the cells at Auckland Central station, where they were charged with obstruction and assault.

Refusing to disperse, protesters headed back down to the US Consulate, where a series of speakers used an open microphone to denounce the actions of the police. Dave Brown, a spokesman for Workers Against the War of Terror, pointed out the connection between the ANZ occupation and the police attack, noting that ‘As soon as we violate the sanctity of capitalist property in any way, the cops act’.

Speakers from Australia and Scotland recalled similar police actions against anti-war demonstrations in their own countries, and emphasised that the anti-war movement was also a movement in defence of democratic liberties threatened by ‘anti-terrorist’ legislation and the equation of left-wing protest with terrorism.

Another marcher pointed out that at least two of the arrested demonstrators were trade union activists. It is no accident that the trade unions of Iraq are the target of US repression, and that the dockworkers of San Francisco

Everyone disgusted by today’s attack on peaceful protesters should attend the next meeting of Workers Against the War of Terror, which will be held at 2pm, on the second of April, at Grey Lynn Community Centre, 510 Richmond Road. (For more details e mail davebrownz (at) yahoo.com)

Role of Police Violence

Police violence used against those protesting the war in Iraq in Auckland on March 19 was deliberate. It was the response to the success of the protest in entering the ANZ and exposing the truth that this bank profits from the blood shed in two years of imperialist war and occupation of Iraq. As the truth about the link between profits and imperialist war becomes known, we can expect the system to resort to increasing violence.

The actions of the police in Auckland on March 19 cannot be explained by protestors being on the street or footpath, or for that matter standing in the intersection. Many protests in the past have done much more than this and passed without serious incident.

We should see the police actions as deliberate rather than the knee jerk response of some over-excited cops relieved not to be handing out tickets to motorists.

They had half and hour to plan their response to what was the really serious threat to the bosses’ profit system, the fact that the protestors took over the ground floor of the bank where the full facts of the ANZ rotten profiteering in Iraq was exposed, to the workers the public and the media, and yet left when asked by the police without any arrests.

The decision by the police to respond aggressively from that point on was because they had been found wanting, and had not been able to protect the sacrosanct private property rights of the ANZ, one of the four Aussie banks that run NZ’s finance system and profit to the extent of billions a year paying less than 10% tax.

The protest movement had effectively targeted and exposed the fundamental immorality of capitalist profit – that John Howard backed George Bush in sending troops to invade Iraq to recolonise the oil wealth of Iraq, killing over 100,000 and still killing every day, to profit from this plunder. Now Howard and his Aussie capitalist backers are shown up in the full glare of the protestors truth, to be getting their payback, their share in the plunder of imperialist war

The cops did what they get paid for. Try to shut down the protestors from exposing the truth that the ANZ is pocketing part of the blood money of the Iraq war. The way to do this most effectively is to provoke the organisers, pick them off as violently as possible so as to make the rest of us angry and disrupt the protest. This was intended to intimidate the protest movement and close down the exposure of the profit system.

They failed to shut us up or to intimidate us. We were not intimidated. Not only did most of the protestors surround the cops in the attempt to prevent the arrests, those who physically tried to.

In the Court actions CWG will also be saying that this is what the police are paid to do when the property of the ruling class, and the link between profits and war, are publicly revealed. The conclusion we draw is that the more we expose the rotten profit warmongering system, the more violent will be the repression.

Therefore, the working class needs to prepare to defend itself, avoid unnecessary confrontations with the cops, and organise workers to strike against all those corporations that are shown to be profiting from war.

From Class Struggle 60 March-April 2005

Build workers action against the war!

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To mark two years since the US led invasion of Iraq, and the continuing bloody occupation of Iraq, an international day of action on March 19 was called by numerous anti-war groups to demand ‘Troops Out Now!’. In the US the Million Worker March rank and file union activist movement strongly endorsed this call. In solidarity with the MWMM call to get organised labour out on March 19, WAWOT (Workers Against the War of Terror) entered into a united front with GPJA (broad anti-war coalition) to hold a rally at the US Consulate in Auckland and a march to the ANZ Bank in downtown Auckland.

