IN THIS ISSUE (No. 41)
• Editorial – National Labor Mobilization Needed to Support the Striking Nurses at Saint Vincent Hospital in Massachusetts!
• Women Mobilize for Abortion Rights – by Millie Phillips
• End All U.S. Aid to Apartheid Israel Campaigns Emerge Across the U.S. – by Mya Shone
• Open Forum: Democrats, Abortion, Phony Politics – by Margaret Kimberley (Black Agenda Report)
• “We Charge Genocide!” – Interview with Jalil Abdul Muntaqim
• Open Forum: Black Alliance for Peace Launches International Month of Action Against AFRICOM
• Women and the Second Government of the Taliban – by Left Radical of Afghanistan
• An Agreement Between the United States and the Taliban Against the People and Women of Afghanistan
• UK: The Labour Party Annual Conference Did Not Go as Planned – by Jean-Pierre Barrois
• UK: Historic Resolution on Palestine Passed at Labour Party Conference 2021
• Become a Supporter of Socialist Organizer!
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National Labor Mobilization Needed to Support the Striking Nurses at Saint Vincent Hospital in Massachusetts!
As these lines are written, the 800 nurses at the Tenet-owned Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Mass., have been on strike for more than seven months to demand “safer staffing for safer patient care.” Activists throughout the region are calling this strike the “New PATCO” — a reference to the air traffic controllers’ strike that was crushed by the Reagan administration in 1981, a defeat that set into motion the vicious anti-labor attacks that we are confronting to this day.
Tenet Corp., a notorious healthcare profiteer, raised the fight to a new level when it began replacing the striking nurses with scabs in an effort to break the strike and smash the union. This action, labor organizers Mark Dudzic and Rand Wilson wrote, “transformed a hard-fought strike battle into a red-line issue for the entire labor movement.” Let there be no doubt: Tenet’s drive to smash this strike is a threat to all workers and their unions across the country.
The Saint Vincent Hospital strike has strong support in the Worcester area and among the community at large. Its ripple effect has extended as far as California. A report by Michael Bonner (masslive.com) explains:
“Tenet Healthcare nurses in Arizona, California, and Texas sent a letter to the CEO of the company blasting his actions. ‘As fellow Tenet nurses,’ the letter said, ‘we have seen how Tenet leadership put profits over patients at our own hospital and we see they are making the same choice at Saint Vincent. Their actions are now putting the community of Worcester at dire risk with the closing of beds during the pandemic and failing to reinstate striking nurses.”
“Progressive groups and elected officials have come to the picket lines and rallies,” states retired nurse and healthcare activist Sandy Eaton. “The Labor Campaign for Single Payer organized an online Solidarity National Town Hall on June 29 and sent a high-level labor delegation to Tenet headquarters in Dallas on July 7.”
These expressions of solidarity are vital. They have fueled the resolve of the strikers to remain on the picket line for 220 days. But more, much more, will be needed to win the strike and beat back Tenet’s union-busting assault.
“The logical and essential next step in Labor’s escalation in order to win this strike,” says Eaton, “is the full mobilization of the labor movement and our communities. Labor leadership at all levels, but particularly at the national level, must use its resources to mobilize the force needed to turn back Tenet’s union-busting drive and reverse not only the 40 years of attacks since PATCO but the crippling provisions of the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act.”
We agree. The AFL-CIO and Change to Win leaderships need to issue a joint call for an Emergency National Mobilization in Worcester to support the striking nurses at Saint Vincent Hospital. Tenet will not back down unless they are confronted with a mighty wave of labor and community support.
Bust the Filibuster!
The Saint Vincent Hospital strike also raises the urgent need for Congress to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. Under the PRO Act, employers would be banned from permanently replacing striking workers. Secondary strikes would be legal.
Passing the PRO Act will require ending the Senate filibuster — a reactionary holdover from the slave-owning era. But the Democrats refuse to buck the system to ensure majority rule on the issue of the PRO Act, and also in relation to the infrastructure bill, the budget reconciliation bill, the Women’s Health Protection Act [see article in this issue], the legalization of undocumented immigrants, and all other issues that President Biden promised to deliver. Biden is perfectly happy to shield behind the conservative Democrats (notably Senators Joe Manchin the Krysten Sinema) to explain that he is trying to make good on his promises, but his hands are tied.
In the early 1960s, it took a mass movement, led by Black working-class organizations and their allies, to compel President Lyndon Johnson and the Democrats to pass the Civil Rights Act in 1965. Today, a similar movement needs to take shape in the ranks of the labor movement and among labor’s community allies.
