International Women’s Day – “Women’s Rights, Human Rights”

Editorial for International Women’s Day from USA magazine Against the Current, journal of Solidarity US, “a socialist, feminist, anti-racist organization”


Women’s Rights, Human Rights

Afghanistan, Iran, Poland, El Salvador and Nicaragua. Texas, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi…

These are among the countries and states where ruling authorities take it upon themselves — in a variety of ways along a broad repressive spectrum — to curtail, suppress or outright nullify women’s rights if not their basic personhood. The ways and means of these attacks of course vary widely.

They range from legal and official discrimination, to gendered violence perpetrated with impunity, to rape as a weapon as in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the Ethiopian state’s war in Tigray, and more. What’s common to each and every case is that degrading women’s rights — along with those of queer and non-binary people — is central to reactionary forces’ assaults on all human rights.

As for the United States itself, where the battles over abortion and gender are inextricably part of the swirling unresolved political crisis and potential Constitutional meltdown, we’ll also look briefly here at some too little-covered facts of how U.S. policies impact the rights and lives of women outside this country’s borders.

In Iran, the regime is in open warfare against the pop­ulation. The response to the murder of Mahsa (Jina) Amini has become an uprising against the entire apparatus of the “Islamic Republic.” Dictating what women choose to wear is basic to the drive for complete social control of what everyone, especially youth, are allowed to do or dream.

“Women. Life. Freedom!” is a women-led revolution that now engages the struggles of Iran’s youth, Kurdish people and strategic sectors of the working class.

Will it triumph? Right now there’s no way to know. What we can say, even though the murderous brutality of the Iranian theocracy and Revolutionary Guards knows no limits, is that Iran will not return to society’s former half-voluntary compliance with the dictatorship.

In Afghanistan, the most vicious elements of the Taliban — who exercise decisive veto power over the regime —seek to nullify the very personhood of women. Deprived of access to university and even high school education, barred from employment in public service or by international aid organizations, they are left dependent or destitute. Among the results this winter are threatened deaths by starvation or freezing of hundreds of thousands of Afghans whom assistance can no longer reach.

This heartbreak and disaster are fairly well-covered in mainstream media. What’s too easily forgotten, so all the more important to recall here, is that “liberation” of Afghan women served as a pretext for the U.S. and allied invasion following the 9/11 2001 attacks — after imperialist interventions and rivalries from the 1980s on had already brought Afghanistan to the edge of catastrophe.

The delusion of liberating women — or anyone else — in Afghanistan from above and from outside played no small part in the development of the present tragedy.

In Ukraine, not only are rape as well as mass murders of civilians committed by Russian invading forces. Vladimir Putin himself calls Moscow’s war a defence of “traditional values” against such perversions as queer rights and the mythical “dozens of genders” supposedly recognised in the West. Putin’s ultra-reactionary ravings are the natural accom­paniment to the denial of Ukraine’s right to exist, with the genocidal implications of that doctrine. The invaders’ rape and massacre perpetrated against the people of Ukraine feed back into the savage escalation of the already intense repression of LGBT people within Russia.

Closer to Home

If the examples of Iran, Afghanistan and Russian atrocities in Ukraine are the most immediately visible cases of the extinction of women’s rights and the consequences, there are plenty of instances closer to our own situation. The point is not to identify the “worst” case — as such comparisons are essentially meaningless — but to examine some common features.

Take Poland, in the heart of Europe: Extreme restrictions on abortion access have been imposed by the right wing “Law and Justice” party in alliance with the Catholic church. These measures are accompanied — not coincidentally — by severe weakening of the power of the judiciary to limit anti-democratic legislative extremism. That’s also occurred in Hungary’s self-declared “illiberal democracy” and is now well underway in the Israeli state.

Two-thirds of Polish citizens support abortion rights – very similar to the percentage in the United States. Women-led protests have taken to the streets in large numbers in Warsaw and other cities and towns, but so far failed to overturn the government’s measures.

The full toll in women’s deaths and permanent injuries remains unknown. Since 2021 at least two women in publicised cases, Anieszka T. and Izabela Sajbor, died after abortion care was denied even though the foetuses were either unviable or already dead.

In Ireland, popular revulsion over the 2012 death of Savita Halappanavar, who was denied a medically essential abortion until it was too late, led to striking the anti-abortion provision from the country’s Constitution.

In Israel, tens of thousands are taking to the streets weekly against the ultra-racist governing coalition’s move to strip the powers of the Supreme Court. Women’s and queer rights are relatively well-entrenched in Israel — for Jewish citizens — and less likely to be immediately on the chopping block.

The first casualties in this case are the already-vanishing shreds of court protection for Palestinians in the occupied territories, and the (limited) civil rights of Arab citizens including their parties’ ability to run in Israeli elections (which the Supreme Court has reinstated by overruling bans imposed by parliamentary decrees). There are elements in the “religious Zionism” bloc, however, for whom gender and especially queer rights are blasphemy and ultimate targets for extinction under the “Jewish state.”

Central America is a particularly gruesome arena in the women’s health battleground. The new government of president Xiaomara Castro in Honduras promised to loosen the country’s deadly abortion ban, but hasn’t yet succeeded. The situations in Nicaragua and El Salvador are grim: When left wing governments were in power (the Sandinistas in 1980s Nicaragua, the FMLN party elected in El Salvador in the ’90s after the civil war), they failed to take anti-abortion laws off the books.

Nicaragua today is ruled by the right wing presidentialist dictatorship of Daniel Ortega (see “Repression Continues to Grow in Nicaragua” by William I. Robinson, ATC 222) and El Salvador by the reactionary government of Nayib Bukele. Women in El Salvador who suffer miscarriages are subject to prosecution and up to 30-year prison terms, provoking widespread outrage. Not coincidentally, under this repressive regime, water protectors are also being prosecuted (see page 2 of this issue).

The Not-“100% American” Scene

In our own partially democratic country called the United States of America, a woman’s right to control her own body is constrained legally by the state she lives in, practically by her county of residence — where abortion care may be unavailable even if legal — and financially by her capacity to travel if she needs to gain access beyond state lines.

The long, instructive and often heroic struggle for abortion rights and expanded other essential rights and services — against racist sterilization abuse, for adequate paid parental leave and free quality childcare, for birth control and sex education — is discussed by Dianne Feeley in this issue of Against the Current. Much of that feminist liberation agenda remains unfulfilled, of course, especially in the era of neoliberal “free market” dogma, falling real wages and stagnant living standards, and capital’s assault on labour rights and unions.

Following the Supreme Court Dobbs ruling, the right wing aims to hurl women back to the age when unwanted pregnancy, or a pregnancy with complications, meant terror. Where they control state governments, attempts to criminalise medical (pharmaceutical) abortion, out-of-state travel for abortion access, even contraception, are on their agenda — along with ever more vicious assaults on trans youth, banning books and education on Black history and U.S. racism, and other malicious mischief.

What often gets less attention than it deserves is the international impact of the United States’ reproductive rights battleground. “A half-century-old U.S. law is stripping women of rights they are legally entitled to in their home countries,” writes Anu Kumar (“Why is America Preventing Legal Abortions in Ethiopia?” The New York Times, 10/23/22)

The reason is a particularly vicious 1973 post-Roe backlash legislation known as the (Senator Jesse) Helms Amendment, appropriately carrying the name of its sponsor, one of the most racist as well as misogynist politicians in our recent history. It prohibits U.S. foreign aid funding for “abortions as a method of family planning.”

Under a restrictive interpretation that goes beyond even the language of the amendment, Kumar explains, the law “instead incorrectly has been applied as an outright ban on all abortions.” It has also been interpreted to mean that clinics receiving U.S. funding cannot even mention abortion. And even though only U.S. funding is directly affected, in many poor and rural regions “the complication of securing other funding that could be used for abortions is too difficult, which means the entire health facility simply does not offer abortions at all.”

The heavy hand of these restrictions is felt all the more strongly because U.S. funding of family planning overseas amounts to 40-50% of the global total. In Ethiopia, Anu Kumar reports, her organization IPAS (Partners for Reproductive Justice) states that “the United States funded about 30 percent of total family planning foreign aid in Ethiopia from 2018 to 2020, but that funding is spread among more than 45 percent of health facilities in the country.”

Such is the case for example at the Shekebedo Health Centre in southwestern Ethiopia, a country where abortion is legal. The Centre’s partial funding by the U.S. Agency for International Development “has stopped the clinic from offering abortions to Ethiopian women.”

The global harm is enormous, says Kumar: “In countries that accept U.S. family planning aid and where abortion is legal under some circumstances, more than 19 million unsafe abortions occur annually — more than half of the global total” (emphasis added) — resulting in complications including deadly ones like sepsis that claim some 16,000 women’s and girls’ lives annually.

The alternation of U.S. presidential admin­istrations, with Republicans applying more restrictive and Democrats more liberal directives, makes it even more difficult to implement coherent policies.

This is blood on the hands of the U.S. Congress, the grotesquely mislabelled “pro-life” movement, and the executive branch, including president Biden, who at least “could issue federal guidelines to clarify that Helms permits U.S. funds for abortion care in cases of rape, incest and life endangerment” and “ensure that clinics in countries where abortion is legal understand that U.S. rules allow them to offer abortion information and counselling.”

To see what difference a sane and decent policy could produce, consider the case of Benin, an African nation where the number of botched abortions declined after access to abortions was broadened (Elian Peltier, The New York Times, 11/13/22).

While most countries in Africa restrict or ban abortion — South Africa, Mozambique, Cape Verde and Tunisia being among the exceptions — the tide there is slowly turning toward abortion rights, despite fears that the overturn of Roe in the United States may hold it back.

It’s important to say here that the very real authoritarian menace globally and in the United States, with all the murderous attacks on women’s lives, LGBTQ people and (especially in dozens of U.S. state legislatures) transgender young people, is only one side of the picture. Victories are being won, whether large (as in Ireland, Mexico, etc.) or more modest as in U.S. state ballot referenda.

