The tower of death

A burned building, dark and empty. Over 600 working class people used to live here. 78 are now confirmed death (although this number will most likely go up) . They died as their tower burned in the night, unable to escape. Now we would not be surprised if this happened in a African country. We all know how little care is given to safety regulations in corrupt African nations. Although many black people and Muslims lived in the tower, the building was not located in poor Africa. Instead it stood in rich Great Britain. A country with high safety standards when it comes to protecting buildings from fire. Yet the Grenfell Tower fire proofed again how capitalist greed led to the death of many innocent people!

Grenfell Tower is located in North Kensington on the western edge of Inner London, in a mainly working-class housing complex. The tower was build in 1974 and owned by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Its operators were the Kensington and Chelsea TMO, who runs more then 10,000 properties on behalf of Kensington and Chelsea London Borough Council. Most of the 600 people who lived at the Grenfell Tower were low income working class people. It was a multicultural tower with people from many religions and cultures. Renovation was not decided until 2012 when the council agreed on renovating the tower. Studio E Architects carried out the work which costs around 8,7 million British pounds. The concrete structure received new windows and new aluminium composite cladding to improve the appearance of the building. After the work was done in 2016, the Grenfell Tower looked ”modern” which was nice for the wealthier British classes!

The people who lived at the tower were not happy with the work. They organized themselves in the Grenfell Action Group and have criticized not only the conservative led council but also the organisation that operated the Grenfell Tower. In 2013 a fire broke out which should have been a warning . Although the action group demanded major changes to be made, the Conservatives who dominated the city council refused to listen. They fully trusted Kensington and Chelsea TMO and this trust has now resulted in the deaths of at least 78 people. Working class people who would not have died had they been rich whites. Because we all know that a tower for rich white people would not have been neglected!

Grenfell Action Group wrote in November 2016:

It is a truly terrifying thought but the Grenfell Action Group firmly believe that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO, and bring an end to the dangerous living conditions and neglect of health and safety legislation that they inflict upon their tenants and leaseholders. We believe that the KCTMO are an evil, unprincipled, mini-mafia who have no business to be charged with the responsibility of looking after the every day management of large scale social housing estates and that their sordid collusion with the RBKC Council is a recipe for a future major disaster.

Unfortunately, the Grenfell Action Group have reached the conclusion that only an incident that results in serious loss of life of KCTMO residents will allow the external scrutiny to occur that will shine a light on the practices that characterise the malign governance of this non-functioning organisation. We believe that the KCTMO have ensured their ongoing survival by the use of proxy votes at their Annual General Meeting that see them returned with a mandate of 98% in favour of the continuation of their inept and highly dangerous management of our homes. It is no coincidence that the 98% is the same figure that is returned by the infamous Kim Jong-un of North Korea who claims mass popularity while reputedly enslaving the general population and starving the majority of his people to death.

On 14 June 2017, at 0:54 British time, their greatest fears became a reality. A small electrical fire led to a huge blaze. After only 15 minutes, the whole side of the tower was engulfed. It is said that the fire started on the second floor and moved its way up. Because KCTMO had used cheap materials when they renovated the building in 2016, the fire worked its way up on the recently installed cladding. As the plastic melted it ignited new fires on new floors. Only 30 minutes after the inferno began, the apartments on the 25th floor were also burning!

The only reason why not hundreds of people were fast asleep was due to Ramadan. Many Muslims were up at night, celebrating their right to eat again after sunset. When the fire broke out at 0:54 a.m, the Islamic residents were able to wake up and warn their neighbors. Escape proofed difficult as the stairways were soon smoke-filled. Also the fire warning note provided by KCTMO told the people to stay in their apartments. Many were waiting while the fire slowly destroyed home after home. More then 200 firefighters were fighting the blaze and tried to save residents at the same time. In all it said that 65 people were rescued from the fire. Out of 600 it is very possible that 100 or more are death. The official number on 19 June is 78. But many remain missing and firefighters have not yet entered all burnout apartments!

One thing is very clear. The renovation of 2016 only made Grenfell Tower look modern, its poor safety record was not improved. Revolutionary Socialist Media understands why the disaster happened. It happened because the pro-capitalist city council and Kensington and Chelsea TMO just did not care about these working class people living in a 43 year old tower. A tower that was in need to renovation, but because its residents were poor and not ethnic British (white), few officials really cared. London has more towers which houses migrant workers. 1/3 of the capital is said to be living in poverty and 48% of all poor in London belong to the Islamic religion. Yet at Grenfell Tower it was thanks to Islam that people were awake at 0:54 am. Had the Muslim population not been up it is possible that the fire would have surprised many  in their sleep. Heroic stories can be told of people from all religions and backgrounds, working together to save lives!

The anger at the council and the landlord is understandable. People died because of capitalist neglect. Now workers want answers. But revolutionary socialists point out that the destruction of the Grenfell Tower is just one symptom of capitalism. The fact that flame able material was used because it was more cheaper, shows why the capitalist mentality of KCTMO contributed to the deaths. It is very possible that the fire had not reached the upper apartments so fast, if the tower had not been renovated with new external cladding. The Socialist Party in West London has made the following demands after this terrible disaster. They rightfully link the austerity cuts of the conservative government to the neglect at Grenfell Tower.

  • It is essential that the 400-600 people made homeless are rapidly rehoused locally in secure and affordable accommodation. Tenants must have permanent secure tenancies, not assured shortholds or other tenures, and leaseholders must have proper arrangements as well. The government must move fast and no talk of lack of money can be accepted in this situation.
  • We need a major investigation into Grenfell House and the implications for housing around the country. That investigation must be genuinely independent of government and must be free to draw out the implications of spending cuts and to make recommendations that do not compromise safety because of austerity. It must be led by trade unions and residents groups drawing on independent expertise. There must be criminal prosecutions where appropriate.
  • All councils should immediately inspect safety on every housing estate and invest urgently, with no excuses about cuts, in ensuring safe materials, adequate exits and space, etc
  • Labour councils should refuse to pass on any further cuts. Stop all privatisation of housing, repairs and renovation!
  • London mayor Sadiq Khan should reverse all cuts to the London fire service.
  • The site must remain publicly owned – no concessions to vulture property speculators.
  • Residents in nearby housing must have their concerns over safety near the ruined tower answered. They must be rehoused safely if there is any danger – and if there is not, urgent maintenance and upgrade work must be carried out due to the damage to the estate.
  • The decision on whether to keep or demolish high-rise blocks must lie with the residents themselves. Tower blocks are safe if properly built and maintained. If, however, residents would prefer low-rise accommodation, the council must build it and fight for the funds to do it properly – like the Liverpool Labour council of 1984-87 did, led by Militant (now the Socialist Party).

Simply changing the building regulations would not be an adequate response as existing buildings would need to be reviewed. The cost implications could be significant but austerity cannot be allowed to delay a response

Statement of the Socialist Party

 

The renovated entrance after the fire.

Collapse of the French: Socialist Party

49 years after the foundation of the French: Socialist Party (PS) the future of this former leftist party is deeply dark. The party of social democrats was reduced to 7,4% of the total vote at the French parliamentary elections. While the PS lost millions of voters, the organisation of Jean-Luc Melenchon (France Insoumise) won over 11%. However the biggest loser in this election is democracy itself. Only 48% of all French decided to vote, proof how deep the distrust has grown between politicians and the working class. La République En Marche, the organisation of French president Emmanuel Macron seems to have won most seats in the first round. His pro-capitalist agenda however will offer no alternative for working class people!

Only one social democratic party in Europe has been able to win a recent election. The British: Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn did what believed to be impossible. Despite the distrust towards social democracy around the planet, Corbyn was able to turn the Labour Party back on the leftist road. This change in course proofed to be popular as many working class British hated the conservative government. Jeremy Corbyn’s party is not yet a workers party, but its victory at the British parliamentary elections shows that with a clear anti-austerity leftist program, you can win elections. Social democracy seems to have forgotten this. Because in France and in the Netherlands, social democratic parties were reduced to minor political formations!

