CPI(ML) Redstar - International News

Coms Berçem and Ekin are Immortal: MLCP

The physical liquidation attacks against the communist revolutionary and patriotic forces starting with the massacres in Suruç, Amed and Ankara are also continued in the form of murder in houses and on the streets.

A part of these attacks was realized on 22nd December in Istanbul. Two women of MLCP were surrounded during an armed confrontation with the forces of the colonialist, fascist regime in the neighbourhood of Gaziosmanpaºa and shot. Our comrades and commanders Yeliz Eray (Berçem) and ªirin Öter (Ekin) became immortal. Four policemen were hurt in this attack.

Now the Turkish bourgeois regime is focusing for months on imposing curfews in Northern Kurdistan to oppose the proclamation of self-administration. Thus, mounts a colonialist encirclement with tens of thousands of soldiers and policemen. It carries on with its fascist attacks by using tanks, guns, war planes and other heavy weapons. The occupying forces shoot and hurt Kurdish children, women, youth and labouring people and take them into custody.

Against these colonialist cruelties the Kurdish people shows a great resistance. YDG-H (Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement), Women and Kurdish poor through barricade and turf battles move on to their national freedom. They deliver heavy resistance in order to take fate into their own hands.

In Kurdistan it’s all about the struggle between revolution and counter-revolution. The Kurdish people demand its political recognition. It proclaims its self-administration and defends itself. It waits for the support and solidarity of all people in Turkey and the world, the progressive and revolutionary parties.

Our comrades in the Turkish front will hold, strengthen and carry to victory the torch of this unified revolutionary struggle. They showed us the path of exercising revolutionary force through their armed resistance against the colonialist, counterrevolutionary violence.

Their resistance enlightens our path!

The comrades Yeliz and ªirin are immortal!

Long live revolution and socialism!
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine confirmed that the escalating crimes of the occupation against the Palestinian people, especially the recent actions taken by the Zionist state and its army against our Palestinian people in the West Bank and Jerusalem, will not break the will of our people or stop the valiant uprising, nor will they put an end to the heroic resistance actions of Palestinian youth.

The Zionist escalation has entered a new phase within the framework of an ongoing war against the Palestinian people, including the Zionist law imposing a minimum prison sentence of three years on stone throwers or the throwing of Molotov cocktails or any other actions against the settlers and soldiers, as well as the imposition of large fines.

This also includes the delivery of notifications of home demolitions to Palestinians because they are close to settlements in the West Bank, and the serious crime of the escalation against Palestinian children, including targeting school children with tear gas; the Front also notes the targeting of health workers and hospitals, media and press crews, and the threat of gassing and killing the Palestinian in Aida refugee camp by occupation forces, documented on video.

The Front said that the occupation’s claims that its escalating crimes have led to the reduction of the rate of operations against it in Jerusalem and the West Bank are false and illusionary meant to deceive their audience. The Palestinian youth have not been stopped by the occupier and all of its crimes and actions have proven unsuccessful in defeating the Palestinian resistance, only increasing the determination of our people to confront the occupier and continue the Intifada. 

USA: Can Bernie Sanders Represent the Left?

IN THE CAMPAIGN for coming US Presidential elections, voters sick of big-business politics are flocking to Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who campaigns against staggering inequality and denounces the rule of banksters and CEOs. He is drawing huge enthusiastic crowds at campaign rallies and is running neck and neck with Hillary Clinton in some polls.

In the Congress, he has taken principled stands opposing the authorization of force in Iraq in 1991 and 2002 and the invasion in 2003. He calls for a single-payer “Medicare for all” healthcare system. He endorses labour unions, higher wages, and a national public jobs programme to rebuild infrastructure. But he has voted for the 2001 authorization of force that gave George W. Bush the green light for military action after September 11 and led to the imperialist invasion of Afghanistan. He supported the US/NATO war on Yugoslavia in 1999. He backs indefinite US funding of Israel and defends Israel’s vicious attack on Gaza in 2014. He wants the US to remain the world’s strongest military power.