The AFL-CIO leadership can and must lead the way, it must break with its age-old policy of subordination to the Democratic Party, a party funded and run by Wall Street. The Labor movement must stop providing left cover for Biden and accompanying his every anti-worker measure at home and abroad — especially his dangerous escalation against China.
Ending the filibuster is within our reach. Securing the PRO Act — and putting an end to permanent striker replacement — is within our reach.
There is no time to lose.
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Women Mobilize for Abortion Rights
By Millie Phillips
On Saturday, October 2, in-person protests in favor of abortion rights took place in over 650 US cities and towns, mobilizing at least 250,000 participants, according to the New York Times. While this was a much smaller turnout than the 4 million to 5 million who attended the huge women’s marches in 2017 protesting the inauguration of Trump, which was the largest single-day protest in U.S. history, that day of action was pre-pandemic.
The October 2 actions were initiated by the group Women’s March, which quickly gained the endorsements of over 90 liberal-to-left organizations for its call for a day of action to protest the Supreme Court failing to block the draconian Texas abortion ban. The protests were mostly organized by local organizations and ad hoc coalitions responding to this call.
While a federal judge temporarily blocked the Texas law, it has now been reinstated in less than two days (October 8) by the conservative U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, while it considers an emergency motion by the State of Texas to keep the abortion restrictions in place throughout ongoing litigation. Assuming the Court will continue to uphold the Texas law, further appeals would go back to the Supreme Court, which previously declined to intervene.
Another danger is that on December 1, the Supreme Court is about to hear an abortion case out of Mississippi. To quote CNN (September 20), “Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act, passed in 2018 but blocked by two federal courts, allows abortion after 15 weeks ‘only in medical emergencies or for severe fetal abnormality’ and has no exception for rape or incest. If doctors perform abortions outside the parameters of the law, they will have their medical licenses suspended or revoked and may be subject to additional penalties and fines.” While this law is not quite as restrictive as the Texas law, anti-abortion forces are hoping that the majority conservative Supreme Court will use this case to overturn altogether the 1973 precedent Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion in the U.S.
Why, almost 50 years after legalizing abortion, are U.S women now facing the prospect of abortion becoming entirely illegal once again?
As we discussed in our previous article on this question (September 10), women’s rights depend on the fundamental right to control our own bodies, and there has been an ongoing failure to protect and defend reproductive rights. This failure is not driven solely by Republicans or avowedly anti-abortion organizations.
The Democratic Party, ostensibly pro-choice, has failed to pass legislation ensuring legal abortion, to block the appointment of Trump’s and many other anti-abortion judges, to organize sufficiently against anti-abortion state laws, to repeal the ban on federal funding for abortion, to make a strongly pro-choice record a litmus test for its own candidates, or to directly mobilize Democratic Party voters to engage in mass actions. Currently, Democratic senators are still refusing to block the filibuster, ensuring that they will not have to deliver on progressive promises on any issue.
The labor movement has not stepped up to the plate either, even though women make up half of union membership (8 million workers, disproportionally women of color) and their ability to hold union jobs or participate in their unions will be greatly diminished if abortion is outlawed again. Those of us who are union members need to fight to turn this around. Organized labor is the only institution that represents workers as workers, women included.
Given these failures, it is all the more impressive that 250,000 people of all genders, races, and ages came out in person to support the right to abortion during a still deadly pandemic. We can safely predict that these numbers will multiply greatly if abortion is outlawed.
When such an essential right can be removed, it begs the question: Why are voters still supporting politicians who will not deliver on their promises? Politicians who answer not to us, but to their corporate handlers, who care only for their profits?
This is why Socialist Organizer is supporting the efforts of Labor and Community for an Independent Party. We need to work toward creating a party that will fight for the needs of the vast majority who do not benefit from the twin parties of capitalism.
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End All U.S. Aid to Apartheid Israel Campaigns Emerge Across the U.S.
By Mya Shone
Three initiatives have developed over the past three weeks that energize the effort to end U.S. aid to Apartheid Israel.
On Sept 23, nine members of the House of Representatives (eight Democrats and one Republican) broke ranks with their colleagues and voted against $1 billion additional funding for the Zionist state’s Iron Dome system. Of these, Rashida Tlaib addressed Congress, using her one minute of allotted time to state pointedly:
“I will not support efforts to enable war crimes and violence. … Palestinians are living under a violent Apartheid system and are dying under what Human Rights Watch has said are war crimes.
“We should be talking about the Palestinian need for protection against Israeli attack. We must be committed to human life. … Please stand with me in supporting human rights for all.”
