Articles posted by Radical Socialist on various issues.



The 13 November attacks in Paris: the terror of the Islamic State, the state of emergency in France, our responsibilities


Friday 27 November 2015, by François SabadoPierre Rousset

November 13 represents a change in the national and international political situation. The Islamic State (IS, Daesh) has struck again; and even more strongly. In January, the targets were the journalists of Charlie Hebdo, police and Jews. This time, it was the youth of the country that was the target. They did not kill just anyone, just anywhere: they attacked young people, young people in all their colours, whatever their origins, their religion (if they had one), their political beliefs. At least 130 dead, over 350 wounded - at the very least a thousand direct witnesses of the carnage. Many of us have relatives among the victims and, if not, we have friends who have. The shock wave, the emotion, is profound.

There is no mystery about the objective pursued by the commandos of the Islamic State: to fracture society through terror. To create a situation where war against one another is imposed; where fear draws up impassable barriers between citizens according to their origins, religions, lifestyles, identities – to dig a ditch filled with blood within the Muslim religion itself, forcing believers to choose sides. Whoever is not with us in our inhuman acts is against us, and becomes a "legitimate" target.

The attacks in Paris were among the bloodiest acts in the world perpetrated by the Islamic State and other similar movements which serve the same destructive logic. Our solidarity is international, it is directed especially towards those who, in other countries are fighting them at the risk of their lives: in Syria and Iraq, in Lebanon and in Bamako, in Pakistan and in Turkey... We must first affirm our compassion, our identification, our brotherhood with the victims and with their families.

At such a time, we of course continue the class struggle, to support the struggle of all the oppressed; but beyond that, we defend humanity against barbarism. The humanist dimension of revolutionary commitment remains our guiding light. Any progressive politics begins with indignation, with emotion. It is not of course limited to that, but that is its starting point. Let us not counter-pose thinking and weeping! Let us not waffle in jargon, let us not write with a pen of ice! Here and now, let us help the victims and their families, take part in mourning, respect minutes of silence, take part in solidarity events. We are part of this movement - and it is from here that we can explain our positions.

Whatever the role of imperialism, the Islamic State is responsible for its actions

Revolutionaries must clearly and definitely reject fundamentalist barbarism. It must be fought - by our methods, according to our orientation and not that of our leaders - but it must be actively defeated.

Under the impact of events, left organizations, associations and unions have caved in to the call for national unity; others, in a reaction against this, have so much emphasized the very real political and historical responsibilities of Western imperialism that the denunciation of the Islamic State has become inaudible. As the days have passed, the positions have often been clarified. So much the better. But we can still read plenty of articles which consider that although the attacks "had no excuse" it was necessary above all to take into account "the context" – since the analysis of that context is essentially reduced to the enumeration of imperialist misdeeds one could conclude that the fundamentalist movements are merely reacting to the actions of the great powers and we should somehow grant them extenuating circumstances. It is necessary to remove any ambiguity on this question.

Strangely enough, many writers on the left vigorously denounce the fundamentalist attacks, but refuse to condemn by name, explicitly, the movements that commit them. Stranger still, many organizations do not hesitate to do so (naming the guilty, explaining their reactionary character), but do not draw any practical consequence from that. When it comes down to tasks, the fight against terrorism and against these fundamentalisms is no longer mentioned; which, by the way, leaves our rulers with a monopoly of specific responses. We are generally in agreement to attack imperialism and its wars, destructive capitalist globalization, inequality and discrimination, the ideology of the clash of civilizations, racism - including Islamophobia - the legacies of the colonial past, security policies and states of emergency, appeals for national unity and social peace... To attack, therefore, some of the causes and the consequences of the dramatic events that we are living through.

But we must also combat the influence of Daesh (among others) in our own societies and concretely express our solidarity with popular resistance in developing countries torn by religious fanaticism - an internationalist duty if ever there was one! On this, there is a "blind spot" in much of the radical left, even the left that does not sink into a deleterious “campism”. That is why we accord importance to this question in our contribution.

The Islamic State and other similar movements do not just react; they act according to their own agenda. They are political actors pursuing specific objectives. There is little doubt that Daesh is actually responsible for the attacks in Paris. This organization has built a proto-state on a territory equivalent to that of Britain. It runs an administration; it has accumulated immense wealth (estimated at nearly $1.8 billion); it organizes the smuggling of oil and cotton. It conducts military operations on multiple fronts, it has recruited IT specialists of the highest level ... It is not a puppet! It is responsible for its acts –totally responsible for the attacks committed in so many places.

Its own responsibility does not disappear because of the responsibilities of imperialism, however enormous they may be – and have been for a long time: from the Sykes-Picot agreements of the early twentieth century to the current interventions of the great powers. It is often said that without the US intervention in Iraq in 2003 (which destabilized the region and dislocated states), Daesh would not exist. This is only true with regard to a specific sequence that led to the founding of the Islamic State as we know it. Otherwise, it is false. The emergence of jihadist forces does not flow automatically from imperialist domination; it is the combined product of many factors ranging from the bankruptcy of Arab (and European) left forces to the determination of the bourgeoisie in the region to have new counter-revolutionary forces to support their regional ambitions and combat the revolutionary upsurge in the Arab world. This is also true concerning the rise of religious fundamentalisms in other parts of the world, including in countries that have experienced nothing comparable to the 2003 war, such as India (the Hindu far right), Burma (the Buddhist far right) or the United States (the Christian far right - powerful well before 2001 and very close to Bush).

Once again on the "clash of barbarisms"

There is a Western imperialist responsibility, as there was after the 1914-18 war (with the Treaty of Versailles) in the rise of Nazism in Germany. The antifascists of the time did not fail to recall it systematically. However, once it took off, the Nazi Party was denounced and combated as such. Daesh has taken off...

