Racism on the rise across Europe

On 12 September two thirds of the European Parliament voted to pursue unprecedented disciplinary action against Hungary on the grounds it had breached ‘EU core values’. Clearly, the racist, anti-working class and patently reactionary policies of Hungary must be powerfully opposed; however, Hungarian President Viktor Orban was not being figurative when he said sanctions against Hungary would be the EU condemning ‘its own border guards’. Orban’s brutal, militarised and inhumane approach to immigration is far from unique to Hungary, with the EU itself and its member states showing nothing but racist contempt for the lives of migrants. Ruby Most reports.

 

Read more ...

Immigration in Europe: fight racist border controls

Anti-facist protest in solidarity with migrants in Macerata Italy, March 2018

Anti-facist protest in solidarity with migrants in Macerata Italy, March 2018

On 28 June at an emergency summit of the European Council (EC), EU leaders agreed proposals which will further escalate the suffering of migrants who struggle through the repressive borders of Fortress Europe. The proposals will do nothing to deal with the root cause of the so called ‘migrant crisis’ and include such oppressive measures as creating more ‘processing [detention] centres’ inside the EU and further outsourcing border controls to non-EU and north African countries. Annemie Most reports.

As revealed by The Guardian, over the past 25 years there have been 34,361 documented deaths of refugees and migrants caused by the ‘restrictive policies’ of Fortress Europe. The actual numbers are sure to be much higher as this figure only covers documented deaths. Fractured Europe’s repressive border controls are being increasingly tightened and the journey across the Mediterranean is becoming increasingly deadly. This year alone there were 1,000 such deaths by 1 July, making this the fourth consecutive year in which over 1,000 have died on the journey through the Mediterranean.1 Although migrant arrivals in Europe across the Mediterranean from Africa and Turkey are at their lowest level in five years, the drive towards hardline, militarised and closed borders was at the top of the EC summit agenda.

 

Read more ...

Racism on the rise in Europe

Anti-migrant xenophobia is spreading around Europe as far right parties make electoral gains. But so too is resistance, predominantly by the people most directly affected.

Hungary

At the parliamentary election on 8 April 2018, Viktor Orban’s right-wing anti-immigrant coalition Fidesz-KDNP won 49.27% of the vote, allowing it to form its third successive government with 133 seats out of 199. Extreme right-wing party Jobbik increased its representation from 23 to 26 seats; while social democratic MSZP-Dialogue seats fell from 30 to 20.

 

Read more ...

From the Mediterranean to the Channel: immigration controls kill

mediterranean crisis
Thousands of people continue to cross the Mediterranean on unsafe, overcrowded botas.

So far this year, more than 2,150 people have been confirmed dead while trying to cross the Mediterranean to get to Europe – one in 40 of those trying to cross and three times as many as in late 2015, when EU rescue efforts began to be reduced. Meanwhile, in Britain, as the government prepares for withdrawal from the EU, restrictions and attacks on migrants continue. Tom Vickers reports.

Fortress Europe

The European Commission (EC) recently backed an Italian proposal that anybody rescuing migrants at sea should be forced to operate under the authority of the Italian and Libyan coastguards, who NGOs have said are deliberately allowing people to drown or are returning them to the violence and abuse of detention camps in Libya. The International Organisation for Migration and the UNHCR have criticised the proposed restrictions on NGOs, reflecting splits in the ruling classes. The head of UNHCR’s Europe office, Vincent Cochetel, suggested regulations would be more appropriate for NATO and commercial ships operating in the Mediterranean, which he said have been switching off their GPS systems in order to avoid having to rescue people. Far-right groups have raised tens of thousands of pounds for a plan to intercept NGO boats and prevent them rescuing people from the sea; on 24 July ‘Defend Europe’ announced its first ship had entered the Mediterranean.

 

Read more ...

Transgender rights: the shame of mandatory sterilisation

On 6 April 2017, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) finally ruled that mandatory sterilisation of individuals who legally change gender is a violation of their human rights.