This was the best anti-war march yet. Why? Apart from one spontaneous march of young people who broke away from the main GPJA march on 20 March 2003, and several Muslim organised marches in 2003 and 2004, most rallies in Auckland were aimed at stopping NZ troops going unless sanctioned by the UN (The Labour Party’s position). This time, however, there were two important developments.

First the rally was built by collaboration between GPJA activists who were oriented towards the unions, and by WAWOT which is committed to taking the struggle against imperialist war into the labour movement as the only force capable of defeating imperialism. The overall message of the rally and march was that we cannot rely on any capitalist government to stop war. Rather we have to mobilise the working class to defeat the capitalist class.

Second, the 300 mainly young protestors, after burning the flag outside the US Consulate, went on to occupy the Queen St branch of the ANZ Bank for 30 minutes with a teach-in on the profiteering of the bank in Iraq. While this was partly a propaganda exercise to expose the link between the banks profits and the occupation of Iraq, an important proposal raised at the bank was that the ANZ workers take industrial action to get the owners of the bank to stop profiteering from Iraqi blood money. This was an important step in showing how workers can organise to stop imperialist war.  

From Class Struggle 60 March-April 2005

An action program for the Iraqi workers’ movement

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For the CWG, the FWC statement (below) while correctly calling for a boycott, falls far short of what is necessary to liberate Iraq from imperialist occupation and from the competing national bourgeois factions only interested only in doing deals with imperialism.

The fake elections of January 30th have confirmed the three-way split between Sistani’s United Iraqi Alliance, based on the Shia majority (around 48% of those who voted) the Kurdish Alliance (around 26%) and Allawi’s ex-Barthist mainly Sunni Iraqi List with 14% (only around 2% of Sunnis voted). While all of these factions want the US out, it is only on terms where they can each improve their relative power in ruling Iraq. That means doing deals with the imperialists so that they get a better share of the surplus extracted from the Iraqi masses. To gain the advantage over their rivals they will be permanently fighting each other, using their militias to jockey for power at the expense of the workers.

We give unconditional support to the armed resistance fighting imperialism including attacking the Iraqi National Guard and police who serve the puppet regime. But as communists we know that only an armed, independent working class can win this fight by taking the road to socialism. The workers must organize to assert their leadership of the popular struggle, reject the fake elections and puppet regime of the imperialists, and fight for a popular constituent assembly that represents all the people! For a Leninist-Trotskyist party and revolutionary program!

· Jobs for all on a living wage!
· Immediate public works to rebuild Iraq!
· End of the occupation! No imperialist bases!
· Mercenaries and imperialist corporations out!
· For an emergency national economic plan!
· US and UK reparations to rebuild Iraq!
· For nationalization of industry under workers control!
· For the nationalization of the land and collectivization of agriculture!
· For workers’ councils and workers’ militias!
· For poor farmers councils everywhere!
· For a popular constituent assembly representing all Iraqis!
· For a government of the workers and the poor peasants!
· Victory to Iraq! Defeat Anglo/US imperialism!

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Boycott imperialist election
Statement of Federation of Workers’ Councils and Unions in Iraq

The Iraqi authorities, backed by the occupation forces, declared January 30 2005 the date for the holding of elections, insisting that these would be the first real elections in Iraq for over half a century.

Holding elections to choose one’s political representatives is a basic right. But an election means choosing from among different alternatives. People participating in elections should be well informed about all parties and groups and be able to familiarise themselves with their political programs and policies.

This has not happened in Iraq. Moreover, many territories are under the control of various militias, which prevent their opponents from carrying out any political activity. This means people are unable to find out for themselves the agenda and political programs of each party. Above all most of the political parties and organizations involved in this election have not presented any agendas or programs, but only a few slogans and simple promises.

The candidates submitted by the various political forces in the coming ‘election’ are based on dividing the population on the basis of language, religion, sect and ethnicity. It is intended that the sectarian, ethnic and linguistic differences are to be incorporated in the constitution and become part of each human being’s identity. In this way, Iraqi society is being pushed toward ever deepening religious and ethnic division.