We must continue to explain the context, but the Islamic State must be seen for what it is, not as a mere shadow of the West. Contemporary imperialism, neo-liberal policies, capitalist globalization, enterprises of colonization, endless wars, are tearing the social fabric of a growing number of countries, releasing all sorts of barbarism. But religious fundamentalisms too are formidable agents of the disintegration of whole societies. There is not in fact a "major barbarism" (the West) that we should be fighting today and a "secondary barbarism" (Daesh and consorts) that we should be concerned about in the indefinite future. The reverse is also true: we should not condone imperialist barbarity and that of “allied” dictatorships under the pretext of fighting fundamentalist barbarism. There is no hierarchy of horror. We must actively and without waiting defend all the victims of these twin barbarisms, which feed on each other, otherwise we will fail in our political and humanitarian duties.

Religious fundamentalisms were often initially supported by Washington in the name of the struggle against the Soviet Union (in Afghanistan, Pakistan…), before asserting their autonomy and even turning against their sponsors. These deeply reactionary movements have nothing progressive about them. There is no "reactionary anti-imperialism"! They want to impose a model of society that is both capitalist and backward-looking, totalitarian in the strong sense of the term. Of course, France is being hit because of its Middle East policy and its colonial and post-colonial history. But when Daesh slaughters Yezidis because they are Yezidis, reduces populations to slavery, sells women, destabilizes Lebanon, pushes sectarian violence to the extreme, (particularly against Shiites), what is the relationship to a supposed anti-imperialism?

All fundamentalist movements do not have the same bases, the same strategy. Are some of them, such as the Islamic State, fascists? They do not maintain the same (complex) relations with sectors of the imperialist bourgeoisies as in Europe in the 1930s, but they reproduce them with sectors of the bourgeoisie of "regional powers", such as, in the Middle East, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey ... They attract the "human dust" of decaying societies as well as elements of the "middle classes", of a "petty bourgeoisie", of educated workers. They use terror "from below" to impose their order. They dehumanize those who are different and make scapegoats of them, as yesterday the Nazis did with Jews, Gypsies or homosexuals. They eradicate all forms of democracy and of progressive people’s organizations. Religious exaltation occupies the same function as national exaltation in the interwar period and enables them, in addition, to deploy internationally.

It would be strange if the convulsions caused by capitalist globalization did not give rise to new forms of fascism, just as it would be surprising if they resembled feature for feature those of the previous century. There is a difference with European fascism: it resides in the overlapping between this totalitarian fundamentalist reaction and the crisis of disintegration of states and of the imperialist economic and military relations of domination that enmesh the region.

The fight against terrorism must be waged by the peoples of the region, and not by a coalition of Western powers. A new military intervention of the imperialist powers and Russia, supported on each of its flanks by the Gulf States and the Syrian dictatorship, can weaken Daesh militarily, but it can only provoke a backlash from all the Sunni peoples of the region.

The crisis of society in France

The attacks of November 13 were primarily committed by French or Franco-Belgians - France and Belgium being two of the countries from which most of the departures for Syria take place. There is no single profile of people who align themselves with the Islamic State. They may be from families of believers, secular Muslims or not Muslims: recent converts, non-Arab, are quite numerous. Similarly, they can come from very precarious or stable backgrounds, have a criminal past or not. In some cases, the "radicalization" of an individual is the culmination of a long process; for others it is a brutal swing. As might be expected, most of the men who have committed attacks in France come from particularly disadvantaged backgrounds, have been in prison and were gang members - but not all.

Faced with this plurality of profiles, we cannot settle for simple explanations, only sociological (casualization, racialization of social relations ...) or only historical (the postcolonial dimension).

Unlike previous waves of radicalization of youth, this one is very minor and is not inspired by the same humanist aspirations. The Islamic State presents itself in the crudest way possible: "Come with us and cut off heads." The French army practised torture on a massive scale, especially during the Battle of Algiers, but the government and the General Staff fiercely denied their crimes: there were no appeals proclaiming "Join your Grand Army, come and torture with us"! Daesh has an explicit discourse of hatred and exclusion of those who are different (as do the most extreme elements of the far right). There is no possible analogy between those who go to Syria today and the creation of the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War - or the radicalization of the 1960s.

There is nothing banal in all this, nor in the use of mass terror. To pretend that terrorism is the "natural" weapon of the oppressed in "asymmetrical" wars is to ignore the lessons of the great battles for liberation of the last century, of revolutionary wars. In the struggles for independence and against imperialism in Indochina and Latin America, terrorist attacks were rare at that time and the movements concerned generally realized rapidly that the political cost of such operations was too high - and posed many ethical problems. In Algeria, the FLN, which had ventured onto this terrain, quickly backtracked under pressure from some of its sectors or from movements in solidarity with Algerian independence.

We are suffering the ultimate consequences of the "crisis of politics", of the desocialisation that is inherent in our neoliberal societies and their growing injustice, of the defeat suffered by our generations (the radicals of the 1960s and 70s), of the inability of the left forces in our countries to offer any radical perspective and to act within the populations who lead a precarious existence. We are in fact touching on areas that most of us do not really understand: psycho-sociology, the relationship between fragile individual identities and the decay of the social fabric, adolescent searchings. The Islamic State provides an armour, with an identity and with power: the power of representation, the power of arms, power over women, the power of life and death... Much more than a supposed anti-imperialism, that is what makes it attractive.

These are questions that we need to take on board more than we have done up until now; and we can already draw some implications. The anti-racist struggle, as important as it is, is not enough. Faced with neoliberal individualism and its anonymity (Who knows their neighbours?) we need to promote and rebuild places where people can socialize, mix, where they can "live together" - and reintroduce fundamental reflection on ethics, commitment and struggle.

In such a situation, all forms of racism constitute a mortal danger, including of course state racism, but not only that. Let us fight against anything that can fuel community tensions, oppose oppressed people to one another, whether we are dealing with anti-Arab racism or Negrophobia, anti-Semitism or Islamophobia, discrimination against Roma ... - and to do that, let us create a culture of living together, of respect for the rights of everyone.

Our internationalist tasks

Recent events (November 13, the blowing up of a Russian airliner over Sinai...), have precipitated a shift in alliances that could already be remarked before, with the formation of a grand coalition: the bringing in of Russia, the abandonment by France of its pretensions to independence, concerns raised even in Saudi Arabia about the deployment of the Islamic State... In counterpart, the Assad regime has been strengthened, whereas it is at the origin of the Syrian crisis and guilty of the crimes that we know about. Will this be enough to promote a temporary agreement among regional powers belonging to the so-called “blocs”, Sunni and Shiite?