Exposing his rightist stand on race question, Sanders refused to address the issues raised by Black Lives Matter protesters at rallies in Phoenix and Seattle, who were reflecting the explosive frustration of millions of people with racism and politicians’ silence. Sanders’ economic plan calls for increasing taxes on the rich, letting large insolvent banks fail, and using taxes on risky financial transactions to pay for education. But he refuses to challenge the power of Wall Street!

As far as the ruling system in US is concerned, he supports the Democrats and thus the two-party choke hold continuing for a very long time. The path that Sanders is treading is a well-worn one. Over the last 30 years, the presidential campaigns of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Dennis Kucinich, and now Bernie Sanders have espoused agendas seen as progressive and tried to push the Democratic Party to the left. These experiments tried many times before have only failed. But the international media and the reformist forces in the US are trying to project him as a leftist candidate, though he has refused to fight against the ruling system in any radical form. So, while the big mobilizations in his meetings are an indication that people look forward to an alternative, still no such possibilities have emerged so far in any significant form.

Canada: Liberals’ Victory

THE SWEEPING victory of the Liberals led by Justin Trudeau in Canada marks a significant political shift in Canada ruled by the Conservatives since 2006. Trudeau vowed to reclaim Canada’s “core values” — a strong social security system, active participation in international organisations, and an inclusive nationhood. Calling himself a “proud feminist”, he has pledged to revise the Conservative’s anti-terrorism laws and end the country’s combat role in the US-led fight in Iraq and Syria. Compared to nearly a decade of Conservative regime, he is promising a shift in the policies like Jeremy Corbyn, the newly elected Labour Party leader in Britain
FOR MANY YEARS, the Syrian state and people have been exposed to a fierce terrorist invasion, led by extremist groups coming to Syria from more than 80 countries to destroy the infrastructure, and to shed the blood of innocent citizens.

Definitely, these crimes could not be committed without the boundless support granted to the terrorists by the imperial powers of the USA, France and the UK, and their partners in our region, mainly the Turkish and Gulf regimes, the so-called “international alliance” which hinders all the efforts to reach a political solution to the Syrian crisis.

Syria has always warned the international society of the dangers of transforming this terrorism and takfirism – threat, into a regional and international one, and that is happening today in many countries like Iraq, Libya and some European countries.

In spite of the Security Council resolution No. 2199, which prohibits the financing of terrorist groups such as “ISIS” and “Al-Nusra Front”, nevertheless the crimes of these groups are still continuing, killing thousands of civilians. As happened to Al-Sheitat tribe in Deir Al-ZOR and Aleppo province the victims of the terrorist groups were school students, besides the massacre in Tel Tamer the province of Al-Hasaka, the majority of whose inhabitants are Assyrians (the old, historically well-known population of the region).

Another crime of takfirist groups committed against humanity is the destruction of ancient monuments in Syria and Iraq and the stealing of artifacts, as we believe that the aim of such actions is to efface the history of this region.

Lately, those terrorists have committed carnage in Mabuja village near Salamieh, where more than 60 people were killed at night, followed by invasion of Edleb with a contribution from the Turkish armed forces, in addition to many other crimes done by these groups in many of the Syrian cities and villages.

The Syrian Communist Party (Unified) requests all the workers’ and communist parties and all the progressive powers in the world to denounce the terrorist crimes in Syria as well in Iraq, and to express their solidarity with the Syrian people who are still putting up a resistance against the crimes and dark ideology of the reactionary powers and their extremist tools, the terrorist organizations, in spite of all kinds of blockades, and economic sanctions imposed against them.

The Syrian people are still looking forward to a democratic, secular future through an inclusive national dialogue, to reach a political solution of the Syrian crisis. No, to the support of terrorism! Yes, for solidarity and humanitarian support to Syrian people!