The ruling was made in three joint cases against France. This however does not necessarily mean transgender people are less likely to be threatened than before. According to Transgender Europe[1], the countries that require sterilisation before changes in the legal status of any individual are: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine. The new legal standard will now apply to the 47 states signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). None have yet changed their laws. Some of them mandate surgical removal of genitalia and reproductive organs while other requirements more vaguely call for procedures that produce ‘irreversible infertility’. 22 of the 47 member states will now have to change their laws.

 

Read more ...

Fortress Europe

Fortress Europe

Thousands of migrants and refugees are still arriving at the borders of the EU and, in response, Europe’s major imperialist powers continue to increase repression. Racist opposition to immigrants has given Prime Minister Theresa May licence to make freedom of movement a non-negotiable part of Britain’s exit from the European Union, and, at the start of January, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn stated that he was ‘not wedded to freedom of movement for EU citizens as a point of principle’. Tom Vickers reports.

There is no fundamental contradiction between the ‘Fortress Europe’ policy of the EU and the ‘Little England’ policy of pro-Brexit sections of the British ruling class: both are determined to exclude from Europe those forced to flee the wars, poverty, environmental destruction and repression that imperialism has fostered and to outsource the repression necessary for this to Europe’s periphery.

 

Read more ...

Fortress Europe – the death toll rises

fortress europe

The EU is reorganising its border controls, in an effort to maintain the divide between workers of oppressed and imperialist countries and to contain the consequences of its overt and covert wars in the Middle East and North Africa. Britain and other European imperialist powers rely on super-profits extracted from oppressed countries, with rates of return from UK Foreign Direct Investment of 9% in Africa and 13% in Asia in 2014, compared to 5% returns on FDI in the UK, and a net transfer of £45bn each year out of Africa. To protect this super-exploitation European imperialist states do whatever is necessary to prevent people from oppressed countries from moving where better wages and conditions are available, and to limit their rights if they manage to get there. But people on the move continue to resist these restrictions, leading to a constant struggle at Europe’s borders.

 

Read more ...

Calais resists

In February a French court authorised the demolition of the 70,000 square metre southern section of the ‘jungle’ refugee camp in Calais. Prior to the ruling, French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve claimed that ‘it was never a question of evacuating the south zone in a brutal fashion’ but he has a poor memory, because as recently as January bulldozers were brought in to demolish an estimated 20% of the camp, housing approximately 1,500 people (see FRFI 249). Following the ruling, a brutal and violent eviction of the camp began, with the CRS (French ‘anti-riot’ police) using tear gas, and burning down shelters.

The migrant residents of the camp have continued to resist. Twelve Iranian asylum seekers began a hunger strike on 2 March, with demands including an end to forced eviction and an end to the use of tear gas.

 

Read more ...

Migration crisis- Europe’s violence unmasked

The death toll at Europe’s borders continues to rise, with at least 525 people reported dead or missing between 1 January and 20 March 2016. This is a direct result of the EU’s restrictive border controls, which disproportionately affect refugees and migrants from oppressed countries. There is no let-up in the wars, poverty and repression that force people to move, and so the repressive measures of European states do not stop people attempting to enter Europe, but only add to the death and misery, as well as removing rights from a section of workers who then become subject to super-exploitation. Tom Vickers reports

The main countries of origin for refugees and migrants seeking to enter Europe via the Mediterranean are Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq – all of which have been subject to murderous and destructive imperialist interventions in recent years. Research recently published by the MEDMIG project has confirmed earlier findings that many migrants have little information about immigration policies in their countries of destination and often make ad hoc decisions en route about which country to move to, showing that more restrictive immigration policies do not stop people trying to reach Europe. The research also confirms that increased restrictions have ‘led to protracted and fragmented journeys and make it increasingly difficult for people to safely and legally access protection and employment’.

 

Read more ...

