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Workers' Weekly Internet Edition: Article Index : ShareThis
Opposing Trump's State Visit to Britain:
Trump Steps Up US Warmonger Activities in Britain as the Anti-War Movement Continues to Demand the Closure of US Bases
Opposing Trump's State Visit:
Trade Unions Take a Stand
Hands Off Venezuela!:
The British Government Must Stop All Interference in Venezuela
Hands Off Venezuela!:
Scottish Trade Unionists Reject Regime Change in Venezuela
Why Orgreave miners are being honoured at With Banners Held High
74th Anniversary of Victory over Fascism in Europe:
Worldwide Immortal Regiment Marches
Kwangju People's Uprising:
39th Anniversary of People's Uprising in Kwangju, Korea
Mass opposition to Trump's visit in July 2018
An all-out demonstration opposing the state visit of US President Donald Trump to Britain is planned in London on June 4. The state visit is scheduled from June 3-5, and Trump is also to travel to France on June 6 for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings. It is expected that Trump will also visit Ireland, but this appears not to have been confirmed by the Irish government.
The opposition to Trump's visit is set to be even greater than in July 2018, when the US President avoided coming to London at all. The opposition is directed not only to the warmongering and anti-human behaviour synonymous with Trump's Presidency. It is also directed against the British government and the Queen as head of state, which have issued the invitation. It is this that people are declaring is Not In Our Name!
In rallying the opposition to the visit around the slogan, Stand Up to Trump, it is being emphasised that it is the people's forces, the human power, which must and will hold the US imperialists and their cohorts in check. Not only this, but the people have their own agenda. This is to take a stand for those things which make for peace and against aggression. It is to fight for an anti-war government, with a democratic personality consistent with the human factor, and to ensure an end to aggression and for the establishment of relations of peace between peoples.
The development of the anti-imperialist peace movement is at the forefront of people's minds and intentions as they organise to oppose the state visit. As the Trump presidency ramps up its aggressive build-up against Iran, and as it attempts to bring about regime change in Venezuela, as it imposes illegal sanctions against progressive regimes, the imperative to take a stand and build the movement against crimes against the peace becomes ever stronger. The stand of the peoples of the world for peace will prevail, as the peoples fight for their own empowerment. This is a focus of priority on the people's agenda.
Another important demand of the people's movement in this context is to remove all US/NATO bases from Britain. The peoples of Britain cannot countenance such bases of aggression, imperialist domination and "hard power" on their soil. They fly in the face of the work for peace and an end to the Anglo-US doctrine of chaos, "controlled" or otherwise. Furthermore, in pursuance of this "hard power", both in Britain and the US, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has stated that stepping up this "hard power" is one of three pillars in the government's vision of a future Britain. Like Trump, he has urged an increase in military spending, and has pledged to do the same, praising the military might of "our great ally" the United States and its "unquestioned dominance". This, in itself, cannot go unquestioned. It is certain that when the British government hosts in December the NATO 70th anniversary meeting, opposition to this warmongering institution, whose raison d'etre cannot be justified, will be manifest. Certainly NATO is opposed, among other reasons, for its attempt to impose US "hard power" both in Europe and globally.
Just as in the United States, where the people's forces are taking a stand against the direction in which the US is headed, so people in Britain are saying no to crimes against humanity, and in particular are affirming that any "special relationship" with Trump's United States is not in their name. Rather, they are saying that the struggle for their rights and for the rights of all must prevail against the efforts of the ruling elites within Britain and the US to trample on these rights.
This is crucial, since all attempts to blame sections of the people for what is the responsibility of those pursuing the global neo-liberal agenda and creating chaos must be rejected. It is precisely this agenda and those responsible for implementing it that are generating such anarchy and violence. In this respect, and in the context of defending the rights of all, the people are rejecting as not in their name the attacks on the rights of immigrant working people, refugees and those seeking asylum. It is clear that the global marauding of the ruling elites representing the oligopolies and their exploitation of the peoples and material resources globally, as well as "regime change" and their destructive activities against what they cannot control, that is and has been creating the crisis of displaced persons, human trafficking and an international reserve army of cheap labour.
As part of the opposition to Trump's state visit, the anti-war and people's movements are opposing unjust wars and big power intervention and interference which goes by the name of nation-wrecking and from which the plight of people seeking a better life, demanding asylum and fleeing conflict cannot be separated. Ultimately, the demand is that these very people, as an integral part of the international working class, be empowered to be able to control their own lives and find stability. The movement is very aware of the stands of working people in the US itself which will not countenance Trump's all-out attack on the rights of all.
WWIE calls on everyone to go all out to mobilise for the demonstration on June 4 against Trump's visit. Coaches are coming from all corners of the country, and booking can be done through Eventbrite, as well as locally. The call at present is to assemble at Trafalgar Square in central London at 11 am for a demonstration at 12 noon.