Most important of all is that everywhere, the fight is on — women along with queer and trans people will not quietly accept oppressors’ and cynical politicians’ denial of their humanity, dignity, agency and rights. The movements are decisive: When the targets of oppression stand up for themselves, they attract allies and solidarity, and their struggles cannot be pushed back into isolation, silence and shame — as so many generations of women have suffered undergoing forced birth or deadly illegal abortions.

The lesson everywhere is that women’s rights, gender and trans rights, queer rights are human rights. They rise or fall together. In a world of rising authoritarian rule and right wing menace, “Women. Life. Freedom!” means all of us.

Source: Editorial March-April 2023, ATC 223  https://againstthecurrent.org/atc223/womens-rights-human-rights/

International Women’s Day inspirational reading: “Dangerous Liaisons: The marriages and divorces of Marxism and Feminism”

For International Women’s Day 2023, our friends at Resistance Books are promoting a book to inspire you – Cinzia Arruza’s “Dangerous Liaisons: The Marriages and Divorces of Marxism and Feminism”.

An accessible introduction to the relationship between the workers’ movement and the women’s movement. The first part is historical, the second is theoretical. Historical examples range from the mid-19th century to the 1970s and include events, debates, and key personalities from China, Russia, the USA, France, Italy, Spain, and Britain. It shows time and again, the controversial, often difficult relationship between feminism and Marxism.

The theoretical questions discussed include the origins of women’s oppression, domestic labour, dual systems theory, performativity, and differentialism. Women’s oppression is a structural element of the division of labour and one of the direct factors through which capitalism not only reinforces its ideological dominance but also organises the exploitation and reproduction of labour. The integration of patriarchal relations and capitalism has led to their radical transformation—in the family, in terms of women’s place in production, in sexual relations, and with respect to sexual identity.



Marxism needs to probe complex processes: ongoing transformations and crises, a global context creating an increasingly feminised workforce, and changing relations between men and women. It is a mistake to submerge gender into class or to believe that freedom from exploitation automatically brings about women’s liberation and the ending of sexual roles. It is equally wrong to think the class question can be removed and gender made the main enemy. The author believes passionately in the need to combine gender and class politics.



Dangerous Liaisons: The marriages and divorces of Marxism and Feminism – Reviews

“Although Cinzia Arruzza calls her aim “modest,” her book is anything but. She provides a masterful survey of the vexed relations between feminism and socialism over the course of more than two centuries. The result is not only a lucid overview but also a penetrating intervention into current debates. Perfectly timed to enlighten new generations of activists and theorists, Arruzza’s book offers the best short introduction to a question that is as relevant as ever today: How, in the wake of a capitalist crisis of global dimensions, can struggles against male domination be made to synergize with struggles against neoliberalism?”


“Dangerous Liaisons offers an acute, critical and refreshingly open analysis of feminist theories and, best of all, links the development of theory to the historical and contemporary political issues facing women activists. A perfect book for students but also for anyone seeking to learn more about the ongoing dialogue between Marxism(s) and feminism(s). Aruzza’s presentation of complicated theoretical debates is fair, accessible, and lively; her wide-ranging historical account hits the highlights (and lows) of feminist engagements with the revolutionary left across Europe and in the US.”


“a well written book and ideal for anyone interested in the political and theoretical history of the relationship between feminism and Marxism.”


Statement by ecology movements in Turkey- demands for immediate action

Immediately after the February 6 earthquake, one of the biggest in the history of Turkey, a broad meeting of Ecology Organizations in Turkey published this statement:

Our urgent demands from the government, which holds all the resources of the state in its hands, and our call for solidarity.

After the 7.7 magnitude earthquakes centered in Pazarcık, Kahramanmaraş, at midnight on February 6, followed by the 7.6 magnitude earthquakes centered in Elbistan at noon on the same day, more than ten thousand buildings collapsed and tens of thousands of people were trapped under the rubble. In reality, it is the government, which is trying to turn this disaster into an opportunity for its own survival and has declared a state of emergency in the region to this end. Organization of civil initiatives and rank and file solidarity networks are vital to making emergency interventions in the areas of destruction and rebuilding life. It is imperative that the disaster is not magnified by obstructing the aid and solidarity of civil initiatives under the pretext of the State of Emergency!

The state, unable to fulfill its basic duty of organization and coordination, has left the people of Turkey today with the obligation and responsibility to organize themselves.

Our most urgent need today is to weave a solidarity that crosses borders in order to keep alive our people who have lost their living spaces and cannot meet their basic needs in the entire geography affected by the earthquake, especially in search and rescue operations.

First of all, we would like to observe that an earthquake is a natural phenomenon, that it has been going on for millions of years and that earthquakes occur for nature to realize itself and for the earth to complete itself:

The main responsible for the losses of life is this corporatist government, which has left life to freeze under the rubble, and which no longer functions as a social state. Natural phenomena cannot be characterized as disasters, catastrophes or fate to cover up the massacres caused by the capitalist system based on the greed for profit. Humanity has lived in peace with nature for thousands of years, and has built its social life in harmony with nature, taking into account natural phenomena. Houses were built in harmony with the behavior of nature. Now, the governments that nourish the concrete-oriented urban policies imposed by capitalist modernism with multi-storey buildings, thus paving the way for capital to increase its earnings, bear the main responsiblity for these losses.

In the last two hundred years, policies that increase the exploitation of nature and labor have been followed. As a result of these policies, we are facing an ecocide caused by the brutal face of capitalism, which causes destruction and collapse by destroying human and non-human life. The region where the earthquake occurred is a region where many ecological crimes have been committed, such as the construction of hydroelectric dams, thermal power plants, nuclear power plants and airports on fault lines and, as a result, lives have been endangered. The only way to defend life against this destruction is not in spite of nature, but in a reciprocal relationship with nature, in peace with nature, and in solidarity with nature.

We know that there are many things we need to do to build the life we dream of, but today we are faced with an urgent, vital situation that requires us to act without waiting. As you read this, there are still lives under the rubble waiting to be rescued if they are not frozen. While they are fighting for their lives, the construction and mining companies who caused the collapses continue to count their money.

This is our warning to the government, which controls all the resources of the state, about what needs to be done urgently and our public call for solidarity:


1. Mining and construction activities, especially in the region and neighboring regions, should be stopped immediately, and construction machinery and equipment belonging to public and private companies should be sent to earthquake zones for search and rescue operations together with technical personnel.

2. Civilian and military infrastructure and personnel, and private sector airline infrastructure and search and rescue and relief teams should be rapidly deployed to earthquake areas that cannot be reached by road.

3. Buildings such as second residences, hotels, places of worship, including those in neighboring regions, especially reliable buildings in the region, should be put into service free of charge or by using public resources to be used in solving the shelter problem.

4. In order to provide vital needs such as clean drinking water, food, clothing and hygiene products, the mechanisms created by civil society for solidarity should be fully and completely coordinated with public services.

5. Rescue teams should be formed to include living beings other than humans. The work of civilian teams taking initiative in this regard should be facilitated and supported.

6. Since the earthquake occurred in a region with a high concentration of migrants, search and rescue and basic needs should be carried out with full inclusiveness, free from discrimination.


1. Information should be provided on the causes of the natural gas explosions and the fire at Iskenderun Port, which materials were burned, and the chemical and nuclear materials, if any, involved in the fire.

2. An inventory of hazardous, flammable and explosive materials in the industrial facilities in the region should be made; preventive measures should be taken without delay for possible disasters as a result of aftershocks or new earthquakes.

3. More than ten thousand buildings are thought to have collapsed. Work on asbestos, radon and other harmful gases emitted from these buildings should begin as soon as possible to ensure the safety of the people in the region, especially search and rescue teams.

4. Damage assessments should begin on the dams, which control water and are an extension of the commodification work, and necessary measures should be taken to prevent a secondary disaster.

5. It must be determined whether the chemicals in the mines are mixed with water aquifers; necessary measures must be taken.

6. The problems of non-human creatures living in cities and their peripheries, whose habitats we have usurped, regarding nutrition, access to clean and healthy water and shelter must be solved as soon as possible.

7. Damage to electricity and natural gas transmission lines in the earthquake zone, explosions in natural gas lines, security dams in the region, thermal power plants in Maraş and Adana poses great risks.

8. Large energy investments, security policies and fossil fuels that put life at risk must be abandoned.

Our condolences to everyone who is suffering. We are very saddened by our losses, but our sadness does not prevent us from ignoring the cause of the destruction, the slowness of the search and rescue efforts, and the measures that need to be taken to prevent possible further disasters. The state of emergency cannot hide this situation, nor will we allow it to.

In solidarity.

Climate Justice Coalition

Assembly for Unity of Ecology

Republished from International Standpoint 10 February 2023 https://www.internationaliststandpoint.org/statement-by-ecology-movements-in-turkey-demands-for-immediate-action/

Earthquake in Turkey: the state versus the people

What do you do when you are thousands of miles from your family, writes Sarah Glynn on Bella Caledonia, and their phone stops ringing and you don’t know if they are lacking a signal or buried under rubble? This is the situation facing very many diaspora families with roots in the extensive region devastated by Monday morning’s earthquake. Ugur Cagritekin, from Edinburgh’s Kurdish community, told me that around a dozen of his close friends had already flown back to Turkey to try and find their relatives. Many members of his sister in law’s family are beneath the ruins.

Those remaining in Scotland, and in other parts of the Kurdish and Turkish diaspora, are working frantically to try and organise aid deliveries to the worst affected regions. Besides damaged roads and severe winter weather, this task is made much more difficult by the Turkish authorities who insist that all aid must be delivered through AFAD, the government’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority. AFAD has been shown to be woefully inadequate for the task it faces, and there are also well-founded concerns over its priorities. Government bodies are known to favour government supporters, and there is no confidence that AFAD will distribute aid where it is most needed. Rather than allow the evolution of local support networks, this top-down approach is designed to make people dependent on, and grateful to, President Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). A record of government corruption makes many wary that aid distribution will be co-opted to boost the image of the government.