Fortress Europe kills to protect imperialism

Europe has the deadliest borders in the world, claiming more than 4,000 lives in 2015. The increased risk of winter crossings has not stopped those desperate to flee war, persecution, or poverty: in December 2015 an estimated 4,000 people per day crossed the Aegean Sea to Greece, and on 2 January 2016 the first death of the year was recorded when a two-year-old fell out of a boat that hit rocks off the Greek island of Agathonisi. Migrants have also renewed attempts to enter the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, with hundreds scaling the fences or swimming round them, but being forced back with violence by Moroccan forces and the Spanish Guardia Civil. During January 162 people were reported dead or missing at Europe’s borders; the actual figure is likely to be higher. Tom Vickers reports.

During 2015 more than 1.2 million people arrived by sea and land at the borders of Europe. Although a significant increase on the previous year, this is equivalent to only 0.24% of Europe’s population. Such numbers could easily be accommodated given Europe’s wealth, much of which has been plundered from other countries. The deaths that result from European states’ refusal to allow refugees and migrants safe passage is therefore a political choice, based on the defence of a barbaric capitalist system that cares nothing for human lives.

 

Read more ...

Portugal; Eurozone and NATO confront election victors

The failure of the Portuguese left to combat the opportunism of the Portuguese Socialist Party effectively and force it into an electoral alliance before the 4 October parliamentary elections, gave room for the state president to refuse to invite them to form a government despite electoral gains by both the Socialist and Left Bloc parties. President Anibal Cavaco Silva’s obstruction directly reflects European financial interests and NATO’s political pressures.

In an openly reactionary step, President Silva was able to refuse to invite a coalition of electorally successful but disunited left parties to form a government on the grounds that in any case the left would violate existing commitments to the EU/IMF – the Lisbon Treaty, the Fiscal Compact, the Growth and Stability Pact, the euro itself and NATO. Constitutionally, a presidential election in January prevents another parliamentary election until June, so a government should be formed out of the recent election results. Thus on 22 October, gambling on continued divisions on the left, the president gave the incumbent, yet electorally defeated, Prime Minister, Pedro Passos Coelho, a new mandate to form a minority government. Coelho’s right-wing coalition won only 36.8 % of the vote. His ‘Portugal Ahead’ alliance of the conservative Social Democratic Party plus the neoliberal Democratic and Social Centre People’s Party is committed to maintaining the austerity programme agreed in the €78bn European Commission/European Central Bank/IMF bailout of 2011.

 

Read more ...

A rising tide of racism against migrants and refugees

Refugees and migrants continue to struggle for entry to Europe, driven by war, repression and poverty created by imperialism. European states are attempting to reassert control, extending the repressive apparatus at Europe’s borders while increasing surveillance and reducing migrants’ rights within Europe. Tom Vickers reports.

Fortress Europe reorganises its defences

At the end of October representatives of 11 EU and Balkan states agreed a 17-point plan including: reception centres to house 100,000 newly-arrived refugees and migrants in Greece and along the western Balkans route; increased deportations and cooperation with governments receiving deportees in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iraq and Pakistan; additional assistance from the UN refugee agency; increased surveillance and registration of migrants by Frontex, the EU’s border agency; coordinated action between Europol, Interpol and local police against people smugglers; and an agreement that states will no longer facilitate the movement of migrants to the border of another country.

This plan is a reconsolidation of the arrangement by which those who cannot be kept out of Europe altogether will be contained in a peripheral zone, away from the main imperialist states of western Europe. In line with this, on 10 November the German Interior Ministry announced Germany would be renewing its use of the Dublin Regulation to return Syrian refugees to the first EU country where they were registered. The reaction to the terrorist attacks in Paris on 13 November again called these arrangements into question, with officials from Poland, Slovakia and the German state of Bavaria expressing new reservations, and sections of the media claiming spurious links between refugee movements and the Paris attacks.

 

Read more ...

