Lugh Ildánach reacted to Fodla32 in 12,000 US Troops to be sent to Libya?
Hasn't happened yet, but there have been serious clashes all week between the rat gangs themselves. Even if there wasn't any Green Resistance, Nato must be very concerned about the way things are going there. If they send in those troops, the whole dynamic will change, and the situation will become very clearly focused as a war between the Resistance and the foreign invaders. We saw in Afghanistan that thousands of fighters, who had fought the Taliban when the US first invaded, went over to the Taliban once the reality of Anglo-Saxon occupation became clear to them. I'm sure we will see the same situation in Libya if the Yanks are foolish enough to send in an overt occupation force.
Lugh Ildánach reacted to HolgerMeins in More than a thousand families left homeless by demolition in San Juan, Philippines
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) condemns the Aquino government for using extreme violence in the demolition of the residential homes in Barangay Corazon de Jesus, San Juan yesterday. Armed with automatic rifles, truncheons and teargas and backed with heavy machinery, the Philippine National Police and demolition crew attacked the community and broke the barricades put up by the residents.
The CPP congratulates the residents for valiantly fighting back. Aarmed only with stones, bottles and molotov cocktails, they engaged the state forces in a lopsided battle to defend their homes. They exhibited great courage and determination and collectively defied plans of the Aquino government to uproot them from their homes and dump them to a so-called relocation site far away from their jobs, schools and sources of livelihood.
The Aquino regime may have succeeded in its drive to demolish the urban poor homes in San Juan in order to pave the way for the plans of big real estate developers to erect commercial buildings. But in doing so, it also succeeded in projecting its antipeople character and further isolating itself from the broad masses of the people. In employing extreme violence, the Aquino regime is pushing more and more people to the side of resistance and teaching them a valuable lesson in class struggle.
There are bound to be more attacks against the urban poor’s right to decent housing as the regime seeks to clear prime real estate for the use of its big business friends under the its Public-Private Partnership Program (PPPP).
The masses of workers, unemployed and lower petty bourgeoisie who populate urban poor communities have no choice but to organize and rise up against future demolitions under the Aquino regime.
Lugh Ildánach got a reaction from Fodla32 in RSF: Israel passes law tantamount to Internment
There is already of course internment in the West Bank, where the Israeli authorities can detain people for up to 90 days in administrative detention, and detention can be renewed an indefinite number of times.
Lugh Ildánach reacted to Fodla32 in Egypt's Revolutionary Socialists Condemn Muslim Brotherhood Counter-Revolutionaries
Statement by Egypt's Revolutionary Socialists
December 27, 2011 2:13 pm CST
An important strategy statement from the
in Egypt. The RS have been targeted by the military regime, but they have organized impressive support and a lawsuit brought against them by a Muslim Brotherhood lawyer has been dropped. More analysis of the Egyptian revolution here. --PGFollow Critical Reading on Twitter: @CriticalReading.
Egypt on the road of revolution
The Egyptian revolution is passing through an extremely dangerous period which is full of possibilities. On the one hand, there are the relentless attempts by the counterrevolution to abort the revolution by igniting sectarian conflict and creating a state of panic and insecurity to divert the masses from the revolution and to prepare the ideological and practical ground for an organized retaliatory attack on the mass movement by the thugs, police and army.
The economic crisis is playing a contradictory role in that it both pushes sections of the masses to protest, occupy and strike, while simultaneously pushing other sections of the masses into the arms of the counter-revolution and its propaganda tools through the logic of the argument that it is the revolution itself which is the cause of chaos and economic crisis.
A second factor at work during this critical moment is the role of Islamist and liberal reformist political forces which are straining to contain the revolution within the limits of formalistic democracy. These forces believe that they are due a greater share of power and wealth without disturbing the old economic and social system. So on the one hand they flirt with the military council and the remnants of the old regime, and make promises about their ability to contain and terminate the mass movement politically, as they cannot deliver this by repression. On the other hand, these forces try to deceive the masses with lying promises about their ability to meet the masses’ aspirations and demands through the old parliament.
The third factor is of course the mass movement itself, with the workers’ movement in the vanguard and around it the protest movements of the poor and oppressed which have continued from the beginning of the revolution, and reached an unprecedented level during the months of September and October with a wave of mass strikes by 700,000 workers for the first time in Egypt’s modern history. In addition there were unprecedented demonstrations and sit-ins by poor Coptic Christians, Nubians, the people of Sinai and other sections of society which have suffered decades of organised oppression from the regime.
At this moment we can see three fundamental sets of forces at work (although this is a rather simplified picture): firstly the forces of counter-revolution, headed by the military council, business leaders and the remnants of the regime’s security apparatus are working hard in preparation for large-scale armed attacks on the revolutionary mass movement in order to re-establish the old regime with some superficial changes.
Secondly we have the forces which were opposed to the old regime, headed by the Muslim Brotherhood, which want to contain and abort the revolution through parliament, and which are relying on their ability and experience in organisation, and on their wide base of mass support. The third set of forces are the forces for continuing and deepening the revolution and transforming it into a complete social revolution, at the head of which is the rising workers’ movement which has demonstrated a degree of hardness, militancy and consciousness which is not only terrified the Egyptian bourgeoisie, but also the global bourgeoisie (see reports in major newspapers around the world about the danger posed by the Egyptian workers’ movement to global stability).