Shortly after, in early October, the Adalah Justice Project launched a digital campaign that boldly demands that Congress “exercise its full ability to stop funding Israel, impose sanctions, and end the cyclical violence that destroys Palestinian life.”
With the title “Stop the Bombs: Lift the Siege on Gaza,” the appeal states in part:
“The Israeli regime used U.S.-manufactured bombs, many purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars, to commit unspeakable violence, murdering 260 Palestinian people, wiping out 22 members of the Kawlak family across four generations in one night, and bombing essential medical infrastructure as well as the buildings occupied by news media outlets Al Jazeera and the Associated Press. …
“Even as large protests were erupting across cities in the United States during the May assault on Gaza, Congress and the Biden administration approved a sale of $735 million in more bombs, manufactured by Boeing in its St. Charles, Missouri factory, to Israel. …”
Last but not least, on Thursday, October 7, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) set up a picket line outside Boeing’s national headquarters in Chicago. The energetic protest was part of AFSC’s ongoing actions directed at the second largest arms supplier worldwide. As the AFSC notes, Boeing’s F-15A fighter jets and Apache AH 64 helicopters were among the massive arsenal of U.S. manufactured weaponry used by the Zionist state in its May 2021 genocidal attack on Gaza. [For a list of U.S. arms used by Israel specifically in the Gaza attack see: https://www.afsc.org/resource/us-corporations-complicit-military-attacks-gaza]
Momentum is building. Get involved. The Time is Now: End All Aid to Apartheid Israel.
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Democrats, Abortion, Phony Politics
By Margaret Kimberley (Black Agenda Report)
Democratic Party leadership are as uninterested in fighting for abortion rights as they are in addressing anything else their members need and want.
Most leftists in this country still remain loyal to the Democratic Party despite decades of deception, overt collusion with ruling class interests, and support of U.S. imperialism. The Democrats use a variety of means to keep the support of millions of people who yearn for something other than the excuses and double dealing they are constantly offered.
Pointing to Republicans as the embodiment of all evil is one of their methods, and no issue suits this strategy more than abortion. Democrats point to Republicans’ strict anti-abortion stance to keep their left members in line. Democrats who want to see progressive initiatives enacted still feel tied to their party and convince themselves they have no choice but to be snookered on a regular basis. This dilemma of going along with treachery is particularly acute for Black people. The Republicans are the proud party of white racism and few Black Democrats are willing to declare their independence from their corrupt so-called leaders.
Enter the state of Texas, which passed a draconian law that makes abortion illegal after six weeks of pregnancy and giving ordinary citizens the right to sue any provider who might violate this legislation. The Supreme Court chose not to hear arguments and allowed the law to come into being.
The Democrats lie about their ability to protect abortion rights. They could pass the Women’s Health Protection Act
Democratic party propagandists immediately sprang into action, predicting the end of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, excoriating anyone who dared to question Democrats, and reviving their cynical attacks on anyone who didn’t support Hillary Clinton in 2016 as being at fault.
Of course, it must always be said that Clinton raised more than $1 billion in her campaign but failed to get a mere 78,000 more votes in the swing states that she needed to win. She and her team relied on everything except an old fashioned get out the vote effort and are responsible for the worst political debacle in U.S. history. Neither she nor anyone else in Democratic party leadership will ever acknowledge how badly they failed their people. They haven’t changed since 2016. They still hope to win by doing as little as they possibly can.
The Texas law spawned hand wringing and foolish deification of the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg. But like Clinton she bore responsibility for the makeup of the current Supreme Court. In 2013 Barack Obama asked the 80-year-old, two-time cancer patient to step down, just in case Democrats lost control of the senate the following year. That is precisely what happened but truth telling doesn’t suit the political image makers.
Even worse, the Democrats lie about their ability to protect abortion rights. They could pass the Women’s Health Protection Act which would make Roe v. Wade federal law and do away with all abortion restrictions across the country. They could have done this when Bill Clinton and Barack Obama had democratic control of both houses of congress and they can still do it now. Democrats have been lying about their ability to protect abortion rights for the past 30 years.
The Democrats constantly treat their members as suckers. They raise millions of dollars claiming that they will stop the Republican onslaught against abortions or some other issue that is important to their voters. The Women’s Health Protection Act could be passed now but any expectation of that happening is for the suckers to believe. The Democrats claim that it would be too hard to pass because of the filibuster, which they also do nothing about. Round and round they go, with nothing to show except excuses for their inaction. Meanwhile their paid mouth pieces in corporate media use every trick in their worn-out playbook to keep the rank and file from noticing they have been conned yet again.