The Socialist Party (PS) in France did not follow Corbyn’s model. They remained loyal to their neoliberal course and paid the price. After five years in power, the PS exposed itself as a typical establishment party. François Hollande’s politics favored capitalists over workers, as he carried out their will. His leftist promises were washed away as yet another social democratic president, demonstrated why working class people cannot trust social democracy anymore. Five years later, the French choose a pro-capitalist president again because the alternative would have been a far-right person running the French Republic. Emmanuel Macron is a right-wing politician and has made his loyalty to capitalist law and order more then clear. He will attack workers rights in the name of ”making France more competitive”!

French workers have abandoned the PS because it refused to fight for their interests. Instead the social democrats (once again) favored the owners of the economy. Meanwhile the capitalist media is portraying Macron as a moderate, a president that is not left-wing nor right-wing. He is painted a liberal, a centrist and a moderate. In reality, the president has already begun his attacks by lowering taxes for the super rich and attacking the French social security programs. Macron’s intentions are very clear. As former minister in the government of François Hollande, he supported the austerity of the former president. Now Macron himself is in command and with ”La République En Marche” behind him, he does not need the old political parties!

The French Communist Party (PCF) refused to ally itself with ”France Insoumise”, the organisation behind presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon. Only 600.000 French decided to vote on the PCF, in 2012 they got almost 1,7 million voters. Had the communist party joined Melenchon, those 600.000 voters would have strengthen the only true leftist political force in France. Revolutionary socialists agree that ”France Insoumise” is not revolutionary and we criticize their moderate leftist program. But unlike the PS and their allies, the organisation around Melenchon is willing to fight for workers and against the power of the French capitalist class. The unwillingness of the PCF to participate in ”France Insoumise” is a mistake. Now the communist party is almost erased!

Will there more more voters in the second round? That remains to be seen. As the French section of the Committee for a Workers International explained:

There can be all sorts of deals and realignments for the second round on June 18th. There will be a big push for more people to go out and vote. But, as Gauche Revolutionnaire has said, given the mass discontent amongst workers, the continuing industrial battles taking place, the counter-reforms in education and the lack of jobs for young people, the more important battles will be in the workplaces and on the streets.

The political follow-up consists in elaborating how a new left force can build on the success of Melenchon’s movement, in pushing for a clear lead on mass mobilisation against the government’s attacks and arguing for clear socialist policies that can gather support and destroy the apparent invincibility of the Macron phenomenon.

 

Upcoming British elections

In June 2017, the British people can vote for a new parliament. This time there is a choice between a pro-austerity conservative government and a more leftist direction with the Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn. Although Labour has a bad reputation as the party who betrayed British workers, Corbyn’s program is the most leftist one in 30 years. Therefore a vote for Labour would show that working class people reject the austerity regime of the Conservative Party. It would also strengthen Jeremy Corbyn’s position against the Parliamentary Labour Party, the right-wing section!

Revolutionary socialists have not called for a Labour vote in many years. This is because the Labour Party abandoned working class politics in the 1980’s. With the rise of Tony Blair the party moved away from even classic social democratic ideas. Blair as party leader embraced not only neoliberalism but also American imperialism. British social democrats were key supporters of George W. Bush and his Republican Party in the USA. In the last 20 years, the Labour Party embraced austerity rules and the demands of the European Union. This led to massive alienation and disillusion among working class people, who abandoned Labour!

Jeremy Corbyn was one of the last true leftist voices in the Labour Party. He was however always marginalized and stood alone against a apparatus that is still massively right-wing. Also the elected representatives of the party are not friendly to the current Labour leader. Most social democrats in parliament belong to the right-wing or PLP (Parliamentary Labour Party). These politicians are not only pro-capitalist, they are also very corrupt and serve their wealthy donors. There is very little difference between a conservative member of parliament and a social democratic member of parliament. Both are rotten, both are pawns of the rich and both support British capitalism!

With the victory of Corbyn at the leadership elections, a new wave of young leftists joined the party. They hope for a new course under Corbyn. But the old Blair wing is not working along. The right-wing hates the current Labour program and rejects it as ”too leftist”. Although it has some good ideas, the program is still very much classic social democratic and not socialist. It does not call for a socialist Britain were the means of production are nationalized and put under workers self-management. However it does does call for an end to austerity and the re-nationalization of key sectors. Revolutionary socialists support these ideas but we also call for workers self-management, not state control with bureaucrats replacing capitalist bosses. Still the current Labour program is regarded as the most leftist one since the 1980’s!

A big problem for Labour is their trustworthy. 30 years of betrayal and collaboration with capitalist forces has alienated many workers. Right-wing populism grew because of the betrayal by the social democrats. Jeremy Corbyn also failed to provide a socialist exit out of the EU. Instead the Labour leader supported the current neoliberal union and called for Britain to remain inside. This is not what many working class people want, they see the EU as a bureaucratic force that is enforcing right-wing ideas. Many workers are also poisoned with nationalism and blame the EU for the fact that they lost their jobs to cheap workers from eastern Europe. Right-wing nationalists from the United Kingdom Independence Party were successful in dividing the working class among ethnic and religious lines. UKIP is a right-wing party that promotes capitalism and British nationalism, it tries to hide their racism and intolerance under a cloak of populism!

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition decided to support Labour in this election. This is done to give Jeremy Corbyn the best chance to beat the Conservative Party. This does not mean that TUSC will always call for a vote on the social democrats. In city councils were right-wing Labour politicians enforce austerity and cuts to social services, TUSC will put up a fight. The Parliamentary Labour Party is a powerful force and must be destroyed if the Labour Party wishes to become a workers party again. Corbyn must remove all those right-wing scumbags who stand for austerity and collaboration with the establishment. A workers party cannot tolerate pro-capitalist members enforcing viewpoints the party tries to fight against. If the members of the PLP wish to have a pro-capitalist right-wing social democratic party, they are free to leave Labour. But the Labour Party today is no longer their toy to play with. The election and reelection of Corbyn proofs that the party base wish a new direction, a leftist direction!

A big weapon for the conservatives is their support for Brexit. The Conservative Party is far more nationalistic then the Labour Party. In the last local elections, the social democrats were severely beaten. They lost hundreds of councilors, while the conservatives won. The fact that the social democrats support the EU and rejected Brexit made them unpopular. Also we must not forget that many councilors of the Labour Party have carried out austerity cuts in local councils. The TUSC is standing against cuts from both parties. British revolutionary socialists are calling for a Corbyn government with socialist politics. Labour has always called itself a democratic socialist party. It is up to Jeremy Corbyn to carried out a socialist program and to rebuild Britain after years of abuse by right-wing governments!

If all working class people would vote for Corbyn, then he can easily defeat the conservatives. But even among working British, the Conservative Party has won some support by playing on ancient antisocialist lies. They claim that Jeremy Corbyn would destroy the economy by wasteful spending. Like all right-wingers, the conservatives portray themselves as the party of a ”balanced budget” and ”decent government”. The capitalist media is working overtime to portray the Labour leader in a negative light. Tabloids like The Sun portray him as a ”dangerous communist” or a ”crazy Marxist”. We are not surprised that the media is so hostile to the leftist course of the Labour Party. They fear that a Great Britain under Corbyn would not be so loyal to capitalist law and order. The owners of the economy indeed fear a return to a time when the government had the power and authority to regulate the economy. Capitalists of today hate this idea that there will be regulations in place, to protect working class people from their greed!