See, for instance, the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/447620012676970/
Stop Trump: https://www.stoptrump.org.uk/
Stand Up to Trump: http://standuptotrump.uk/
Develop the Movement against War and for an Anti-War Government!
All Out to Build the Opposition to Trump's State Visit!
After some 75 years and following World War II, the US still maintains five major US Air Force Bases in Britain at Fairfield, Molesworth, Alconbury, Lakenheath and Mildenhall in spite of the massive opposition of the anti-war movement over decades, which saw many US bases including Greenham Common closed. Greenham Common was returned to public parkland in 1997.
In 2015, The United States European Command (EUCOM) had announced plans to close RAF Mildenhall as part of a military review that will see it shut 14 other European bases, including RAF Alconbury and RAF Molesworth, with thousands of US personnel transferred to other bases in Britain and Germany. However, in 2017, RAF Mildenhall Squadron Leader Rick Fryer said: "The MoD has been advised that the full divestitures of RAF Mildenhall and RAF Alconbury/Molesworth will now occur no earlier than 2024." In a report of Yorkshire CND they pointed out that the April 17, 2017 edition of Stars and Stripes (a US Department of Defence newspaper) said that the political and military climate has changed since the decision was taken two years ago under the administration of President Obama; under President Trump, it suggests, the Pentagon is looking at the plans again.
Also in recent years, alongside its air bases, the US has expanded and constructed its openly-known "intelligence" bases at: RAF Croughton; Morwentsow (Bude), a joint base with GCHQ; RAF Digby; RAF Fylingdales; and RAF Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire, which is a key link in the US missile "defence" and drone programmes involved in extra-territorial killing world-wide. Britain's own drone command is RAF Waddington in Lincoln. This year, Menwith Hill and the other US "intelligence" bases have become even more significant with the missile defence review, which Trump unveiled in January this year at the Pentagon, and which announced a major upgrade in land- and sea-based missile interceptor systems, as well as the development of a layer of satellite sensors in low orbit that would help track new types of cruise missiles and hypersonic glide vehicles.
In June 2017, Trump took the headlines by withdrawing the US from the Paris Climate Agreement. At the same time, it was also reported that the US had deployed at RAF Fairford its full range of strategic bombers to Britain for the first time in history. Two B-2 stealth bombers, three B-52H Stratofortress aircraft and three B-1B Lancers were exhibited at the Fairford Air Show that year.
As the largest US Air Force base in the Britain, RAF Lakenheath, where in 2003 it was reported it stored some 30 nuclear weapons, today hosts the 48th Fighter Wing and supports three combat-ready squadrons of F-15E Strike Eagle and F-15C Eagle fighter aircraft. Two squadrons of US F-35 jets (48 of them) will be arriving there by 2020 - the first in Europe. It has played a role since 2001 flying combat missions and providing combat support in operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and across the Middle East.
It should also be noted that Britain helps the US maintain some of its 800 military bases abroad - some jointly such as at Ascension Island - and it continues to lease to the US strategic military bases that it had previously seized for itself abroad, such as Diego Garcia in the Chagos Islands. The British government carried out this international crime in 1965 when it was forced to decolonise Mauritius but kept the Chagos Islands for itself, expelled the population and handed Diego Garcia over to theUS for a military base occupied by them to this day. Now the British government is ignoring the instruction by the United Nations' highest court in 2019 to properly finish the process of decolonisation, and return the Chagos Islands to Mauritius and to the people who were expelled. It has also been reported that Gibraltar, presently a British Navy base, is to be made a "strategic military base" and is set to become a key strategic military base for the US with the vital role for the US Navy's operations underlined.
Today, the fight of the anti-war movement against the US bases is inspired by the heroic fight against the US Cruise Missiles at Greenham Common in the 80s, and those who fight today against nuclear weapons, who fight against US spy bases at Fylingdales and Menwith Hill and the whole anti-war movement that stands up to say that this is not in their name. The working class and people alongside the peoples of the world will continue this fight to realise their aspiration for peace. The people have always opposed turning Britain into a launchpad for US interventions and wars abroad, just as they have opposed the warmongering and military interventions of successive British governments abroad. Making Britain a zone for peace means the dismantling of all US Air Force and spy bases at home and also those under Britain's control abroad. This is central to the fight to bring about an anti-war government in Britain.
 Various Sources:
For Your Reference:
In 2014 on the 70th anniversary since US bases were established in Britain, Seumas Milne wrote in the Guardian an article, reproduced by the Stop the War Coalition when Jeremy Corbyn was its President, entitled "After 70 years of US troops in Britain, time to send them home and close the bases". He pointed out that "Successive governments have mortgaged Britain's security and independence to a foreign power - and placed its armed forces, territory and weaponry at the disposal of a system of global domination."
It is necessary for the workers' opposition to take a stand and oppose Trump's state visit.
