Solidarity with Mexican Students

Acapulco protests

Photograph: Eduardo Verdugo/AP

Dear students and families of the Ayotzinapa Normal School:

It is with deep sorrow that we learnt of the terrible events of September 26 this year, when three students of your school were assassinated, and 43 were kidnapped by the municipal police of Iguala and Cucula, and handed over to a criminal group.

Those comrades, your sisters and brothers, sons and daughters, friends, are now martyrs of a cause we share with you from the distance of the other side of the ocean.

They were building a fairer future, they were fighting for social justice and they were progressing on it, they were achieving it step by step. That is why the authority was afraid of them, and sent the police to repress them, because they were making a difference. But the power of the richn and their corruption will never stop the voices of justice. Especially if it’s carried by those who dare to dream and the youth who fight for freedom, like the dear and beautiful disappeared students.

From here, thousands of kilometres away, we send you all of our solidarity and we assure you are not alone. Your loss is also our loss, and our hearts are also sad for those 46 students, who will be for ever in our memories as the seeds of freedom.

We demand justice for these events. We demand that the responsible be processed under the justice and sentenced as they deserve to be – be they mayors and policeman, legal authorities and criminal groups.
And to you, we beg you not to surrender. Your fight is our fight, and is just and true.


International Socialist Organisation.

Making the case against Obama’s new war

3431812849_cbf2e17716_bAshley Smith and Alan Maass provide the facts you need to know about the U.S. war on ISIS–and why it will make the world more chaotic and violent than ever.

WHEN BARACK Obama strode to the podium of the United Nations in late September and made his case for yet another U.S. war in the Middle East–this time against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and its “network of death”–he sounded like no one so much as his despised predecessor and the neocon hawks of the Bush administration.

This throwback to the Bush years is more than just verbal. Obama invoked George W. Bush’s legal justification for the Iraq war–the infamous Authorization for the Use of Military Force passed days after September 11, 2001, which Obama and his outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder once thought so suspect that they promised to repeal it.

Just like Bush, Obama has bypassed Congress and the United Nations to create his own “coalition of the willing,” comprised of some 40 countries, including several authoritarian Arab states, to prosecute the war. [Read more…]

Mass protests grow on the streets of Hong Kong

Protests getting bigger by late afternoon Monday (Photo: Sue Sparks)

Protests getting bigger by late afternoon Monday (Photo: Sue Sparks)

The mass protests on the streets of Hong Kong over the past few days have been inspiring. The protests started with university students holding class boycotts and then public lectures in central Hong Kong. These led to an occupation of Civic Square, a space – as its name suggests – which is supposed to be open to the public but that has recently been fortified with huge fences. After prevaricating, the leaders of the movement called Occupy Central, which had planned to occupy roads in the central business district on October 1st, decided to bring the date forward and essentially merge the movements.

On Sunday, the students were joined by tens of thousands of other Hongkongers, mostly, but not exclusively, young. The police blocked access to the main protest site. They expected that they could simply move in and arrest the core group, while everyone else drifted off home. This didn’t happen. They were frustrated by the sheer numbers of people who decided to break through the over stretched police lines and take possession of a series of key roads in the centre of the city, where many of them remain. The police surrounding the original protest essentially got surrounded themselves. They attempted to dislodge the protesters with pepper spray, tear gas and baton charges, but failed. The riot police were withdrawn this [Monday] morning, who knows for how long. Meanwhile, protests spread to other parts of the city, including Nathan Road in Mong Kok, Kowloon, one of the city’s main roads, and another major retail and business area, Causeway Bay. [Read more…]

World War One: the Fight against Conscription

Maoriland WorkerAmidst all the patriotic furor this centenary, the real history of the war is all too easily forgotten.  The government and the opposition alike cry crocodile tears for the fallen and mouth “Never again!”, while daisy cutters are dropped on Afghanistan and the history books are (re)re-written.