In the current phase of the Egyptian revolution these forces are counter-balanced. The cracks in the forces of counter-revolution and the state apparatus in general are growing deeper and more difficult to repair in the foreseeable future. The revolution of the Egyptian masses has dealt that apparatus a blow from which it has been difficult to recover. The regime is still standing, but it is weak and its leaders are suffering from a state of paralysis, fear, hesitation and disintegration. (Examples of this can be seen in the chaos in the police, the strikes by the police corporals, the state of terror among the leaders of the army over the possibility of a split in their ranks and the paralysis of the judiciary in the face of demands for ‘cleansing’ the institution and strikes by lawyers). To this can be added the pressure of the economic crisis, despite the regime’s attempt to use the crisis for propaganda purposes to stir up hostility in the ranks of the middle class and the marginalized towards the revolution. The regime’s fragility increases day by day.
There have of course been attempts over the last few months by the military council and the forces of counter-revolution to take the initiative and go over to a direct attack, such as the Maspero massacre, the arrests of activists, the escalating media and propaganda campaigns against the revolutionary forces, including against the workers’ movement and strikes. Naturally the military council and the remnants of the old regime are using the period of the elections to work extensively on the fragmentation of the opposition forces and to open the way for deals and the return (even if in a limited way) of the National Democratic Party as a basic player in the parliamentary arena, especially in Upper Egypt and other areas which have been touched the least by the earthquake of the Egyptian revolution.
These developments represent a threat to the Egyptian revolution, but it is important to put them in perspective. The ruling council is not capable at the present time of organising wide scale, direct attacks on the revolutionary forces, and especially on the working class and the poor. The confidence and militancy which the Egyptian masses have gained in the course of their revolution can not easily be crushed. A direct confrontation between the army and the masses at this moment would risk a split in the army, the collapse of the counter-revolutionary project and even the fall of the military council itself.
This is where the role of the elections and the reformist political forces comes in. The military council needs an intermediary which has a degree of legitimacy on the Egyptian street, which is able to absorb the anger of the masses with promises of reform and change. From the point of view of the military council this is the role of the coming parliamentary drama, and it is on this basis it has made and will make concessions to the political parties of the bourgeoisie and the petit-bourgeoisie, headed by the Muslim Brotherhood. It is not in the interests of the military council to cancel the elections at this time.
Perhaps the events of 18 November provide the clearest indication of the contradictions of the current moment. Despite the deals between the forces of the reformist opposition headed by the Muslim Brotherhood and the military council, there are crises brewing over the division of power between the Brotherhood who will sweep the polls and the continuation of the exceptional powers and economic privileges of the army and the dominant group of businessmen who were and remain part of the old regime, or rather its heart. This appeared clearly in the document presented by Ali Selmi, which guaranteed these exceptional powers would render the incoming parliament’s authority a mere formality and leave the army and the old regime to dominate. The Brotherhood had no choice but to organise a broad political mobilisation in order to try and weaken these guarantees, and thus it joined the wide political mobilisation for 18 November. But a mobilisation on this scale meant igniting the revolutionary anger in general. The popular protest movement which exploded in the wake of attacks on some of those injured in the revolution and the families of the martyrs, escalating into violent confrontations in Muhammad Mahmoud Street with the fall of dozens of martyrs and hundreds of wounded, confirmed to the Islamists and the military that the revolutionary anger was not under control. So the elections took place in order to delegitimize revolutionary protests and transfer legitimacy to the parliament which the Islamists won, even though they are open to negotiations, manoeuvres and to offering compromises in order to send a succession of reassuring messages to the West. And who among us can forget that the Islamists sat with Omar Suleiman during the revolution to negotiate, or their role in the attacks on workers’ strikes for their rights after the revolution, or the military council’s use of Salafi sheikhs to ‘solve’ fabricated sectarian problems, and the support they gave to the military council in order to pass the constitutional amendments, and their refusal to participate in the ‘Second Friday of Anger’ protests in May and the two sit-ins of 8 July and 19 November. It was ridiculous to think that the military would leave power and hand the management of the country to the Islamists easily, as it does not only defend the interests of the politically defeated layer of businessmen and investors who controlled the country’s economy like a cancer during the Mubarak era, because the military is also defending its own direct economic interests which lie in managing those sectors of the economy it controls without any popular oversight and which account for around 30% of the national economy including farms, factories, hotels, where young soldiers are forced to work for nothing, in addition to the billions in the arms budgets and revenue from foreign aid.
However, it is to be expected that consensus will emerge between the military council, some of the liberal forces which have agreed to participate in the purely decorative ‘Advisory Council’ [set up by the military council], and the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists on the Islamist side. The aim to ensure that all these forces will get a slice of the cake — so long as the situation remains counter-balanced as we indicated above — without the need to call on the masses, who gave the liberals and the Islamists a lesson in November that they are out of control and that their protests are capable of developing into demands to overthrow the military council itself.
As for the forces in favour of continuing and deepening the revolution, they have a lot of work to do in terms of developing as a movement. We can attempt to sketch a picture of the forces of the revolution — although there will inevitably be errors in it — as divided into three principal blocs. The first of these is the youth of the slums and the marginalized and the unemployed, joined by the Ultras [organised football fans] and many independent youth and anarchists. Some of them participated in the revolution from the outset, and they account for most of the martyrs and the injured. They have sought revenge directly on the military council and the police and imposed their presence strongly in the battles of 28 June and Mohammed Mahmoud Street, as well as during the sit-ins of 8 July and 19 November. They represent a model of revolutionary courage and have directly called for the downfall of military rule, the cleansing of the police, an end to military trials and for the rights of the families of the martyrs and the injured. However, they have failed to raise social demands, or even to offer solidarity with workers’ protests such as the transport workers’ strike or the teachers’ strike.