It is still early to assess the full implications of this turning point in the international situation. For the moment, let us stress the following points:

The compromises between the West and Turkey or the Assad regime will be made to the detriment of the forces on the ground that most deserve our support: the Kurds, the Yezidis, the progressive and non-confessionalist components of the resistance to the regime. We must give them our political and material solidarity and demand that they receive adequate weapons, of which the progressive components of FSA have never benefited (and yet they resist!) and of which the Kurds could be deprived, particularly on the Syrian front. We must recognize that we have never done in France, in this field, what we should have done.

The intensification of bombing by the coalition, with the exorbitant price paid by civilians, is likely to reinforce the audience of Daesh among other Islamist elements operating in Syria. The net result of this policy would then be to strengthen both the Assad regime and the fundamentalist organizations (starting with the Islamic State)! To avoid this trap, we must break with the logic of the great powers: help the popular forces in Syria and Iraq to continue their fight instead of trying to substitute for them or marginalizing them even more.

So we must fight against the war policy of our rulers, but also understand the specific nature of this conflict, very different from the wars in Indochina or Algeria: the withdrawal of French or American troops then meant the end of the main foreign interference and created the conditions for a victory. This is not the case today in the Middle East: there would remain Turkey, Iran (and the Hezbollah), Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Algeria, Egypt... In such a complex geopolitical configuration we need to listen to the movements that we support in order to take into account what they need, materially and politically. It is the peoples who should decide, not the imperialist coalitions. But, and this is a particular dimension of this war, the Kurds and the Syrian democrats have asked and continue to ask for medical and military aid, including from Western governments. They must be given it. There can be no substitute for the decision-making and self-determination of the Syrian and Kurdish democratic forces, but no hesitation in helping them and pressuring our governments to respond to the appeals they make.

On the international level, the hypocrisy of the Western forces must be denounced: on the one hand, they claim to be fighting terrorism and on the other they support regimes such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

The coalition that is being constituted is in no sense a "democratic" alliance against a totalitarian threat. In addition to our “classic” imperialisms, it includes Putin’s Russia, Saudi Arabia, whose regime is very close to the model of society advocated by Daesh, Qatar, the Iranian theocracy, Erdogan’s Turkey... Whatever the nature of the Islamic State, any analogy with an "anti-fascist democratic front" is invalid. We are neither with the coalition, nor with Daesh, nor with Assad. We are for the right to self-determination of peoples - including the Palestinian people - against all forms of barbarism.

A turning point in the national situation

As in January after the massacre of the journalists of Charlie Hebdo, the deaths of police personnel, the attack on the Hypercacher supermarket, emotion has overwhelmed the country - which of course is perfectly normal. [1] Islamophobic acts have multiplied, but they are actually committed by only a fringe of the population. Acts of solidarity and friendship have also multiplied: a big smile when you pass a North African in the subway, conspicuous (even if outdated) gallantry when you step aside to let a veiled woman pass, reoccupation of places where people have parties and mix together, rejection of amalgams [between terrorists and ordinary Muslims] ... Unfortunately, all these gestures are not counted and are not included in the statistics.

As in January, too, security policies are acclaimed and the forces of order are applauded. Now, even more than in January, the government has seized the opportunity to take Draconian measures. This was the case yesterday with the law on intelligence that gives excessive powers to the secret services. It is now the case with the establishment of the state of emergency, made harsher by Parliament, the appeal of the French government for the EU to follow on, in particular by keeping files on all airline passengers, and the announcement by Hollande of constitutional reform.

France is already equipped with two sets of emergency measures, established in particular during the Algerian War: the state of emergency (a semi-martial law that frees the police and army from judicial control and limits freedoms) and the state of siege (complete martial law, giving full powers to the army). Why is this not enough for our leaders? Because the use of the state of emergency, for example, is limited in time and requires a parliamentary vote – which as it happened was almost unanimously in favour: it was supported by the vast majority of the Socialists, the Greens and the Communist deputies. The constitutional reform would allow the government (or the President?) to take exceptional measures more freely - and ultimately make the exception the rule: intervention by the army in policing, arbitrary searches, "preventive" detentions, banning of demonstrations and strikes, press censorship, etc. The exact content of the law that Hollande will draft is not yet known, but its intentions are clear. The regime will become increasingly authoritarian, the militarization of society will surge forward.

Many people are worried about what would happen if Marine Le Pen and the National Front won the elections (a scenario that is not political fiction), but they do not ask what Hollande, Valls, Sarkozy or others will do. It is therefore very important to remember what "republican" governments have done in the past - including torture in Algeria and the adoption of an amnesty law that prohibited the indictment of the perpetrators (you can only be accused of condoning torture if, afterwards, you defend its use), the media blackout of the massacre of Algerians in Paris on October 17, 1961( a case of state terrorism if ever there was one), the putsch by the generals in Algiers, the multiple dirty tricks of the secret services, the attack against the Rainbow Warrior of Greenpeace (one person dead, state terrorism again), the assassination of Kanak leaders, etc. In fact, the whole panoply of security laws adopted in recent years and of the surveillance measures put in place can enable any government to conduct a creeping civil war whenever they want. Finally, over and above the march towards a society dominated by security measures, there is a political calculation. Hollande and Valls are relying on the state of emergency to use once again the Bonapartist arsenal and raise themselves, in a certain way, above parties and institutions.

The operation is aimed at neutralizing the abysmal record of governments since 2012 and promising better election results for the Socialist Party. Hollande and Valls are taking a very risky gamble: they can play the security card, supported by the institutions of the Fifth Republic, but in the present political situation, where bad winds are blowing on the right and the far right, those are the forces that are likely to benefit from this manoeuvre.

Resistance to the extension of the state of emergency has been very weak in the parliamentary left, but more significant among the rank and file (within the French Communist Party, for example, against the vote of its representatives) and in the social and trade union movement: Solidarity, but also the CGT.