In high-school classrooms and history-books, we are taught a version of the war in which a well-fed, well-bred (and mostly white) nation proudly sacrifices its sons for the lofty ideals of “God, King and Country”.  The little mention made of wartime dissent is limited to a few footnotes about ‘conscientious objectors’ who are presented as a tiny minority of isolated idealists, and perhaps a few comments on the rising cost of living.

This version of history was written by the ruling class, for the working class, to create a placid and pliant society that allows the prosecution of future wars.  The real history of the war is somewhat different.  In New Zealand, there was a great movement against the continued prosecution of the war, and for peace.  It wasn’t a minority, and it wasn’t isolated.  Hundreds were jailed, and thousands condemned the war in public meetings, in their workplaces, and on the streets.  This article tells just part of that story, the fight against conscription. [Read more…]

A war crime in progress

A funeral for one of the victims of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza (Jordi Bernabeu Farrús)

A funeral for one of the victims of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza (Jordi Bernabeu Farrús)

Jason Farbman reports on the latest developments in Israel’s war on Gaza, July 14, 2014.

ISRAEL’S RELENTLESS pounding of a trapped civilian population in Gaza entered a frightening new phase as its bombing campaign continued into its seventh day. On July 13, the Israeli military dropped leaflets warning the residents of northern Gaza that whoever stayed behind risked being caught in an intensifying barrage of air strikes, prompting a panicked exodus of tens of thousands from the area.

At least 160 Palestinians have now been killed and more than 1,000 injured in attacks that have targeted mosques and hospitals. NBC reporter Ayman Mohyeldin tweeted: “1,100 strikes on #Gaza over 4 days. If you do the math that is: 1 strike every 5 minutes every day non-stop. 550 #Hamas rockets into #Israel.” No Israeli deaths and only a handful of injuries have been reported. [Read more…]

The Case for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions

Print[Israel’s current barbarous assault on Gaza has prompted an urgent call from Palestinian civil society to intensify the campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions. The bombardment of Gaza shows the brutality of Israel’s occupation. This week rallies in solidarity with Palestine are planned in Auckland and Wellington and we urge all readers to attend and build these protests. Here we republish an article from the March 2014 issue of our magazine by Kevin Hodder, making the case for BDS.]

The recent picket outside the performance of the Israeli Batsheva Dance Company was New Zealand’s latest blow in a campaign that has been quietly waged between the defenders of apartheid and those fighting for justice for Palestine. A crowd of pro-Zionists faced off a group of 30 or so campaigners from around the country associated with Aotearoa BDS Network, including members of the ISO, calling for a boycott of representatives of the Israeli state.


What is BDS?

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanction campaign is a multipronged campaign, called for by the Palestinian Civil Society in 2005. This involves a range of activities design to pressure Israel into meeting its obligations under international law: the boycotting of Israeli consumer products, especially those produced in the occupied Palestinian territories, and of cultural, sporting and academic figures or groups representing the state of Israel, especially those whose work has been used to promote Israeli state policy; the call for local companies and organisations to remove investments from companies which benefit from the continued violation of Palestinian land and rights, especially those working in the occupied territories; and finally state and inter-governmental (e.g. United Nations) level sanctions against the state of Israel while they continue to violate international law.
[Read more…]

The terror state lashes out

Mourners march in a funeral procession for a Palestinian killed in Israel's air strikes

Mourners march in a funeral procession for a Palestinian killed in Israel’s air strikes

Jason Farbman reports on Israel’s escalating violence (from June 8), with the threat of worse to come–and the furious response of Palestinians fed up with being terrorized.

A SUSTAINED wave of violence by Israel in recent days has brought tensions to a boil throughout the West Bank, Gaza and Israel itself.

In the early morning hours of July 8, Israel launched a barrage of missile strikes against more than 50 targets in Gaza, which it claimed were designed to punish Hamas. Preliminary reports said 12 Palestinians were injured and four civilian homes destroyed by the bombs.