In a statement "Together against Trump - No State Visit", Unite the Union said:
"Donald Trump is coming to London on a state visit from 3-5 June. Trump is the most divisive, aggressive and xenophobic US president in memory. He supports far right organisations around the world, denies climate change and is pursuing a more and more confrontational and dangerous foreign policy.
"For all these reasons Unite is working with Together Against Trump to mobilise for the biggest possible protests against the visit. Together Against Trump has called a national protest on Tuesday 4 June from 11:00 assembling in Trafalgar Square. There will be music and a rally in the Square starting around midday and will then march to wherever Trump is at the time.
"Trump's itinerary has not been finalised and we will have to be flexible but there will also be other protests from the day Trump arrives - 3 June - through to events over the three days."
Union urges Government to tell Trump he is not welcome in Ireland
The Irish Times of May 13, 2019, reports that the Unite trade union has urged the Irish government to tell US president Donald Trump that he is not welcome to visit Ireland.
Delegates at the union's policy conference in Malahide in north Dublin passed a motion opposing what it described as President Trump's "racism, sexism and warmongering".
The union said "his politics represents everything this union and many other trade unions globally fight against."
Delegate Memet Uludaj said there was "not one section of society or community - national or international - that this man has not offended, has not targeted or attacked".
Mr Uludaj, reports the newspaper, claimed Mr Trump is the world's leading climate change denier. "He is happy to let the climate change go crazy at the expense of millions of lives and these will be - workers' lives, the lives of poor people. "
Mr Uludaj said the motion did not mean the union was attacking American people and their choice.
He said, "What we are saying is that we stand with the activists and campaigners, millions of women in America who also have other grievances with their own president."
Fellow delegate Francis Loughlin, reports the Irish Times, said, "We all lose out to the policies of this travesty of a president. His policies have an effect beyond the borders of the USA. So conference send a message - Mr President, you are not welcome here."
Demonstration in Los Angelese, USA
On May 8, the Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, made a further commitment to regime change in Venezuela, during a joint press conference in London with Mike Pompeo, the visiting US Secretary of State. The Foreign Secretary made it clear that the British government would stand shoulder to shoulder as the staunchest ally of US imperialism and "intensify pressure" to change the government of Venezuela and remove its president, as if it were the arbiter of who is in power in that country rather than the people of Venezuela. The British government must be condemned for its continued interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state and its threats of further economic sanctions in order to effect regime change. Jeremy Hunt hypocritically spoke of the US and British government's shared belief in "liberty, democracy and the rule law", when it is evident that in regard to Venezuela and many other countries, their "neo-liberal democracy" with its interference, including economic and even military intervention, constitute the greatest threats to the world's peoples and the greatest breaches of international law and the Charter of the UN.
US imperialism, with the support of the government of Britain and other allies, has done everything possible to destabilise the government and economy of Venezuela, in order to force from office Nicolas Maduro, who was twice elected as president of Venezuela in elections in 2013 and 2018. Even before President Maduro took office, in January this year, US imperialism and its allies acting under the auspices of the Organisation of American States and the Lima Group had declared, without any credible evidence, that the May 2018 election was "illegitimate". They urged President Maduro not to take office, but instead to transfer executive power to the National Assembly, controlled by opposition parties and under the leadership of Juan Guaido, until new elections could be held. This National Assembly had in 2016 refused to submit to the authority of the Supreme Court of Venezuela, or comply with its orders, a violation of the country's constitution and a situation which still continues today.
The US and its allies, including the EU, also announced further economic and other sanctions against Venezuela in order to create further instability in the country. The government of Britain, for its part, took a similar stand to the US government. In January 2019, Jeremy Hunt declared: "Nicolas Maduro is not the legitimate leader of Venezuela," and "the United Kingdom believes that Juan Guaido is the right person to take Venezuela forward." He added that "we are supporting the US, Canada, Brazil and Argentina to make that happen". The British government and the EU then went one step further, declaring in a joint statement at the end of January that if new elections were not announced in Venezuela within eight days, they would recognise Guaido as "constitutional interim President". When the government of Venezuela ignored their interference, the EU declared Guaido "President ad interim of Venezuela, in order for him to call for free, fair and democratic presidential elections".
Since that time, the British government, acting in concert with the US, the EU and others, has continued to interfere in the internal affairs of Venezuela in the most blatant way, both through the UN Security Council, through sanctions and by more covert means. The government has also put increased pressure on those countries that support the government of Nicolas Maduro, such as Cuba, Russia and China. The governments of Britain, the US and their allies make much of the fact that there is what they refer to as a "humanitarian crisis" in Venezuela and even make a big show of sending "humanitarian aid" to that country. They do not disclose the fact that the crisis is closely connected with the economic sanctions which they have imposed on Venezuela, which prevent the country dealing with its economic difficulties. According to one recent report, the deaths of 40,000 Venezuelans over the past two years can be attributed to sanctions imposed on Venezuela.