Solidarity with Calais migrants

‘In the last weeks many of us had to face a lot of police violence. Some of us got broken hands and broken legs… In the next days the fascists will come to Calais to meet and demonstrate here. There is no shelter for us to hide from them. We cannot trust the police to protect us as we experienced already so much violence from them. Migration is not a crime and each of us has reasons why we had to leave our countries and our families and why we are here now. Europe is always talking about human rights and freedom but we can not find this here.’ (Statement from migrants’ demonstration, 5 September 2014)

The plight of the migrants stranded in Calais hit headlines in Britain at the beginning of September when nearly one hundred managed to scale the fence surrounding the French port and storm the ramp of a ferry bound for Dover. The crew drove them back with fire hoses and hurriedly sealed the ship.

 

Read more ...

Solidarity with migrants: taking on Fortress Europe

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 240 August/September 2014

There has been a sharp rise in the last year in the number of migrants attempting to reach Europe as they flee imperialist wars, repression and poverty. Following dangerous routes across land and sea, often paying thousands of euros to unscrupulous people-smugglers, men, women and children are risking their lives in ever growing numbers to reach what they see as the relative safety and and economic security of Europe. In response, the imperialist countries have poured millions of euros into securing European borders, while brutally harassing, detaining and attacking those who do succeed in breaching the racist defences of Fortress Europe. But as repression intensifies, so does resistance.

 

Read more ...

European elections: irrelevant for the majority

European elections

The European elections were a victory for xenophobic populist parties, UKIP, the French Front National and the Danish People’s Party, all of which topped the polls in their respective countries, being the most obvious examples. Their demagogic opposition to a corrupt political elite proved attractive to many, although an even greater number regarded the election as irrelevant – turnout across Europe was only 43%. The results do show that where there are significant movements of working class opposition to austerity, particularly in Greece and Spain, progressive movements received substantial support.

 

Read more ...

Justice for Pitu – murdered by Basque police

On 29 March 2014 Supporters of FRFI visited Bilbao in the Basque Country to attend a football match between Athletico Madrid and Bilbao's Athletic Club. This was a top of the table clash and an important match for Athletic but the minds of the supporters were on sadder things. The match coincided almost to the day with the second anniversary of the murder of Iñigo Cabacas (28) by the Ertzaina, the Basque riot police.

 

Read more ...

Popular uprisings in Bosnia & Herzegovina

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 238 April/May 2014

Bosnia, which has never recovered from the war of 1992-1995, has recently been shaken by mass popular uprisings. The uprisings began in the former industrial powerhouse of Tuzla on 7 February and have since developed into a working class-led, non-sectarian mass movement of tens of thousands of people against corruption, nationalism, privatisation and unemployment. Citizens’ plenums – assemblies of direct democracy – have been established from which existing trade unions and political parties are banned. The continuing progress of the movement will depend on new organisations emerging that represent the struggle of the oppressed majority.

 

Read more ...

Youth battle police on streets of Stockholm

By 24 May, masked youth had been battling Swedish police and burning cars and buildings for five consecutive nights in the suburbs of Stockholm. The uprising, which started in Husby, an overwhelmingly immigrant area of the city, was triggered by an incident earlier in May, when police fatally shot a 69-year-old man, said to be wielding a knife, and the subsequent refusal to hold a public inquiry into the killing. But underlying the anger and violence, which has seen masked youths torch cars, several police stations and a school, is a racist reality which explodes the popular myth of Sweden as a tolerant society with a model welfare state. Areas like Husby have high unemployment rates and many young people leave school with below-average results.

 

Read more ...

Editorial / FRFI 222 Aug / Sep 2011

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 222 August / September 2011

As we go to press, a last-minute agreement between France and Germany has averted the potential collapse of the euro despite a partial Greek default. No one has any illusions that this is anything other than a stop-gap measure, and that the sovereign debt crisis of other European countries continue to worsen – Italy, Spain and Portugal in particular. As part of what is turning into a perfect storm of the world’s financial system, the dispute in the US over government debt threatens the survival of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

 

Read more ...

Switzerland: land of chocolate, cuckoo clocks and banking secrecy

FRFI 218 December 2010/January 2011

Internationally Switzerland is famous for its neutrality, for having the best chocolate in the world, its world-class skiing resorts, a long tradition of watch-making and, of course, banks that are more than ready to manage and protect the assets of its rich clientele.