Meanwhile, Palestinians throughout Israel were rising up against heavily armed Israeli forces. In town after town, Palestinian crowds are clashing with Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Israeli police in the wake of the grisly murder by six Jewish extremists of Mohammad Abu Khdeir and the savage beating of Tarek Abu Khdeir–the first boy’s cousin–by Israeli police.

According to a report by the prisoners’ rights organization Addameer:

Tarek is one of 11 Palestinians who were beaten and arrested in Shofat last night following the brutal murder of 16-year old child Mohammad Abu Khdeir, who was found beaten and burned on the ruins of the Palestinian destroyed village Deir Yassin hours after he was kidnapped in a retribution act. The Israeli government has instated a gag order regarding the circumstances of Mohammad’s kidnapping and murder.

The July 8 missile strikes on Gaza–dubbed “Operation Protective Edge” by the IDF–could be just the beginning of Israel’s state-sanctioned terror. [Read more…]

Women and the Early Years of Japanese Communism

The_1st_Labor_Day_in_JapanShomi Yoon gave this talk as part of Marxism 2014 in Melbourne. Marxism 2015 will take place from April 2 – 5.

“What sort of woman are you? Demonstrating when you should be at home looking after your children?” This was the question Sadayo Nakasone faced by the arresting officer for participating in the first contingent of women to march on the second May Day held in Japan in 1921.

Nakasone, fired back, “What sort of man are you! A proletarian who works for the capitalists! Take a look at yourself!”

Nakasone, along with 20 other socialists, made history on this day as the first contingent of women to mark May Day in Japan. They were all arrested after marching under the banner of Sekirankai or Red Wave – an organisation that was established with the specific aim or participating in May Day but with the wider aim of overthrowing capitalism for genuine women’s liberation.

Women have always been involved in the communist and socialist movements from the earliest of days. The second May Day in 1921 is a continuation of this history but also symptomatic of the wider social and political struggles that were happening domestically and internationally that pushed these women into mobilizing onto the streets. The class was on the move, revolutionary ferment was in the air, and Red Wave women wanted to be part of this historical shift. [Read more…]

Modi: Behind the Mask

ImageSajeev Kumar, a Socialist Review reader, offers his thoughts on the recent elections in India:

Saffron is the colour of hindutva, but for quite some time, it is also the colour of death or shivering fear for the religious minorities of India. For some of them, it is the colour that made their life colourless, it is the colour that brings back chilling memories of those days they ran for life, leaving behind everything and everyone they thought precious till that moment, it is the colour that made them refugees in their own land.


The streets were full of blood. People with Trishuls and swords ran amok like blood-thirsty devils, looking for Muslims or non-Hindus. Within 72 hours there were more than 2000 corpse on the streets, including children and pregnant women. No one was spared, and nothing but religion was considered. Nobody was there to hear their heart-breaking screams. Nobody was there to save them, because, all these were well planned and arranged.  [Read more…]

A triumph for the right in India

Snehal Shingavi analyzes the dynamics involved in India’s national elections.

WITH A substantial victory in India’s national elections, the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian People’s Party) and its crown prince, Narendra Modi, are set to form a national government without the need for any coalition partners.

Winning a total of 282 seats in the Lok Sabha (the lower house of India’s parliament), the BJP soundly defeated the former ruling Indian National Congress. The BJP’s victory sent shock waves throughout the country, as this is the first time in India’s history that a single opposition party, without the help of coalition partners, has displaced the Congress Party.

But Modi’s win–and in proportions that will be characterized as a “saffron wave,” if not a “tsunami”–was foretold from the beginning. With his open ties to the Hindu right, Modi was nonetheless promoted by almost all of the major media outlets in India, and India’s large corporate interests swung squarely behind the BJP. The BJP raised almost a billion dollars for its campaign coffers and outspent all of the other political parties combined in this election. The Economic and Political Weekly suggested that Modi’s victory be called the “biggest corporate heist in history.” [Read more…]


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