All of this destabilising activity has nothing to do with "liberty, democracy and the rule of law" which favours the people. As has become evident, the National Assembly and its new president, Guaido, is clearly under the influence of the US and other foreign interests. Guaido, with foreign support, has done everything possible to stage a coup in Venezuela, including inciting the sections of the armed forces to mutiny, an aim that so far has been spectacularly unsuccessful.
Increasingly, people and countries throughout the world are raising their voices to oppose the blatant interference of the US, Britain and their allies in Venezuela. It is vital that the workers and all democratic people in Britain continue to raise their voices to condemn the interference of the British government in the internal affairs of a sovereign state. What the people demand is an end to all such interference. The struggle is on to create the conditions for an anti-war government that puts the interests of the people of Britain and of all countries at the centre of its activities.
On April 24-25, the United Nations General Assembly held a high-level plenary session to mark the first International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace. April 24 was chosen to coincide with the date of the Bandung Conference held in 1955 that laid the foundations for what would become the Non-Aligned Movement. In her opening remarks, Fernanda Espinoza, President of the General Assembly, said the world is increasingly polarised and fragmented and that going forward, the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace will be an opportunity to assess the UN's contribution to humanity.
Jorge Arreaza, Minister of the People's Power for Foreign Affairs of Venezuela, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) of which Venezuela is pro tempore president, said the world faces numerous complex emerging threats to international peace and security which demand that the international community address them through the frameworks of multilateralism and international law. Saying there cannot be double standards in international relations, he expressed grave concern over the growing trend of unilateralism and arbitrary measures that undermine the UN Charter and international law. He appealed to the international community "in this house of multilateralism" to achieve peace, sustainable development and human rights, and to spare future generations from the scourge of war.
Then speaking on behalf of Venezuela, Arreaza said the role of the UN has been highlighted because it is the maximum expression of multilateralism, because as indicated in the preamble of its founding Charter, it brings together all "the Peoples of the United Nations". It is not a club of friends, he said, but a forum for everyone. "That is why we cannot fail to insist on this occasion on the need to reaffirm the full validity of the basic principles of international law, all contained in the Charter of the UN: equality of rights and self-determination of peoples, abstaining from the use or threat of the use of force, and non-intervention in matters that are essentially the internal jurisdiction of States," stated Arreaza.
He went on to denounce the fact that the President of the United States used the UN as a platform last September to announce unilateral coercive measures against Venezuela and other countries in violation of the principles and aims of its Charter. More recently, he said Mike Pence, speaking at the Security Council, not only presumed the right to unilaterally impose sieges to make people suffer, but to impose the dictatorship of the United States on the United Nations, and shamelessly give orders to member states to ignore the credentials of other members with full rights like Venezuela. Arreaza said Venezuela sympathised with countries like Cuba and Iran, who are being subjected to unilateral, arbitrary measures that seek to make the peoples of their countries suffer and to bend the will of their governments.
According to reports, a couple of dozen delegates from Lima Group countries walked out during Arreaza's speech to show their shameful support for the US attempted coup against Venezuela.
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said he came to make the case that collective diplomatic efforts are no longer the prudent option, but rather the only solution.
He denounced the fact that despite 14 reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency validating Iran's commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action - a multilateral accord enshrined in UN Security Council resolution 2231 - the US unlawfully withdrew from it. He then mentioned what he said were just a few of the unlawful unilateral policies of the current US Administration towards his country or the region: the extraterritorial imposition of domestic legislation; flouting of international accords and International Court of Justice orders; arbitrarily designating Iran's armed forces as 'terrorist'; breeding radicalisation through reckless and pointless never ending wars; shielding terror-sponsoring clients from their war crimes; and recognition of illegal and racist annexations.
As if this were not enough, Zarif said, the US also punishes those who seek to fulfil their obligations under Security Council Resolution 2231 - which calls for normalisation of economic relations with Iran.
To defend multilateralism, he said it was imperative to deny the US any perceived benefit from its unlawful actions, and to forcefully reject any pressure it brings to bear on others to violate international law and Security Council resolutions. He said in rejecting unilateralism, all UN member states had a responsibility to collectively hold any government to account for the consequences of any lawlessness.
Speaking for Cuba and associating herself with the NAM statement, Ana Silvia Rodríguez voiced her strong rejection of the strengthening of the 60-year US blockade against Cuba and its newly imposed unilateral coercive measures, calling them a flagrant violation of international law and the United Nations Charter. She also said that solidarity with Venezuela is a right of Cuba as a sovereign State and also a duty, and that no threat of reprisals, ultimatum or blackmail by the United States would divert Cuba from its internationalist stance.
Rodríguez asked that the newly proclaimed day not just be taken as a simple celebration, but as a reaffirmation of the collective duty and responsibility to preserve peace.