The dysfunctional relationship between the Democrats and their members brings to mind an old saying. “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” There is a lot of political shame to go around amongst the Democrats and their hapless members.
There comes a point when the abuser can no longer be blamed. The U.S. political duopoly are like professional wrestlers with phony villains and phony heroes too. At least their fans are in on the joke and know full well that they are watching a theatrical performance. Not so members of the Democratic party. They behave as though conservative Joe Manchin is the only one who can make demands on a president. Their progressive idols are afraid or uninterested in confronting what passes for leadership and theatrics rule the day. Of course, acting to protect abortion rights would make the Democrats more friends than enemies. They would energize millions of people and would be assured victories in most of the country. But the last thing they want is an engaged group of voters. They thrive on trickery and keeping a seat at the table of permanent government. They can then cut deals with their bosses in the oligarchy while millions of people believe they are being represented. Only the rubes are really fighting over abortion.
Margaret Kimberley is a New York based writer and activist for peace and justice issues. She has been a columnist for Black Agenda Report since its inception and was for four years the weekly columnist for Black Commentator.
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“WE CHARGE GENOCIDE!”
Interview with Jalil Abdul Muntaqim
[Note: Following is an interview with Jalil Abdul Muntaqim, a former member of the Black Panther Party’s Black Liberation Army. He was arrested on August 21, 1971, and released from prison on October 6, 2020. He spent nearly 50 years in prison as a result of his activities as a revolutionary fighter in the Black Liberation Army. In 1998, he founded the National Jericho Amnesty Movement. The interview was conducted on October 1 by The Organizer editorial board member Alan Benjamin.]
The Organizer: Please tell us about the International Tribunal in the Spirit of Mandela that you are helping to organize on October 22nd through 25th. What is the significance of this tribunal?
Jalil: I am glad that you asked the question. In 2018, I was held in isolation, in solitary confinement. That’s when I decided that I was going to put out a proposal to convene an International Tribunal, with International Jurists coming back to the United States to investigate the situation of political prisoners in the U.S.
I say “coming back” because International Jurists had come to the United States in 1981. At that time, they documented the situation facing political prisoners in the U.S., and they reported their findings to the United Nations. They interviewed a number of political prisoners – including Leonard Peltier, Sundiata Acoli, and Veronza Bowers. Some of them are still in prison today, 50 years later.
The organization that I founded in 1998, the National Jericho Amnesty Movement, decided that they would support my proposal. So, on October 22nd through 25th we will be convening the International Tribunal in the Spirit of Mandela with nine International Jurists, and we will be bringing the Charge of Genocide, with its six specific charges:
- Racist police killings of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people,
2. Hyper incarcerations of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people
3. Political incarceration of Civil Rights/National Liberation era revolutionaries and activists, as well as present day activists,
4. Environmental racism and its impact on Black, Brown, and Indigenous people,
5. Public Health racism and disparities and its impact on Black, Brown, and Indigenous people, and
6. Genocide of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people as a result of the historic and systemic charges of all the above.
We will be bringing these charges to the attention of the international community. They are charges against the U.S. government, its states, and its specific agencies — all of which are responsible for imposing white supremacy and engaging in genocidal practices.
We are also commemorating the 70th anniversary of the first “We Charge Genocide” campaign brought to the United Nations by the great Paul Robeson and William Paterson. That was on December 17, 1951.
We are commemorating that historic event with the understanding that the conditions that prompted the charges they argued back in 1951 still exist today in 2021.
After the International Tribunal, we will proceed with filing Charges of Genocide in the United States Federal District Court. The court will have to hear our petition, and it will have to respond to our petition of genocide. We will continue to build our campaign, putting forth these violations of our civil rights and human rights before the national and international communities.
And we will be convening the Peoples’ Senate in 2022 based upon the findings of the International Tribunal and our petition to the Federal District Court.
It is our belief that the corporate parties – the Democratic and Republican parties – do not operate in the best interests of the people, and therefore we will start the process of building a campaign toward establishing what we call a Peoples’ Senate.
We will build a campaign for a new narrative. It will be a campaign of people fighting for their own liberation on an independent basis, based on the idea that we are our own liberators. We are therefore moving to build a Peoples’ Senate with the understanding that we need new a new national organization of oppressed people – particularly Black, Brown, and Indigenous People in this country.
This effort will be organized as a national united front, and we’re asking for our supporters and for all progressive people in the United States and throughout the world to join us in this campaign for the Peoples’ Senate in 2022. That is our campaign and that is our projection for what we hope to achieve.