The present political moment is fraught with very great dangers. Political democracy has been emptied of its content, elected assemblies no longer having control over the main decisions (which are taken by the European Union, the World Trade Organization, intergovernmental treaties...). Now it is civil liberties, already under attack, which may become an empty shell. The government wants to put society under house arrest. But the population is not conscious of it.

The key is to link together the terrains of resistance, to show our solidarity with the victims of terrorism, to give the peoples fighting for their freedom the material, political and military means to survive and win, to support the progressive and non-confessionalist forces fighting on the ground, at the same time against the bloody, terrorist obscurantism of Daesh and that of the Assad regime that it has so much favoured. It is to stop engaging in wars and bombings, stop supporting absolutist regimes and promoting social and political injustices in the Middle East and elsewhere.

The state of the progressive forces in France is quite disastrous, but at this key moment, points of support for resistance exist: in the shared feelings of solidarity within the population, in the reaction of young people, in the refusal by many associations and unions to accept Draconian measures, a permanent state of emergency. There is the basis to build a united front in defence of freedom at home and abroad, of living together, of solidarity.

This article was written for the site Viento Sur “El terror del Estado Islámico, el estado de excepción en Francia, nuestras responsabilidades”.


[1] We refer you to the article we wrote at the time Charlie Hebdo – And now what? The events, their impact and the issues at play..

France: Your wars, our dead

Your wars, our dead

Sunday 15 November 2015, by Julien Salingue

Julien Salingue lives in Paris and is a leading member of the New Anti-capitalist Party in France. He is a long-time Palestine solidarity activist and the author of La Palestine d’Oslo. He wrote the following comments after coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13 that left at least 129 dead and 352 injured.


Those who died last night are ours.

In a restaurant terrace, in a bar, in the street, in a concert hall.


Dead because the murderers decided to strike in the middle of Paris and shoot into a crowd with the aim of creating as many victims as possible.

11:30 p.m. Sarkozy appears on TV to declare: "We are at war."

For once, I agree with him. They are at war.

You are at war, you Sarkozys, Hollandes, Valls, Camerons, Netanyahus, Obamas. You are at war, you and your political allies, you and the your friends who own the multinationals.

And you have dragged us in as well, without even asking for our opinion.

Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Syria...The number of us who have protested hasn’t always been very large. We haven’t succeeded in convincing enough people that these military expeditions only ever bring more instability, violence and tragedy.

Over there, and right here.

Because the war did not start last night. It did not begin in January with the killings at Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cacher kosher deli.

In January, I wrote the following:

One of the causes for the shock hitting large sections of the population, including circles of left-wing activists, is the (re)discovery of this truth: Yes, France is at war. A war which does not always speak its name, a war which is not discussed in the governmental assemblies or in the media, and is generally not talked about in the public arena, a war against enemies who are not often identified, an asymmetric war—but a war all the same. The recent killings, in the most brutal way, brought this to light for those who did not know, or those who refused to see, or those who had forgotten. France is at war, war creates casualties, and these casualties do not always only fall in your enemy’s home.

With whom is France at war? According to various discourses and the media, it is at war against "international terrorism," against "jihadism," against "fundamentalist barbarism," etc. I won’t discuss these imprecise labels and the abusive generalizations they imply, nor the paradoxes that underlie them (alliances based on an unstable geometry, support for regimes that support the development of "jihadist" currents, participation in military interventions that reinforce these currents, etc.). It is enough to underline that France has, in reality, followed the lead of George W. Bush and the United States after September 11, 2001, in the rhetoric and politics of the "clash of civilizations," even if not always saying so out loud.

France has been at war for almost 14 years without saying so. [1]

I find no reason to change a single line of this extract. In doing so, I mean no disrespect to the victims or their relatives.

All the emotion, the indignation, the pain, these are all self-evidently legitimate. And the actions of the murderers who last night wrecked hundreds of lives, thousands of lives, are inexcusable.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

MIDNIGHT. ISIS claims responsibility. Apparently, they are at war as well.

According to the Agence France-Presse, citing a witness in the Bataclan theater, one of the killers shouted, "It is Hollande’s fault, it is your president’s fault, he shouldn’t have intervened in Syria."

One can always close one’s eyes and shut one’s ears. One can become lost in the smoke of the depoliticizing rhetoric of "blind terrorism" as an inexplicable force.

But the killers in Paris are not poor "fools" who bear no responsibility for their actions, nor are they manipulated by some I-don’t-know-which-secret-service. We’ll know more in the hours and days to come, but there is no doubt the killers will have a profile and a message roughly similar to that of Said and Cherif Kouachi and Amedy Coulibaly, who carried out the January attacks, about which I wrote the following last January:

The killers themselves have a discourse (see their interviews and videos, in which they speak about Syria and Iraq, the offenses suffered by Muslims at the hands of France and in the world in general, etc.); they have their own theory (especially note the article published by Mediapart); they have their own organizational reference points (Islamic State, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula)...

They believe, rationally, that they are at war with a certain France, and that they consider, rationally, themselves to be engaged in a legitimate defense. See this statement that Coulibaly gave in a posthumous video:

You attack the Caliphate, you attack the Islamic State, so we attack you. You can’t attack and expect nothing in return.

Yes, ISIS is engaged in politics. They are killers, but they are political.

And last night they struck powerfully, very powerfully.

Blindly? Yes and no.

Yes, because they targeted people who are not directly involved in this war, people whose only crime was to be in the wrong spot at the wrong time, people who might have been elsewhere and so would still be among us today.

No, because in striking in such a way, they are sending a message: "Your country is at war with us, and as long as this war continues, none among you will be safe."

This is politics. It is detestable, but it is political.

We live in a world at war. Russia, France and the United States are bombing Syria. Saudi Arabia is bombing Yemen. The French "operations" continue in Mali. Obama just announced that U.S. troops will not be leaving Afghanistan.

According to the UN High Commission on Refugees, there have never been more refugees and internally displaced persons than there are today and there is no reason to believe things will improve any time soon.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

THE TOTAL, as of this moment, is 128 dead. 128 is too many.

128 dead on November 13, 2015.

That’s about the average number of people killed everyday in Syria since March 2011.

Yes, nearly the daily average: 250,000 dead since March 2011, about 4,500 deaths per month, nearly 150 dead every day.