British workers have a choice to make. If the Conservative Party wins then Britain will become more unequal and the gap between the rich and poor will continue to grow. There is already massive poverty among working class people in London. Recent reports tell that at least 25% (2,5 million people) of the capital can be regarded as poor. Poverty among migrants is high which fuels dangerous thinking. Because radical Islam prays on poor neighborhoods. Small criminals with a Islamic background are now more at risk of becoming radicalized. The attack in Manchester which killed 23 people at a concert was carried out by a petty criminal turned extremist. Religious extremism has grown in the last 10 years. With right-wing politicians stigmatizing Muslims and blaming them for capitalist exploitation, many British with a Islamic believe feel not at home in their own country. In France the neglected neighborhoods of migrants form Africa, are now breeding-grounds for radical Muslims. Ten years ago this was impossible to think. Back then religion was not that strong among young Muslims. This all changed now that the western world is bombing the middle east again by intervening in Iraq, Syria and Libya!

Revolutionary socialists will give critical support to the Labour Party in this election. Jeremy Corbyn must be given the chance to proof himself. Should he win Corbyn must start with a massive purge of all those Labour officials, who carry out politics that harm the working class. Jeremy must also look beyond the limits of social democracy and move towards genuine democratic socialism, meaning a full rejection of capitalist economics. Should Corbyn fail to win he must do his best to turn his party into a workers party. The PLP must be expelled together with all Labour councilors who support austerity. Yes, that would weaken Labour at first. But in the long run, the party would grow as working class people will realize that a socialist: Labour Party is their party. The right-wing social democrats would lose public support and their seats in councils and parliament to true socialists. A new party can and must be build. Young members have proven this by electing Jeremy Corbyn. Revolutionary socialists will work with any Labour member who is willing to build a Britain free from capitalism!

 

Jeremy Corbyn is leading the Labour Party.

Trump loves Saudi-Arabia

Trump is one the move and his first nation of visit is the: REACTIONARY TERROR FOUNDING THEOCRACY OF MEDIEVAL MONARCHISTS called: The Kingdom of Saudi-Arabia. Out of all nations Trump choose this Arab kingdom led by Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. There is however a business reason why the far-right president visits the absolute monarchy. The Saudi’s are buying 100 billion dollars worth of U.S made weapons. Also they plan to invest in the USA, especially in Trump’s daughter Ivanka. She is setting up new businesses with Saudi money. This is so ironic because 11 months ago, Trump attacked Hillary Clinton for taking millions in donations from the Saudi royal family. Yes, the Arab kingdom wanted Clinton not Trump. Because back then Trump played the populist, the anti-establishment figure. Now the Saudi’s know it was all an act, Donald Trump is their ally and uncritical like all U.S presidents!  

When Barack Obama visited the absolute Islamic monarchy, he bowed to the Saudi king. Conservatives were outraged and attacked the president on Fox News, Breibart and Infowars.com. They called him a ”coward” and a ”servant of Islam”. Now Donald Trump has done the same thing and many conservative websites remain either silent or try to downplay the fact, that their leader bowed to the Saudi king. The hypocrisy of far-right conservatives proofs how much they hatred Obama and his administration. Trump shows that he is not that macho male chauvinist, conservatives think he is. He remains a capitalist and secures a major trade deal with the reactionary islamists. America is selling over 100 billion dollars worth of military hardware to Saudi-Arabia. In return the oil rich theocracy is ”investing” their billions in America and in Ivanka Trump!

Nothing critical has been said about the fact that Saudi-Arabia is a deeply undemocratic country. A medieval theocracy run on the same ideology as the Islamic State, the terrorist group that has spread death and destruction in Iraq and Syria. Although Saudi-Arabia claims to be an enemy of IS, they share the same ideology. The only reason why Islamic State rejects Saudi-Arabia is because of the absolute (and deeply corrupt) monarchy. IS wishes to build a caliphate of Islam, they reject a monarchist system. They also know that behind the mask of Wahhabism, Saudi-Arabia’s kings and princes do not have a Islamic lifestyle. They drink alcohol, have wild parties with nude woman and consider themselves holier then the holy book of Islam. On the outside the Kingdom of Saudi-Arabia portrays itself as a Islamic nation, but the laws of the Koran are often ignored for personal greed!

Wahhabism is a deeply sectarian ideology, it rejects any other interpretation of Islam. Shia-Islam is hated the most by the supporters of Wahhabism. In Saudi-Arabia it is forbidden to be a Shia-Muslim. Those who dare to be Shia face discrimination, expulsion, arrest and even execution. Last year in January, the kingdom executed: Nimr Baqir al-Nimr. This Shia clerk was calling for free elections in the absolute monarchy. The government arrested him which led to massive protests by Shia youth. After clashes with the police, Al-Nimr was sentenced to death. In January 2016, he and 40 others were murdered. This caused a diplomatic conflict between the (Shia) Islamic Republic of Iran and the kingdom. Iran remains deeply hostile to the Saudi regime!

Woman are regarded as lesser to men. Not only are females forced to cover themselves in public, they also need a male guarding at their side. This system is supported by some conservative woman too, who praise their enslavement to male chauvinism and dominance. In 2017, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud relaxed some laws on male guardianship. Woman no longer need a male while dealing with officials and medical professionals. However on many other fronts, woman are still forced to have a male at their side!

The death penalty is brutally enforced in the kingdom!

Saudi-Arabia is killing people for things like:

  • Rejecting religion
  • Rejecting the absolute monarchy
  • Converting from Islam to any other religion
  • Adultery
  • Sorcery (they believe in witchcraft too)
  • Homosexuality (including lesbianism)
  • Treason
  • Blasphemy
  • Waging war on God (militant atheism)
  • Fornication (killing none married couples for love in public)

The Islamic State in Syria and Iraq is murdering people for exact the same reason as the Kingdom of Saudi-Arabia. But the imperialists of the USA never had any problems with these facts. They have armed the Saudi state with modern American made weapons. Tanks, planes and machine guns, used to suppress anybody who dares to stand against king Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and his 2.000 male family members. It is true that the Saudi Royal Family has over 15.000 members. But only 2.000 can be called extremely rich (multi-billionaires). These male members control all the oil profits. They are the ruling class of the kingdom and are positioned on all important positions in the government!

American presidents have praised the Saudi’s for their uncritical support of U.S imperialism. The Kingdom of Saudi-Arabia remains a loyal ally of the Americans against Iran, Russia and China. In the cold war, the theocracy played on anticommunism and was supplied with a lot of material from the USA. Thanks to billions in oil money, the kingdom was able to build a modern infrastructure. Although many western people think every Arab in the kingdom is wealthy, this is not the cause. In fact the wages for ordinary workers are much lower then in the USA. Workers in Saudi-Arabia do not have access to the oil wealth, that money is owned by the 2.000 male members of the royal family. On average a worker earns around 35.000 U.S dollars a year. But they do have the luxury of subsidized fuel, as car gas is very cheap. Only Venezuela is more cheaper in gas prices!

George W. Bush, Barack Obama and now Donald Trump, all have danced with the princes and kings. All have bowed their heads to this criminal kingdom and received awards and luxurious items. Michelle Obama was given a huge diamond and Ivanka Trump is getting donations in the millions. 11 months ago, the far-right billionaire that is her father attacked Hillary Clinton. The candidate of the Democratic Party was given millions in donations by the Saudi Royal Family. Trump was not happy that Saudi money was given to his political opponent. He demanded that Clinton rejected it as Saudi-Arabia was a evil nation that oppresses woman and kills gays. Trump was not wrong on this fact, but 11 months later, President Trump bows to the same people he rejected. It proofs again how little is left of the populist of 2016. Donald Trump is not the anti-establishment guy. He is the establishment!