Hatice (not her real name), another Edinburgh resident, told me that she has been working with contacts in Turkey to try and organise the delivery of essential equipment that can help some of the hundreds of thousands of people who have had to leave their homes and are struggling to survive in the bitter cold. They are looking for vehicles that can travel through the snow, and for routes where they can avoid having their supplies confiscated by AFAD. Hatice, in common with a very high proportion of Edinburgh’s Kurds, hales from Elbistan. Their hometown, which was very close to the epicentre of the second earthquake that followed eight hours after the first one, has suffered severe damage. Buildings that had cracked with the first quake were brought down completely by the second. Hatice’s mother-in-law is lost in her collapsed home, as are many of her cousins and friends.

Monday’s earthquakes have devasted ten Turkish provinces that are home to around thirteen million people: well over twice the population of Scotland. They have also caused massive destruction in Syria, especially in government-controlled areas and areas controlled by Turkey (including occupied Afrîn). Autonomous North and East Syria is less badly affected, and their Syrian Democratic forces have offered to provide help to all other parts of Syria – however I only have space to look at Turkey here. The scale of the disaster is terrifying. Thousands are already confirmed dead, but with so many more trapped in the destroyed buildings, and the vast majority of these buildings yet to see any rescue equipment, the number is expected to rise into the tens of thousands. Some fear the final figure may be over 100,000.

Three days after the initial earthquake, which caught people asleep in their beds, many places, and especially smaller towns and villages, have yet to see any sign of official help. Local people are trying to remove the rubble that is burying their families and neighbours with their bare hands, but without the equipment to cut and lift concrete this is often impossible. Chances of survival in the sub-zero temperatures are eking away with every passing minute.

Even for those who have escaped the initial destruction, conditions are extremely difficult. The risks from the many aftershocks, as well as dangerous structural damage, makes it unsafe for people to stay in their homes, but AFAD has done very little to supply them with the basic shelter, warmth, and sustenance that they need to survive. Many places are without water and electricity. Checking that surviving buildings are safe for people to return to will be a massive task in itself.

Social media is full of desperate pleas for help, and anger at the absence of the authorities that should be providing it. The response from the government has been to clamp down on people sharing news of what is happening. In an angry television message on Tuesday, President Erdoğan announced a State of Emergency in the affected provinces. The main effect of this, like the national emergency following the 2016 coup attempt, will be to allow much greater government control and suppression of criticism. Erdoğan told viewers that he is keeping a note of all the ‘lies and distortions’ and will open his notebook ‘when the time comes’. Already, twitter has been restricted – although it was being used to provide vital information for search and rescue. Journalists have been detained while reporting from the rubble in Diyarbakir, and investigations are being opened against TV commentators and social media users.

The one organisation that has the equipment, skills, and competence to make a serious impact on the rescue efforts, the Turkish army, remains in readiness to invade Syria, but only a relatively small force has been deputed to help the rescue operation.

Prospects are grim and hopes are fading for the tens of thousands still buried.

A natural disaster in a political context

Before looking at the huge mobilisation by local people in Turkey, and at what people in Scotland can do to help, I want to examine the political context that has massively amplified the horror of this natural disaster. Of course, the focus must be on humanity, but we do need to understand the politics that makes humanity so difficult to achieve, and the political forces that are seeking to exploit the situation for their own, very inhumane, ends.

This natural disaster has taken place in the context of a lethal cocktail of ruthless neoliberal crony capitalism, political corruption, anti-Kurdish racism (which has left infrastructure underdeveloped and attacked political and civic organisation), and an increasingly dictatorial authoritarian regime that will not work with others and will not broach criticism.

Across the affected region, blocks of flats have collapsed like houses of cards. Much of Turkey’s recent economic development was based on a building boom, with contracts awarded to government supporters. Turkey is crossed by major geological fault lines, but in the rush for profits, there was no room for such niceties as observing earthquake design regulations. As a friend who works in disaster planning put it to me, you can have a lot of good regulations and codes, but ‘the snag is in the governance’ and politicians feel that enforcing regulations is not a vote-winning priority and that nothing will happen on their watch.

The neglect of earthquake preparedness has come from the top. After the 1999 Istanbul earthquake, the government of the time brought in what was commonly known as the ‘Earthquake Tax’, which was supposed to pay for disaster preparation. This is estimated to have brought in £3.8 billion pounds, but there is no evidence that this has been spent on making anything safer.

It was not as if the government had lacked warnings. The Chairman of the Chamber of Geological Engineers has stated that they had not only expected an earthquake of this kind but had also submitted a report to the president and government on what should be done in preparation, which had received no response. He described the policies of uncontrolled development as ‘rent and plunder’.

Despite the palpable and massive failure of the government’s disaster response, Erdoğan shows no sense of responsibility, let alone contrition. On Wednesday, when he finally visited Maraş, at the centre of the first earthquake, he told a survivor, ‘The damage is done. These things are part of destiny’s plan.’

We have seen plenty of evidence of this disregard of safety planning before – notably in the lack of vital planes to fight 2021’s forest fires, when, too, Erdoğan seemed more concerned to stamp out negative publicity than extinguish the flames; and also in the mining disasters at Soma in 2014 and Bartın last October, when warnings of dangerous conditions were not heeded, and Erdoğan also provoked anger by putting the blame on ‘destiny’.

The abject inadequacy of both preparedness and response has not spared any of the cities hit, whatever their ethnic makeup or political leanings, but it is also significant that the predominantly Kurdish southeast of Turkey, where much of the damage occurred, has been purposefully left behind in infrastructural development by successive governments. And, in the places where the population voted for the pro-Kurdish leftist Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), they have had their elected mayors removed – and often imprisoned – and civic structures that the mayors supported closed down.

When people most need to work together and combine resources, Erdoğan is terrified of allowing any involvement from other political parties in case it earns them support. Again, this is not a new phenomenon. The central government confiscated aid for Covid victims collected by the Peoples’ Republican Party (CHP) mayors of Istanbul and Ankara. An openly HDP delivery of aid to the earthquake areas was seized by the government.

Faced with a disaster of this scale and a response organisation that is clearly unable to cope, most people would have expected the government to turn to the military – the second biggest army in NATO: all the more so as Erdoğan is looking for a popular victory, and what could be more universally popular than an effective response to a major disaster? That he has opted for only a very limited deployment may also be a consequence of his fear of being upstaged. Despite major purges, many in the army do not endorse his turn against Turkish secularism.

The dreadful failures in the government response can also be seen as a product of the arrogance of dictatorship, where one man cannot oversee everything, but others are afraid to criticise: the emperor’s new clothes syndrome.

Erdoğan’s desperation to hold onto power at all costs makes him prioritise perception over reality. The Turkish government has increasingly resorted to stifling freedom of speech, and last year’s Disinformation Law has been widely condemned as a vehicle for censorship and the criminalisation of journalism. Although making political predictions for Turkey has become even more difficult, many must be worrying that if he sees his support falling, Erdoğan might use the emergency situation to postpone the forthcoming election.

The scale of the Turkish Governments failures and of their impacts is staggering, but in trying to understand what could have gone so wrong, I found myself thinking of the Grenfell fire. Turkey’s disaster may be a thousand times bigger, but there are many similarities in the underlying forces and in the attempt to manage perceptions rather than face responsibility.

Inevitably, the lack of effective response – and in many places any response at all – has produced a swell of anger, especially among those who have waited in vain for help to rescue family members trapped beneath the debris. On Wednesday in Adiyaman, where no help had arrived more than two days after the earthquake, the Minister of Transport, and the local governor fled in their cars rather than face the angry crowd. The AKP mayor of Kirikhan has damned his party’s government in front of the collapsed building that buried his children. There is a new axiom being shared round Turkey: It is not earthquakes that kill people, it is states that kill people.

Solidarity from the grassroots

In contrast to the state’s failures, organisations across Turkey have sprung into action, from political parties to community groups. Cars and trucks are bringing aid supplies from all over the country, organised by local groups or even private individuals.

The big municipalities run by the main opposition Republican People’s Party have been coordinating large collections and deliveries of basic aid, with the CHP leader announcing that they will not accept bureaucratic obstacles even if they ‘have to be arrested for finding bread and blankets’. And the HDP, which has fewer financial resources and has been deprived of municipal power, is also managing to get deliveries through despite government obstruction. (The scale of the relief effort is going to make government control increasingly difficult to implement.) 93 trucks of supplies organised by the HDP had reached the earthquake area by Wednesday morning, and Ugur Cagritekin told me that they had received news that five trucks had reached Elbistan where supplies were being delivered to people in need through the coordination of the HDP and the local Alevi centre. They want to take aid to villages as well as the town centre. Some people in the villages have moved from their homes into the relative safety of their more lightly constructed stables, where they can also benefit from the warmth of the animals, but there has been no help from outside.

The HDP’s strength lies in in its ability to mobilise and organise its large network of supporters and sympathisers and like-minded community organisations. As soon as they heard about the earthquake, the party dropped all other plans, set up a central coordination centre, and dispatched leading members to the affected area. Local election centres were transformed into coordination centres, while the youth organisation concentrated on rescue work. They put out calls for solidarity and for people with shelter and food to share with those without, and they helped create a framework to allow people’s natural solidarity to find direction.

I spoke with a volunteer at Rosa Women’s Association in Diyarbakir as she took a break from preparing soup and tea for 200 people taking shelter from the dangers of damaged buildings. She told me that their city (the unofficial capital of Turkish Kurdistan) benefitted from being left wing and thus easy to organise. Even in relatively accessible Diyarbakir, where the devastation is patchy, official relief efforts are seriously inadequate; however, although the HDP mayor and council have been removed (and the mayor imprisoned), HDP organisation remains extremely strong.