This might explain some things to a compatriot who says he does not understand why Syrians have been fleeing to Europe for more than four and a half years. There is a November 13 every day in Syria. And it is Assad, your new ally, who bears primary responsibility for this, having brutally suppressed a peaceful uprising.

We live in a world at war. And this allows some people to conduct business.

Arms sales: 2015, a record year for France

France congratulates itself on selling war machines to Egypt. France congratulates itself on selling war machines to Saudi Arabia. France congratulates itself on selling war machines to the United Arab Emirates.

Yet France is surprised, indignant, protesting against becoming a target itself.

Hypocrisy. Cowardice. Lies.

They have released the hounds, foaming at the mouth.

Laurent Wauquiez, who served as Sarkozy’s Minister of Higher Education, tweeted "I demand 4,000 people suspected of terrorism be placed in internment centers #AttaquesParis"

Lionnel Luca, conservative member of the National Assembly, tweeted "Tonight Paris is Beirut. The logic of a count on the path to Lebanonization. We will pay dearly for our cowardice faced with communitarianism."

Philippe de Villiers, conservative French member of European Parliament, tweeted "Terrible drama in Paris, this is where laxity and the mosque-ification of France has led."

We must remember these statements.

Returning to what I wrote in January:

Any repressive, stigmatizing or blind response to the economic, political and social realities of France in 2015 is not only doomed to failure but, more importantly, will be merely another step toward new killings tomorrow.

So here we are. Tomorrow turned out to be last night.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

1 A.M. Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, the first secretary of Hollande’s Socialist Party, announces that "France has just suffered an act of war."

They keep saying, keep repeating, that France is at war. But when they say this, they mean to emphasize that "we are at war." A "we" in which they want to implicate us.

No. Fourteen years of your war have only brought more violence, tragedy and new wars to the four corners of the globe.

If Iraq had not been razed, ISIS would not exist.

The great 19th century French poet Paul Valéry once wrote, "War: a massacre of people who don’t know each other for the profit of people who know each other but don’t massacre each other."

He was right.

It’s always the same people who burn.

And if we want it to stop, then once the shock wears off, we must do everything to stop this headlong rush towards generalized barbarism.

It’s not too late. There is still time to do something different. Radically different.

We can refuse their injunction: "With us or with the terrorists."

We can refuse the calls for unity with the torturers and warmongers who are day by day building a more barbaric world.

We can refuse their world based on exploitation, robbery, violence, injustice, inequality and misery; instead, we will come together with those with whom we should unite.

Fight for another world, a world that is not only possible, but more necessary than ever.

Keep our heads and don’t give in to emotional pressure and shock.

You may accuse me of being a dreamer. But my dreams never killed anyone in contrast to your "pragmatism."

More than ever, we must "resist the irresistible." That’s the only way to move ahead.

So...No, Cambadélis. No, Sarkozy. No, Hollande. "We" are not at war.

It is not my war, it is not our war. It is your war.

And once more, they are our dead. Just like Madrid in 2004, London in 2005, Egypt two weeks ago, Beirut this week.

And everywhere else you sow your terror.

Your wars, our dead.

Your war, no more.

First published at Resisteralairdutemps.blogspot.fr. Translation by Todd Chretien for socialistworker.org.


[1] See socialistworker.org What is responsible for Paris?.

Radical Socialist on the Bihar Elections

The Bihar elections have shown that the BJP and the forces supporting them are not yet in a position to dictate terms absolutely. And the results show firmly a defeat for Narendra Modi. Though it was a state assembly election, the BJP fought it clearly on a Modi-Shah plank. Their campaign strategy was based on Modi speaking at a large number of meetings, while it was Amit Shah, the Party President, who dictated strategy. And the electoral strategy was clear. As the elections proceeded, it was an ever more strident Hindutva campaign, a degree of communal poison that even by BJP standard has not been matched perhaps since the 2002 Gujarat carnage. To this was added a simple calculation, that by having parties claiming to represent Mahadalits and other downtrodden the caste equations would also be changed in a big way.

The election results were also a blow to the controlled “free” media, which consistently presented the BJP alliance as ahead, and even through their exit polls tried to predict at most a neck and neck race. Now, after the elections, various spurious explanations are being put forward. The most hilarious was of course the live jokers’ pack on NDTV. For an hour, supposed experts seriously explained how the people of Bihar had voted and how their upward aspirations for development had cost Nitish Kumar, and the rest.

The simplest explanations have come in two forms. Firstly, that the caste vote addition worked in favour of the JD(U), RJD and Congress bloc; and the other is, that the people voted against BJP but not for the JD(U) alliance. Some features cannot be explained by either of these explanations.

Votes for the BJP have been routinely described, not only by explicitly BJP forces but by economic liberals from upper caste orientation, as votes for development; while it is only the RJD and JD(U) votes that were called caste votes. As the CNN-IBN discussion showed, upper castes voted disproportionately for the BJP and no one called that a caste vote. In other words, Hindutva politics in the last one and a half year has shown aggressively that not only is it anti Muslim but it is brahminical. And if not just the OBCs but a good part of the dalits decided that under the circumstances voting for the JD(U) alliance was the best survival strategy for them, that also tells a lot about the BJP.

The voter choice shows that under the circumstances, the people of Bihar have decided that all mainstream parties are more or less corrupt, so corruption is not the core issue, while communalism and fascism is. However, we do not see the Bihar election results as the victory of the issues facing the Indian people. While commentators are saying that this is the result of decades of anti-upper caste struggles, thus does not mean that Dalits are living in an oppression-free, extremely tolerant atmosphere. And we also need to remember that with BJP support, Nitish Kumar has in the past ruled Bihar with an iron hand. Expression of democratic rights, struggles for peoples’ livelihood, are not particularly backed by him and his government. That he has found a new friend in West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also says much about his commitment to democracy and people’s livelihood issues.