Meanwhile the Saudi Air Force keeps bombing Yemen with American made planes. 10.000 civilians have been murdered since the civil war broke out in the Republic of Yemen in 2015. Unlike the Libyan and Syrian civil wars, this one remains largely ignored by the world capitalist media. Yemen is divided between a Sunni-Islamic government (supported by Saudi-Arabia and the USA) a Shia-Islamic: Revolutionary Committee also called ”Houthis rebels” (supported by Iran) and a radical Sunni-Islamist group called: Partisans of Sharia. The official government has lost control of the capital and relies on Saudi air support to attack the Shia-Islamic ”rebels”. The Partisans of Sharia have abused the situation and established a Islamic theocracy in 1/3 of the country. They control some towns and coastal regions to the south.

A big European supplier of guns to the conflict is the Federal Republic of Germany. The western world is arming the reactionary theocracy to destroy their political/religious enemies in Yemen. The fact that over 10.000 civilians died proof that the Saudi’s have little care for human life. Their pilots are raised with religious sectarianism and hatred of Shia-Muslims. They gladly bomb Shia homes as they are told. In the Yemen civil war, western made bombs kill thousands of innocents. The Saudi’s bomb anything that they call a target. In two years, the air force of the medieval kingdom has killed around 10.000 civilians. Despite protests from civil activists and human-rights groups, Donald Trump has given the green light to supply the absolute monarchy with new military hardware!

Revolutionary socialists call for the overthrow of the Saudi Royal Family. The whole rotten monarchy must be replaced by a socialist workers democracy. The billions in oil profits belong to the whole population, not to 2.000 corrupt male members of one family. Trump and the western world are responsible for keeping this regime in place. They arm it, they supply it, they keep the regime in power. If Saudi-Arabia would be under a full trade embargo like Cuba, it would soon lose its grip on its population. Many young Arabs are already rejecting the dogmatic ideology of Wahhabism. Behind the walls of religious obedience a underground youth culture is growing. A new generation may look conservative and loyal, but like the woman of Saudi-Arabia they too want to be free from the dogma’s of religious conservatism!

 

Trump bows his head to be given a golden Saudi necklace.

Green Youth kicked out of Austrian mother party

The Green Youth of Austria has been kicked out of their mother party. Austrian greens are united in what they call: The Greens – The Green Alternative, a party that abandoned many core leftist ideas over the last 25 years. Its youth had been critical of the moderate course, which was not liked by the pro-capitalist party-leaders. One of the propaganda slogans of the Austrian greens has been that they are ”basic democratic and anti-bureaucratic”. With the purge of its youth section, The Greens have proven to the bourgeoisie that they are capable to silence dissident voices, just like any other establishment party!

The expulsion of the youth wing reminds us of the witch hunts inside the communist parties in the late 1920’s. Back then the Stalinist leadership of the Communist International, demanded that all critics of marxism-leninism (stalinism) to be purged. Stalin also wanted all supporters of Leon Trotsky removed, because they were most critical of his bureaucratic counterrevolution. In Britain the Labour Party started a similar witch hunt against revolutionary socialists in the 1980’s, who operated inside the former workers party. The Stalinist communist parties and the right-wing of the Labour Party were successful in removing critical leftists from their ranks.

In Austria, the greens were united in 1993. The current party was founded after two leftist formation joined forces. Current Austrian president Alexander Van der Bellen, was the party leader and also a moderate politician. Under his leadership the party moved away from a activist party into a party of the establishment. In his youth Van der Bellen was a ”arrogant anti-capitalist” as he called himself. As he grew older he changed his views and embraced liberalism.  Today Van der Bellen is a typical capitalist president, who serves the interests of the Austrian ruling class. His party never entered a coalition government, this is why the greens were able to play on some popular leftist issues. Unlike the Social-democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ), The Greens have not yet lost their electorate. Revolutionary socialists however noticed that the pro-capitalist leadership of The Greens, would abandon many leftist ideas just to prove to the media that they can govern under capitalism!

Young Greens were the youth section of The Greens since 2010. Their slogans are ecology, feminism, anti-fascism, egalitarianism, non-violence, self-determination and basic democracy. Many young members were very critical of their mother party, who had embraced the idea that you cannot change the system, let alone the ruling class. The youth leadership was less critical then most members, however the fact that they tried to turn the mother party to the left was not tolerated. The party-leaders wanted a centrist green party that promotes eco-capitalism (which is incompatible). Revolutionary socialists had abandoned the idea that the greens in Austria could return to their original anti-capitalist roots. Like the social democrats, the greens have embraced too many bourgeois ideas. They are not a radical party, but a moderate party with some ecological ideas, ideas that do not challenge capitalist dominance at all!

Now outside their mother party, the Young Greens of Austria need a new direction. Revolutionary socialists of the Socialist Left Party (SLP) call for the formation of a new workers party. The Young Greens could participate in the building of this new party for working class Austrians. All green activists, anti-capitalists and ecological socialists are welcomed to join the debates of the SLP to build this new leftist force. Because Austria is in need of a workers party. The social-democratic party and the greens have proven to the proletariat that they are not on their side. Social democrats have worked with conservatives too many times to be called leftists. The Young Socialists (JUSO) of the SPÖ are also more on the left. But unlike the young greens. the young social democrats never dare to stand against the SPÖ. They may speak the leftist language, yet when it comes to elections the JUSO always sided with the party leaders, who are pro-capitalist. The Young Greens were not afraid to stand against their right-wing dominated green party and because of that they were expelled!

 

No human is illegal. The Young Greens reject the hatred against immigrants.

South Korean elections

South Koreans choose their new president and Moon Jae-in claims victory. The last president (conservative) was kicked out of office, due to a massive corruption scandal. This is not uncommon as many politicians in South Korea are corrupt and serve the capitalist class. Capitalist newspapers give only attention to the candidates of the bourgeoisie. Millionaires and high ranking politicians are given preferential treatment. The South Korean election system works very much like the American one. Big money is deeply involved in politics, in the Republic of Korea!

Politics and alliances change very rapidly in South Korea. The liberals and conservatives change their names so often it is hard for an outsider to keep up. Conservatives are in 2017 united in the Liberty Korean Party previously known as the New Frontier Party and Grand National Party. The liberals belong to the Democratic Party today. In the past their names were Together Democratic Party and New Politics Alliance for Democracy. This change in names is happening very fast. Until the impeachment and arrest of president Park Geun-hye, the conservatives dominated South Korean politics. Now the parliament is divided between conservative loyalists who still support the former president, the main conservative party, the liberal party and a liberal split party called the People’s Party!

The progressive candidate for the office of president was Sim Sang-jung of the Justice Party. This small progressive party is the only leftist voice in a right-wing dominated parliament. Because the liberals in South Korea are as pro-capitalist as the conservatives. The Justice Party is not a socialist party, but a social democratic one. It does not argue for socialism, nor does it wish to abolish the corrupt capitalist system. In 1985, Sim Sang-jung was a fugitive and on the most wanted list. As a labour activist and fighter against the anticommunist military junta, she was wanted for instigating strikes. After democracy was established in the 1990’s (not thanks to the USA) she worked in many leftist parties. Eventually Sim became a member of the New Progressive Party which fused into the Justice Party!

Moon Jae-in of the Democratic Party is said to becomes the new president. The liberals are seen as anti-corrupt, which is laughable. Only because they reject the hard-line conservatives does not make them less capitalistic or less corrupt. In fact the liberal party has its own history of political corruption. This is because all major politicians in the south have their rich donors. These rich Koreans are often needed to give politicians support in the media. A candidate like Sim Sang-jung is not supported by the ruling class, because she is critical of big money in politics. Also we must not forget that conservatives and liberals are serving the same class. Workers who vote on either of them can not expect politics that favor the working class!