The capitalist system works like an organism with its vital centres (or hubs), such as New York, the City of London and Shanghai. But organisms generate waste that is filtered and recycled by specialised organs. Although financial hubs tend to get all the attention from the public and the media, financial recycling centres such as Switzerland are often overlooked.

 

Read more ...

FANFARE FOR THE EURO

See also FORTRESS EUROPE AND THE TROJAN HORSE following

Money and armed force are central components in the construction of a European state. Blair was saying that Britain was not going to be left out of this process. Then, on 19 January, British Aerospace announced it was buying GEC's Marconi division in preference to partnership with French and German weapons producers. The cry 'Perfidious Albion' went up in continental boardrooms. Blair was said to be 'fuming'.

Steps towards consolidating the European power bloc make the Labour government's attempt to straddle its two positions - being the USA's number one partner while moving closer to the European project - more precarious. Tensions increase with the global capitalist crisis, intensified rivalry for markets and profits and the looming prospect of trade war between the USA and Europe.

 

Read more ...

Chechnya: Carnival of Reaction

FRFI 152 February / March 2000

Background to the conflict
Conflict between Russia and Chechnya goes back centuries. In recent times, an expanding Imperial Russia forcibly incorporated Chechnya in 1859. Shortly after the Bolshevik revolution, in May 1918, the North Caucasus Republic, which included Chechnya and Dagestan, declared independence. In September 1919, a North Caucasian Emirate was proclaimed. This proclamation led to an invasion of Chechnya by the Red Army in 1920 who suppressed anti-Bolshevik resistance by 1921. Chechnya became an autonomous region of the USSR from 1922 to 1936 when it was allied to Ingushetia as the Autonomous Republic of Chechno-Ingush.

After a short period of social tranquillity the collectivisation of agriculture, which was fiercely resisted by the Chechen peasantry, led to serious social unrest and rebellion. By the start of World War II the Chechen rebels had come to view the Nazi invaders as liberators. Only Hitler's orders to treat them as sub-humans, with the consequent repression, denied the Nazis the opportunity to create a significant anti-Soviet force.

 

Read more ...

Prague: imperialism's jewel in Eastern Europe

FRFI 157 October / November 2000

Prague was the first ex-socialist Eastern European capital city to host a major meeting of the IMF and World Bank. The Czech Republic is a key target for imperialist domination, being strategically at the heart of Europe. It is well placed, particularly for US imperialism, to limit the eastward extension of German capital and to act as a spring-board for further expansion into the eastern bloc and Russia. 

Czechoslovakia had the second most developed economy in the eastern bloc and the Czech Republic has since managed to ditch its poorer federal partner, Slovakia, so it has plenty of ripe economic cherries for the multinationals to pick. 

The Czech Republic has been a loyal servant of imperialism over the past few years. Last year it joined NATO and now it is queuing to join the EU. Its reactionary President, Vaclav Havel, was probably the second most honoured ideologue of anti-communism after the Pope. Havel is now a very rich man. Earlier this year the Czechs proposed the vote on human rights at the UN against Cuba, shamelessly doing the dirty work of the United States. 

 

Read more ...

Prague 26 September

FRFI 157 October / November 2000

They called themselves the people's army, the 1,500-strong Ya Basta contingent who arrived in the Namesti Miru on the morning of September 26 (S26), and they were certainly dressed for a fight. 

The Italians stood like military astronauts, their white hygiene suits bulging with the body protectors and foam cushions they wore underneath. In the Prague sunshine they sweated solemnly under hard hats, their gas masks hanging at the ready. No police batons or CS gas were going to stop Ya Basta's march to the conference centre where the IMF and the World Band delegates were meeting. They moved forward in formation, carrying huge home-made shields of tyres tied together to push back police lines. The press were ecstatic. 

 

Read more ...