Hunein Nemer, General Secretary of Syrian Communist Party (United)
THE already chaotic political situation of the country has been further confounded by the partly anticipated dissolution of parliament on 26th June with general elections to be held on 17th August amid controversy about the 20th Amendment to the Constitution concerning changes to the elections system. Little has been politically different between the two main Sinhala political parties except issues of personalities. In the past decade both UNP and SLFP suffered splits based mostly on personal issues: the former owing to leadership rivalry encouraged by vested interests, against a background of successive electoral defeats; the latter owing to internal contradictions aggravated by the authoritarianism of former President Rajapaksa, most of which remained dormant until Rajapaksa moved to contest for a third term. His recent announcement that he will contest the parliamentary elections has made the split a certainty. How the split will materialize depends on developments in the coming weeks amid attempts at reconciliation and could continue even if the warring factions field separate slates of candidates.

Although the UNP has superficially patched up differences, bitter personal rivalries still at work are bound to surface after the elections. Holding together the alliance that defeated Rajapaksa will be a challenge since partners are already disgruntled over sectarian interests. What matters is not which alliance comprising incompatible political parties will come to power but what plans that any of them has to rescue the economy and resolve the national question. The media gleefully give the impression that the UNP will adopt foreign and economic policies agreeable to US imperialism while the SLFP, united or divided, will adopt policies that will be friendlier towards China. Recent events have shown that pragmatism dominates foreign policy and an anti-China policy by any government is unlikely despite sections of US loyalists in the UNP craving for one. As for anti-imperialism, the SLFP has been good at making the occasional anti-imperialist noise for local consumption while in practice bowing to US and European Community pressures on matters of economic and social policy.

The country’s economic policy has since 1978 been dictated by the IMF, the World Bank and other financial arms of imperialism. No regime has deviated from the line laid by imperialism. Electoral considerations did, however, slow down certain projects such as total privatization of education and health sectors. But state funded education and health continue to be systematically run down with gates wide open for private hospitals, private practice by government doctors, private schools under the guise of “international schools”, and local and foreign private universities. The election pledge of 6% for education by Maithripala Sirisena, to which both the UNP and the SLFP subscribe, is likely to be fulfilled the way JR Jayawardane delivered on his election pledge of 8 kg of grain per person which gave the electorate the impression that the gain will be free or at subsidized prices, by offering 8 kg of grain at market price.

People are used to elected governments breaking promises. Yet public frustration and anger found expression as mass demonstrations on several occasions in the past few years, especially as the glitter of war victory wore off. It seemed ominous that the BBC, reporting the dissolution of parliament, chose to display below the news caption an image of President Sirisena flanked by the commanders of the Army and Navy. It is likely that future dissent in any form will be met with brute force. The failure of the main presidential candidates to address the national question was not accidental. While Mahinda Rajapaksa adopted an openly chauvinist line, Maitripala Sirisena pledged that the country’s security will not be compromised and that an internal inquiry will be conducted into war crimes, the former to placate Sinhala chauvinists and the latter the “International Community”.

Leaders of minority nationality parties displayed their political bankruptcy by not demanding from the UNP a clear statement of its stand on key aspects of the national question. Resettlement and rehabilitation of the war displaced, release of persons arrested on suspicion of being terrorists and detained without charges, and withdrawal of excess troops from the North and East are matters on which positions need to be clear. The narrow Tamil nationalist TNA likes to have it both ways by making loud pronouncements about national rights of Tamils while cosying up to the UNP, knowing well that the UNP will do little more than making a few symbolic gestures on the national question. Its rival, the Tamil National People’s Front, for electoral gain, hints at a separatist agenda, but without plans, amid growing public displeasure with the TNA and the Northern Provincial Council which hardly addresses matters that concern the livelihood of the people. All Tamil nationalists are unwilling to take any stand critical of the US and India, even in maters where the people are affected. The reliance of Tamil nationalist leaders on the “International Community” to solve the national question while shying away from mass politics and mass mobilization will only weaken the struggle of the minority nationalities for their rights.