Many promises are made. Moon said he would fight against the power of the wealthy Korean families who own most enterprises in the south. These are populist words because no South Korean president has ever dared to challenge the greedy capitalist families. Moon Jae-in own Democratic Party is living off donations from wealthy liberals just as the Democrats in the USA do. Revolutionary socialists don’t expect a course change. But maybe the new liberal president will be less confrontational and less of a hardliner towards North Korea. Park Geun-hye was very much against Kim Jong Un and choose harsh language over diplomacy. She turned out to be a corrupt bitch, we were not surprised. Geun-hye is the daughter of dictator Park Chung-hee, who ruled South Korea from 1963 until his murder in 1979. As a young woman, Geun-hye was the first lady of the anticommunist republic, because he mother was already death. South Korea under her father was a totalitarian anticommunist republic. A republic that played on anticommunism to arrest and silence leftists and trade unionists. These critics of the Park regime were spied on by the criminal Korean Central Intelligence Agency, a direct clone of the CIA!

Like in the USA, elections in South Korea are too plutocratic. If all candidates would be given the same amount of media attention, then true leftists could make a point. But in capitalist Korea, the money goes to those who are loyal to the establishment. Like in America were the Democratic Party (neoliberals) and Republican Party (far-right conservatives) hold all political power. They control the elections, the polls and are the parties of Wall Street, the capitalist center of the world. South Korea does have one true socialist party. A small anti-capitalist force known as the Labor Party. Founded in July 2013, this party aims to replace the plutocratic establishment with a socialist democracy. At the moment however the Labor Party is not yet a force for working class people. This is because the Justice Party is portrayed by the media as the most leftist of all Korean political parties. The party of Sim Sang-jung is indeed progressive, but they are not anti-capitalist. Their aim is to reform capitalism, which revolutionary socialists believe cannot be done!

The new South Korean president is facing a growing crisis. Two narcissistic leaders face each other and between them lies South Korea. Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un use war rhetoric and play a dangerous game. Trump’s armada is closing in on paranoid North Korea and Kim Jong Un claims he is ready to attack the ”puppet” state of America (South Korea). At home the power of the ruling class remains absolute. The sinking of the MS Sewol in April 2014 proofed again how weak government regulations are enforced, to protect people against the greed of capitalist enterprises. South Korea has safety laws and regulations, but they are often ignored as government bureaucrats are too close to the big business families. Economic corruption is a problem and South Korean ranks 53 on the Corruption Perceptions Index. Will Moon Jae-in be able to change the south? He claims so, but we heard this ”CHANGE” talk before in 2008. The guy who claimed he would bring change stayed in power for 8 years and turned out to be a Uncle Tom for capitalism!

One thing the new liberal president could do is to end internet censorship. South Korea is censoring websites that are deemed ”pro-North Korean”. Conservative newspapers and groups have successfully lobbied to censor blogs and websites that talk about North Korea. Their intolerance is legendary as seen in the past, when the Republic of Korea (under control of dictatorial conservatives) was a totalitarian right-wing dictatorship. In the western world, South Korea is seen as a bastion of democracy against ”totalitarian communism”, which is false since the DPRK dropped communism officially in 2009. But the reality is that political free speech is still limited. You are not allowed to reject the Republic of Korea and its institutions. You are not allowed to call yourself a communist in the open.

A leftist nationalist party was banned not so long ago, because it exposed Park Chung-hee as a Japanese soldier (collaborator). This brought great shame to the presidency of his daughter. Under her administration the Unified Progressive Party (UPP) was banned, because the government said the leftist nationalists were ”pro-North Korean”. This is how the conservatives were able to ban leftists from the political playground before the 1990’s. They simply said that any critic was pro-North Korean, this resulted in arrest and torture of those called ”enemies of democracy”. The Unified Progressive Party was not pro-North Korea, however it was deeply anti-USA and rejected American troops on Korean soil. It was a party of activists who were anti-imperialist. Leftist nationalists in the past have been pro-DPRK, but the UPP was never a party that hailed the Juche system of North Korea. Still the presidency of Park Geun-hye used the old pro-North Korean trick and banned the UPP. President Moon Jae-in would do good by rehabilitate the members of this leftist nationalist party. Despite their Korean nationalism, the UPP has the right to exist in a liberal democracy!

 

Moon Jae-in claims victory.

The free market destorys Alitalia

The Italian airliner Alitalia is about to go bankrupt again. This is not the first time the airliner went into financial problems. Back in 2008, the old Alitalia – Linee Aeree Italiane was declared bankrupt. A new airliner under the name Alitalia – Compagnia Aerea Italiana was founded by a bailout of the Italian government. However the big liner cannot make a profit. Since its foundation Alitalia has been losing money each year. At fault is the management and the fact that cow cost carriers have conquered the Italian airline market. Ryanair and Vueling have outmaneuvered the national airline of Italy and now bankruptcy is imminent yet again!

Alitalia – Linee Aeree Italiane first started with flying in 1946 after world war 2. Its first name was Aerolinee Italiane Internazional, the name Alitalia was introduced a year later in 1947. Like Sabena of Belgium, Alitalia was never a profitable airliner. By capitalist standards the company should have been bankrupted a long time ago. But Alitalia was the face of Italy and the government decided to intervene every time. Capitalist commentators claim that workers and the government are to blame for the financial troubles. Labour unions have bravely fought against the decisions of the management to cut wages and fire workers. Revolutionary socialists always stood with the workers of Alitalia, who are not to blame for the fact that the management is unable to make the company profitable!

Many Italians will be shocked when their airliner will go bankrupt. But this is not something which comes unexpectedly. Alitalia suffers from killing competition by low cost airliners like Ryanair and Vueling. Airliners who operate much cheaper because they enforce totalitarian control over their workers. We all know how Ryanair forces its pilots to fly with just enough fuel to make it from point A to point B. Wages at these low cost carriers are much lower then those of Alitalia. This is why tickets are much cheaper. In the past the government granted loans and capital injections to prevent a bankruptcy. But the European Union forbade Italy from helping their doomed airliner. Their logic is simple: If Alitalia cannot survive in a free market, then it should go down. This is the same EU that enforced brutal austerity on the people of Greece!

Revolutionary socialists see a bigger picture. We reject capital injections or nationalizations under capitalism. We do not want Italians to pay for the loses of one company only to see it privatized again. Our alternative is to nationalize Alitalia under socialism. This means complete expropriation of the owners and no privatization in the future. This will be rejected by the EU, who will never agree to any state owned airliner. In a capitalist economy it would also not be possible to do this. Therefore Italy needs socialism!

Capitalist competition is not healthy and in the end it destroys those who cannot survive. This killer logic is what happened to famous airliners like Pan American Airlines, Sabena and Swissair. Supporters of the free market claim that because of competition the prices for flying are now much lower. Indeed, but at what cost? There are over 11.000 people working for Alitalia. If the company goes bankrupt these workers will be on the streets. Capitalist commentators say that the pilots, flight attendants and workers should then accept cuts to their income and pensions. Because that will keep the airline ”healthy”. So in order to save their jobs, they need to accept the same work conditions as those who work for low cost carriers like Ryanair. Let us remind you how greedy and capitalistic the management of Ryanair is. Pilots are forced to fly with a minimum of fuel and flight attendants are told to pay for their own uniforms. There is also a culture of fear were bosses use intimidation against those workers who are critical!

In 2008, Alitalia – Linee Aeree Italiane went bankrupt after losing money for years. Because the government had kept a big share in the airline, prime minster Silvo Berlusconi decided to save the image of Italy, by selling parts of the company to his wealthy cronies. A group of rich capitalists was enticed into taking over the healthy portions of Alitalia, leaving its debts to the Italian taxpayers. After the government paid millions of euros, a new company was set up called Alitalia – Compagnia Aerea Italiana. Many hoped that this fresh start would be positive. Arab carrier Etihad Airways paid a lot of money to get 49% of all the shares. In the end they were very disappointing that the workers of Alitalia rejected the austerity package. Since trade unions are not free in the United Arab Emirates, the owners of Etihad are not used that working class people stand up against labor cuts and worsening work conditions.