Wael Al Khalil, speaking for Syria, also associated himself with the NAM statement, and said a culture of peace can only come about through respect for international law and the United Nations Charter. However he said there were some powerful states attempting to dominate the organisation to exploit it for their own purposes, creating colossal and tragic challenges for humanity, similar to those posed to the UN at its founding. Pointing to the disregard for Security Council resolutions, he said multilateralism is coming under attack to the greatest extent ever since the founding of the United Nations due to pressures being applied in international relations and in the application of legal resolutions, all to prevent peace being achieved. He said the Syrian people continue to pay with their blood because of interference and military aggression, terrorist wars as well as direct and proxy wars. He also denounced the imposition of illegal unilateral coercive measures and the creation of illegitimate coalitions that destroy infrastructure and assets of many developing countries.
Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine, associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said multilateralism has always been under attack by those who believe might should triumph over right, who are ready to sacrifice long-term interests for short-term political gains, who forget the lessons of history and are seeking to erode the rule of law. International consensus regarding the question of Palestine remains the only basis for peace, he said, yet, no measures have been taken to ensure the implementation of relevant United Nations resolutions or to hold those violating them to account. Despite the shortcomings of the multilateral system that they feel in the flesh, the Palestinian people continue to have faith in multilateralism and their commitment to international law as they struggle for freedom, dignity and the end of the occupation, he stated.
More than 70 delegations participated in the debate. The US was not among them.
After the two-day session ended, Minister Arreaza delivered a press conference at the UN to explain in detail the multi-faceted war the US is waging against the people of Venezuela, saying it was time to launch a campaign to denounce the devastating effects of the unilateral, illegal, and arbitrary blockade it has imposed on Venezuela. Among other things, he said, "Do you know the cost of paying the salaries of our staff at the United Nations, or in Canada, or in Europe? We owe them five or six months of salary." He explained that it is not that the government does not have the money, but that its funds have been blocked and kept by the correspondent bank used for such transactions.
Arreaza also announced that a NAM ministerial meeting is planned for July in Venezuela to further advance their project to uphold international law and the UN Charter and that discussions were taking place with another group of countries subject to sanctions on how to overcome them.
Also on April 25, the over 60 countries that first came together in February on the initiative of Venezuela and a number of other countries as the Group of Countries in Defence of the UN Charter, International Law and Peace held a meeting at the UN.
That evening, Arreaza and Samuel Moncada, Venezuela's Permanent Ambassador to the UN, addressed a livestreamed meeting organised by activists in New York City where they discussed how Venezuelans were coping with the economic war of attrition being waged against them by the US. They emphasised the importance of taking practical measures to counter the information warfare the US is waging against Venezuela, diplomacy to ensure it cannot kick Venezuela out of the UN in order to label it a "rogue" state deserving of being bombed, and continuing the work to stop the US from launching the actual "hot" war it is preparing for.
The next day, in an obviously vindictive move, the US Office of Foreign Assets Control, a financial intelligence and enforcement agency of the Treasury Department, added Jorge Arreaza and a judge in Venezuela's judiciary to its sanctions list.
UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights
An independent expert appointed by the Human Rights Council [of the United Nations] has expressed deep concern at the recent imposition of unilateral coercive measures on Cuba, Venezuela and Iran by the United States, saying the use of economic sanctions for political purposes violates human rights and the norms of international behaviour. Such action may precipitate man-made humanitarian catastrophes of unprecedented proportions.
"Regime change through economic measures likely to lead to the denial of basic human rights and indeed possibly to starvation has never been an accepted practice of international relations," said Idriss Jazairy, the UN Special Rapporteur concerned with the negative impact of sanctions. "Real concerns and serious political differences between governments must never be resolved by precipitating economic and humanitarian disasters, making ordinary people pawns and hostages thereof."
The implementation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act - allowing US citizens to file lawsuits against Cuban entities and foreign companies over property seized and used following Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution - ignored protests by the European Union and Canada and was a direct attack on European and Canadian companies in Cuba, where they are the top foreign investors.
"The resort by a major power of its dominant position in the international financial arena against its own allies to cause economic hardship to the economy of sovereign States is contrary to international law, and inevitably undermines the human rights of their citizens," the Special Rapporteur said.
On April 17, the United States banned the Central Bank of Venezuela from conducting transactions in US dollars after May 17, and will cut off access to US personal remittances and credit cards by March 2020.
"It is hard to figure out how measures which have the effect of destroying Venezuela's economy, and preventing Venezuelans from sending home money, can be aimed at 'helping the Venezuelan people', as claimed by the US Treasury," the expert said.
His statements follow claims in a recent report published by the Washington-based Centre for Economic and Policy Research that 40,000 people may have died in Venezuela since 2017 because of US sanctions.