We believe that capitalist imperialism and white supremacy need to be moved into the dustbin of history. We need to force them into the dustbin of history.
The Organizer: How can our readers support the International Tribunal?
Jalil: Your readers can go to our website – www.spiritofmandela.org – and endorse the call for the International Tribunal. We also will be establishing a website for the Peoples’ Senate. We will be putting out more information about our next steps for the Peoples’ Senate on October 25th, the date when the International Jurists are charged with issuing their verdict.
As for the International Tribunal itself, it will be held October 22nd through 25th at the Malcolm X – Betty Shabazz Center in Harlem, New York. It will be a hybrid program for those who are able to attend, but we will also be streaming live over the Internet so that people can tap in. Again, you need to go to our website to sign in and register.
The Organizer: Thank you.
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Black Alliance for Peace Launches International Month of Action Against AFRICOM
October 1, 2021 marks 13 years since the United States African Command (AFRICOM) was established. The purpose of AFRICOM is to use U.S. military power to impose U.S. control of African land, resources and labor to service the needs of U.S. multinational corporations and the wealthy in the United States.
The Black Alliance for Peace’s International Month of Action Against AFRICOM aims to raise the public’s awareness about the U.S. military’s existence in Africa, and how the presence of U.S. forces exacerbates violence and instability throughout the continent.
As part of the International Month of Action Against AFRICOM, we demand:
-The complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from Africa
-The demilitarization of the African continent
-The closure of U.S. bases throughout the world
The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) has taken up the task of educating the public on AFRICOM and the extensive basing networks in Africa and throughout the world. Our campaign Against AFRICOM is an integral element of our general opposition to U.S. global militarization, with its offensive command structures, approximately 800 to 1,000 overseas bases, and the United States’ status as the number one arms merchant on the planet.
We are calling on our friends and allies around the world to join us in calling for the United States to respect the wishes of African people to de-militarize the African continent, so Africa can begin to be a “zone of peace.”
We say the brutality, violence and systematic degradation of Black life in the colonized zones of the United States against Black people by the domestic police is replicated in Africa by the U.S. global police represented by the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies.
Over $150 billion of the people’s resources are being spent on U.S. bases in Africa and around the world to police people on behalf of the U.S. corporate and financial elite.
The African peoples who find themselves on the receiving end of the violence—because of corrupted African leadership in alignment with the U.S.—are saying to the people in the United States to demand U.S. troops and U.S. money is withdrawn. It is clear the introduction of AFRICOM has resulted in less security, less democracy and diminished human rights for African peoples who are in conflict with their own neo-colonial governments.
BAP supports that call and adds the people’s resources that are being squandered to support imperialist adventures must be seized by the people and used to address the human rights needs of African/Black people and other oppressed and exploited peoples for housing, healthcare, education, food and clean water, instead of on war on behalf of the capitalist dictatorship.
[To endorse this call, go to: To endorse this call, and for more materials for educational programs, go to: https://blackallianceforpeace.com/africom2021]
• End the War on Africa and African People in the U.S. and Abroad!
• Stand with the People – Oppose War and Militarism in Every Part of the World!
• Close All U.S. and NATO Bases!
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Women and the Second Government of the Taliban
By Left Radical of Afghanistan
The Taliban, as an Islamic extremist group, has its own interpretation of Islam and the Qur’an. Not only are they unable to be flexible on women’s rights and civil liberties, but they are also incapable of responding positively to the contemporary economic, scientific, political, cultural and social needs of Afghan society. Contrary to some people’s optimistic assumptions, the Taliban have not made any changes over the past two decades since they were last in government. There has been no change in their thinking or behavior — especially in relation to women.
The Taliban do not recognize women as active and independent members of half of human society. They do not believe in women’s abilities, human dignity and equal rights
Even during the US-NATO occupation, women and girls in Taliban-controlled areas were denied access to educational institutions and schools. Without a full-fledged hijab, women cannot even go to the hospital for treatment or work outside the home.
When the Taliban captured Kabul on August 15 this year and the US and NATO puppet regime was overthrown in Kabul, the Taliban soon expressed their opposition to women and imposed severe restrictions on them. They fired female staff from government agencies, ordered female teachers to stay home, and barred girls from going to school. It abolished the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and replaced it with the “propagation of virtue and the prevention of vice” department..