The second bloc among the revolutionary forces has at its heart the core sections of the Egyptian working class, professionals and the independent unions, which have fought a large number of battles since 2006, and has gained much experience of protest culminating in the battle of the revolution, when it directed the death blow to Mubarak in February. It has continued its protests, which reached a peak in the strikes of the bus workers, the teachers, the Egypt Telecom workers and the doctors, as well as hundreds of other protests which carry in their womb the seeds of the general strike. However its birth has been aborted by the absence of a revolutionary workers’ organisation and the absence of demands which link the social and the political, in addition to keeping this bloc distant from organised participation in the repeated political demonstrations and sit-ins against military rule.
The third bloc consists of the different revolutionary groups, ranging from radical democrats who adopt social demands to the socialist left which have seen since the 8 July sit-in a period of effective political and organisational co-ordination. Most of these movements have been able to win hundreds of new members and have exploited the situation of political fluidity to grow significantly. However they remain relatively marginal to the political scene, lacking the ability to propose initiatives which rally wider forces, despite their participation in the leadership and development of the November sit-in and their support for workers’ and professionals’ strikes and sit-ins.
Thus the problem is how the revolutionary groups can succeed in building a social programme which transforms the slogan of social justice adopted by the revolution — and which sets them apart from the liberals and the Islamists — into concrete, practical steps linked to wages, prices, rights to housing, health, education and employment, in turn connecting the achievement of this programme with the presence of a revolutionary government in power.
Although the Islamists (and particularly the Brotherhood) have developed their electoral programme through the addition of demands for the setting of minimum and maximum wages and progressive taxation, the Brotherhood’s previous position on social issues confirms that it is using these demands for consumption by the electorate. It is well known that the leaders of the Brotherhood have huge economic investments and that they failed to oppose any neo-liberal policies during the Mubarak era, and they defended the agrarian reforms which ended protection on rents for peasant farmers, and strongly attacked workers’ strikes since the January revolution (as their stance on the teachers’ strike shows). Nor did they engage in any political battles with the system over social rights, wages, unemployment or against the liquidation of the national economy through the privatisation programme. They also affirm their complete support for free market policies in their repeated reassuring messages to the US, the West and the Gulf states.
Moreover, the severe economic crisis in Egypt and on a global scale represents a challenge which means that any attempts by a government to adopt liberal economic policies at the present time will fail. Egypt’s currency reserves are dwindling, investments have stopped and tourism will be sorely affected by the rise of the Salafists. The global economy which has experienced severe blows across much of Southern Europe as a result of the austerity policies adopted by governments there, is unable to extend a helping hand to crisis-wracked capitalism in Egypt. Nor will there be relief for Egyptian capitalists from the Gulf states to the East which have seen the fire of revolution lit on their outskirts in Yemen and Bahrain.
Therefore in order to bring the revolution to victory, it is necessary to fight for the following:
1. To build a revolutionary socialist party rooted in the ranks of the workers, peasants and students, capable of leading the masses to victory. Therefore we call on Egyptian revolutionaries among the students and workers to join the Revolutionary Socialists who are in the midst of the struggle of the revolutionaries in the Tahrir Squares across the country, in the factories, and on the university campuses, to achieve the goals of the revolution - bread, freedom and social justice — through the elimination of the society of tyranny, exploitation and poverty and the building of a socialist society which raises the watchwords of freedom and justice on its banners.
2. To construct a revolutionary front with a political programme which adopts the issue of social justice and fights for a united perspective across local neighbourhoods, factories, trade unions, villages and university campuses in favour of continuing the revolution in the street, and which fuses with sections of the working class, the independent unions and professional groups in order to develop their protests and give them the political dimension of seeking the downfall of the coalition between the military and the merchants of religion and to expose the opposition to the political, social and economic rights of all wage-earners and poor peasants which lies at its heart.
3. To struggle with the poor, the marginalised and the families of the martyrs and the injured to win their rights and to link their political demands for the downfall of military rule and their sit-ins and protests with the social and economic demands which require a revolutionary government to achieve them.
The connection between the economic and the political is extremely important. The enforcement of the economic demand to set minimum and maximum wages cannot be achieved without a direct political confrontation with the capitalist ruling class and the military council as a result of the contradiction between the interests of the state and its institutions which serve the ruling class and those of the exploited masses.
Finally, the slogan ‘power and wealth to the people’ that we have adopted, must be translated into a radical programme which becomes a weapon to pressurize the tottering regime and puts the parliament which aims to abort the revolution under popular siege from the first day, in order to expose the games of religious polarization which they are playing, and which affirms the essential social conflict and contradiction between Capital one the one hand (whether it is wearing a cloak and robes or not) and the working class and popular masses on the other.
It is a revolution until victory.