Jazairy also said he was concerned the US would not renew waivers for international buyers of Iranian oil, despite protests from NATO ally Turkey, among others. Washington has demanded that all remaining States which benefited from waivers stop purchases on May 1, or face sanctions. "The extraterritorial application of unilateral sanctions is clearly contrary to international law," the expert said. "I am deeply concerned that one State can use its dominant position in international finance to harm not only the Iranian people, who have followed their obligations under the UN-approved nuclear deal to this day, but also everyone in the world who trades with them.
"The international community must come together to challenge what amounts to blockades ignoring a country's sovereignty, the human rights of its people, and the rights of third countries trading with sanctioned States, all while constituting a threat to world peace and security.
"I call on the international community to engage in constructive dialogue with Venezuela, Cuba, Iran and the United States to find a peaceful resolution in compliance with the spirit and letter of the Charter of the United Nations before the arbitrary use of economic starvation becomes the new 'normal'."
(May 6, 2019)
Venezuela Solidarity Campaign, April 25, 2019
The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), representing over 540,000 trade unionists in Scotland, has reaffirmed its support for the Bolivarian Revolution in the face of aggressive US-led efforts at regime change in Venezuela.
An emergency motion proposed by Unison Scotland and seconded by RMT Scotland was carried unanimously at the STUC 122nd Annual Congress in Dundee this week.
Phil McGarry, chair of the Scottish Venezuela Solidarity Campaign set out the current situation in Venezuela at an STUC fringe meeting on Monday, co-hosted by SVSC and the Scottish Cuba Solidarity Campaign (SCSC).
As well as praising the social and economic gains for working class Venezuelans over the past two decades and rejecting US-led calls for regime change, the motion passed calls on each of the affiliated 37 trade unions and 20 Trades Union Councils to "counteract all propaganda directed against Venezuela as prejudicial to the implementation of progressive policies everywhere, including Britain".
Sam Macartney of Unison Scotland, moving the motion, further called on "all trade unions to affiliate to the Scottish Venezuela Solidarity Campaign so that we are able to counter the lies and propaganda being spewed out by those who seek to undermine democracy and self-determination".
He added: "Over the years, this Congress and the STUC have supported social and economic change to empower the masses in many countries. Only a few years ago, we sent our support and solidarity to fellow workers and comrades in South America. Let's continue our support, let's send our support to Venezuela and the legitimate government.
"Let's start by demanding that the US ceases its interference in Venezuela. Let's demand that the Bank of England and Deutsche Bank in Germany release and return the billions of pounds of gold they owe back to Venezuela.
"Let's stop the bullies of the world imposing their dogma on working class people."
Ann Joss of RMT Scotland, seconding the motion, told the Congress that the Trump administration is "agitating for war, and this position is being supported slavishly by the United Kingdom".
She continued: "They are using the argument that this is to solve the 'humanitarian crisis'. What a load of rubbish! It was them that created the crisis with their economic sanctions. Selective amnesia comes to mind.
"If they get away with this without challenge, then they will further concentrate their efforts on Nicaragua and Bolivia.
"The truth of the matter is that they want Venezuela's oil. Let's send
a clear message of solidarity from our Congress. No to US intervention! No
blood for oil! Viva Venezuela!"
Full text of the motion
Emergency motion no. 1 - Venezuela Solidarity
"That this congress pledges its continued support for the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, its Elected Government and its policies designed to affect progressive change in favour of working people. It commends the Social and Economic gains secured including its programme for Public Health provision, its elimination of illiteracy, its strengthening of Trade Union Rights, its reduction in Poverty, Inequality, and the construction of 2 million homes since 2016.
"Congress therefore condemns the calls for Regime change from the United States, its allies and expresses its dismay at the devastating consequences of the Economic Sanctions, both formal and informal imposed by the United States and their allies. This is viewed as a fundamental attack of the principle of Democracy.
"US Vice President Mike Pence told the UN Security Council last Wednesday that the Trump administration is determined 'to restore democracy to Venezuela', preferably through diplomatic and economic pressure, but 'all options are on the table'.
"Congress calls on the General Council to:
Raise matters with the British and Scottish Governments to condemn these sanctions, and to consider ways to promote a peaceful solution through dialogue, including the initiatives proposed by Mexico, Bolivia, and Uruguay;
Defend the sovereignty of Venezuela and its right to self-determination;
Reject and oppose any external interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela, especially from the United States, including any military aggression; and
Reject and oppose any attempt to change the government by illegal, unconstitutional and/or violent methods.
"Immediately and unconditionally lift all sanctions by the United States and the European Union which violates international law, thus easing the suffering of the poor and the most vulnerable.
"Finally, Congress calls on all its affiliates to counteract all propaganda directed against Venezuela as prejudicial to implementation of the progressive policies everywhere, including Britain. Solidarity with the Venezuelan people is crucial."