Alitalia has another competitor, railroads. Two years ago a super-fast rail system opened between Milan and Rome. The capitalists who own these rail roads offer seats at the same prices of the low cost carriers. In a nation were the average income is 1.700 euros a month before taxes, it is no surprise that many choose cheaper ways of travel. It is a sad reality that the free market has destroyed Alitalia. 11.000 workers will soon face the streets if the company is not saved. This time there is no hope of government intervention as the European Union forbids any capital injection!

Are consumers to blame? They are the ones who choose to fly with Ryanair and Vueling instead of Alitalia. Revolutionary Socialist Media thinks not. The unregulated capitalist system is to blame. In the past, many state owned airliners had a monopoly on flights. Pan American Airlines was able to stay in the air because the airline market in the USA was regulated, until Jimmy Carter came with the deregulation act of 1978. Exposure to competition led to heavy losses and conflicts with labor unions for a number of carriers. Between 1978 and mid-2001, eight major carriers (including famous names like Eastern, Midway, Braniff, Pan Am, Continental, Northwest Airlines, and TWA) and more than 100 smaller airlines went bankrupt or were liquidated!

The establishment media in both Italy and the European Union will put all the blame on pilots and workers. They refused austerity, they refused pay cuts and are to blame for the collapse of Alitalia. Working class people at the company however are not to blame. We say that the capitalist system is responsible. The system of unregulated capitalism that allows for this madness. Ryanair and Vueling are not Italian airliners, Ryanair is Irish and Vueling is Spanish. But because of the free market economy in the European Union, these low cost liners are able to compete in any EU country. Revolutionary socialists reject this common market idea as not all European nations are equal in labour costs nor in social security. Nationalists would call for protectionism, a system that protects indigenous businesses against foreign competition. The far-right National Front in France is very much in favor of protectionism. Silvo Berlusconi also played on protectionist feelings during his times as prime minister!

In the end the only class who wins is the capitalist class. Workers lose far more then just a job. The owners of Alitalia are not poor, Etihad Airways is a company that is cheating the market because it has access to subsidized oil. While carriers like Alitalia have to pay market prices for their jet fuel, Etihad Airways is given subsidized fuel by the government of the United Arab Emirates. Also the companies from the middle east operate on slave labor. Many Indian workers from India work for airliners like Etihad Airways on very low wages. Although billions of euros are made, Indian workers are paid on salaries common in India. Two years ago, many capitalists in the United Arab Emirates complained about the rise in labor costs. Workers from India were given an increase in their salary at home. This meant that Arab businesses who hire Indians had to pay this increases too. An average income of 1.200 ED (Emirati Dirham) was normal, but now the Arab capitalists had to pay over 1.600 ED a month if they hire a worker from India. For the record: 1.600 ED equals 400 euros or 430 U.S dollars!

Capitalist logic is simple. There is no room for Alitalia in a European market dominated by low cost carriers and three major airlines. Because we have now:

  1. Air France/KLM – A company that owns Air France and Dutch Royal Airlines (KLM)
  2. The International Airlines Group which owns British Airways, Vueling and Iberia of Spain
  3. The Lufthansa Group that owns Lufthansa, Swiss International Air Lines, Austria Airlines, Brussels Airlines and many charter airliners like Eurowings and Edelweiss Air.

This is the result of unregulated capitalism. Today there are only three major airlines left in Europe. These three dominate the market and it becomes more difficult for others to compete with them. At the same time, the low cost carriers keep growing. Ryanair is no longer a small Irish carrier. It has grown to 384 airplanes with 192 destinations. The Spanish Vueling has over 108 planes, the same amount as Alitania. Although the EU claims to protect ”free and fair competition” we all know that behind our backs, price fixing is done. Because it is the nature of capitalists to get richer and richer at the expense of others. Air France/KLM, International Airlines Group and Lufthansa Group are not even to blame for their greedy nature. We cannot expect from them to behave like human beings. Because the drive for profiteering will always come before the interests of the people who work at these enterprises!

Soon another symbol of the European airlines industry will fade away. Americans seen it too with the demise of airliners like Pan American Airlines, Eastern Airlines and Trans World Airlines. Those who cannot compete on the market are doomed to die. The brave workers of Alitalia who always fought for their jobs and wages, will in the end lose the battle. Because in a system build for competition and greed, they must either obey the rules of the market (accept austerity, lower wages and higher work load) or lose their jobs. This is why revolutionary socialists stand for a different economic system. A socialist system based on planning of the economy for people and not for the sharks of corporate Europe and the world capitalist class!

 

A sad end for the Italian airliner

French first round

The first round of the French presidential elections have been won by a neoliberal and a far-right nationalist. Emmanuel Macron and Marline Le Pen will face each other in the final battle of the French presidency. Macron is a former right-wing member of the Socialist Party (PS), who broke with the social democrats. Le Pen is the leader of the far-right: National Front, a xenophobic nationalist party that plays on the fear of foreigners (Muslims). The final round will be between this right-wing ex-social democrat and the leader of French nationalism. Revolutionary socialists will not support either of them. We call for massive rejection of both Macron’s neoliberalism and Le Pen’s ethnic nationalism!

What makes this first round special is that the candidates of the big two failed to get into the second round. Traditionally a social democratic candidate from the Socialist Party (PS) faces a conservative candidate from the Republicans, the new name of the former Union for a Popular Movement since 2015. French conservatives have the tendency to change their name when they become too unpopular. Unlike the social democrats, there have been many parties that served as a vehicle for the French ruling class. It is true that both the Socialist Party and the current Republicans are seen as the parties of the bourgeoisie. That neither of their candidates made it into the final round, proofs the deep distrust voters have towards establishment politicians!

Emmanuel Macron maybe the next president of France. Why? Because the defeated social democrats will call for a vote on him. All anti-nationalist French parties will call for a vote on this former minister in the government of president Hollande. Macron openly says he supports the dictatorship of capitalism, the free trade deals with America and Canada and he loves the European Union. His victory can be explained by the fact that he is seen as a outsider and not part of the rotten political establishment, which is ironic because he supported the politics of the ruling class. The political left-wing in this election was deeply divided between three leftist candidates. Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the Left Party is the most popular, but his ideas are not true socialist. Although progressive and classic social democratic, he does not call for a socialist republic in France. The other two leftist candidates are more revolutionary in nature. But the radical left has been marginalized because of their inability to unite in a party for working class people. Still the campaign of Mélenchon was powerful enough to give him more votes compared to the candidate of the PS!

Philippe Poutou of the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) and Nathalie Arthaud of Workers Struggle (LO) are called the hard left. The NPA was born in 2009 in a attempt to unite the revolutionary left into a stronger force. This project unfortunate failed as no clear program was drafted. Many revolutionaries who joined the NPA started to leave in bitter disillusion over the inability of the leadership to build a socialist alternative. Poutou is a good working class politician and would have been a true socialist president. But there is no real working class party behind him. The NPA is in fact the old Revolutionary Communist League under a new name!

Nathalie Arthau of Workers Struggle (LO) is running for the second time. Her political party maybe revolutionary socialist, but it is rather small and sectarian in nature. Both the NPA and LO failed to address new layers of workers and young people for revolutionary socialism. Only Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s moderate socialist program was able to rally working class voters. But in the end it was not enough. This however does not mean that there is no potential for a socialist alternative. Mélenchon won 19,6% of the votes, the best result for a true leftist candidate in France. Had his program been more radical socialist and if the NPA and LO had called for a united vote on him, he could have entered the final round against Emmanuel Macron. With clear leftist rhetoric against the babarity that is capitalism, Jean-Luc Mélenchon would have defeated the former PS minister. Then France would have a true leftist president!