What has been happening is that the political failure of the left to combine anti-fascist, anti-communal struggles, with struggles against capitalist exploitation, caste oppression, gender oppression, has meant, that pre-electoral “polarisations” are manufactured polarisations within the bourgeois forces. We do not assume that the existence and the non-existence of democratic rights are one and the same for us.. So we do not say that the victory of the BJP would have made no difference. But we do say that this polarisation is not a polarisation where the fighting masses have been united at one pole. The failure of radical forces to keep up sustained mass work and gradually extend their voice among the toiling masses means that anti-BJP fight does not get converted to sustained radical political consciousness and organisation.

The united left campaign resulted in the CPI(ML) winning three seats. Overall, the votes received by the left went up a little. The CPI did not win any seats. This may indicate that due to years of collaboration with bourgeois parties, masses of workers, dalits, Muslims might have taken their protestation of class politics sceptically. The lesson is, the left must think long-term, must fight for issues of the working class and the other exploited and oppressed, instead of short term electoral benefits. The radicalisation of the masses, and an integration of the left in their struggles, are the preconditions for a real radical turn, not anyhow getting a few, or even a number of parliamentary or assembly seats.

However, the Bihar elections can also prod the left in wrong directions. There already exists a right-wing within the CPI(M), calling for an open alliance or adjustment with the Congress. Before the elections in West Bengal coming up in 2016, that trend may get strengthened. Even if that does not happen, any question of left unity in West Bengal is far off. The far left cannot expect, and would be politically naive to expect, the CPI(M) to even use revolutionary rhetoric, much less to act in any such way. The CPI(M) has not even explicitly apologised for the violence it unleashed in Singur and Nandigram, and has not repudiated its neoliberal economic line. Whether in jute mills, or tea gardens, or in campuses, being out of power has not led to serious militancy by mass fronts of the CPI(M). On the contrary, sectarianism towards all but one or two selected radical left organisations continues unabated.

The task of the far left therefore is to consolidate its own forces, to campaign against capitalist globalisation and fascism, and to deepen its work within the working class. Only when the far left is a significant force can a united working class front be a realistic issue at the all India level.



Radical Socialist, 14 November 2015 

Statement by NPA, France

The cruelty of imperialist wars results in the cruelty of terrorism


Saturday 14 November 2015, by NPA


The NPA issued this statement on the 14 November 2015, after the attacks in Paris of the evening of 13 November.

The horrible attacks which took place in Paris on Friday evening, killing 120 people, causing dozens of casualties, this blind violence, provokes revolt and indignation. The NPA shares these feelings and expresses its solidarity with the victims, with their close relations. This tragedy is even worse in that it hit innocent victims, the murderous attacks were aimed at the population.

This contemptible cruelty in central Paris responds to the equally blind and even more fatal violence of the bombings by French planes in Syria following the decisions of François Hollande and his government.

These strikes are supposed to fight the Islamic State, the terrorist Jihadists, in fact, with the Russian intervention and bombings, they protect the regime responsible of the martyrdom of the Syrian people, the dictator Assad .

And in fact there too the civil populations are the first victims condemned to live under terror or to flee at the risk of their lives.

Imperialist cruelty and Islamist cruelty feed each other. And do so to control oil supplies.

In a pitiful intervention, Holland broke down and stammered some words on the Republic. He who plays the war leader and carries an enormous responsibility in this new tragedy asks for “confidence”. He decreed a state of emergency throughout France, considering that the answer was to trample on fundamental freedoms. He was immediately supported by Sarkozy. The political authorities can thus from now on ban public meetings and control the press.

Once again, main people responsible for this surge of barbarian violence are calling for national union. They are trying to turn the dramatic situation to their advantage to choke off indignation and revolt. They have a ready-made scapegoat, Muslims. We reject any national union with those responsible for wars, the bourgeoisie, Hollande, Sarkozy and Le Pen. We denounce the racism that the State vehicles in the name of alleged “values of the republic” at the time when, in the guise of fight against terrorism, in fact democratic rights are threatened. We ask for the lifting of the state of emergency.

The only response to wars and terrorism is the unity of the workers and people, over and above their origins, their skin colour, their religions, across the borders, to fight together against those who want to silence them, to dominate them, to do away with this capitalist system which generates cruelty.

To put an end to terrorism, it is necessary to put an end to the imperialist wars that aim to perpetuate the plundering of the wealth of the peoples dominated by the multinationals, to force the withdrawal of the French troops from all countries where they are present, in particular in Syria, in Iraq, in Africa.


November 14th, 2015

Paris COP21: They prepare us "an agreement to burn the planet"

Paris COP21: They prepare us "an agreement to burn the planet""The COP will strengthen climate crime processes"

Interview. Bolivian activist Pablo Solon participated alongside Evo Morales to the latter's accession to the presidency. He was a member of the Bolivian government and Bolivian ambassador to the United Nations. Executive Director 2012-2015 Focus on the global south, think tank based in Bangkok, it is always invested in the struggles for the rights of indigenous peoples in the declaration of the International Mother Earth, and participated in the Conference on Climate Change in Cochabamba in 2010 to COP15 in Copenhagen, COP16 in Cancun and COP17 in Durban.

Pablo Solon Solon now heads the foundation he created in tribute to his father, the muralist Walter Solon, including foundation involved in climate, cultural and social struggles in Bolivia.

As part of a tour of meetings in Europe around the climate issue, intervened in Paris Tuesday, October 27 and agreed to answer our questions.

Why did you distance yourself Evo Morales that you were a very close?

Pablo Solon - Our political break is consecutive to the decisions of his government that I reject. First the will to build a road through the Tipnis National Park, one of 22 parks in Bolivia. This would have led not only to destroy the forest road, altering its ecosystem and automatically recreating cultures and habitat in preserved areas, but, again, no information or consultation of indigenous peoples concerned had been made. It was a regal decision in the context of a strategy under the influence of private economic groups.

Then I am committed against the large dam projects, expensive and destructive of nature.Bolivia is a country with a sunshine in the highlands: they could develop solar energy, replacing both dams and deforestation.

Today I fight for the goal of zero deforestation by 2020, for the development of a solar energy produced by the consumers themselves - not for panels fields in the hands of private - and for social participation all communities, including indigenous peoples.

Deforestation is a major problem in Latin America?

Yes, not only deforestation destroyed primary forest (160 000 ha per year in Bolivia), robs indigenous peoples, mainly to plant corn for export, but, again, the burning and burial are responsible for 24% CO emissions 2.