Mover: UNISON (Scotland)
Seconder: RMT (Scotland)
This article appeared in the Yorkshire Post on 17 May 2019 and is reproduced here from the TUC website. The author, Chris Kitchen, is the National Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and is a member of the TUC Regional Executive Council
If you're passing through Wakefield on the train this Saturday morning, pause, and look out towards the city centre. You'll be greeted by the sight of tens of dozens of banners bright, in every shape and hue.
You'll see something like a scene out of Pride, with banners rising from the ground to sit proudly on the shoulders of old miners, young women, and everyone in between.
Take a moment to read the painted words and the stitched images leaping boldly from the fabric; "united we stand, divided we fall," "an injury to one is an injury to all," "united we bargain, divided we beg."
Crane your neck if you still have enough time, to see the brass band of young performers, and the samba band of old die-hards, strike up, as this unusual crowd of hundreds of people, stirs and marches forward into the centre of Wakefield.
You've just seen a snapshot of Yorkshire culture at its proudest.
We trade unionists may seem strange to some. But our habits, culture, and ways of thinking have evolved out of two centuries of fighting for workers' rights.
This march is the start of With Banners Held High, a festival of trade union and working class Yorkshire culture, that is in its fifth year.
What started as a tribute to the pitmen of the 1984-85 miners' strike, has grown into a large, free, outdoor community festival celebrating the special place trade unions hold in our county's heritage. And this year we are reflecting on a trio of anniversaries: Orgreave, Kellingley, and the First World War.
As National Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), this is deeply important to me. We must remember where we come from, as we struggle for a fairer society.
2019 marks the 35th anniversary of the Battle of Orgreave, a state orchestrated riot against what was intended to be a peaceful picket, at the height of the Miners' strike. As one of those striking miners that was there on that day I can say without doubt that there was no intention on behalf of the pickets to hold a violent picket, we were there in large numbers as a show of solidarity. We did not go armed with truncheons wearing body armour and helmets with riot shields to hide behind.
Communities across West, North and South Yorkshire bore the brunt of this state sanctioned violence, and the name Orgreave leaves a potent and bitter taste in the mouths of people across our county not least because while the Battle of Orgreave was well documented and recorded the same police tactics on a smaller scale were happening on picket lines up and down the country.
We still have seen no justice for the immeasurable pain caused to the families and victims there that day.
But at With Banners Held High we will honour their memory, as we march through the streets of Wakefield. With our banners held high and Yorkshire brass playing, we will ensure that the memory of that outrage stays alive.
This festival will be an important opportunity to keep the memory of Orgreave alive for our children, and use it as the burning injustice to fuel the next generation's fight for social justice. Because in essence, that is what we as trade unions do - fight for a fairer world. There will be no peace until we have our justice.
As I march with the NUM's banner this Saturday, I will also reflect on a personal tragedy - the closure over three years ago of Kellingley colliery, Britain's last former British Coal deep coal mine, where I worked for 20 years. It was heartbreaking being at the pit on Friday 18 December 2015 on the last shift worked at Kellingley and seeing workmates that I had worked beside for 20 years holding back the tears for the end of an industry. An industry that many had worked in since leaving school and was the only job they had ever done or wanted to do.
The loss of an industry that was invested in the villages, families, sports and socials of that community is something that is hard to see reflected now in the gig economy companies of 2019.
We also stand a full one hundred years after the end of the First World War. We were promised a Land Fit For Heroes. But I don't see that in the zero hours contract grind of today's world of work.
The world of work is changing, but that doesn't mean we have to settle for zero hours contracts, hollowed out communities, and poverty pay.
The point of With Banners Held High is to remind people what it feels like to stand together, as a community, and believe in something better. Working together to make things better is trade unions' bread and butter, and if you join us, we can give you the power to make things better for you too.
You can find out how to join a union on the TUC's website: www.tuc.org.uk/join-union
But if that's not for you just yet, then don't worry. This festival is for everyone, to celebrate our culture and remember our history.
And let me tell you, if you want to feel a swelling in your heart and a tear in the eye like watching the end of Pride, there's no better place to be than with us this Saturday in Wakefield. So why not join us for With Banners Held High? We march from Westgate station at 11am.
On May 9, 1945, Nazi Germany surrendered to the Soviets in Berlin. Since then, May 9 marks the victory of the Allied forces over fascism in World War II.
In London on the 74th anniversary of this victory day, veterans, diplomats and local dignitaries took part in a ceremony at the Soviet War Memorial in the shadow of the Imperial War Museum in south London.
Hundreds of people, including many from the Russian community in London, gathered around the Memorial in Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park in Southwark. British, Soviet and Norwegian war veterans marched to the monument to start the act of remembrance that was opened by Catherine Rose, the Mayor of Southwark, and addressed by Philip Matthews from the Soviet Memorial Trust Fund and Russian Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko. This was followed by the laying of floral tributes by Southwark councillors, diplomats from the countries of the former Soviet Union, British and Soviet veterans, and friendship associations. Officials from the Marx Memorial Library and others from the communist movement also laid wreaths and flowers at the memorial that was unveiled on May 9, 1999.