Marine Le Pen is the leader of the far-right National Front. She stands on ethnic nationalism, rejection of minorities (Muslims) and false populism. Like Geert Wilders in the Netherlands or Donald Trump in the USA, Le Pen plays on the fear of radical Islamism. Her solutions are simple, discrimination and limit democratic rights for Muslims. Her far-right party wants to attack workers with a Islamic background and their religion, all in the name of ”protecting French secularism”. Radical Islam grows because of racism towards working class Muslims. Many young people with parents from the middle east, feel that they are not wanted in their own country. Seeing the rejection of French society because they are Muslim, they are easy prey for radical Islamist forces. These forces work on the internet, spreading Jihad and hatred of the western world. Their propaganda works because of people like Marine Le Pen, who openly call for more discrimination against Muslims!

At the same time Le Pen wants to whitewash the crimes of France. She does not want to accept that her almighty French Republic was a brutal imperialist state. That it took African and Asian lands by force. No, Marine Le Pen loves the old French empires. She recently said that France was not to blame for the what happened on ”Vel d’Hiv”. This name stands for the date on which French police forces started with mass arrests of Jews in occupied Paris, code named: Opération Vent printanier. The police officers were working for the French government in Vichy, the collaborationist regime set up in 1940. Until the 1990’s, many political leaders refused to accept that France was to blame. It does not hide that the mass arrests were conducted by police and government officials of the French Republic!

In radical Islam, many Muslim youth are finding an identity. French society failed them and so they turn inward towards religious extremism. Islamism is a cancer that spreads because of racism by right-wing governments and populists like Trump, Wilders and Le Pen. It draws on young people who feel rejected by western societies because of their skin color and religion. Poverty is also a major reason why radical Islam is finding new prey. Many workers from Algeria and Tunisia are living in poor neighborhoods and are struggling against rising poverty. Revolutionary socialists have called for unity of all workers from both Christian, Muslim, Jewish and secular backgrounds. This unity grows more difficult now that right-wing nationalism grows among ethnic white French. It is true that there is outright rejection of the Socialist Party and Republicans. But voting for people like Emmanuel Macron or Marine Le Pen, will not improve the living-standards of working class families.

The next round will be a battle between hardcore nationalism and the none-nationalist capitalist establishment. Marine Le Pen will abuse the massive anger of poor white workers to distract them from her own pro-capitalist ideology. Yes, the National Front might oppose neoliberalism and international capitalism, but they love French capitalists and wish to protect French capitalism against ”foreign multinationals”. Also we must not forget that in the 1980’s, the nationalists were promoters of neoliberalism under Marine’s father. Jean Marie Le Pen called for privatizations and deregulation to fight what he called the ”communist danger” from both the Socialist Party and French Communist Party. Today the National Front is calling for protectionism!

Political leftist parties like the Left Party, French Communist Party (PCF), the New Anticapitalist Party and Workers Struggle have failed to rally working class people to their side. The Left Party and PCF are in fact too moderate and lack a clear revolutionary ideology. They even have called on workers to vote for PS candidates in the second round of the presidential elections. Will the party of Jean-Luc Mélenchon and the communist party now rally behind Emmanuel Macron? Will they call for a vote on a right-wing neoliberal who openly expresses his love for capitalism and trade deals like TTIP and CETA? The National Front is not loved by the capitalist establishment for their protectionism and nationalism. So it become more and more clear that with the support from moderate socialists, social democrats, conservatives, neoliberals and establishment figures, Macron has a clear shot at the presidency. But Marline Le Pen can still defeat him if she is able to win working class voters!

Whatever president is elected, he or she will not serve the working class. Capitalism will not be limited or harmed. This is why the struggle against must not stop at the ballot. Protests and strikes against austerity and capitalist barbarism need to continue. In the end what truly matters is that French workers need a party for themselves that fights for a society in which political and economic power does not lay with a small minority of capitalists. Anti-capitalism used to be very strong in France. But because the radical left-wing failed to unite, they were easy defeated by social democracy and conservatism. The PS could play on its former status as a workers party. This is why social democracy remained strong in France. Had the French Communist Party not degenerated into this moderate socialist clubhouse, it could have out-rivaled the Socialist Party as it once did!

 

The outcome of the first round.

Bill O’Reilly IS GONE!!

Bill O’Reilly is gone, fired from Fox News. The master of conservative propaganda has been defeated. This happened after he was accused of sexual harassment by at least seven women who worked for him or who appeared on his show. By April 2017, 21st Century Fox and O’Reilly had paid out more than $13 million to settle lawsuits brought by five of these women. Although Fox always defended their rich white male chauvinists, they were now in a corner. Faced with another harassment scandal, Rupert Murdoch’s right-wing network choose to play it save. Bill will not return after his ”holiday”. His program ”The O’Reilly Factor” was renamed ”The Factor” with a blond woman replacing Bill O’Reilly, on 19 April 2017 as host!

This date will be remembered for a long time. Bill O’Reilly has been brought down by woman, the very people he always believed he could control and own. A white male chauvinist, O’Reilly even used racial language against a black worker. She was called ”hot chocolate” by the now ex-host. 13 million U.S dollars were paid to seven woman who had brought charges against Bill. Although he never appeared in court, it is now more then clear that Bill O’Reilly behaved like a true sexist. He saw himself as invincible as he was protected by Roger Ailes, the former chairman of Fox News. Both Bill and Roger are dirty old males, who see females as something they can own. Although they are millionaires and supported by chauvinists like Donald Trump, Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly lost the fight. Both are now fired and removed from Fox News!

 

Henk Sneevliet: Dutch working class hero

On 13 April 1942, Henk Sneevliet and seven leaders of the Marx-Lenin-Luxemburg Front were executed by the German occupation forces in Leusden, the Netherlands. Sneevliet led the revolutionary socialists in the fight against both the reformist social democratic camp, the totalitarian Stalinist camp and the German occupation. He gave his life for the ideas of genuine socialism while fighting against Dutch colonialism and German Nazism. Henk Sneevliet is relative unknown in the Netherlands, but in China he played a major role in the founding of the Communist Party of China in 1921. If he would be alive today we can bet that Sneevliet would lead the charge against the conservative-nationalist regime of Xi Jinping!

Hendricus Josephus Franciscus Marie (Henk) Sneevliet was born on 13 April 1883 in Rotterdam, his father was a cigar maker. Young Henk moved to Zutphen and started working for the NS, the National Railways of the Netherlands. He became a member of the Social Democratic Workers Party (SDAP) as well as the Netherlands Association of Railway and Tramway Employees (NV) in 1902. As a very active socialist he was the first member of the SDAP who got elected in the city council of Zwolle. Capitalist politicians were not happy with the revolutionary Sneevliet, who challenged their right-wing positions and exposed their true allegiance. Henk correctly saw how capitalism brought poverty to the Netherlands. Liberals and conservatives were working together to serve the interests of big business. Many Dutch workers had to struggle to survive and poverty was high around 1900!

Because the SDAP was too moderate and unwilling to support a proletarian revolution, Henk left the Social Democratic Workers Party in 1911. He joined the Social Democratic Party (SDP) a party founded by supporters of Karl Marx, who were expelled from the reformist SDAP. By 1913, Sneevliet moved to Dutch Indies a colony today known as Indonesia. Here the revolutionary socialists was very active in building the Indonesian workers movement. Dutch colonial officials were again not happy with this ”troublemaker” who called for Indonesian independence and revolutionary socialism. In May of 1914, Henk Sneevliet and his supporters founded the Indies Social Democratic Association, the forerunner of the Communist Party of Indonesia!