Their earthquake relief coordination is the HDP’s philosophy of grassroots organisation and control put into action. When Ertuğrul Kürkçü, the HDP’s honorary president, writes about ‘transforming earthquake solidarity into a social movement’, he is not talking about an abstract idea but a political practice.

Kurdish communities outside Turkey have wanted to send essential supplies too, but there are reports of deliveries being turned back for lack of documentation, or being taken over by AFAD at the border. The consensus, across the Kurdish diaspora, is to call for financial donations to the Kurdish Red Crescent, Hevya Sor, which operates throughout the affected areas – and of course helps everyone regardless of background. Hevya Sor have the contacts on the ground that enable them to get the aid through to where it is needed, independent of government meddling. So far, this fundraising has been focused on Kurdish communities, but the many other people who want to help and are uncertain who to trust, should be reassured that this is an organisation supported by those with most reason to be concerned.

To donate in from the UK please send to Hevya Sor’s German bank account or donate via Paypal:

Account details:

IBAN: DE49 3705 0299 0004 0104 81



Republished from Bella Caledonia: https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2023/02/09/earthquake-in-turkey-the-state-versus-the-people/

Support independent Scottish journalism – Bella Caledonia – https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/donate

Call for a global counter-summit of social movements to the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings

The Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group (WBG) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will be held from 9 to 15 October 2023 in Marrakech, Morocco. The IMF is taking centre stage as the multi-faceted crisis that has affected the world since 2020 deepens. It has signed credit agreements with around 100 governments over the past three years. In each of these agreements the IMF demands the continuation of neoliberal policies. At the same time a new debt crisis is developing. It is high time to react.

Established in 1944, the IMF and the World Bank meet mainly in Washington and every three years they meet in a member country other than the United States. Since 1947, the General Meetings of these two institutions have been held only once in Africa, in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1973. The choice of Morocco is no accident. This country is considered by Washington and its allies as a good pupil because its government systematically applies the neo-liberal credo of the two institutions and because it supports the inhumane policy of the European Union in terms of migration and asylum.

The international CADTM network (Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debts) will mobilize to actively contribute to making other voices from around the world heard at these WBG and IMF Assemblies, which bring together finance ministers and central bank governors from 189 member countries, as well as representatives from the private sector, academia and NGOs. We propose the organization of a world counter-summit of social movements against these assemblies.

In order to promote unity of action, the CADTM proposes that a common call to this counter-summit be drafted. It is addressed to all movements wishing to join forces in defence of humanity.

Hereafter the CADTM makes known its position with regard to these two anti-democratic institutions and their policies that run counter to the exercise of human rights.

Both institutions continue to promote neo-liberalism and capitalism, which have caused social, economic and ecological devastation on a global scale.

The people of the South, who gained political independence in the late 1950s and early 1960s, have been burdened with the repayment of colonial debts and the odious debts of the despotic regimes supported by the two institutions. The latter prevented the industrialization and endogenous development of these countries in favour of the promotion of export with the active support of the local ruling classes and large foreign companies according to the demands of the global market. The World Bank has financed white elephants with huge loans, large, expensive and unnecessary projects that do not benefit the local population. These factors led to the debt crisis that broke out in 1980. This was used by the IMF and the WB to impose structural adjustment programmes (reduced spending on health and education, privatizations, etc.) and the opening up of the countries of the South to the free movement of capital and goods in a context of capitalist globalization, financialization, free trade and the increasing internationalization of production chains, which reduce the sovereignty of states. The two institutions have thus contributed to the impoverishment of small producers, particularly the small peasantry, the impoverishment of the working class, the casualization of jobs, especially for women and young people, and the private indebtedness of working-class households, particularly through microcredit.

As regards the environment, the World Bank continues to develop a productivist and extractivist policy that is disastrous for people and harmful to nature. Contrary to its promises, it continues to massively finance fossil fuels, which have a disastrous effect on pollution and climate change. The World Bank also finances the construction of large dams that cause enormous environmental damage. It favours the development of agribusiness against peasant agriculture, it supports the massive use of pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers responsible for a dramatic loss of biodiversity and soil impoverishment. The World Bank promotes the privatization and commercialization of land for the benefit of large landowners.

The World Bank and the IMF have also contributed to the rescue of the big private banks in the major industrialized countries following the global crisis of capitalism in 2007-2008 through massive public indebtedness accompanied by austerity policies and the destruction of social gains. They have used public debt to generalize the privatization of water, land, forests, mines, fishing grounds and public services, such as education and health.

The decay of the latter has been highlighted by the Covid pandemic. Since the beginning of the health crisis, the IMF and the WB, together with other institutions of big capital and multinationals (G20, Paris Club, etc.), have multiplied initiatives to avoid radical solutions of cancellation through deferment of payment by excluding private creditors, the main holders of the external public debt of the countries of the South. The new payment deadlines coincide with the context created by the invasion of Ukraine and the soaring prices of basic foodstuffs, livestock feed, fertilizers and energy that are hitting hardest the poorest countries already badly affected by heavy flooding and intense drought.

According to the IMF, about 60% of low-income developing countries are already in debt distress or at high risk of debt distress.

Debt suspensions are on the rise. Since 2020, 9 countries have defaulted: Argentina, Ecuador, Lebanon, Suriname, Zambia, Belize, Sri Lanka, Russia and Ghana. Several other countries are close to defaulting, such as El Salvador, Peru, Tunisia, Egypt, Kenya, Ethiopia, Malawi, Pakistan, and Turkey.
IMF and WB lending to low-income countries increased dramatically in 2020 and is expected to remain at a high level for several years. The conditionalities are increasingly binding on the populations.

Both institutions act for the benefit of a handful of big powers and their transnational corporations that reinforce an international capitalist system that is destructive to humanity and the environment. It is urgent to initiate broad mobilizations for sovereign repudiations of the debt and to build a new democratic international architecture that favours a redistribution of wealth and supports the efforts of peoples to achieve socially just development that respects nature.

The organization that would replace the World Bank should be largely regionalized (banks in the South could be linked to it), and its function would be to provide loans at very low or zero interest rates, and grants that could only be given on condition that they are used in strict compliance with social and environmental standards and, more generally, with basic human rights. Unlike the current World Bank, the new bank that the world needs would not represent the interests of creditors and impose market-righteous behaviour on debtors, but would have as its primary mission the defence of the interests of the peoples who receive the loans and grants.

The new IMF, for its part, should regain part of its original mandate to guarantee the stability of currencies, fight speculation, control capital movements, and act to prohibit tax havens and tax fraud. To achieve this objective, it should contribute, in collaboration with national authorities and regional monetary funds (which must be created), to the collection of various international taxes.

The international CADTM network calls on networks, organizations, social and civil society movements in the South and the North to hold a global counter-summit to the IMF-WB Annual Meetings to be held in Marrakech from 9 to 15 October this year. An international follow-up committee will be set up to begin collective preparations for this very important global activist meeting, which could lead to other initiatives for a new international coordination of social movements.

Let’s make the voice of social movements heard in Marrakech next October. We want to demonstrate the power of organized peoples, defend popular sovereignty and promote social and environmental justice.


ATTAC CADTM Morocco, a member of the shared international secretariat of the CADTM network, will work with its allies in Morocco on organizational and logistical matters.

Source CADTM.

The official links to follow the news on the IMF-WB Annual Meetings:

This appeal was originally published by the CADTM network (Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debts): https://www.cadtm.org/Call-for-a-global-counter-summit-of-social-movements-to-the-IMF-WB-Annual

Photo: March against the IMF in Buenos Aires, on the occasion of the 25th of May 2018, Gastón Cuello, CC, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Marcha_contra_el_FMI_50.jpg

Iran: Support for the “Woman, Life, Freedom” Uprising – No to Executions ! (Solidarity statement)

This solidarity appeal and the initial signatories, that include members of the French National Assembly and the European Parliament, was originally published on 20 January 2023, in French, on the independent website Mediapart  (mediapart.fr).  This English translation is republished from ‘Europe Solidaire San Frontières’ (ESSF – Europe Solidarity Without Frontiers, an association for international solidarity): https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article65392  It is also available in PDF form in English, French, Kurdish, Persian, German, Spanish and Italian languages (links also here). 

Signatories are still sought – contact info@ecosocialist.scot for how to sign.

Iran: Support for the “Woman, Life, Freedom” Uprising – No to Executions !

Since the murder of Jina-Mahsa Amini on September 16 by the morality police, a popular uprising unprecedented in its scope, depth and duration has shaken the Islamic Republic of Iran. In less than 48 hours, the slogan “Woman, Life, Freedom” spread throughout the country, then around the world.

The fight for the fall of the Islamic Republic is on

Soon other slogans flourished: “Death to the dictator”, “Death to the oppressor, be it the Shah or the Supreme Guide”, “Bread, Work, Freedom”, “Poverty, corruption, high cost of living, we will go until the overthrow”.

This radical protest movement brings together women, young people, national minorities, workers with or without jobs, in a total rejection of this theocratic, misogynistic and totally corrupt regime. The uprising is anchored in the long term and affects more than 160 small and large cities. With more than 50% of the population below the poverty line and the absence of elementary democratic and social rights, it is the whole system that the people of Iran want to overthrow.

Calls for strikes are increasing, especially among university teachers, workers in petrochemicals, steelworks in Isfahan, public transport in Tehran and its suburbs, truck drivers… The strikers suffer dismissals , arrests and torture.

Fierce and unlimited repression

To date, the repression has caused more than 500 deaths, including 69 minors, thousands of injuries, more than 19,000 prisoners and missing persons, kidnappings. In Iranian Kurdistan and Sistan Balochistan, the Revolutionary Guards are waging a bloody war against the rebellious population. Kurdish towns are undergoing a state of siege that does not say its name.