The Revolutionary Socialists
Lugh Ildánach reacted to Fodla32 in Qatar: An Apartheid State
Qatar is a country where less than 20% of the population are native. The rest are foreign workers. These foreign workers actually make up 94% of the workforce. These workers are the real life of Qatar. The fat, lazy, so called natives, simply parasite off the oil. If these workers were treated as human beings, things wouldn't be so bad - but they aren't. They are treated just the same as the majority in South Africa were treated in the Apartheid Regime - with distinctly segregated areas for the workers and the parasites. Needless to say, only the parasites have any voting rights. Here is an article which highlights the behaviour of this disgustion apartheid regime:
Modern Slavery: The Plight of Foreign Workers in Qatar
Like this article33
JBy J Ocean Dennie
Jan 27, 2011 in World
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It goes without saying that Qatar's economy and entire way of life depends heavily on the efforts of foreign workers. Less known, however, are the abuses and rights violations these workers are increasingly subject to. Sadly, no resolution is in sight.
According to 2009 figures from the Qatar Statistics Authority, an astonishing 94 percent of the workforce is non-Qatari. Most of these non-Qatari workers originate from developing countries such as Nepal, India and the Philippines. In recent years, numerous accounts have surfaced of migrant workers subjected to abuse and ill-treatment by their employers. The list of grievances, according to Human Rights Watch, includes complaints of “unpaid wages, excessive working hours, heavy debt burdens from exorbitant recruitment fees, isolation and forced confinement resulting in physical and psychological abuse.”
The situation can turn desperate when workers take matters into their own hands, with reports of suicide and murder, and as reported by Amnesty International some 20,000 migrant workers in 2007 simply running away from their employers. Of the almost 1.2 million documented migrant workers currently employed in Qatar, it is difficult to approximate the full extent of employee mistreatment within this sizable labor force since there is a culture of silence and fear in reporting abuses. Of the cases that do leak out into the media, however, ranging from physical assaults of domestic workers or mental abuse afflicted upon newcomers who are unaware of their rights to generalized conditions akin to slavery, there is definitely some cause for concern, that, given the tremendous wealth at stake, has gone virtually unheeded within Qatar itself.
The underlying causes that have contributed to this situation are similarly difficult to delineate with any degree of accuracy, however, certain trends can be extrapolated and offered forth as factors. Implicit in these factors are quite obvious differences between employer and employee involving national identity, class and language. Laborers hired through recruitment agencies in other countries such as Bangladesh or Nepal, arrive in Qatar with very little understanding of the culture or labor rights in the country.
These workers usually originate from uneducated and impoverished classes, lured by desperation into working abroad in order to improve their lives and support family members back home. There is a tremendous sense of honor in accepting such employment abroad. This can be compounded by severe pride where workers frequently lie to their families about their living conditions. With that comes an awful degree of pressure to continue with unfavorable circumstances rather than facing the defeat of returning home empty-handed. Again, this culture of fear is driven by a lack of knowledge on available legal rights, remedies and redress. Workers are often afraid to even raise issues of employer wrongdoing, for in the words of one such laborer, the “company will take action…if they hear I’m talking”, while another worker echoed his concern: “If we make a mistake, we get sent back.”
In addition to inherent difficulties in adapting to a new language, class and cultural conditions, the plights of migrant workers are often exacerbated by the exploitative business practices of recruitment agencies. Grandiose guarantees made in their home countries are often broken when recruiting agents compel workers upon arrival to sign new contracts in a foreign language for much lower wages than pledged back home. Poorly monitored labor recruitment agencies also often overcharge migrant workers, leaving them heavily indebted. Compounding such devious tactics is the frequent practice of Qatari employers who confiscate the passports of non-Qatari workers upon arrival. Since most of the migrant workers arriving in Qatar have never engaged in such an arrangement abroad, they are often unaware of their rights in another country or choose not to exercise them when abuses or wrongdoing takes place. Recourse to state institutions are limited.
Although the National Human Rights Committee has been established to promote human rights within the country and deal with violations, their resources are limited and their services not well publicized. According to Qatari labor law, complaints can be filed with the Labor Department but few such cases ever make it very far. Human rights advocacy groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International do not have a strong presence within the country. The Solidarity Centre, affiliated with the AFL-CIO, partners with the National Human Rights Committee to “advance basic rights at work for migrant and Qatari workers through capacity-building programs and cross-border exchanges”.
The key is to raise awareness among migrant worker population of the availability of such support, limited as it may be. The question, beyond the scope of the paper unfortunately, is how to effectuate a wider dissemination of knowledge in a legal system that does not afford many rights to the foreign laborer. The status of migrant workers under Qatari legislation, including both labor and human rights law is not dissimilar to the status afforded illegal aliens. Labor laws offer little protection because of lax enforcement, while foreign embassies of developing countries do little besides offer refuge to their nationals, for fear of jeopardizing the flow of remittances workers send to their families back home.
Labor laws in these states are usually in favor of protecting the employer who is a citizen of the state rather than the foreigner who is not, which leaves the treatment and well being of these workers to the will of the employer. What contributes to this employer-biased mindset is that many labor-receiving countries such as Qatar end up tying migrant visas to their employers, making it all but impossible to switch employers when they experience abuse.
These countries also exclude domestic workers from the labor laws, leaving them open to abuse with few avenues for redress. This oppressive system is referred to as 'kafala'. Several Gulf states, including Qatar, have developed and instituted a worker sponsorship system which defines the legal basis for residency and employment of migrant workers. This system was designed to enable the government to regulate labor flow and requires that, in order for migrant workers to receive an entry visa and a residence permit, they have to be employed by either a Qatari citizen or institution .