Deforestation is one of my disagreement with the current government that develops a development strategy based on "growth" does not respect the rights of peoples and under influence of multinationals.

How do you analyzes the sequence of successive COP and their inability to act really?

To summarize the process, we can say that there was in 1992 the first UN climate convention, UNFCCC, the first stage of an international will to understand and fight against climate deterioration. Then there were two agreements: Kyoto, covering the period 2000-2012 and Cancun, covering the period 2013-2020. And there will be Paris for the period 2021-2030 ...

Each of these agreements is a weaker version of the above. Kyoto committed the States that had signed (which did not include in particular the United States and Canada).Cancun was a failure because to limit temperature growth below 2 ° C, the agreement provided to limit the emissions of CO 2 to reach 44 gigatonnes and 35 GT in 2030. In reality the emissions reached 53 GT 2013, and will reach 56 in 2020 and 60 GT GT in 2030! There must have been in 2014 a "picking  year", when the trend reversed, but in reality, the growth in emissions continues.

Paris is even worse: the announced agreement is even lower, it will not impose any commitment to the signatories and the United States have already indicated that they will not propose the ratification of the convention. The reason for the predicted failure is simple: at first, the negotiators came from environmental movements, but now they come from the business, multinationals. It is an agreement for burning the planet!

The draft agreement as it was announced does not refer to the limitation of fossil fuels.Yet it is the latter that in Bolivia are responsible for 60% of CO emissions 2, and 24% of the CO 2 is due to deforestation that also produces a lot of methane.

This agreement actually opens the door to say to all the carbon capture experiences and geoengineering. It is an agreement that is good from the point of view of companies.

What he expected about the Southern States and funding?

Previous agreements had planned to release $ 100 billion by 2020 to support Southern countries and allow them to avoid the pathways in the North. But since Copenhagen in 2009, the richest countries have not paid the money and try to mobilize private funding.

With a few exceptions like the endangered island states, states South themselves do not make efforts. They consider that they are not responsible for the situation, awaiting potential funding to act, and are in the very process of "growth" imposed by big business which they have linked their destiny.

The COP will strengthen climate crime process, legalize crime against the climate, against climate migrants against indigenous peoples in rural and island countries.

How do we react?

During the COP, there will be large gatherings, but it is feared that they are diverted and recovered by the French Government and the participating States to the COP in their favor.

An international tribunal of rights of nature will meet Friday, December 4 to judge the crime against nature and biodiversity  [1]. And after December 12 we will develop local strategies to tackle climate crime.

We will have to lead by example, developing local and concrete actions, such as those that have already proven themselves in Bolivia when people managed to oust the Suez group in water management by blocking the streets. Everyone must take his share.

Interview by the National Commission NPA ecology


* "An agreement to burn the planet." Published in the L'Hebdo Anticapitaliste - 310 (05.11.2015).https://npa2009.org/


[1] From 9 pm at the House of steelworkers, 94 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, Paris 11 th.

The Denial of Minimum Wage should be a Cognizable Offence


11 October by Sushovan Dhar

phgaillard2001 /Flickr cc

Fulltime trade unionist of the Progressive Plantation Workers’ Union and Executive Council Member of one of India’s youngest national trade union federations, the New Trade Union Initiative, Sushovan Dhar spoke to Ceylon Today about trade unions and workers rights.

By Ruwan Laknath Jayakody and Umesh Moramudali

? : What are the challenges facing trade unions?
A: In India, at this point of time, the biggest challenge is that there has been a wholesale casualization and informalization of labour. This is there if one looks at the big, organized sectors. If one takes the estimated size of the entire workforce, over 93.5 per cent are in the informal sector. This is huge. Out of the remaining 6.5 per cent in the formal sector, around 60 per cent are contract workers or casual workers. Casual workers means that one does the same work but is employed at the wage of 25 per cent or 30 per cent of a regular worker for doing the same thing but with no job security and much less benefits and are contractual up to three months, six months or one year. Only 1per cent of the labour force has a certain degree of job security, employment guarantees and employee benefits which are due to any worker. In the contract labour system, how one regularizes employment is a big challenge.

Traditionally, the unions have never paid much emphasis on the huge bulk of and number of informal sector workers. This is a big workforce. Therefore, the challenge is that one has to have minimum wages, social security measures and provident funds and health benefits including hospitalization covered.
The third challenge is that in the specific case of the plantation sector where the workers are indentured to the formal sector, the workers are treated worse than the informal sector workers. They do not get minimum wages and there is absolutely no social security coverage which the employers must provide in spite of there being certain rules in the plantation labour acts. In many sectors, workers are notionally in the formal sector but are treated worse than the informal sector.
There is also of course a severe, serial attack on the right to association and the right to unionization. A number of reforms must take place. We should have a successful general strike on a national scale all over the island. The demands of the strikers should be that the type of reforms the government is trying to do will actually in reality attempt to get the workers out of any formal, legal coverage, legal security or legal guarantee. The government is trying to play around with the acts governing factories and contract labour. After a brief phase of growth, growth has now hit a stumbling block, and is though not in a crisis, getting hit. When growth is getting hit, the employers will always try to keep their profits intact by putting every cost including social costs on the workers. These are the largest challenges to the trade union movement in the region at this point in and of time.

? : What has happened to trade unions in Sri Lanka?
A: The trade union movement of Sri Lanka has a long tradition. There were very powerful trade unions in the country led by people like Philip Gunawardena and Bala Tampoe. What has happened is that a number of factors taken together, the defeat of the left and the strikes of the 1980s, and following the war, the cultivated growth of a kind of chauvinism on ethnic lines, have weakened the working class very much. In fact, the workers were taught to think of themselves as either being Tamils or the Sinhalese instead of all being workers working for workers demands. This is the impact we see in the degrading living conditions here. In fact in a certain point of time in the 1970s, Sri Lanka was much ahead of the other South Asian countries in terms of the human development index with a number of aspects taken together including health, education and the female’s status in the society. Yet, after this, wholly damaging conditions have wreaked havoc.