The violence of this criminal regime knows no bounds. Numerous testimonies attest to the incredible brutality of the conditions of detention aimed at breaking the determination of the detainees. Of the prisoners are tortured, raped, beaten to death.

In order to create a climate of terror and put an end to protest, the judiciary pronounces increasingly heavy sentences against demonstrators. Despite this, the mobilization does not weaken. With courage and determination, students, young people, women, workers, artists and journalists continue to challenge the regime, and it has decided to take it a step further.

The proliferation of death sentences

For the simple fact of having demonstrated, at least 65 people (including 11 women and five children) have been charged with “enmity with God”, “corruption on Earth”, insurrection or murder. The judiciary connects parodies of trials, without any right of defense and multiplies death sentences.

After the executions of Mohsen Shekari and Majidreza Rahnavard on December 8 and 12, the Iranian authorities proceeded, on January 7, to hang Seyed Mohammad Hosseini and Mohammad Mehdi Karami. Their crimes: having dared to express their revolt in the face of the death of Jina-Mahsa Amini in Tehran or of Hadis Nadjafi in Karaj. The worst is to be feared for those who wait on the death row of Iran’s sordid prisons and more broadly for all prisoners.

The people of Iran must be masters of their destiny

In this context and faced with the spectre of a political and social revolution in Iran, the leaders of the great powers are working, more or less discreetly, for the constitution of a Transitional Council, bringing together all the currents of the opposition of the Iranian right, including the monarchists. These currents, liberal on the economic level and authoritarian on the political level, are the opposite of the dynamics of the mobilizations and the social and democratic aspirations which are expressed in Iran.

From the 1953 coup organized by the CIA and the British secret services against the Mossadegh government and its policy of nationalizing oil, to the Guadeloupe conference in 1979 where the heads of state of France, Germany, of the United Kingdom and the United States accelerated the Shah’s departure into exile and decided on his replacement by Khomeini, the great powers have always acted, unsurprisingly, in favor of their own interests against those of the peoples of Iran.

Contrary to the solutions imposed from outside, we defend a real campaign of international solidarity with all those who are mobilizing in Iran to put an end to the Islamic Republic.

To live up to the determination and courage of the Iranian people

The outcome of the current uprising will be decisive for the peoples of the region and the world. It is therefore our responsibility, within our means, to help the “Woman, Life, Freedom” uprising achieve its emancipatory aspirations.

Indeed, the repressive machine that is the Islamic Republic will not be broken without a powerful international campaign and without a strong mobilization of world opinion.

• We demand an immediate end to death sentences, executions and the abolition of capital punishment.

• We demand the immediate release of all imprisoned political and trade union prisoners, teachers, students, doctors, artists, activists and demonstrators, etc.

• We demand the establishment of an international committee made up of jurists, trade unionists, journalists and NGOs to carry out an independent investigation into places of detention in Iran.

• We support women’s fight for the right to control their bodies. We demand with them the abolition of all misogynistic laws as well as gender apartheid.

• We support the fundamental and democratic rights of Iranian men and women, whether they are Kurds, Baluchis, Arabs, Azeris, Lors, or Persians.

• We support the workers of Iran in their struggle for dignity, their rights to defend themselves through strike action and the building of trade unions and political organizations.

• We strongly demand from France and Europe the freezing of the assets of the highest leaders of the Revolutionary Guards and the Islamic Republic, including those of the Guide Ali Khamenei and his entourage, the total amount of which is estimated at $95 billion. These fortunes acquired through the plunder of resources, the overexploitation of workers, predation and corruption must return to the peoples of Iran.

• Like what was done against the Russian oligarchs, we demand the freezing of the assets of the Iranian oligarchs.

• We demand the lifting of banking and commercial secrecy in France, in Europe and in the world to block the wealth accumulated by the leaders of the Islamic Republic, the Revolutionary Guards and the companies linked to them.

• We demand the cessation of all industrial, economic and diplomatic collaboration with the Islamic Republic.

As signatories to this platform, we reaffirm our full and complete support for all those who fight in Iran for equality, social justice, democracy and against all forms of autocratic and authoritarian power.

We are at their side by all the means at our disposal, and we are committed to multiplying initiatives of solidarity with the peoples of Iran. Until the victory of this irrepressible revolutionary momentum!