The sponsor then assumes full economic and legal responsibility for the employee during the contract period. The migrant worker can only work for the original sponsor and once the contract is terminated, the employee must leave the country immediately, otherwise, workers are required to obtain the permission of their sponsors in order to leave the country. In addressing this injustice, Human Rights Watch has called for the reformation of the kafala visa system arguing that “employment visas that tie workers to their employers make it difficult for workers to change employers, even in cases of abuse...workers’ visas should not be linked to employers."
Also included in their recommendations was a call to “ensure that migrants have access to justice and support services. Migrants who suffer abuse should have access to shelter, legal aid, medical care, and temporary residence status. Governments should ensure speedy and transparent mechanisms to resolve wage disputes, and they must prosecute cases of abuse against migrants through the criminal justice system.” The legal rights and remedies available to migrant workers are extremely limited and outlined in Qatar's Labour Law of 2004. At present, there is no comprehensive Human Rights Code protection as exists in most Western nations.
Domestic labor law clearly favors the employer but does generally provide that an “employer shall undertake to enable the worker to perform the work and to provide him with all things necessary therefore” under Article 44 of the Labour Law while Article 45 states that an “employer may not ask the worker to perform other than the work agreed upon unless necessity so requires”. Under Article 51, the worker is entitled to terminate the contract before its expiry but only under very limited circumstances. Appeal provisions are similarly limited, requiring the employee, before recourse to a Department of Labor tribunal, to first lodge an appeal with the employer. (Article 64)
If a dismissal is deemed in violation of the law, the Department can either annul the dismissal, order the worker to return to work and payment of his wages for the period he was not allowed to work or payment of a suitable compensation. There is no mention in the legislation of the possibility of awarding further damages to the worker. Employers are also responsible under Article 103 for taking “measures capable of securing the hygiene and good ventilation in the places of work”, however, this provision does not extend to the living quarters of migrant workers which have been described as “shocking”. And while Article 118 provides for the establishment of unions referred to as 'Workers Organizations' authorized to take “care of the interests of their members and protection of their rights and their representation in all matters related to the affairs of the work”, The Georgetown Voice noted, however, there are no unions or strikes in the country. Organizers of strikes are summarily deported.
Clearly, as human rights groups have called for, Qatar has an international obligation under I.L.O Convention No.111 which it ratified in 1976 that deals with employment discrimination, affirming that all human beings, regardless of race, creed or sex are entitled to an environment of freedom, dignity, economic security and equal opportunity . In stark contrast, however, Qatar has yet to ratify convention No.143 that deals with the rights of migrant workers. On the more pressing question, however, of Qatar revamping or even abolishing the kafala system, progress looks grim. According to Migrant Rights, it appears the Qatari Chamber of Commerce has successfully lobbied government to retain this unjust facet of Qatari labor law, despite condemnation that it is outdated, unfair and contributes to the abuse of the rights of migrant workers.
At the very least, as suggested in Qatar's newspaper The Peninsula, the situation calls for “waging an awareness campaign by local media with the government's backing to convince companies to provide better wages and safe and hygienic living and working conditions”. Ordinarily, one might expect that Qatar would be a vanguard when it comes to these issues in the Middle East. In recent years, the country has attempted to champion itself as a progressive state, promoting liberal values. If there is to be any alleviation of the plight of migrant workers in the country, the government must recognize the inconsistency of these unjust policies with the image they are attempting to espouse abroad. Unfortunately, it seems that until there is a surge of domestic or international pressure there is very little the government will do to address this crisis.
Read more: http://digitaljourna...6#ixzz1jOIbfJnS
Lugh Ildánach reacted to nico in Frankie Boyle letter about BBC in full
Excellent article here from Scotland's outspoken comedian "Frankie Boyle" on BBC censorship and the Palestinian cause.
Frankie Boyle letter about BBC in full
Frankie Boyle, the comedian, has written an open letter criticising the BBC governing body's ''cowardly rebuke'' of his jokes about the Palestinian territories. Here it is in full:
Obviously, it feels strange to be on the moral high ground but I feel a response is required to the BBC Trust's cowardly rebuke of my jokes about Palestine.
As always, I heard nothing from the BBC but read in a newspaper that editorial procedures would be tightened further to stop jokes with anything at all to say getting past the censors.
In case you missed it, the jokes in question are:
"I've been studying Israeli Army Martial Arts. I now know 16 ways to kick a Palestinian woman in the back.
"People think that the Middle East is very complex but I have an analogy that sums it up quite well.
"If you imagine that Palestine is a big cake, well... that cake is being punched to pieces by a very angry Jew."
I think the problem here is that the show's producers will have thought that Israel, an aggressive, terrorist state with a nuclear arsenal was an appropriate target for satire.
The Trust's ruling is essentially a note from their line managers.
It says that if you imagine that a state busily going about the destruction of an entire people is fair game, you are mistaken. Israel is out of bounds.
The BBC refused to broadcast a humanitarian appeal in 2009 to help residents of Gaza rebuild their homes.
It's tragic for such a great institution but it is now cravenly afraid of giving offence and vulnerable to any kind of well drilled lobbying.
I told the jokes on a Radio 4 show called "Political Animal". That title seems to promise provocative comedy with a point of view.