? : What do you think of legislating the minimum wage for both the public and private sectors?
A: Legislation of course is the way out. In one of the judgments given in 1991/1992, Workmen Employed under IT Shramik Sena vs the Management of Raptakos Brett and Company Limited, the Supreme Court of India said the minimum wage is the wage or earnings needed for subsistence beneath which the humanity cannot be allowed to sink as human beings would not be able to survive. For example, minimum wages should be included in the Constitution as it is a question of human rights. Below the minimum wages, humans cannot survive. The minimum wage is the non-negotiable minimum. One cannot lead a decent human life beneath that. One asks for the minimum wage when in fact the Indian Supreme Court in one of its judgments said whoever that is not paying a minimum wage is not employing workers but bonded labourers. Thus, any violation of the minimum wage must be seen in this light.
We have steps – minimum wages, living wages and fair wages. The goal is to go towards fair wages. These are basic, minimum living conditions, so there has to be legislation and enforceability as well. The employers go to courts and obtain an injunction, or either there is such an inefficient system of monitoring, complaint mechanisms and redressing and there are no minimum wage inspectors and these are not followed up.
The enforceability of minimum wage is a major issue. The denial of minimum wage should be a cognizable offence. Otherwise, one cannot deal with this. The government of Sri Lanka must be progressive about minimum wages and must make it a law and make it compulsory.

A minimum wage of Sri Lankan Rs 10,000 would barely cover the cost of living. The money they are offering is a pittance. If one looks at the current basic minimum living conditions in Colombo for a family of four, the minimum wage earner of a family of four should be taking in at least Sri Lankan Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000. It is otherwise a very serious question of how it is very difficult for workers families to manage with Rs 10,000, in the absence of any social security benefits. Minimum wage is of course necessary, and must be harmonized with the number of rules and international norms on how to calculate the minimum wage. Any of the calculations of minimum wage do not come to Rs 10,000, as this amount is much less than the minimum wage.
Minimum wage demands can be met through minimum wage components. Minimum wage is not the wage one has to pay in cash. The state should rather make a component of a non-cash component in the sense that one has a good quality, free public education system, free public health system and free food, including thereby the right to food and other different programmes and the provision of free shelter, build houses for the workers, do social housing as practised in Europe and many other parts of the world and subsidize on transport. All these things count. These components will actually take out a lot of the cash components. This will also ensure that the minimum wage that one is giving will be properly utilized by the workers and that workers will not spend it on drinks or any other purpose other than looking after the upkeep of the whole family in a proper, decent fashion.

? : What are the issues with the plantations in the estate sector?
A: The plantation labour acts and corresponding laws are quite outdated, the enforceability is a problem and the mechanisms are problematic. For example, in the Plantations Labour Act of 1951 of India which provides for the housing, school buses, playgrounds and the social functions and the water connections, the fine and penalty for non-compliance is Indian Rs 400 (just over Sri Lankan Rs 800) while for a small tinkering the estate owners and the employers can actually pay Indian Rs 40,000. In a number of cases the fine or penalty imposed on owners for non-compliance is much less than the penalty on trade union workers. A similar condition prevails in Sri Lanka as well and owners take advantage of this. We need a strong law and strong mechanism. We need to fundamentally change labour relationships and plantations. The modern world cannot survive with this type of labour practice.

? : What should be done with regard to the workers and the labourers?
A : Number one is that there must be policies. Crises may come and go, but there has to be policies to create funds and to have funds for the workers so that their upkeep and benefits are not hampered. Human lives have to roll on in spite of good or bad markets. This cannot be reduced to the level of penury.
Sri Lanka has a big export market that has not gone through a collapse of demand. There may be temporary problems but in tea, the exports are growing.
Guaranteed price is called the minimum support price in India. In tea too one can think of the production and the ways and means to when in the lean season one can have the banks help out the owners at such a point of time if the production is affected.
The level of workers’ well-being must be taken care of. One can create various trusts and insurances to take care of these things. These things are possible.

? : What should the state and the government do?
A : Firstly, different workers’ rights have to be guaranteed.
They can have different acts. Secondly, it is the enforceability of the rights. If one has a right, the question is how one enforces it. The employers who do not comply go scot-free. This has to end. This has to be changed.
Especially without ensuring this our dreams of looking towards a decent society will remain an illusion. Without ensuring and instituting basic workers rights and their enforceability, our dreams of seeing a just society would be an illusion.

Source : Ceylontoday

Police Violence on Workers Rally in Indonesia

Indonesia – LBH Jakarta: Activists Assaulted by Police at Labor Rally

Saturday 31 October 2015by Jakarta Globe

Jakarta. The Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta) has criticized the police for allegedly beating up two of its activists during a labor rally at the State Palace on Friday.

The two, Tigor Gempita Hutapea and Obed Sakti Luitnan, were reportedly accompanying the protesters when police started to violently disperse the crowd after the time allotted for the rally had run out.

Organizers had been given permission to protest at the State Palace in Central Jakarta until 6 p.m., but apparently laborers were still present by 8 p.m., prompting the police action.

According to LBH Jakarta, Tigor and Obed then grabbed their cellphones to snap pictures and when some police officers noticed that, they immediately hit both activists and dragged them the ground and into a police vehicle, where the alleged assault continued.

The two activists suffered injuries to the head, face and stomach.

Police also arrested 23 laborers at the rally, according to LBH Jakarta, who reportedly were beaten as well.

"Police [officers] have to respect human rights and are not allowed to use violence [in circumstances like Friday’s rally],” Alghiffari Aqsa, LBH Jakarta’s director, said on Friday. “What they [the police] have done is completely against the law and legal steps must follow,” he added.

Tigor and Obed on Saturday were still being detained by the Jakarta Police for questioning, along with the 23 protesters.

LBH Jakarta has urged the Jakarta Police chief, Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian, to release all 25 and investigate the officers involved in disbanding the rally at the State Palace.

But the police chief said the laborers were to blame for the violence.

“It is such a shame that the protest had to end up that way,“Tito said.”Had the protesters respected the law, this would not have happened. They should have obeyed [the law].”

Nearly 1,500 police officers were deployed for Friday’s rally, which attracted some 10,000 protesters calling for a higher minimum wage.