1. Nicole ABRAVANEL, historian EHESS (France)
2. Gilbert ACHCAR, professor SOAS London (England)
3. Christophe AGUITON, alterglobalization activist (France)
4. Mateo ALALUF, professor emeritus of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium)
5. Tassos ANASTASSIADIS, journalist (Greece)
6. Valério ARCARY, National Direction of PSOL, (Brazil)
7. Behrouz AREFI, Socialist Solidarity with the Workers in Iran (France)
8. Janie ARNEGUY, Ensemble ! (France)
9. Rolando ASTARITA, Professor of Economics – Universidad Nacional de Quilmes (Argentina)
10. Manon AUBRY, European deputy LFI (France)
11. Clémentine AUTAIN, Member of Parliament for Seine-Saint-Denis (France)
12. Ludivine BANTIGNY, historian (France)
13. Alain BARON, international commission of the Union syndicale Solidaires (France)
14. Jean BATOU, professor at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland)
15. Abraham BEHAR, doctor (France)
16. Emma BELLE, British civilizationist, Savoie Mont Blanc University (France)
17. Olivier BESANCENOT, spokesman of the NPA (France)
18. Alain BIHR, honorary professor of sociology, University of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté (France)
19. Sophie BINET, general secretary of the UFICT-CGT, member of the CGT Executive Committee, leader of the women’s collective (France)
20. Laurence Boffet, spokesperson of Ensemble! (France)
21. Jean-Jacques BOISLAROUSSIE, Ensemble ! (France)
22. Alexandra BOJANIC, international sector of the FTUU (France)
23. Manuel BOMPARD, LFI deputy of Bouches du Rhône (France)
24. Michel BONNIN, director of studies at the EHSS, center of studies on modern and contemporary China (France)
25. Nicolas BOUCHAUD, actor (France)
26. Mickaël BOULOUX, Deputy of Ille et Vilaine (France)
27. Alima BOUMEDIENE, lawyer (France)
28. Tiago BRANQUINO, cultural and political activist, trade unionist, elected politician (Switzerland)
29. Nicole BRENEZ, academic (France)
30. Michel BROUÉ, mathematician (France)
31. David LIBREROS CAICEDO, professor, Universidad Nacional de Colombia
32. Raul CAMARGO FERNANDEZ (spokesman of Anticapitalistas – Spanish State)
33. Ana CAMPOS, doctor (Portugal)
34. Robert CANTARELLA, director (France)
35. Daniel CERIOTTI, nutritionist (Uruguay)
36. Fernando CHARAMELLO, trade unionist (Uruguay)
37. Claude CALAME, historian, director of research EHESS (France)
38. Salavatore CANNAVO, journalist – Jacobin Italia
39. Carmen CASTILLO, filmmaker (France) 40.
40. hélène CHANTEREAU, CGT info’Com trade unionist and Aplutsoc activist (France)
41. Lou CHESNE, ATTAC spokesperson (France)
42. Ramiro CHIMURIS, lawyer and economist (Uruguay)
43. Florence CIARVOLA, Ensemble! (France)
44. Herbert CLAROS, secretary for international relations of CSP Consultas (Brazil)
45. Adrien COLIN, town councilor in Vevey (Switzerland)
46. Eliana COMO, trade unionist, Management Committee of the CGIL (Italy)
47. Jorge COSTA, Bloco de Esquerdo (Left Bloc Portugal)
48. Pierre COUTAZ, international sector of the CGT (France)
49. Léon CREMIEUX, aeronautical trade unionist Solidaires (France)
50. Joseph DAHER, academic (Switzerland)
51. Bruno DALBERTO, trade unionist (France)
52. Christian DANDRES, PS National Councillor (Switzerland)
53. Cybèle DAVID, National Secretary of the Union syndicale Solidaires, in charge of international affairs (France)
54. Sonia DAYAN-HERZBRUN, sociologist (France)
55. Bruno DELLA SUDA, Ensemble! (France)
56. Sophie DESROSIERS, retired lecturer EHESS (France)
57. Bernard DREANO, president of CEDETIM (France)
58. Valérie DREVILLE, actress (France)
59. Penelope DUGGAN, editor International Viewpoint
60. Sabine ENDERS, ATTAC activist (France)
61. Behrouz FARAHANY, Socialist Solidarity with Workers in Iran (France)
62. Patrick FARBIAZ, PEPS (for a popular and social ecology) (France)
63. Silvia FERRARO, councilor of São Paulo, (Brazil)
64. Emmanuel FERNANDES Deputy of the 2nd district of Bas-Rhin (France)
65. Nejat FEROUSE, confederal adviser to the International Space of the CGT (France)
66. Marina FERRERUELA, deputy and parliamentary collaborator (France)
67. Berivan FIRAT, spokesman of the external relations of the Kurdish Democratic Council in France (CDK-F)
68. Jacques FONTAINE, Ensemble ! (France)
69. Téo FREI, activist of the climate strike (Switzerland)
70. gizelle FREITAS, Councilor of Belém (Brazil)
71. Bernard FRIOT, economist and sociologist of work (France)
72. Mario ROSSI GARRETANO, trade unionist (Uruguay)
73. Franck GAUDICHAUD, historian, University Jean Jaurès Toulouse (France)
74. Sigrid GERARDIN, national secretary in charge of women’s rights of the FSU (France)
75. Paolo GILARDI, teacher unionist (Switzerland)
76. Liliane GIRAUDON, poetess (France)
77. Matheus GOMES, State Deputy, Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil)
78. Alain GONTHIER, town councillor in Vevey (Switzerland)
79. José María GONZALEZ, Mayor of the city of Cadiz (Spain)
80. Sébastien GUEX, Honorary Professor, University of Lausanne (Switzerland)
81. Murielle GUILBERT, national co-delegate of the Union syndicale
82. Helena HIRATA, sociologist, emeritus researcher of the CNRS (France)
83. Marie HOLZMAN, sinologist and human rights activist (France)
84. 84. Jocelyne HALLER, deputy of the Ensemble à gauche at the Grand Council (Geneva)
85. Ernesto HERRERA, journalist (Uruguay)
86. Norbert HOLCBLAT, economist (France)
87. Carolina IARA, co-representative of the State of São Paulo (Brazil)
88. Chantal JAQUET, philosopher, professor at the University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (France)
89. Claire JOBIN, sociologist, militant of the feminist strike (Switzerland)
90. Samy JOHSUA, member of the Scientific Council of ATTAC (France)
91. Leslie KAPLAN, writer (France)
92. Andy KERBRAT, deputy of Loire Atlantique (France)
93. Babak KIA, Socialist Solidarity with the Workers in Iran (France)
94. Aurore KOECHLIN, sociologist, feminist and anticapitalist activist (France)
95. Isabel KOIFMANN, trade unionist (Uruguay)
96. Pierre KHALFA, economist, Copernic Foundation (France)
97. Jacques KIRSNER, producer and scriptwriter (France)
98. Nicolas KLOTZ, filmmaker (France)
99. Hubert KRIVINE, physicist, (France)
100. Dominique LABOURIER, actress (France)
101. Michel LANSON, retired teacher (France)
102. Michel LAUVERS, historian university Côte d’Azur (France)
103. Michèle LECLERC-OLIVE, Professor of mathematics, sociologist. CNRS (France)
104. Olivier LE COURD MAISON, academic (France)
105. Charlotte LEDUC, LFI-NUPES deputy of the 3rd district of Moselle (France)
106. Irma LEITES, plenaria memoria y justicia (Uruguay)
107. Fred LEPLAT, Anticapitalist Resistance (England, Wales)
108. Elodie LOPEZ, member of the Grand Council of Vaud, Ensemble à Gauche, town councilor, décroissance alternatives (Switzerland)
109. Francisco LOUÇA, economist, University of Lisbon (Portugal)
110 Iza LOURENÇA, councilor of Belo Horizonte (Brazil)
111. Mickael LOWY, director of research emeritus at the CNRS (France)
112. Christian MAHIEUX, international trade union network of solidarity and struggles (France)
113. Jan MALEWSKI, journalist, editor of Inprecor (France)
114) Gilles MANCERON, historian (France)
115. Pierre MARAGE, professor emeritus at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium)
116. Maguy MARIN, choreographer (France)
117. Gustave MASSIAH, CEDETIM (France)
118. Sonia MEIRE, Councilor of Aracaju (Brazil)
119. Omar MENONI, trade unionist (Uruguay)
120 Roland MERIEUX, member of the animation team of Ensemble! (France)
121. Silvia Fernandes MICHELI, teacher (Uruguay)
122. Anwar MIR SATTARI, ecologist (Belgium)
123. Mathilde MONNIER, choreographer (France) 124.
124 – Robi MORDER, lawyer and political scientist (France)
125) Manuel AGUILA MORA, historian, autonomous university of Mexico (Mexico)
126. Noel MOREL, external relations, network libertarian communist platform (France)
127. Mariana MORTAGUA, member of the Portuguese Parliament (Portugal)
128. Olivier NEVEUX, academic (France)
129. Stanislas NORDEZ, director of the National Theater of Strasbourg (France)
130. Paula NUNES, co-representative of the State of São Paulo (Brazil)
131. Françoise NYFFLER, activist of the feminist strike and deputy of Ensemble à Gauche (Switzerland)
132. Danièle OBONO, LFI deputy of Paris (France)
133. Solenn OCHSNER, trade unionist, feminist strike and climate activist (Switzerland)
134. Andrés OLIVETTI, trade unionist (Uruguay)
135. Annick OSMOND, socio-anthropologist (France)
136. Ugo PALHETA, sociologist (France)
137. Mathilde PANOT, deputy of Val de Marne, president of the LFI group at the National Assembly (France)
138. Ian PARKER, professor University of Manchester (England)
139. Olivier PARRIAUX, professor emeritus at the University of Lyon-Saint Etienne (France)
140 – Henri PASCAL, sociologist (France)
141. Jaime PASTOR, political scientist and director of the review “Viento Sur” (Spanish State)
142. Roland PFEFFERKORN, sociologist, University of Strasbourg (France)
143. Elisabeth PERCEVAL, filmmaker (France)
144. Jean-François PELLISSIER, spokesman of Ensemble! (France)
145. Martyne PERROT, sociologist (France)
146. Serge PEY, writer (France)
147. Nicole PHELOUZAT, sociologist at CNRS (France)
148. Boris PLAZZI, CGT confederation secretary for international relations (France)
149. Christine POUPIN, spokesperson of the NPA (France) 150.
150 – Philippe POUTOU, spokesman of the NPA (France)
151. Stéphanie PREZIOSO, member of the National Council, Ensemble à gauche (Switzerland)
152. Nadège PRUGNARD, author, actor, director (France)
153. José Manuel PUREZA, professor, University of Coimbra (Portugal)
154. Martine RAIS, doctor (Switzerland)
155. Rebeca RIELA, economist (Uruguay)
156. Laurent RIPART, historian at the University Savoie Mont Blanc (France)
157. Teresa RODRIGUEZ, former deputy and spokesperson of Adelante Andalucía (Spanish State)
158. Ema Graciela ROMERO, lawyer (Uruguay)
159. 159. Pierre ROUSSET, internationalist, director of the online newspaper ESSF (France)
160 – Henri SAINT-JEAN, association leader (France)
161. Sara SALEMI, Socialist Solidarity with the Workers in Iran (France)
162. Pauline SALINGUE, spokesperson of the NPA (France)
163. Catherine SAMARY, alterglobalist economist (France)
164. Mariana SANCHEZ, journalist and editor, activist of the SNJ CGT and Ensemble! (France)
165 Cobas SARDEGNA, UNICOBAS (Italy)
166. Jacob SCHÄFER, trade unionist (Germany)
167 Janick SCHAUFELBUEHL, Associate Professor Faculty of Social and Political Sciences University of Lausanne (Switzerland)
168. Marc SCHLESSER, Décroissance Alternative (Switzerland)
169. Houshang SEPEHR, editor of the website Iran Echo – Socialist Solidarity with the Workers in Iran (France) 170.
170 – Yasmine SIBLOT, sociologist (France)
171 Cécile SILHOUETTE, Ensemble ! (France)
172. Francis SITEL, Animation team of Ensemble! (France)
173. Omar SLAOUTI, teacher, anti-racist activist, elected in Argenteuil (France)
174. Alda SOUSA, mathematician, University of Porto (Portugal)
175. Claude STAZAN, CEDETIM (France)
176 Isabelle STENGERS, philosopher (Belgium)
177. Quentin TALON, mathematician, town councilor in Montreux (Switzerland)
178. Daniel TANURO, ecosocialist author (Belgium)
179. Imad TEMIZA, secretary of the Palestinian Postal Service Workers Union (Palestine)
180. Benoît TESTE, secretary general of the FSU (France)
181. Julien THERY, historian at the University Louis Lumière Lyon 2 and president of the Media (France)
182. João TEIXERA LOPES, sociologist, University of Porto (Portugal)
183. Sylvie TISSOT, sociologist (France)
184. Marc TOMCZAK, teacher researcher at the University of Lorraine (France)
185. Pascal TORRE, deputy head of the international sector of the PCF (France)
186. Éric TOUSSAINT, political scientist, Universities of Liège and Paris 8, member of the International Council of the World Social Forum (Belgium)
187. Enzo TRAVERSO, historian
188. Josette TRAT, academic, feminist activist (France)
189. Stéphanie TREILLET, economist, Ensemble ! (France)
190. Anne TRISTAN (France)
191. Aurélie TROUVÉ, Member of Parliament for Seine-Saint-Denis (France)
192. Franco TURIGLIATTO, former Senator (Italy)
193. Charles-André UDRY, economist and director of the website Alencontre (Switzerland)
194. Mario UNDA, sociologist (Ecuador)
195. Miguel URBAN, MEP (Spanish State)
196. Roseline VACHETTA, former MEP – NPA (France)
197. Eleni VARIKAS, professor emeritus at the University of Paris 8 (France)
198. Christiane VOLLAIRE, Philosopher (France)
199. Léo WALTER Deputy of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, parliamentary group LFI-NUPES (France)
200. Thomas WEYTS, SAP – Anticapitalist, (Belgium)
201. Youlie YAMAMOTO, spokesperson of ATTAC (France)
202. Erika DEUBER ZIEGLER, art historian (Switzerland)
203. Jean ZIEGLER, sociologist, internationalist, politician (Switzerland)


Photo copyright: DR

Razem: Building a left alternative in Poland

It is not often realised that among Scotland’s population at the time of the 2011 census Poland was the largest non-UK country of birth, writes Mike Picken in this introduction for ecosocialist.scot. 

This was because of significant migration into Scotland during the period, now closed by the Tory Brexit, when Scotland as part of the EU was a member of the single market and free movement between EU states was possible.  More recent data from 2021 in England & Wales indicates that Poland is the second largest country of birth there, after India.  It should also be remembered that the xenophobic-fuelled Brexit referendum produced not only the assassination of a Labour MP by a racist extremist opposed to EU migration, but the murder of a Polish-born man in Essex and the tragic suicide of a Polish-born young woman in Cornwall following racist taunts

Poland transitioned to EU membership in 2004 and was by far the largest of the former-soviet bloc eastern european states to do so (it is currently the fifth largest EU member state – after the western european states of Germany, France, Italy and the Spanish state). 

But the transition from totalitarian stalinism to free market capitalism was fraught with contradictions.  Despite the government of the right wing ‘Law and Justice Party’ and the rise of far right movements in Poland, there has also been the growth of a small but significant new broad left wing party – Razem (“Together” – also known as “Lewica Razem” – “Left Together”),  formed in 2015 and now holding six seats in the Polish parliament, the Sejm (elected in 2019 as part of a left of centre coalition).   As a left wing party, Razem has had to walk a difficult path between being critical of the capitalist and western imperialist basis of the EU and NATO institutions, while being understanding  of the impact of stalinist totalitarianism on Polish society and the threat posed by Russian imperialism following the invasion of Ukraine.  Razem champions the Kurdish struggle in Poland and is opposed to NATO’s military interventions (see below).  But Razem is also highly critical of many western leftist organisations who have abandoned the Ukrainian people in order to promote what has been called ‘the anti-imperialism of idiots’  by Ukraine ‘Social Movement’ left wing activist Taras Bilous.  Razem has terminated its association with both the Progressive International and DIEM25 movements because of their refusal to defend unequivocally the Ukrainian people.

ecosocialist.scot is republishing below a wide ranging interview with a leading representative of Razem’s international office, Zofia Malisz.  There is much to learn for us in Scotland from this interview, particularly about the need to puncture the sometimes uncritical enthusiasm for the EU that exists in Scotland with an ecosocialist and left wing message, but also how to put across a consistent anti-imperialist message that has real resonance with the populations of Eastern Europe. 

The interview was first published by the Australian ecosocialist Green Left – this version is as republished by International Viewpoint.


Razem: Building a left alternative in Poland


Polish left-wing party Razem (Together) International Office member Zofia Malisz spoke to Green Left’s Federico Fuentes about the party’s history, Polish politics and Razem’s views on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (Green Left, 10 January 2023.)

Could you tell us about Razem’s history and politics?

Razem was formed in 2015 by a group of leftist activists with years of experience in the Polish green and feminist movements, along with members of the Young Socialists.

The impetus for creating a new party was two-fold.

One was the frustration that emerged under the liberal Donald Tusk government (2007‒14). Whenever voices started to demand the government focus on social spending instead of cuts and privatisations, Tusk’s response was to say Poland was still in its transformation stage [towards a market economy] and that now was not the time to build up a welfare state.

Frustration grew as neoliberal policies were implemented at breakneck speed to indulge business elites, while people were denied even modest social benefits and public services were being dismantled.

All this occurred as anti-austerity protests were taking place in Greece, something we supported and that inspired Razem.

The other major factor was the protests against the Iraq war and against Poland’s participation in the occupation of Afghanistan. Several activists who went on to build Razem came from these protest movements.

The revelations of alleged illegal US prisons in Poland used to torture al-Qaeda members created huge outrage. Seeing the Polish government bow down to US imperialism unchallenged — and in fact encouraged by the mainstream, including former Solidarność activists — fuelled frustration on the left.

Razem was formed as an expression of this anger and frustration that had built up during the transformation process.

This particularly still concerns the young. Unlike the old Communist establishment or the new liberal elites aligned with business, they did not get the opportunity to enrich themselves during the transformation period.

Entering professional life, let alone starting a family, has become — and still is — a very difficult thing if you are living precariously.

Our co-leaders Magda Biejat and Adrian Zandberg have been highlighting the housing situation, particularly as rent and real estate prices have risen dramatically.

Poland is also facing depopulation, with the abortion ban discouraging women from getting pregnant and high cost of living pressures, which prevent young people from starting an independent life.

In terms of Razem’s politics, I would say one difference between Razem and much of the Western left is that we do not use ideologised language and instead communicate left values organically.

This is because, after the 1990s [with the fall of the Communist regime], even using the word “socialism” became problematic. There was a backlash that the right wing and neoliberals gladly exploited to discredit any ideas of a social state.

This happened despite the fact that Poland’s socialist tradition is much older than the Eastern Bloc’s existence and played a hugely significant and positive role in the building of the Polish independent state. Not to mention that, contrary to what conservative ideologues want you to believe, the ideals of Solidarność were socialist.

Razem was [also] inspired by the modern left approach adopted by Podemos, who demonstrated how to communicate socialist ideas in a different way.

[Podemos] showed that it was very important to find new ways to break up right-wing duopolies. In the case of Polish politics, we have a duopoly between the liberal and conservative right that dominates the scene.

We had to first bring back the left and insert left issues into the centre of Polish political debate. We had to bring back social protest and unionising into everyday Polish political practice — and we succeeded. These were our motivations.

Since then we have engaged in an, at times dramatic, fight for space on the terrain of this duopoly. The duopoly manifests itself as a war of right-wing tribes that is a source of sustenance to their elites. So it was vital for us to avoid the trap of engaging in empty arguments.

Polish liberals reduce every social-political question to whether this helps defeat the conservatives, and vice versa, while never considering any problems on its merit. The Polish people are tired of this ritualistic fighting.

They appreciate the fact that our six MPs instead focus on talking about the issues. Parliamentary speeches by Adrian Zandberg, are something of a hotly anticipated public event because they give a rare sense of getting real among all this ruckus. They resonate because there is anger and people want solutions and real action. And they know they can depend on us for those.

People value Razem MPs showing up early at a strike to support workers’ demands and to facilitate bringing the entitled bosses to the table. This is where we were able to make a difference in several industrial actions in recent years.


Poland is often grouped as part of a conglomerate of far-right authoritarian countries in Eastern Europe. How accurate is this? What can you tell us about the current government?

The same year Razem was formed, a conservative Christian government was elected. They found that the key to winning was to offer something that people wanted, some kind of social benefit — in this case a child allowance — but which the liberals had been refusing to give.

The conservative government only secured a majority because it incorporated social elements into their agenda.

Polish society, when asked about the policies they prefer, most often point to a form of social democracy with solid public services. The conservatives have exploited this need to their political benefit — but have clearly failed to deliver any comprehensive social agenda.

In any case, it is clear that to grab power they did not campaign on banning abortion or dismantling the judicial branch of the state. But right after they came to power, they attacked human rights and the state’s institutions. They started stirring up culture wars in later campaigns, for example, scapegoating and harassing LGBT people.

Yes, these policies are supported by the Catholic Church. The conservative majority owes the Church huge favours — a lot of this stuff happens as a form of a clientelist exchange between the Church and the government. But these are not policies that have majority support.

Polls show the majority of the Polish people want legalisation of abortion and civil unions for same-sex couples. Polish society has been secularising dramatically in recent years. The conservatives have been losing this battle and the rabid reaction of fundamentalist groups embedded in the government’s environment reflects this.

Unlike in Hungary, the Polish government has not been able to undermine the electoral system, and while attempts to take over the judiciary have been largely successful, they faced popular protest.

Moreover, due to the European Union’s resistance to accepting these illegal reforms, the government has hit a wall of Polish EU-enthusiasm.

This is a major difference with Hungary: the government here was not able to find an easy way around the fact that people won’t support any hint of “Polexit”.

Neither will Razem, by the way, as we believe the EU badly needs social and democratic reform, but that Poland should stay and contribute to fostering integration and partnership on the continent.

This fact about Poland being pro-European integration helped defeat the government’s attacks on our checks and balances.

The result was that all the Orbanite moves the government did, including the persecution of women and LGBT people, sparked a wave of unprecedented protest. The protests against the abortion ban were huge and spanned all levels of society.

This caused a dramatic dip in the polls and the conservatives are unlikely to win a parliamentary majority in this year’s elections.

As to the idea of Eastern Europe as essentially authoritarian and full of far-right nationalists, I would say this is the result of decades of dismissing Eastern Europe agency. It is often the default, convenient portrayal in the media that flatters egos in the West.

We all know what trouble Western European countries are in regarding right-wing threats, look at Italy or France with [Giorgia] Meloni and [Marine] Le Pen, or the recent plot by German extremists to overthrow the system.

But somehow the global media and Russian propaganda manage to draw exclusive attention to right-wing authoritarian tendencies in Eastern Europe, obscuring the fact that there are left movements and a progressive civil society, and disregarding the emancipatory and democratising impulse that is well alive in the people. This contributes to the image of Eastern Europe as an especially conservative backwater, hostile to progressive ideas, which is not really the case and certainly is not a constant.

Of course, there are elements of this, but it is being incredibly exaggerated in the West, including within the Western left. Look at Slovenia with Levica, Croatia with Mozemo, Latvia with Progresivie or Poland with Razem, and you will discover inspiring left movements implementing progressive change in their country and municipal politics — and there will be more surprises like that in the future which should be acknowledged.

Particularly regarding Ukraine, it is vital movements such as Social Movement are supported in the context of resistance and rebuilding after Russian aggression is defeated.

How did Razem respond to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine? Why does Razem insist on the need to come to grips with Russian imperialism?

Razem had no doubts about how to react given our countries’ common historic experience with Russian imperialism. We had absolutely no doubts that this invasion represented an existential threat to Ukraine, that there could be no compromise, and that our party’s reaction was crucial.

Unfortunately, we were very disappointed with progressive organisations, including ones that at the time we belonged to, that kept silent right up to and after the invasion, and even after the Bucha massacre.

This was disappointing but also, I admit, we may have been a bit blind to an obvious tendency that exists within part of the left to overemphasise US imperialism while letting Russian imperialism off the hook. It quickly became clear a big part of that left is not able to accept what for us are two existential issues: that Ukraine is a sovereign state and that there is such a thing as Russian imperialism.

In contrast, representatives of the left in Poland (Razem), Finland (Left Alliance), Lithuania (Left Alliance), Czech Republic (Alliance For The Future; The Left) and Romania (Democracy and Solidarity Party) met in Warsaw on March 8 with representatives of Ukrainian left organisation Social Movement to listen to them and ask them what they needed. The Danish left (Red-Green Alliance) was not present at the meeting but later indicated their support.

It became clear that we should campaign, first, to support the left and Ukraine’s armed resistance. This was done against considerable pushback from the so-called anti-war movement in imperial or post-imperial Western societies.