The nature of the Taliban movement and their demands and goals are no secret. The U.S. government and key NATO member states are well aware that the Taliban have not made any changes, but in spite of this fact, in February 2020, the Taliban and the U.S. agreed to allow the Taliban to re-establish their rule in Afghanistan. The “sympathy” that the U.S. and European governments are now expressing for the women of Afghanistan is nothing but crocodile tears. The United States and NATO member states are the ones responsible for the current humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan and the violation of women’s rights.
Anti-Taliban demonstrations by some groups in Kabul and other provinces of Afghanistan or abroad are claiming to support women’ rights, but it is important to know what the protesters want, who is leading the protests, and from whom do they expect help?
Afghan women cannot secure their rights under the leadership of Jihadi groups or Islamic fundamentalist parties. Afghan women cannot once again beg for their rights from the United States or NATO. The “Resistance Front” led by Ahmad Massoud and Amrullah Saleh is ideologically and naturally no different from the Taliban. Ahmad Massoud and Amrullah Saleh, and the “Afghanistan Resistance Front” as a whole, are the former Nizar Shura, or Northern Alliance, made up of Islamic fundamentalist groups affiliated with various imperialist countries.
France’s support for Ahmad Massoud is aimed at attracting international financial and military aid to trade once again on the blood of poor people of Afghanistan. Ahmad Massoud’s group and its supporters have had a 50-percent share in the Karzai and Ashraf Ghani governments over the past 20 years, but they have done nothing to benefit women, and there is not a single woman in their leadership.
Afghan women should not expect Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton or Queen Elizabeth to put pressure on the Taliban to respect women’s rights in Afghanistan. Afghan women must not forget Hillary Clinton’s statement that the Mujahedin and Islamic fundamentalist groups were created, funded, and armed by the United States in the 1980s to oppose the Soviet Union’s invasion. In the same way, they supported the Taliban in the early 1990s to implement the US/NATO economic and geo-political strategies in Afghanistan and in the region. For the governments of the United States, Britain, Germany and France, it does not matter what the nature or purpose of the mercenary group is, whether it is anti-women or anti-human rights. What is essential is the commitment of the group to the implementation of their imperialist agendas.
The Taliban believe that they have defeated the world’s only major military and economic power, the United States, and 45 allies on the battlefield, so US/NATO’s current threats and pressures will never weaken the Taliban’s resolve. The Taliban have no commitment to people’s lives, economic recovery, education, health and social services. The Taliban’s ferocious and inhumane treatment of women, their inability to overcome economic crises, and their dependence on some foreign countries will only exacerbate poverty in the country, and thus the Taliban government will face widespread protests and uprisings and will eventually be overthrown.
Left, democratic and secular forces and women’s rights activists must have their own independent demands and goals. Demanding the presence of one or more women in the Taliban cabinet is neither principled nor practical. In fact, the Taliban government cannot represent the people of Afghanistan, so how can the presence of a few symbolic women in such an authoritarian and extremist religious system be interpreted to mean securing women’s rights?
Left, democratic, secular and feminist groups must focus on building and strengthening an independent, democratic and secular alternative. They must create immediately a progressive alternative that would not only oppose the Taliban, but also the Northern Jihadi “Resistance Front,” and the intervention of imperialist countries and neighbors. Such an effort could in the short term gain the broad support of the poor. Thus, the focus of the struggle must be not on reforming the Taliban regime or installing more women in the cabinet, but on overthrowing the Taliban regime and creating a democratic and independent state.
Left Radical of Afghanistan (LRA)
October 1, 2021
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An Agreement Between the United States and the Taliban Against the People and Women of Afghanistan
[We reproduce below excerpts from one of the speeches given on August 28, 2021, by Comrade Christel Keiser on behalf of the leadership of the Internationalist Communist Tendency (TCI) (current of the Democratic Independent Workers’ Party, the POID). The gathering was held over the grave of Leon Sedov, son of Leon Trotsky in the outskirts of Paris. This commemoration has been organized annually since 1994 by the French section of the Fourth International in homage to Leon Sedov, Leon Trotsky, and the labor militants of all political tendencies who were victims of Stalinism.]
It is obvious that the Taliban regime, a totalitarian theocratic regime, will maintain and worsen the situation of plundering the country in all respects, including the situation of women, and will completely deprive them of their rights in all areas of social life. It was in the name of defending Afghan women that the imperialists justified the war in Afghanistan 20 years ago. The same imperialists are now handing over the women of Afghanistan to the Taliban.
Do we need to recall what the “Socialist” Prime Minister Leonel Jospin said in 2001 to justify France’s alignment with Bush’s war? I quote: “France is participating in the intervention against the Taliban regime … and against its consistent violations of the most basic freedoms, in particular the revolting fate it reserved for women.”