By 1917 the socialist revolution destroyed the old Russian Empire. Revolutionary uprisings were happening across Europe. In Dutch Indies, the revolutionary socialists called for a workers uprising and the building of a socialist democracy. Militant workers rose up, soldiers and sailors revolted in the Surabaya naval base of the archipelago. They formed workers & soldiers councils and took control. The Dutch imperialists reacted quickly and were able to crush the uprising. Dutch imperialism remained master of Indonesia for another 38 years. The Indies Social Democratic Association was banned, its leaders were sentenced to 40 years in prison. Henk Sneevliet got deported from the colony and never returned!

Back in the Netherlands, Sneevliet’s old SDP had changed name into the Communist Party Holland. The party was now a member of the Communist International. At the second congress of the international, Henk Sneevliet represented the Communist Party of Indonesia under the name Maring. It would be this name under which the Chinese would get to know him. Because at the request of Vladimir Lenin, the Dutch revolutionary was send to China to help various communist groups uniting into one party. Sneevliet was present at the founding congress of the Communist Party of China in July 1921. Although the current leaders of the people’s republic in Beijing praise Sneevliet as a ”founding father”, we revolutionary socialists know that he would have rejected and hated the current leaders of the Chinese communist party!

Henk was not a Stalinist and became very critical of the Soviet-Union after Lenin died in January 1924. Soon conflicts arose between the growing pro-Stalin party leadership and the rebel Sneevliet. Two years after the death of Lenin, Henk Sneevliet broke with the Communist Party Holland (CPH) and left. This was a surprise since the stalinists did not expelled him, he choose to walk away. Not only did Henk broke with the communist party, he also broke with the Communist International. By 1928, he was isolated and many would have abandoned revolutionary politics. But not Henk Sneevliet, he organized the anti-Stalinist left-wing and was able to build his own political party!

In 1929 the stalinists were in complete control of the Communist International and had expelled most critical communists. In the Netherlands many who were expelled from the CPH joined up with Sneevliet. The groups were originally called Revolutionary Socialist Committees, who were soon organized into the Revolutionary Socialist Union. What all these groups shared was the rejected of social democracy and stalinism. They had no love for the pro-capitalist leaders of the Social Democratic Workers Party and the dictatorial leadership of the Communist Party Holland. Henk was the manager and soon central leader of all anti-Stalinist communists. As a great speaker he could rally many revolutionaries to the side of Marxist socialism. The party bosses of both the social democratic party and communist party hated him and started to spread lies and misinformation. The communist party members even claimed that Henk was a secret fascist!

Finally the Revolutionary Socialist Union was transformed from a loose union of different groups into a Leninist style party, called the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP). Henk Sneevliet’s work paid off and in 1933, he was elected into the Dutch parliament. This was possible because he supported the mutiny of Dutch sailors on the HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën. After the Dutch government decided to use brutal force to end the mutiny, Sneevliet was jailed because he supported the sailors. In jail he was portrait by the RSP as a martyr of the free word against the militarist Dutch government. Two years later the Independent Socialist Party fused with the RSP to form the Revolutionary Socialist Workers Party (RSAP)!

Although the party seemed united, inside there was a growing debate about the structure. Many independent socialists did not liked the Leninist party structure, others did not like the personality of Henk Sneevliet who demanded a lot from party members. After the Dutch government banned civil servants from joining radical leftist parties, the RSAP lost the support from many government workers. At the 1937 elections, the party was unable to keep its seat and Sneevliet became a member of the Amsterdam city council. Although he was sympathetic towards Leon Trotsky, both men were too dogmatic to work alongside each other. Trotsky was very critical of the Spanish; Workers Party of Marxist Unification, which Sneevliet fully supported. Also by 1938, Sneevliet had grown so anti-USSR that he no longer called for unconditional support for the Soviet-Union. Trotsky on the other hand always demanded from his supporters that they stood by the planned economy of the USSR!

Trotsky and Sneevliet broke with each other and the RSAP did not joined the Communist Fourth International. Instead the party became a part of the International Bureau of Revolutionary Socialist Unity along with the Independent Labour Party (Britain) and the Workers’ Party of Marxist Unification (POUM) of Spain. Fighting against both social democracy, stalinism and capitalism meant that they small RSAP was very isolated in both Dutch politics and international ones. The political sectarianism was high in the Netherlands before the war. People of different religions and political ideologies looked down on each other. Each had their own organisations, newspapers, radio shows and parties. Sneevliet and the Revolutionary Socialist Workers Party were true outsiders and hated by social democrats, stalinists, capitalists, liberals, conservatives and fascists!

In the 1930’s, it was the RSAP who foresaw the dangers of fascism. They were very critical of Adolf Hitler and the Dutch government was not happy that revolutionary socialists openly insulted a friendly head of state. Queen Wilhelmina even send her congratulations to the Führer on his birthdays. The Dutch police was told to arrest RSAP members who were too antifascist. After the Germans invaded Poland, Henk Sneevliet prepared for a possible invasion in the Netherlands. Unlike the SDAP and CPH, the RSAP was ready to work underground. This happened on May 10 of 1940. German troops conquered the Netherlands in less then five days. The Revolutionary Socialist Workers Party was dissolved on the first day of war and replaced by the Marx-Lenin-Luxemburg Front!

Henk Sneevliet and seven others made up the resistance leadership. They were the first socialist group who organized a anti-German newspaper called Spartakus. For two years the MLLF created illegal newspapers and called on Dutch workers to fight back. Unfortunate the resistance leadership was betrayed in April 1942. This was not uncommon as many Dutch were betrayed by fellow countrymen for money. Sneevliet and the seven MLLF leaders were brought before a German court and sentenced to be shot. On the last day of their heroic life, the men came together for a final cigar. Then they sang The Internationale proudly, showing to their captors that their death would not end the struggle of the Dutch proletariat against the Nazi occupation!

The last to be shot was Sneevliet himself. He died a proud revolutionary socialist, never a slave to Stalin and a uncompromising fighter against Hitler. Although German bullets killed him, his ideas live on on the hears and minds of all revolutionary socialists. Today the Netherlands is unaware that they had a brave man like Hendricus Josephus Franciscus Marie. Even the Indonesian workers do not know him. This is because the Communist Party of Indonesia removed him from the party’s records. After the Indonesian communists were massacred by Suharto in the 60’s, the legacy of Sneevliet faded away. In China, the man known only as Maring was unknown until the Communist Party of China decided to name him, at their 90th anniversary in 2011. We can say for certain that he would not be happy about this. As a enemy of stalinism and capitalism, Henk would have called on Chinese workers to rise up against the very party he helped to found in 1921!

It is a sad reality that none of the communist parties Henk Sneevliet co-founded was able to lead their proletariat into building socialism. The Communist Party of the Netherlands dissolved itself in 1991, Jakarta still bans the Communist Party of Indonesia and the Communist Party of China has betrayed revolutionary socialism. 100 years after the Russian revolution which inspired Sneevliet to build the communist parties of Indonesia and China, it is time for workers of these nations to complete the job. Although Henk is death, many can learn from his experiences. New socialists have the potential of building parties of working class people in opposition to the barbarity that is the capitalist system. The capitalist world may think that they are supreme, but Lenin showed this is a facade. Capitalism can be defeated and replaced by a society not run for greed and exploitation!

This is why we honor people like Hendricus Josephus Franciscus Marie. Workers from both the Netherlands, Indonesia and China will forever be linked to this man. The son of a cigar maker from Rotterdam. Who rejected the reformist road of social democracy, who stood against Stalinist totalitarianism and who died while resistance Nazism. Revolutionary Socialist Media will always honor Henk Sneevliet, Dutch working class hero and fighter for workers of all lands!

亨德利库斯·约瑟夫斯·弗朗西乌斯·玛丽·斯内夫利特

1883-1942

Sneevliet supported the mutiny of Dutch sailors on the HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën