Posh Rats Take To The Lifeboats

That scuttling sound you hear is the scraping of tiny claws as the posh rats take to the lifeboats — poshies and ladies first! Bastion of liberal middle class smugness, the Guardian has declared for the Whigs, claiming “…they are less tied to reactionary and sectional class interests than either of the other parties.” Those ‘reactionary’ ‘sectional’ class interest are presumably those of the majority of ordinary working people, who rely on the sale of their labour power to feed and house themselves. While it is no surprise to us that the Guardian favours a party best described as ‘the Tories without their kicking boots on’ (it was inevitable really considering the Guardian’s readership and political trajectory), this development has caused a minor sensation among people who really should know better.

Meanwhile the snappily named Socialist Campaign to Stop the Tories and Fascists has published an article explaining why socialists shouldn’t vote for the Liberal Democrats, although no socialist could in conscience vote for the LibDems, a party founded on ‘free market’ ideology. Political parties are merely the expressions of class interests. The Liberal Democrats are lash up of the party of snooty country parsons and landed factory owners (who believed they had the right to control every aspect of every waking moment of workers’ and tenants’ lives) and the virulently anti-socialist and anti-worker (former) right wing of the Labour Party. The LibDems are anti-union and anti-labour. Their economics spokesman and supposed grandee Vince Cable is a hard-right laissez-faire capitalist ideologue who has promised to limit workers’ already limited right to strike. If given the opportunity, they will cut harder and deeper than even the Tories. And like the Tories, they believe that your money is better off in the pockets of a few private individuals, rather than being put back into public services. Wherever the LibDems have power, they cut and/or privatise services. Pensioners won’t have to worry about their bus passes — there won’t be any buses for them to catch.

The Liberal Democrats were keen to climb on the Tories risible ‘Labour is the new Militant Tendency’ bandwagon, complaining that the party which grew out of the workers’ movement is — in these post Clause IV times — in thrall to the unions. Would that it were true and Labour had used the past 13 years to undo more of the damage of the Thatcher years.

Those trying to kid themselves that, on balance and despite being a party of business which has promised to attack worker’s wages and conditions and even our right to withdraw our labour, the LibDems are best able to represent the interests of the working class and that they are some sort of force for positive social change, should bear in mind that a central LibDem policy plank is the introduction of an apartheid system for migrants, with leader Nick Clegg going on like a home counties Eugène Terre’Blanche. The Liberal Democrat response to right wing media hysteria about perfidious ‘foreigners’ is to promise not only to be hard on migrants, but to corral migrants into bantustans and subject them to a pass system. We are faced with a curious situation in which people who urge the boycott of Israel on the basis it is an ‘apartheid’ state are at the same time planning to vote for a party which wants to legislate actual apartheid in Britain.

The Liberal Democrats are nothing but the ‘wet’ end of the Tory Party. Their attempts to pass themselves off as ‘progressive’ reformers does nothing to mask the fact that they are the enemy of the working class. Forget what they say — look at what they do when they are in power.

Prospect ‘How To’ Guide To Crossing Picket Lines

Last week, the Prospect trade union circulated a memo to all its members in the Civil Service, advising members to cross PCS picket lines during industrial action over changes to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme:

Working with four other unions, FDA, Unite, GMB and POA, Prospect has come to an agreement on the final changes to the scheme. Prospect members will therefore not be taking industrial action. There may be picket lines at your place of work on each of these days and for any subsequent action. It should be noted that PCS pickets at any place of work will be aimed at PCS grades and are not intended to prevent Prospect members from attending work on these days [...] This means that any Prospect members who decided not to cross a picket line would be in an individually vulnerable position, and in law we cannot advise members to take such action.

This does nothing to negate the PCS hierarchy’s own appalling economism and narrow self-interest. Members of the hierarchy are only interested in safeguarding their own comfortable permananet civil service jobs, cozying up to the bosses and ‘cutting’ little deals with them. Some delegates are uninterested in agency workers and actively discourage them from joining the union.

New Labour has failed to repeal the Tories’ anti-union legislation, but in the event of a Tory government after the May election, the position of workers will deteriorate even further, with attacks on workers’ terms and conditions of employment increasing, as the Tories, with their Victorian workhouse mentality, seek to make the workers pay for the economic and social devastation which are the fruits of Tory policies last time they were in government.

PRC ‘Solidarity’

Xinhua, the official organ of the nominally ‘Marxist’ People’s Republic of China (PRC) has published an article about the race riots in Calabria which calls migrant workers a ‘burden’ and further implies that they are responsible for crime in Italian cities. This is the Chinese Communist Party’s current line on worker solidarity.

Only naive fools and slippery opportunists actually contend that the PRC is ‘Marxist’ or ‘socialist’ in any sense. The PRC was a particularly grotesque deformed workers’ state at its inception and it has evolved into a capitalist military-industrial complex, with a few trappings of ‘Marxism-Leninism’. China is engaged in imperial adventures of its own in Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Zimbabwe and elsewhere, supplying weapons to brutal dictators and warlords and exploiting cheap sweatshop labour in exchange for oil and natural resources; while in China, the state security apparatus relentlessly harasses Africans students and workers. The image of Africans as burdensome criminals serves the Chinese Communist Party’s imperialist agenda, which differs only in detail from the British, French, Portuguese, Belgians and others that went before them. As the Americans like to say: Get some!