In March 2019, Hassina Sadet, a representative of the Left Radical of Afghanistan (LRA), spoke at the public meeting organized by the POID’s Working Women’s Committee on the occasion of International Women’s Day.
She explained that not only did NATO’s military intervention not free women and men in Afghanistan, the years of occupation that followed have deepened all forms of oppression of the Afghan people, especially women.
“Afghanistan, under the United States’ ‘democracy’ is hell for women,” she said at the time, referring to the Islamic Sharia law that strips women of all their rights.
And she gave specific facts. According to a UN Human Rights Committee report, Afghanistan was ranked second-to-last in terms of women’s rights. In terms of education and care for girls, Afghanistan was the fourth worst country in the world; 85 percent of girls were not in school, and 87 percent of women were illiterate.
Between 70 percent and 80 percent of women were married by force, sometimes under the age of 16. Around 90 percent of women experienced domestic violence in their lifetime.
Economic violence was common and consisted in preventing women from working outside the home and underpaying them when they were able to work. Women were not allowed to go to school, to work or to travel without a male family member.
Some 5,000 women died each year during childbirth because there were very few maternity clinics. And this was the case not only under the Taliban regime, but also under the puppet regime installed by U.S. imperialism.
That the plight of Afghan women under the Taliban’s rule is likely to get worse is, alas, perfectly possible. But don’t you dare tell us that the fate of Afghan women was to be envied under the boot of NATO troops!
The comrades of the Pakistani section of the Fourth International were right when they wrote that “calls for the reoccupation of Afghanistan to ostensibly “save” the women and minorities are not only naive and misplaced but ridiculous in the extreme.” The Pakistani comrades characterized this position as providing cover for imperialism in the guise of humanitarianism.
Almost a century ago, in April 1924, Leon Trotsky, in a speech to the Communist University for Toilers of the East, recounted that during a recent visit to Baku he had been able to (and I quote) “observe in the hall several tens and possibly hundreds of Turkic young women Communists and saw and heard their enthusiasm, this passion of yesterday’s slave of slaves who has heard the new words of liberation and has awakened to a new life, and where for the first time I came to a quite clear conclusion and told myself that in the movement of the peoples of the East woman will play a greater role than in Europe and here.
“Why? Precisely because the Eastern woman is incomparably more fettered, crushed and befuddled by prejudices than is the Eastern man and because new economic relations and new historical currents will tear her out of the old motionless relations with even greater force and abruptness than they will to the man. …
“And this, moreover, means that the Eastern woman who is the most paralyzed in life, in her habits and in creativity, the slave of slaves, … she will have a passionate thirst to gain new ideas, a new consciousness which will permit her to appreciate her new position in society. And there will be no better communist in the East, no better fighter for the ideas of the revolution and for the ideas of communism than the awakened woman worker.”
For us, militant activists of the Fourth International, the specific oppression of women is a reality that can only be resolved by the overall struggle of the working class.
This is why we systematically link the struggle against the double oppression of women and the defense of their specific demands to the struggle against the system of capitalist exploitation.
This is the meaning of the appeal launched by Rubina Jamil (General Secretary of the All-Pakistan Trade Union Federation) and myself – which has been endorsed by more than 300 women workers, young people, political and trade union activists, leaders of associations and organizations from 32 countries – for an International Conference of Working Women within the framework of the International Workers’ Committee, on the eve of the World Conference Against War and Exploitation, which will take place as soon as the conditions allow.
It is because for us, proletarian internationalism is not a decoration for the holidays. As soon as news emerged of the events in Kabul, La Tribune des travailleurs responded to the call by many activists by setting up a Solidarity Fund to support the activists of the labor and democratic movement in Afghanistan, who are now called upon to fight in even more difficult conditions than before.
More than ever, the question of the fight against imperialism, the fight of the labor movement, the fight for socialism that will free women – in Afghanistan and throughout the world – from the oppression they suffer, that will free the Afghan people from the yoke of imperialism, is on the agenda.
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UK: The Labour Party Annual Conference Did Not Go as Planned
By Jean-Pierre Barrois
On September 25 to 29, the Labour Party, one of the two major political parties in the UK – along with the Conservative Party, currently in power under the leadership of Boris Johnson – held its annual conference. The Labour Party is the party to which the majority of working people have turned for leadership historically because it was founded at the beginning of the 20th century as the political representation of the trade union movement.