In practice the BBC wish to deliver the flavour of political comedy with none of the content.
The most recent offering I saw was BBC2's "The Bubble".
It looked exactly like a show where funny people sat around and did jokes about the news.
Except the thrust of the format was that nobody had read the papers.
I can only imagine how the head of the BBC Trust must have looked watching that, grinning like Gordon Brown having his prostate examined.
The situation in Palestine seems to be, in essence, apartheid.
I grew up with the anti apartheid thing being a huge focus of debate.
It really seemed to matter to everybody that other human beings were being treated in that way.
We didn't just talk about it, we did things, I remember boycotts and marches and demos all being held because we couldn't bear that people were being treated like that.
A few years ago I watched a documentary about life in Palestine.
There's a section where a UN dignitary of some kind comes to do a photo opportunity outside a new hospital.
The staff know that it communicates nothing of the real desperation of their position, so they trick her into a side ward on her way out.
She ends up in a room with a child who the doctors explain is in a critical condition because they don't have the supplies to keep treating him.
She flounders, awkwardly caught in the bleak reality of the room, mouthing platitudes over a dying boy.
The filmmaker asks one of the doctors what they think the stunt will have achieved.
He is suddenly angry, perhaps having just felt at first hand something he knew in the abstract. The indifference of the world.
"She will do nothing," he says to the filmmaker. Then he looks into the camera and says: "Neither will you".
I cried at that and promised myself that I would do something.
Other than write a few stupid jokes I have not done anything.
Neither have you.
Lugh Ildánach got a reaction from Fodla32 in Irish Socialists Must Adopt a Land Nationalisation Policy
Of course, along with a grander land nationalisation policy, socialists must also engage in co-operative/collective activity in their daily life. We cannot preach land nationalisation if we fail to change anything in our own lives and continue to live isolated atomised lives.
Lugh Ildánach got a reaction from Fodla32 in Irish Socialists Must Adopt a Land Nationalisation Policy
Even if nothing else were to be immediately changed/reformed, land nationalisation would be an amazingly transformative process.
All economic activity is rooted ultimately in land ownership, although the more and more increasingy complex forms of some forms of work do sometimes appear to be divorced from it, but the line can be traced back to the land if you think about it. The most obvious implication for most businesses is the issue of rent. Even the current Free State government recognise that the rent regime in its exact form is curtailing economic activity. Essentially they recognise the contradiction that capitalism presents. They also recognise that their own position of power is inextricably linked to the dominance of private property rights, and therefore are not prepared to tinker with it.
Lugh Ildánach reacted to Fodla32 in Charity - Good or Bad?
I think its certainly going to happen, as the Western powers are now engaged in a new Scramble for Africa, to refil their bankrupt coffers - precisely as they did after the 1873 financial collapse. This will be a genocidal re-conquest, which will certainly result in many Revolutionary Movements being established to resist.
Lugh Ildánach reacted to Fodla32 in Mná an IRA – Dearcadh ar Leith
No, I didnt, because the music was quite loud, I just spoke about this program. She didnt seem to be very satisfied with it, but I said that she had done very well - and I think she did. She certainly put the class element to the fore - which is something that PSF very rarely does.
Lugh Ildánach reacted to Fodla32 in Mná an IRA – Dearcadh ar Leith
Thats very true. Of course, the film makers feel the have to cover their backs, or they might find this is the last work they ever do for Irish TV - so they devote half of the program to idiots who will slander Republicanism for them. Even so, we had the usual suspects in the Sindo screaming their heads off that this series was even made. The very sight of Irish Republicans on TV is enough to give these chronic West Brits an apopleptic fit.
Lugh Ildánach got a reaction from Fodla32 in Mná an IRA – Dearcadh ar Leith
I wasn't particularly impressed with the episode on either of the first two episodes. While the personal contributions from the women themselves was interesting there was very little insight from the other contributors. They were all from a conflicting perspective from the subjects themselves, which in itself is not objectionable, but appeared to be more interested in justifying their own position than shedding light onto the subjects.
Lugh Ildánach reacted in Any ideas for the forum?
also - the amount of 'dead threads' on Republican.ie is remarkable. Stories that are simply lifted from newspapers and are thrown up for seemingly little reason. I think the benefit of this forum should be quality over quantity, so if people are putting up a link from a news story there ought to be an onus on them to create debate around the story and get people to think about it and discuss some of the small points on it, by posing questions or making a statement in the OP. And if it is a story that everybody will be agreeing with in general then the OP should be made to make a few remarks on it showing why they are opposed/in favour of it from a socialist perspective.
Also - the amount of threads on Republican.ie which descend into pure gossip and pub talk - take the example of "we could have killed the Queen" thread. Why and how is that still running? and more importantly what does it contribute to people's education in socialism or republicanism? the answer of course is nothing. I think that if you're going to spend time on an internet forum it should be in arming yourself with the theoretical tools and discussing how to apply practical revolutionary processes to real life (the founders of this forum clearly realise this!). I think that curbing these gossip threads around what some bloke in the Reals ate for his breakfast yesterday or what time he took a shit at last Saturday would go a long way to realising the potential of this forum!
Lugh Ildánach reacted to Cúchonnacht Ó Dálaigh in Reading Marx’s Capital with David Harvey (Free Course)
An excellent series of lectures, which makes the great work of Marx accessable to all:
Lugh Ildánach got a reaction from Fodla32 in Éirígí: One in Five Children living in Poverty
There are plenty of PUL children living in poverty in North and West Belfast, and indeed in parts of South and East Belfast. While there are factors that impact upon the nationalist community disproportionately, this is primarily a division of class rather than a sectarian one.
Lugh Ildánach got a reaction from Fodla32 in Mad Donkey Emir of Qatar wants to send Troops into Syria
Lol, great thread title, although those poor donkeys are cruelly subjected to these unwarranted comparisons
Lugh Ildánach reacted to Fodla32 in US Survey Finds Rising Perception of Class Tension
Survey Finds Rising Perception of Class Tension
By SABRINA TAVERNISE
Published: January 11, 2012
Conflict between rich and poor now eclipses racial strain and friction between immigrants and the native-born as the greatest source of tension in American society, according to a survey released Wednesday.
Tensions Between the Rich and Poor
Pew Survey: Pubic Perceptions of Conflict Between Rich and Poor (pewsocialtrends.org)
Political Memo: A Blurring of the Lines in the Populist vs. Capitalist Debate (January 12, 2012)
Harder for Americans to Rise From Lower Rungs (January 5, 2012)
Times Topic: Income Inequality
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About two-thirds of Americans now believe there are “strong conflicts” between rich and poor in the United States, a survey by the Pew Research Center found, a sign that the message of income inequality brandished by the Occupy Wall Street movement and pressed by Democrats may be seeping into the national consciousness.
The share was the largest since 1992, and represented about a 50 percent increase from the 2009 survey, when immigration was seen as the greatest source of tension. In that survey, 47 percent of those polled said there were strong conflicts between classes.
“Income inequality is no longer just for economists,” said Richard Morin, a senior editor at Pew Social & Demographic Trends, which conducted the latest survey. “It has moved off the business pages into the front page.”
The survey, which polled 2,048 adults from Dec. 6 to 19, found that perception of class conflict surged the most among white people, middle-income earners and independent voters. But it also increased substantially among Republicans, to 55 percent of those polled, up from 38 percent in 2009, even as the party leadership has railed against the concept of class divisions.
The change in perception is the result of a confluence of factors, Mr. Morin said, probably including the Occupy Wall Street movement, which put the issue of undeserved wealth and fairness in American society at the top of the news throughout most of the fall.
Traditionally, class has been less a part of the American political debate than it has been in Europe. Still, the concept has long existed for ordinary Americans.
“Americans have always acknowledged that there are Rockefellers and the lunch-bucket guy,” said Tom W. Smith, director of the General Social Survey at the National Opinion Research Center, based at the University of Chicago. “But they believe it is not a permanent caste, but a transitory condition. The real game-changer would be if they give up on that.”
Going by the survey’s results, they have not. Forty-three percent of those surveyed said the rich became wealthy “mainly because of their own hard work, ambition or education,” a number unchanged since 2008.
The survey’s main question — “In America, how much conflict is there between poor people and rich people?” — was based on language used by Mr. Smith’s center at the University of Chicago, Mr. Morin said.
Mr. Smith said the question was often understood to mean, “Do the rich and the poor get along?” and “Do they have the same objectives?”
The issue has also become a prominent part of the political debate. President Obama has pressed the case that income inequality is rising as election season has gotten under way.
It has even crept into the Republican presidential primary race. At a debate in New Hampshire last Saturday, Rick Santorum criticized Mitt Romney for using the phrase “middle class,” dismissing the words as Democratic weapons to divide society. And conservatives have been wringing their hands over Newt Gingrich’s recent attacks on Mr. Romney’s past in private equity, saying they are a misguided assault on free-market capitalism.
Independents, whose votes will be fought over by both parties, showed the single largest increase in perceptions of conflicts between rich and poor, up 23 percentage points, to 68 percent, compared with an 18-point rise among Democrats and a 17-point rise for Republicans. Sixty-eight percent of independents believe there are strong class conflicts, just below the 73 percent of Democrats who do. (The survey’s margin of sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points for results based on the total sample.)
“The story for me was the consistency of the change,” Mr. Morin said. “Everyone sees more conflict.”
The demographics were surprising, experts said. While blacks were still more likely than whites to see serious conflicts between rich and poor, the share of whites who held that view increased by 22 percentage points, more than triple the increase among blacks. The share of blacks and Hispanics who held the view grew by single digits.
What is more, people at the upper middle of the income ladder were most likely to see conflict. Seventy-one percent of those who earned from $40,000 to $75,000 said there were strong conflicts between rich and poor, up from 47 percent in 2009. The lowest income bracket, less than $20,000, changed the least.
The grinding economic downturn may be contributing to the heightened perception of conflict between rich and poor, said Christopher Jencks, a professor of social policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
“Rich and poor aren’t terribly distinct from secure and unemployed,” he said.
The survey attributed the change, in part, to “underlying shifts in the distribution of wealth in American society,” citing a finding by the Census Bureau that the share of wealth held by the top 10 percent of the population increased to 56 percent in 2009, from 49 percent in 2005.
“There are facts behind it,” Mr. Smith said of the findings. “It’s not just rhetoric.”
Robert Rector, a fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, took issue with that, arguing that government data routinely undercounted aid to the poor and taxes taken from everyone else.
To him, the findings did not mean much, “other than that the topic has been in the press for the last two years.”