Genoa: war against capitalism

FRFI 162 August / September 2001

On 19 July the leaders of the imperialist world sat down in Genoa for the summit of G8 nations. There to denounce the injustice and inhumanity of global capitalism were 300,000 protesters from all over the world. Within three days, repressive police tactics had brought forth a surge of anger from protesters, turning Genoa into a war zone. The indiscriminate brutality unleashed by Italian police against protesters left at least 500 injured, many in hospital, and one young Italian anarchist dead. At least $45 million worth of damage to property was caused in three days of pitched battles with police. RCG members who were there report.

By Wednesday 18 July borders around the Italian city of Genoa were restricted. 18,000 police were already posted throughout the city. The Ducal Palace zone where the G8 leaders were meeting was declared the ‘Red Zone’, open only to 2,000 government officials, 6,000 mainstream journalists and their police protectors. Steel barricades set in concrete were put up to keep the protesters out and imprison local residents for the duration of the meeting. £300 million of taxpayers money had been lavished on hosting the talks so that the ‘eight most powerful men in the world’, the leaders of the richest industrial nations could play ‘democracy’. As the proceedings got underway so did the action against them. Protesters were arriving in their thousands, determined to enter the city and demonstrate against the G8 summit.

 

Read more ...

Batasuna banned

FRFI 169 October / November 2002

On 26 August the Spanish Parliament approved the banning of Batasuna, the party leading the Basque movement for self-determination. The outlawing of a democratic opposition party in this way is unprecedented in recent European history and its full consequences are not yet clear. Batasuna has 900 elected representatives on local councils and one member of the European Parliament.

The legal framework for the action is set out in a new ‘Law of Political Parties’, which was brought in on 27 June, and which is explicitly designed to render the Basque organisation illegal. Over the next few weeks the social democrats (PSOE) and neo-liberal conservatives (PP) submitted a petition to the Supreme Court targeting Batasuna for ‘not condemning acts of terrorism’ and for providing tacit support to an armed group (ETA). Batasuna appealed against the restrictive law, but Judge Baltasar Garzon upheld the government’s position, ordering the immediate closure of all party facilities and the end of all activities.

 

Read more ...

Batasuna fights banning

FRFI 171 February / March 2003

Batasuna, the Basque nationalist coalition, faces a two-year ban, with the possibility of it being extended to August 2007. The ban proscribes all Batasuna activity and members face prosecution as ‘supporters of terrorism’.

The nationalist left-wing party was banned on August 2002 under the Law of Parties [new legislation on political parties] introduced by the conservative government of José Maria Aznar (as reported in FRFI 169). Since then Batasuna and the grassroots movement involved with it have organised civil protests and are taking legal steps to challenge the ban.

 

Read more ...

Turmoil in Georgia - Shevardnadze overthrown

FRFI 176 December 2003 / January 2004

On 23 November the former darling of the West, President Eduard Shevardnadze of Georgia was forced to resign after three weeks of mass protests against his re-election in a rigged ballot. Tens of thousands of demonstrators had taken to the streets of Tbilisi and on 22 November stormed the parliament building, unopposed by the army or police. Parliamentary speaker Nino Burdzhanadze is now acting president and hopes to hold presidential and parliamentary elections within 45 days.

Shevardnadze became well known as the Soviet foreign minister who with Gorbachev led the USSR to collapse and counter-revolution. Following the break up of the Soviet Union he returned to his native Georgia to become president in 1992. However Georgia, like other former Soviet republics, was too weak to exist independently and became the plaything of foreign powers. Under Shevardnadze Georgia became dependent on US imperialism which provided the country with $1bn over the last ten years, second only to Israel in per capita aid. Despite this, Georgia fell into ruin as the economy collapsed, electricity supplies frequently failed and the country’s once famously fertile agriculture declined. Where socialism had promoted co-operation between the different nationalities within the country, capitalism promoted conflict. Civil war broke out in the early 1990s and Georgia disintegrated, as the national autonomous regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia effectively split from Tbilisi under warlords with the encouragement of Russian expansionism. The pro-Russian government of the Adjaria region responded by closing its borders with the rest of Georgia so cutting off rail links to the country’s main port Batumi. Following Washington’s declaration of the War on Terrorism, US military forces arrived in Georgia and set up base.