The ceremony concluded with the solemn Soviet lament, The Final Chord, sung by the choir of the Russian Embassy school in London, the Last Post and two minutes' silence to remember those who gave their lives in the struggle for freedom during the war to defeat Nazi fascism.
Many then went on to Trafalgar Square to join the Immortal Regiment parade.
Around the world, since 2012, veterans who fought in World War II and their
descendants take part in processions to commemorate the memory of their
relatives, known as the March of the Immortal Regiment. The website Russia
Beyond informed on May 8 that the march "originally began in 2012 in the
Siberian city of Tomsk, but this year, the Immortal Regiment is held in more
than 110 countries and 500 cities all over the world. People join the
processions holding the portraits of their relatives who fought in World War
II, and every year the number of participating cities grows." Millions of
people took part across Europe, Asia, the Americas and Oceania.
Victory Day May 9th 1945 Moscow, Soviet Union
While many participants are Red Army veterans and their descendants, these marches are a converging point for all Allied veterans and their family members, as well as many others who wish to express their profound gratitude for the sacrifices made to defeat Nazi fascism.
(TML Weekly, New Worker)
May 18 marks the 35th anniversary of the heroic Kwangju People's Uprising which took place in the city of Kwangju, south Korea, from May 18-28, 1980. The Kwangju People's Uprising was a revolutionary rising undertaken to oppose the brutal military dictatorship of General Chun Doo-hwan. Chun had come to power through a US-engineered military coup that overthrew the government of Choi Kyu-hah, who was acting President following the assassination of military dictator Park Chung-hee in 1979 by the Korean Central Intelligence Agency. Martial law, which had been imposed in parts of south Korea following Park's assassination, was expanded to the entire country on May 17, 1980, with provisions added to specifically close universities, ban political activities and limit freedom of the press.
According to various news and eyewitness reports, the Kwangju People's Uprising was triggered by student demonstrations on the morning of May 18 in defiance of the expanded martial law that sought to crush political dissent amongst the students. The police, however,were unable to check the organised resistance of the people so the Korean Army brought in a special forces unit trained for assault missions to smash the uprising. The special forces unit used tear gas, batons and rubber bullets to try to suppress the student uprising, but workers, shopkeepers and parents took to the streets to defend their children. Then the military opened fire, killing close to 200 people and wounding hundreds more.
On May 20, some 10,000 people demonstrated in Kwangju. Due to the widespread militarization of the society, most major workplaces in south Korea had caches of weapons. Protestors seized these weapons along with buses, taxis, and even armoured personnel carriers, forming armed militias to fight the army. On May 21, the special forces were forced to withdraw and the city was taken over by the citizens.
The next five days were a manifestation of the people affirming their rights and exercising control over their circumstances. In the same way in which People's Committees took over from the Japanese military occupiers of Korea in 1945 and formed the de facto government, so too the people of Kwangju organized themselves into Citizens' Committees to ensure everyone's well-being and security. Food, medical and transportation systems were organized and lively political discussions took place where the people gathered to discuss their future, their opposition to the US occupation of south Korea and the need to end the military dictatorship.
On May 24, 15,000 people attended a memorial service in memory of those who died at the beginning of the uprising at the hands of the special forces. A day later, on May 25, about 50,000 people gathered for a rally in Kwangju and adopted a resolution calling for the abolition of martial law and the release of Kim Dae-jung, who would later become the eighth President of the Republic of Korea and play a significant role in moving forward the north-south dialogue for the peaceful reunification of Korea.
Soon after this, the US government of Jimmy Carter intervened because the Kwangju Uprising was seen as a threat to US strategic interests on the Korean peninsula and Asia. The US ordered the Chun regime to move troops from the De-Militarised Zone (DMZ) separating north and south Korea to re-occupy Kwangju. On May 27, at 3:30 am, the army swarmed Kwangju in Operation Fascinating Vacations.
The people of Kwangju courageously resisted this act of state-terror. In the pitched battles against these soldiers under the command of the US military, thousands of civilians were killed and close to 15,000 people were injured. More than 1,500 people were taken into custody and many were tortured and killed. Seven people were executed and 14 received life-sentences for taking a stand against the US-sponsored military dictatorship and to demand their rights.
While the Kwangju People's Uprising was defeated by this brutality, the people's bravery left an indelible mark and delivered a decisive blow to US imperialism on the Korean peninsula. It signalled a turning point in the struggle of the Korean people's collective striving to rid their nation of the US military occupation of the south. This occupation since the end of the Second World War has brought nothing but misery to the people and has stood in the way of instituting democratic reforms in south Korea as well as the desire of the Korean people to reunify their divided country.
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