Disputes about the 20th Amendment on electoral reform which failed to materialize clearly revealed that the political leaders of the minority nationalities and parties such as the JVP and JHU are only interested in ensuring their parliamentary seats and privileges that flow from them. In all, the country has not gained anything significant except for the passage of the 19th Amendment which curtailed some of the presidential powers and effectively made the notorious 18th Amendment null and void. The defeat of Rajapaksa was a symbolic victory against a chauvinistic dictatorial trend. Parliamentary politics cannot consolidate that victory. It is time for the people of all nationalities to build a genuine left, progressive democratic alternative.

[Editorial of New Democracy, Organ of NDMLP, Sri Lanka)

Turkey : Setback for Erdogan

THE outcome of the general election in Turkey has ended the dominance of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) preaching Islamist fundamentalist views. It has derailed President Erdogan’s plans to consolidate his power. Though Erdogan, after winning the presidential election last year had won the supposedly non-partisan presidency, he had heavily campaigned for the ruling party that he helped found, even after technically quitting it. He built his campaign around the promise of transferring power from Parliament to the President’s office, claiming that the move would make Turkey more powerful and administratively efficient.

The AKP aimed for at least 330 seats, but can get around 250 only for the 41% votes it obtained, as elections are held based on proportional representation. But the AKP failed to get even a simple majority, for the first time in 13 years. In order to stay in power, the AKP will have to either form a minority government, or enter into an alliance with its rivals.

The AKP’s Islamist leanings directly appealed to the conservative constituency, which was historically sidelined from power by a secular Turkey. A number of factors, including his dictatorial tendencies, slowing down of economy, rising inflation and unemployment, corruption, and fears that Erdogan was becoming another ‘dictator’, strengthened the liberal-secular opposition to the AKP. This triggered street battles in Istanbul between protesters and the security forces.

Smaller parties such as the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (PDP) were emboldened to counter the AKP on a broader ideological plank. The PDP, which projected itself as a secular, left-of-centre political outfit, surpassed for the first time the 10 per cent threshold needed to enter Parliament, securing 80 seats. This will give the country’s 18-million strong Kurdish minority a platform to push for its political cause and counter the AKP’s attacks on secular traditions. The choice before the people was whether to vote for a-dictatorial presidential system with Islamist characteristics or stand firm for parliamentary democracy despite its shortcomings. They have gone for the latter.
WE were invited to Qatar by the prime minister's office to see new flagship accommodation for low-paid migrant workers in early May - but while gathering additional material for our report, we ended up being thrown into prison for doing our jobs.

Our arrest was dramatic. We were on a quiet stretch of road in the capital, Doha, on our way to film a group of workers from Nepal. The working and housing conditions of migrant workers constructing new buildings in Qatar ahead of the World Cup have been heavily criticised and we wanted to see them for ourselves. Suddenly, eight white cars surrounded our vehicle and directed us on to a side road at speed.

A dozen security officers frisked us in the street, shouting at us when we tried to talk. They took away our equipment and hard drives and drove us to their headquarters. Later, in the city's main police station, the cameraman, translator, driver and I were interrogated separately by intelligence officers. The questioning was hostile. We were never accused of anything directly, instead they asked over and over what we had done and who we had met.

During a pause in proceedings, one officer whispered that I couldn't make a phone call to let people know where we were. He explained that our detention was being dealt with as a matter of national security. An hour into my grilling, one of the interrogators brought out a paper folder of photographs which proved they had been trailing me in cars and on foot for two days since the moment I'd arrived. I was shown pictures of myself and the team standing in the street, at a coffee shop, on board a bus and even lying next to a swimming pool with friends. It was a shock. I had never suspected I was being tailed.

At 01:00, we were taken to the local prison. It was meant to be the first day of our PR tour but instead we were later handcuffed and taken to be questioned for a second time, at the department of public prosecutions.

Qatari government statement, 18 May: "The Government Communications Office invited a dozen reporters to see - first-hand - some sub-standard labour accommodation as well as some of the newer labour villages. We gave the reporters free rein to interview whomever they chose and to roam unaccompanied in the labour villages. Perhaps anticipating that the government would not provide this sort of access, the BBC crew decided to do their own site visits and interviews in the days leading up to the planned tour. In doing so, they trespassed on private property, which is against the law in Qatar just as it is in most countries. Security forces were called and the BBC crew was detained."