 

Read more ...

European Social Forum – playground for opportunists

The concept of a European Social Forum grew out of the first Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 2000, which aimed to bring together people interested in collectively voicing their opposition to the ideology represented by imperialists, neo-liberals and proponents of capitalism at the annual World Economic Forum. The third ESF took place in London in October this year.

The slogan of the ESF is ‘Another world is possible’ – of that there is no doubt. From a world without poverty, illiteracy, torture, racism, sexism, homophobia, war, environmental destruction, towards one with social justice, human rights, democracy and ecological responsibility. A world run in the interests of humans not profit – a socialist world.
Up to 20,000 people attended the London ESF, participating in a wide range of meetings and activities. The real lessons of the event, however, are not ones that will be learned from any of the speakers, but from studying the way in which the ‘left’ trade unions and the ubiquitous and iniquitous Socialist Workers Party (SWP) sabotaged support for real struggles and tried to cover up for collaborators with imperialist warmongering.

 

Read more ...

Massacre in Uzbekistan

The White House’s instant response to news of the deaths of over 500 people killed by Uzbek troops in Andijan on 13 May was that they included ‘Islamic terrorists’. It took the BBC a few more days to discover that those resisting the Karimov regime were ‘Islamic militants’. This is consistent with a policy of support for this most vicious government, excusing everything it does for it is a member of ‘the coalition of the willing’. Uzbekistan is a strategic ally with a large US military airbase used in 2001 to bomb Afghanistan. It has oil and gas reserves and is adjacent to existing and proposed oil pipelines from the Caspian Basin and Middle East to China and the Indian Ocean. Uzbekistan borders Afghanistan and is less than one hour’s flight to Iran and China for US war planes. That is why the torture regime of Uzbekistan is supported by the US and British governments in their battle for global supremacy.

Just three days before the slaughter in Andijan President Bush was in Georgia praising a ‘beacon of liberty in the region and the world…a free and democratic Georgia’. And what is more, ‘You increased your troop commitment in Iraq five-fold’. US Secretary of Defence Rumsfeld, former Secretary of State Powell and numerous congressional delegations have visited Uzbekistan. None ever called for freedom and democracy in Uzbekistan. The United Nations says there is ‘widespread systematic torture’ in Uzbekistan. The US is the Karimov regime’s chief financial backer.

 

Read more ...

European Union: not so cordiale

Last year Prime Minister Blair and President Chirac celebrated the centenary of the Entente Cordiale, an agreement settling disputes over colonial possessions and paving the way to Franco-British co-operation in the lead-up to the First World War. A year on and the celebrations are for Britain’s triumphs at Trafalgar (1805), Waterloo (1815) and, to cap it all, Singapore (2005), where London triumphed over Paris for the 2012 Olympics. It was all too much for President Chirac to stomach; he sneered at English cooking, insulted the haggis and remarked that the Olympic committee could ‘trust France’, implying that Perfidious Albion was untrustworthy. TREVOR RAYNE reports.

This descent into national stereotyping might be mildly amusing if it were not for the very unfunny ruling classes that it serves. With European capitalism in crisis its ruling classes are tempted to retreat from pan-European collaboration to national chauvinism. In the context of rivalry with the dominant US ruling class this is unsustainable.

The French voted No to the European Union constitutional treaty on 29 May, followed by the Dutch No on 1 June. The British government then said it would defer a referendum. Chirac had campaigned for a Yes vote. The Labour government breathed a sigh of relief at the No votes, pleased at not having to choose between a consolidated EU and a less integrated alliance favoured by the US. Blair was happy not to campaign for a Yes vote which he would most likely lose.

 

Read more ...

Our site uses cookies to improve your browsing experience. By using the site you consent to the use of cookies.
More information Ok