Lugh Ildánach reacted in éirígí - Minihan commends La Senza workers
Minihan Commends La Senza Workers
éirígí Dublin City Councillor Louise Minihan has commended workers at the La Senza store in Liffey Valley for staging a sit-in protest in support of their demand for wages and overtime owed to them.
Staff in the Liffey Valley store began the sit-in on Monday evening and by Tuesday morning fellow workers from the chain’s outlets on Henry Street, Grafton Street and Dundrum had joined them. On Tuesday [January 10] La Senza made roughly 100 people redundant after going into administration.
Speaking from Ballyfermot Minihan said:
“It is an absolute disgrace that those at management level of La Senza are treating workers in this manner. This is another case of employers treating their workers as slaves who they think can be made work for nothing.
“To be told that you are to be made redundant is bad enough. But to be then given the news that you may not be compensated for work that you have already performed only adds salt to the wounds.”
Minihan continued: “In a further cold-hearted act La Senza has failed to issue workers with the correct documents. The women in question have been left without P45 forms, meaning they cannot claim social welfare. And they may also be waiting for up to a year for any redundancy payments. Nothing short of securing every cent the workers are owed will do. The women have vowed to stay until they are paid and we in éirígí offer them our solidarity in their campaign.”
Minihan concluded: “By taking direct action the La Senza workers have taken the right steps in securing what they are entitled to. The rising militancy on display at La Senza and the Vita Cortex plant in Cork are encouraging signs of a growing fight back against an economic system that regards workers as nothing more than accounting units.
“Their two sit-ins are, of course, only part of the wider battle between the elite that run this state and the rest of us. One of the women at Liffey Valley hit the nail on the head when she stated that, ‘these big companies...think they can come in and then trample over workers when they’ve no more use for them. We have to stand up for ourselves...’ ”
Lugh Ildánach reacted to Fodla32 in British Occupation Forces Wreck Irish Home and Terrorize Family
Just saw this report on another forum:
A 32 CSM Ard Comhairle Member from Coalisland was attacked and his home wrecked in a vicious assault by the RUC/PSNI Tonight, the Man who has a young Family had just walked through the front door of his house when heavily armed Members of the Crown Forces TSG forced their way through the front door and said they were carrying out a stop a search the so called security and justice act section 24.
The man asked them were they joking, they then said they were doing the Man with assault as he pushed past one of the Peelers to lift his son who was standing terrified,
Moments later 4 car loads more of TSG landed and entered the house were they proceeded to drag the man up the hall and into the garden wrecking doors and children's belongings in the process as the mans wife and children looked on in horror , the 32CSM member was then set upon in the front garden of the house as the neighbours came out shouting at the Crown Forces to go easy on the man.
The 32CSM Member was arrested for assault and is currently in detention , another house wrecked, another family scared and no doubt another set of trumped up charges for an Irish Republican to face in a British Court.
Lugh Ildánach reacted to nico in Support the Prisoners - Protest Photos
Even Super Man made an appearance
The Special Branch were also happy to pose for the camera.
Leaflet that was handed out to the public:
On 12th August Year 2010, representatives of republican prisoners, respected intermediaries and prison management negotiated a workable and common-sense agreement regarding the regime in Maghaberry Prison. It was hoped this negotiated agreement would resolve the long-standing confrontation between republican prisoners and prison management.
Republican prisoners are once again subject to inhumane strip searches, physical beatings and an ongoing twenty-four hour lock down currently constitutes life on a republican wing in Maghaberry Prison.
In response to the situation in which they find themselves, republican prisoners in Maghaberry have embarked upon a dirty protest.
On Wednesday 11th-2012, Republican Prisoner Tony Taylor was taken from Maghaberry Gaol to an outside hospital after a severe infection caused his right arm to swell at an alarming rate.
Tony who is on full dirty protest in Roe House, lost his spleen in an explosion in the 90's and had his body peppered with shrapnel which is still present, this makes him vulnerable to infection as his immune system is particularly compromised. Infections if left untreated can lead to blood poisoning and in Tony’s case can prove fatal.
On calling the Gaol, his wife was then denied details to his medical condition and was even refused knowledge of the which hospital he had been taken to.
We condemn attempts to put pressure on families of protesting POWs from any quarter and salute their resolve, we also call for the immediate release of Tony Taylor on medical grounds alone, it is clear that his medical condition is placing his life in danger within the confines of Maghaberry prison.
firstname.lastname@example.org / www.republicannetwork.ie
Lugh Ildánach got a reaction from Fodla32 in How 6 million People Were killed in CIA secret wars against third world countries
This kind of shit doesn't just happen in far off places like Uzbekistan, I know a girl who was raped with a chair leg while being interrogated in Castlereagh. The powers that be know no limits to their barbarity.
Lugh Ildánach got a reaction from Fodla32 in Reports from the Indian Maoist Insurgency
I think this is the singal most significant anti-imperialist/anti-capitalist struggle in the world at the minute. The soon to be world's most populous country and 1/3 of it is under the control of a revolutionary movement.
Now, while the region unfortunately has a long history of Marxist, Maoist and other left wing groups being absorbed into the mainstream (many of the states in Eastern India have nominal Communist State governments), the poor of the third world really do have nothing to lose. And for this reason, they have the most revolutionary potential. If workers in the West lose their solidarity with these workers/peasant revolutions, then they lose their claim to be truly revolutionary.