Most important is the fact that this ‘election’ is to take place in a country where there is presently no constitution or legal system. This means the assembly about to be ‘elected’ will create a constitution. This ‘constitution’ will be determined according to the current balance of power and will be framed in the midst of chaos, lack of security, foreign occupation and an absence of civil life.

The masses have been marginalised in the whole political process in society. Therefore workers have no political force which directly represents them in this ‘election’. The only choices available are those which are attempting to divide workers on the basis of sect and ethnicity.

Workers in Iraq should gather around their own objectives and platform and not participate in an ‘election’ where they have no representative. Workers should ignore forces which pose as defenders of the people, but use the deprivation of the people to achieve their objectives and goals.

Let us stand in the forefront of civil resistance to end the occupation in Iraq. Let the will of the Iraqi people be known: to elect their representatives outside of the political equation dictated by the US occupation and pro-occupation forces.

The objectives of workers will only be achieved by the progressive movement of workers who stand in the forefront of the protest movement for civil life, freedom and equality.

From Class Struggle 59 January-February 2005

Labour Party Conference hosts UK Blairite Warmonger Peter Hain

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The following is a report on a demonstration organized by Direct Antiwar Action (Dawa) against the visit of Peter Hain as guest of the NZ Labour Party last November.

Send UK warmonger Peter Hain home!

Protest Sunday 14th at 8-30 am, Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna.

DAWA (Direct Anti-War Action) and other anti-war groups are organising a protest outside the Labour Party Conference, Sunday 8-30 am.
 
Prominent Labour Party Minister and Leader of the House in Blair’s Government, Peter Hain, is due to speak at the Conference at 9 am.

Despite a record as an anti-apartheid activist and founder of the Anti-Nazi League in Britain in the 1970’s Hain is now an apologist for Blair’s invasion of Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein.

NZ Labour is trading on its ‘liberal reputation’ in only supporting the Gulf War UN sanctions during the 1990s to kill half-a-million kids, and not supporting the US-UK led invasion of 2003.

By bringing Hain to address them NZ Labour is showing that it does not care that this man supports the US-UK invasion and that its own refusal to support the invasion was unimportant. It is more interested in using Hain to provide a rationale for its ‘left Blairism’ in NZ.

We reject Labour’s hypocrisy on the war on Iraq that is flaunted in our face by the presence of this British warmonger. Here is a quote from an interview with Hain made earlier in the year:

Peter Hain said:

I certainly stand by my reason for backing the action to get rid of Saddam Hussein. I saw clear evidence from intelligence sources about Saddam’s possession of weapons of mass destruction which the UN itself set out in resolution 1441. And of course he had used chemical weapons against the Iranians and the Kurds. We will have to see the outcome of the Iraq Survey Group but its former head David Kay, whilst acknowledging that he had not discovered militarized chemical weapons, also said in statements to the US congress which were hardly if at all reported, that he was even more shocked at what he found about Saddam’s WMD programs than he had expected and thought it was essential to have got rid of him.

I respect those who disagree with our action in Iraq who included relatives and friends. All I ask is that they and you accept that the government acted honestly in what we genuinely thought and still do, was the best interests of the Iraqi people, the wider region and the whole world.

On the 45-minute claim, the Hutton report confirmed that this had been accurately reported in the dossier. Indeed there was nothing in the dossier that went in against the wishes of the intelligence services. The 45-minute claim played no part in the critical parliamentary debate in March last year which led to a vote authorizing the action in Iraq. It was not relied upon by the PM in his opening speech or referred to by any other MP, so for me it was not a crucial issue. As I’ve said already he had already used WMD on his own people and fired missiles into Kuwait and Israel so we were not dealing with some hypothetical situation. …the inquiry into the leaking of the Hutton report, which I and the rest of the government wholly condemned, is being carried out by Lord Hutton himself fully independent of government. No doubt he will report his findings in due course.”