Labour’s current “leader” , Keir Starmer, reiterated the conference theme of “stronger future together” as the way to win the next general elections. However, most of Starmer’s activity was devoted to, as he said, “putting our house in order” that is – purging the Labour Party of everything and everyone on the “left” — while at the same time supporting the Conservative government.
The Labour Party Conference 2021, under these conditions, should have been a mere formality.
This is not what happened, however. At the conference, despite the fact that entire delegations with political opponents on the left had been banned, the main political resolutions adopted were in contradiction with the orientation of “national unity” with Boris Johnson advocated by the Labour leadership.
The delegates adopted a resolution calling for a minimum hourly wage of 15 pounds (US$20), a demand abandoned by Starmer. They also adopted a resolution calling for the nationalization of energy (gas, electricity, water), against the recommendation of the party leadership; and a resolution denouncing the Apartheid policy of the State of Israel, when the mere use of this expression was enough to justify the exclusion of hundreds of activists described as “anti-Semites”[see accompanying article]. This was clearly a slap in the face for the leadership.
In spite of all the obstacles, what was expressed in the Labour Conference 2021 was the will of British workers to unite in resistance – and to reject privatization, the destruction of pensions, the wage freeze, and all the other anti-worker policies of the Johnson government, which the Labour leadership refuses to oppose.
In order to fight, workers need political representation, a party that is democratic and whose policies are based on the interests and demands of workers. This was the basis upon which the Labour Party was founded more than a century ago by the trade unions. For hundreds of thousands of unionized workers, even if they do not have a “party membership” card, the Labour Party belongs to them.
It is no surprise, then, that the lessons to be learned from this conference should come from within the trade union movement. In a statement issued on September 29 by UNITE, one of the main unions (nearly one million members) of the TUC confederation, one can read the following:
“If you’re a Unite member worried about the cost-of-living crisis, empty petrol pumps, abhorrent ‘fire and rehire’  in our workplaces and the end of furlough just hours away, there wasn’t much for you in this speech.
“We needed to hear a Labour leader who is as angry as we are about the harm being done to our workers, and as determined as Unite to stand up against abusive employers. We’re clearly not there yet.”
The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union, one of the founding unions of the Labour Party in 1902, disaffiliated from the Labour Party because, as their September 28 statement reads:
“Instead of leadership, the party’s leader chooses to divide the trade unions and the membership. … Today we want to see £15 per hour for all workers, the abolition of zero hours contracts and ending discrimination of young people by dispensing with youth rates. … The decision taken by our delegates doesn’t mean we are leaving the political scene, it means we will become more political and we will ensure that our members’ political voice is heard.”
Whether they have decided to remain in the Labour Party, like UNITE, or whether they have stopped paying dues to the current Labour leadership, like the Bakers’ union, the positions taken by these two unions express a common demand: to forge a political representation of the working class that is faithful to its interests and that breaks with the exploiters and their government.
(1) The leader of the Labour Party is the one who will automatically become Prime Minister if the party obtains a majority in Parliament.
(2) Collective layoffs followed by the rehiring of employees on more disadvantageous terms.
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UK: Historic Resolution on Palestine Passed at Labour Party Conference 2021
[Note: The following article is based on reports from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (UK) and the British news media.]
Delegates in the British Labour Party on Monday [September 27] passed a resolution condemning Israel for perpetrating an “ongoing Nakba in Palestine,” drawing outcry from some party officials.
“Conference condemns the ongoing Nakba in Palestine, Israel’s militarized violence attacking the Al Aqsa mosque, the forced displacements from Sheikh Jarrah and the deadly assault on Gaza,” the motion passed at the main opposition party’s annual conference reads.
“Nakba,” which means “catastrophe” in Arabic, is used by Palestinians to denote Israel’s establishment in 1948.
The resolution brought by Young Labour passed at Monday’s conference with about twice as many votes for as against.
It added that “together with the de facto annexation of Palestinian land by accelerated settlement building and statements of Israel’s intention to proceed with annexation, it is ever clearer that Israel is intent on eliminating any prospects of Palestinian self-determination.”
The resolution on Palestine referenced the Trades Union Congress (TUC) motion, which describes Israel’s actions as “another significant step toward the crime of Apartheid,” and it “called on the international trade union movement to join the international campaign to stop annexation and end Apartheid.” It further called for “stopping any UK arms trade used to violate Palestinian human rights.”
The concluding “Resolved” paragraph of the resolution, reads in part:
“Conference resolves to support ‘efficient measures,’ including sanctions, as called by Palestinian civil society, to ensure that Israel stop the building of settlements, ends the blockade of Gaza, brings down the wall, and respects the right of the Palestinian people to return to their homes.”
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