BBC response: "We are pleased that the BBC team has been released but we deplore the fact that they were detained in the first place. Their presence in Qatar was no secret and they were engaged in a perfectly proper piece of journalism. The Qatari authorities have made a series of conflicting allegations to justify the detention, all of which the team rejects. We are pressing the Qatari authorities for a full explanation and for the return of the confiscated equipment."

I began my second night in prison on a disgusting soiled mattress. At least we did not go hungry, as we had the previous day. One of the guards took pity on us and sent out for roast chicken with rice.

In the early hours of the next morning, just as suddenly as we were arrested, we were released. Bizarrely, we were allowed to join the organised press trip for which we had come. It was as if nothing had happened, despite the fact that our kit was still impounded, and we were banned from leaving the country.

I can only report on what has happened now that our travel ban has been lifted. No charges were brought, but our belongings have still not been returned. Other journalists and activists, including a German TV crew, have also recently been detained.

How the country handles the media, as it prepares to host one of the world's most watched sporting events, is now also becoming a concern. Mustafa Qadri, Amnesty International's Gulf migrant rights researcher, told us the detentions of journalists and activists could be attempts "to intimidate those who seek to expose labour abuse in Qatar".

Qatar, the world's richest country for its population size of little more than two million people, is pouring money into trying to improve its reputation for allowing poor living standards for low-skilled workers to persist. A highly respected London-based PR firm, Portland Communications, now courts international journalists. On the day we left prison, it showed us spacious and comfortable villas for construction workers, with swimming pools, gyms and welfare officers. This was part of the showcase tour of workers' accommodation, and it was organised by the prime minister's office. Qatar's World Cup Organising Committee, which answers to Fifa, was helping to run the tour.

Following our detention, the minister of labour agreed to talk to us on camera about how the media can cover what human rights campaigners have identified as "forced labour" within his country. "Qatar is an open country forever, since ever," Abdullah al-Khulaifi said. "The shortcomings that I am facing, the problems I am facing, I cannot hide. Qatar is open and now with the smartphones, everyone is a journalist," he said. He said the negative coverage of migrant workers' conditions was wildly overblown and that much progress had been made to improve basic conditions for migrant workers.

The government has implemented a wage protection scheme. It says at least 450 companies have been banned from working in the country and more than $6m (£3.8m) of fines have been handed out to firms mistreating workers, and the number of inspectors has been doubled.

But change has not come easily in what one security guard privately described to me as a country with surveillance officers everywhere. Without trade unions or a free media, bosses of large domestic and international companies have little incentive to radically improve conditions for well over a million labourers desperate for money.

Before we were detained, I met an 18-year-old mechanic, one of the 400,000 Nepalese workers there. He said he wanted to support his older brothers because his father had died and the family was struggling financially. He paid a recruitment agency in Nepal $600 to arrange his visa to work in Qatar and was told he would earn $300 a month. When he arrived he was told his salary, as a labour camp cleaner for air conditioning mechanics, was in fact $165 a month. He said he has never been given a copy of the contract he signed. Worse still, he said he could not understand it as it was in English.

It's a very common trick that foreign recruitment agents play before workers even get to Qatar, and very difficult for Qatar itself to police, although it says it is trying. This young man now finds himself at the mercy of Qatar's restrictive kafala system, which prevents workers from changing jobs for five years. Being tied to an employer in that way can leave migrant workers open to exploitation.

But as Qatar's World Cup approaches, the focus on migrant labour is only likely to increase.

(Mark Lobel, Reproduced from BBC News, Doha, 18 May, 2015)
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The Communist movement in India has a history of almost a century after the salvos of October Revolution in Russia brought Marxism-Leninism to the people of India who were engaged in the national liberation struggle against the British colonialists. It is a complex and chequered history.