DAWA (Direct Anti-War Action) FFI ring Keith (09) 8369104

Workers against the War on Terror
Next Meeting: Sat March 5th 4-7pm
Grey Lynn Community Centre
Agenda includes:
· Building rank and file opposition to the War on Terror
· Organising solidarity with the Million Worker March against the war in Iraq on 19th March

Rank and file workers need to organize in the international labour movement to support the workers movement in Iraq to defeat the occupation and demand a Constituent Assembly. No to the WOT! No to attacks on Iran, North Korea! Cuba! Venezuela!

Report on Workers Forum held at Grey Lynn Community Centre 9th December
INTERNATIONAL WEEK OF ACTION AGAINST THE WAR ON TERROR
ORGANISING AGAINST THE WAR ON TERROR IN IRAQ AND IN NEW ZEALAND
ASYLUM FOR AHMED ZAOUI!
SUPPORT THE MOHAMMED ABDUL RAHEEM CAMPAIGN IN SOLIDARITY WITH IRAQI WORKERS!
 
The meeting was hosted by the Communist Workers Group but those present represented a wider range of political positions. This short report is an attempt to summarise the basic concerns expressed and the types of actions needed. Those present on December 9, all active rank and file unionists, or with experience in unions, including: Engineers (EPMU); Maritime and Rail; NDU (Woodies); Service and Food; UNITE! (Waitemata); Association of University Staff (AUS); Association of Staff in Tertiary Education (ASTE)

Organising rank and file workers to take industrial action against the war

IMMEDIATELY Bush was re-elected he invaded and destroyed Fallujah. He authorised the use of napalm and many badly burned bodies have been found. The US ruling class and their front man Bush will stop at no act of barbarism to recolonise Iraq and rip off its oil wealth.

There has been a muted response in the West. Where are the millions who were on the streets in February 2003? The sad fact is that many Western workers are demoralised by Bush’s reelection. They put their hopes in a Vietnam warmonger Kerry to rescue them from Iraq. False hopes!

Time to organise! Begging our leaders to get out of Iraq or to put pressure on Bush and Blair is futile. European Union leaders and Howard and Clark are all sucking up to Bush to get some of the spoils of war, via free trade agreements and more US Yankee dollars. Only the workers can stop the barbarism of the War on Terror from spreading and creating more Iraqs, more Guantanamos and many more victims like Ahmed Zaoui in every country.

Yet all is not lost! In Iraq, despite the treacherous factional leaders who use the masses as cannon fodder while they compete to do deals with the invaders – like the Sunni bosses who ran away from Fallujah leaving their militants to be slaughtered in the US attack – workers are rebuilding the smashed workers organizations.

Unions are forming; workers are defending their jobs arms in hand, and striking against the invaders. They are getting support from the international working class.

In Venezuela, workers have formed an anti-imperialist front to demand that President Chavez stops selling oil to the US to use in its War on Terror military machine. In the US the Million Worker March unionists are organising a week of action against the war from December 3-11. In Aotearoa-NZ it is time that we organised in the unions to get support for the Iraqi trade unionists and in solidarity with international workers actions such as the week of December 3-11.

Communist Workers Group are hosting this forum in solidarity with the Iraqi workers, the Venezuelan anti-imperialist fighters, the US Million Worker March against the war, and workers everywhere who are organising an international workers movement to Defend Iraq and stop imperialist war.

The two main areas of concern and need for activity expressed were:

First, building solidarity in NZ unions for the rebuilding of worker organizations in Iraq including the unemployed and women’s organizations. This does not exclude un-unionised workers; in fact it would make it a priority to unionise all unpaid domestic workers, unemployed workers, beneficiaries, ‘voluntary’ workers, youth, temporary or casual workers, workers forced into self-employment, migrant workers etc and to strive to rebuild the unions on the basis of rank and file democracy.

Second, information and actions that can be taken up by workers against the domestic WOT in NZ in particular the series of repressive laws that restrict basic freedoms to organise politically. It was observed that the NZ government is moving in line with the US to turn the WOT against NZ workers, e.g. restructuring the military and building more jails to deal with working class resistance. 

From Class Struggle 59 January-February 2005