The Murderous Rulers Should Not Be Given A Break!

Liberal commentators have promoted Mirhossein Mousavi as the great hope for political reform in Iran, conveniently omitting to mention that he was Prime Minister during the 1988 massacre of 30,000 members of, or symathisers with, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, and represents more of the same repression. The Worker-communist Party of Iran has released the following statement.

The message of Hamid Taqvai, leader of Worker-communist Party of Iran, addressed to the people in Iran

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Do not give the murderous rulers a break!

Freedom-loving people!

The election charade ended and the fact incessantly emphasized by our party has now appeared naked to all eyes: the regime of Islamic Republic neither bears free and fair elections nor is reformable. It must be totally overthrown. What we are currently witnessing is not any election aftershock but the death tremors of the regime. It is the death crisis of the regime in its entirety which appears as its domestic faction fightings. Do not let the murderous rulers flee out of the present harm’s way!

People!

The ranks of the regime have never been so jumbled and muddled. The Khamenei-Ahmadinejad gang has resolved on crushing and stamping out the opposite gangs. It imagines that it can rely on its forces of suppression and, indeed, the whole state machinery under its control, in order to both see through this internal surgery and, at the same time, to intimidate the society as a whole, that is, to beat back your nascent struggles aimed at the complete overthrow of this wicked government. It is, however, sheer self-delusion on its part. This is no June 20th, 1981, the starting point of clamping down the revolution. This is no summer of 1988 when, immediately after the conclusion of Iran-Iraq war, thousands of political prisoners were massacred in order to intimidate the people at large. This is no July 9th, 1999, when the people rose up on a massive scale demanding freedom of expression. Today the Islamic regime is too desperate, too corrupt and too rotten to be able to hold off the current wave of protests across the nation. The murderous rulers should not be given a break!

Hamid Taqvai

Secretary of the Central Committee of Worker-communist Party of Iran.

June 13, 2009

Iran: Two Workers Flogged For Taking Part In May Day

An update from the Worker-communist Party of Iran

On Wednesday 18th February, two women workers were flogged, following their conviction by a court in Sanandaj for taking part in last year’s May Day celebrations. Susan Razani received a 9 months’ suspended sentence and 70 lashes and Shiva Kheir Abadi 3 years’ suspended sentence and 15 lashes.

Two other workers in the same case, namely Abdullah Khani and Seyyed Ghaleb Hosseini, have been sentenced to 91 days’ prison and 40 lashes and 6 months’ prison and 40 lashes each, respectively.

Last year the regime in Iran carried out flogging sentences on four other workers also for taking part in May Day rallies, precipitating widespread condemnations and protests in Iran and internationally.

The floggings are part of an ongoing persecution of labour activists, amid worker protests over pay and conditions and the right to freely organise and strike. On Sunday 15th Feb leading unionist Taha Azadi, who is on the executive board of the Free Union of Workers in Iran, appeared before a court in Cangan on charges of ‘acts against national security’ and ‘publicity against the system’. Mr Azadi was arrested last year for taking part in a May Day rally in the industrial zone of Asalouyeh and has already spent 47 days in prison. The court has deferred announcement of its decision and sentencing to a later date.

In the mean time, five leading members of the Union of Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane Workers by the names of Ramazan Alipour, Fereydoun Nikoufard, Ali Nejati, Jalil Ahmadi and Mohammad Heydari have been summoned to appear before a court in Dezfoul on charges of setting up the sugar cane workers’ union.

A number of other well-known worker activists are under persecution for taking part in strikes and/or other labour activities. Six leading members of the Union of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, namely, Ata Babakhani, Saeed Torabian, Abbas Najand-Kouhi, Ali Zadeh Hossein, Davoud Razavi and Yaghoub Salimi, have been sentenced to 6 to 14 months’ prison for taking part in the 2006 strike, while Mansoor Ossanlou and Ebrahim Madadi remain in prison. Teacher activist Farzad Kamangar has been sentenced to death and scores of students have been imprisoned for protesting against repression and gender-segregation.

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The International Labour Solidarity Committee of WPI requests labour and human rights organisations and individuals around the world to condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the outrageous flogging of workers by the regime in Iran and to call for the immediate and unconditional release of all those detained. Please send your letters of protest to the following offices of the Islamic Republic, with copies to us:

Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei
Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street
Shahid Keshvar Doust Street
Tehran , Iran
Email: info@leader.ir

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Presidency
Palestine Avenue
Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran , Iran
Email: dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir

Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Office of the Head of the Judiciary
Pasteur St. , Vali Asr Ave
South of Serah-e Jomhouri,
Tehran , Iran
Email: info@dadgostary-tehran.ir