We often found that Ukrainian leftists had to fight even for their right to speak at events organised by the Western left. So this was a struggle and remains a vital point: to assert the existence and amplify the voice of the Ukrainian left. Their voice, once heard, inevitably cuts through all propaganda smokescreens — they lead a righteous fight for self-determination against an imperialist aggressor, no doubt about it.

Since then, the unity initiated in Warsaw has extended to other Nordic and Central European left parties, and more recently to left groups in the Balkans. We are building a network to share information not only about our common experience with regards to Russian imperialism but also regarding the process of harsh neoliberal transformation in states of the former Eastern Bloc.

Together with Social Movement and other allies such as the Portuguese Left Bloc or the Swedish Left Party we also launched a campaign to cancel Ukraine’s debt, which is restricting Ukraine’s war efforts and the ability to maintain its economy afloat. We have had some successes: a bill has been passed in the US House of Representatives calling on the US government to influence lenders on behalf of Ukraine, and the issue has also been raised in the UK and European parliament.

This is a campaign we hope to build on as an example of concrete solidarity and outward campaigning. We prefer to offer concrete solidarity, work with parties, trade unions and movements that are accountable to voters, members and the public.

Debates on realist geopolitics regarding multipolarity perhaps drive book sales, Twitter likes and invitations to panel debates, but they do not help the Ukrainian people who fight off genocidal aggression of a neighbour who wagering on neocolonialism in the 21st century.

How do you view the issue of NATO expansionism?

We are clear that the influence of Western militarism is not welcome in Poland. But we recognise that we are in a complex situation. Unlike the left that operates in the heart of an empire, the left in our part of Europe cannot afford to take a purely ideological stance that is divorced from the security realities of the peoples of our region.

On the one hand, given the lack of a proper European security architecture, NATO currently represents the only guarantee of protection for Polish citizens. The vast majority of Poles want this protection, because they know the threat Russian imperialism poses. That is why I do not think that we can honestly talk about NATO expansionism in our region. Instead, what we had was countries desperately applying to join NATO in the 1990s, while the US was initially not so favourable to us joining.

For people in our region, Russian expansionism is the existential threat. And it is Russia that is expanding towards and across our region — by invading Ukraine.

If you look honestly at the history of NATO-Russia relations regarding Europe, you will see it was Russia who regularly step forward first with the will to escalate.

Politically, you can speak of appeasement regarding Western European policy towards Russia in recent decades. Militarily, regarding troop and weapon deployments, you cannot speak of provocation.

On the other hand, Razem has actively opposed any Polish participation in NATO’s contemptuous, hardly legal, interventions, such as in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, etc. Any arbitrary action that is motivated by primitive extractionism or forced upon the alliance members via political pressure from the US is for us the true meaning of “NATO expansionism”. And we oppose it.

We are also clear that such actions have only emboldened Russia, and provided it with precedents to carry out its own brazen imperialist actions.

Razem is aware that there are several imperialisms at play in our part of Europe and that we cannot afford to take sides supporting one imperialism over another.

10 January 2023

Original Source Green Left, 10 January 2023, this version from International Viewpoint: https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article7948

“The Other Davos” – Swiss counter summit to the World Economic Forum, watch on YouTube 13/14 January

The “World Economic Forum” of big business interests kicks off in Davos, Switzerland on 16 January 2023.  For a number of years, ecosocialist.scot’s friends and allies in the Swiss “Movement for Socialism” have organised a counter-summit called “The Other Davos” that focusses on the economic and ecological crises as they affect working class people around the world and presenting ecosocialist alternatives to the global establishment.

The motto of The Other Davos 2023 is “In solidarity against inflation, climate catastrophe & war”.

Guests include Ukrainian-born sociologist Yuliya Yurchenko, Ukrainian activist Tasha Lomonosova (Sotsialnyi Rukh) and Lausanne-based Ukrainian socialist Hanna Perekhoda (solidaritéS); Russian journalist Ilya Matveev (Posle Magazine); economic geographer Christian Zeller (author of Revolution for the Climate); Simon Pirani (author of Burning Up: A Global History of Fossil Fuel Consumption”); the Iranian journalist Mina Khani; activists from RWE & Co. Simon Hannah (Anticapitalist Resistance), Charlotte Powell (rs21) and Taisie Tsikas (rs21) from Great Britain; the Italian trade unionist Eliana Como (Sinistra Anticapitalista); Christoph Wälz (Trade Union for Education and Science, Berlin); the anti-racist activists Simin Jawabreh and Mark Akkerman; as well as the journalists Anna Jikhareva (WOZ), Nelli Tügel and Jan Ole Arps (ak – analyse&kritik).

The event takes place in Zurich and starts on Friday 13 January at 6pm British time, and runs until 7pm on Saturday 14 January.

Some of the sessions will be livestreamed on YouTube and many presenters will be speaking in English, one of three official languages of The Other Davos (the others being German and French).

The full programme is available here:

The Other Davos 2023 > sozialismus.ch

But you can join the YouTube livestreams as follows:

Friday 13 January at 6pm-8.30pm (British time)

Plenary session:“Perspectives of Solidarity in a burning World”
We are currently experiencing a dramatic escalation of the contradictions of capitalist society. War, ecological crisis, inflation and poverty are raising the stakes of the challenges the left is facing. Our answers must inevitably question capitalist power and property relations.

(1452) Plenum: Solidarische Perspektiven in einer brennenden Welt (Das Andere Davos 2023) – YouTube

Saturday 14 January at 9.30am -12 noon (British time)

Workshop: The Iranian Revolution and International Solidarity

With: Mina Khani, Iranian journalist (e.g. at ak – analyse&kritik) and queer feminist in Berlin, and Elisa Moros, feminist activist of the European Network in Solidarity with Ukraine and the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste (NPA) in Paris.

(1452) Der Aufstand im Iran und die internationale feministische Solidarität (Das Andere Davos 2023) – YouTube

Saturday 14 January at 1.30pm -4pm (British time)

Workshop: Resistance Against War and Neoliberalism in Ukraine

With: Yuliya Yurchenko, lecturer in political economy at the University of Greenwich (UK), author of the book “Ukraine and the Empire of Capital: From Marketisation to Armed Conflict”, Tasha Lomonosova, activist of the Ukrainian socialist organization Sotsialnyi Rukh (SR); fled from Kyiv to Berlin in March 2022, and Hanna Perekhoda, from Donetsk, political scientist at the University of Lausanne, activist of solidaritéS and the Ukraine-Switzerland Committee.

(1452) Der ukrainische Widerstand gegen Krieg und Neoliberalismus (Das Andere Davos 2023) – YouTube

Saturday 14 January at 5pm -8pm (British time)

Workshop: For an Internationalist Antifascism!

With Mark Akkerman, active with abolishfrontex/ stopthewaronmigrants, Mina Khani, Iranian publicist (at ak – analyse&kritik, among others) and queer feminist, Tatjana Söding, activist of the Zetkin collective (research group on right-wing extremism and climate justice), and activists of the Movement for Socialism (BFS).

(1452) Plenum: Für einen internationalistischen Antifaschismus! (Das Andere Davos 2023) – YouTube


Please note that times on the programme on the official website are in Central European Time (CET) which is one hour ahead of British Time.

Towards a global week of action for solidarity with Ukraine

ecosocialist.scot members have endorsed the following statement calling for the week of 24 February to be made a global week of action against the Russian invasion and for solidarity with Ukraine and added our name to the appeal.  The statement was prepared by the European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine which represents a wide range of socialist, labour movement and international solidarity organisations across Europe.
We urge the widest possible support for the statement in Scotland, across the rest of the UK state and internationally.

Stop the Russian war of aggression! Peace for Ukraine!

Friday February 24 will mark one year since the Russian army invaded Ukraine on the orders of Putin and his regime. A year of indescribable suffering and bloodshed for the Ukrainian people.

The completely unjustified invasion has already cost the lives of many tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians and military personnel. Every day the Ukrainian people face brutality and violence. Millions of civilians have been forced to flee abroad, millions are internally displaced.

Entire towns and villages have been reduced to rubble by Russian bombing and airstrikes. Civilian infrastructure (electricity and heating networks, schools, hospitals, railroads, ports, etc.) is being systematically destroyed, making the country unlivable.

Putin wants to make an independent and livable Ukraine impossible:

  • The Russian army has committed mass murders of civilians and Ukrainian soldiers in many places. The fate of many thousands is still unknown. Mass rape campaigns and killings by rape, are established attack strategies. With every liberation of a Ukrainian village or town, new crimes come to light.
  • A great many Ukrainian citizens (including many hundreds of thousands of children/ over 700 thousand children) have been deported, without permission and often by force, to the territory of Russia.

The Ukrainian people rightly refuse to be passive victims of this war of aggression and actively and massively resists the invasion, with or without arms in hand. Very widespread mutual solidarity and self-organization of the population plays a crucial role in enabling this resistance to continue, as does international support in many different forms.

The killing of the Ukrainian people before the eyes of the world and the destruction of independent Ukraine must stop! The loudest possible international protest against the Russian invasion and the widest possible solidarity with the Ukrainian people is more necessary than ever

We, organizations and individuals from all over the world, launch a call to make the week of February 24 a global week of action against the Russian invasion and for solidarity with Ukraine.

  • Peace for Ukraine, no to the Russian war! Immediate cessation of bombing by the Russian military and withdrawal of all Russian troops from Ukraine.
  • The widest possible support for and solidarity with the Ukrainian people in their justified resistance to the Russian invasion.

To add your organisation’s name to this appeal, please write to us at info@ukraine-solidarity.eu

Edinburgh Ukraine Solidarity Book Launch – Sat 21 January 7pm-8pm

Ukraine Solidarity Campaign Scotland are holding an important launch of a book in solidarity with the resistance of Ukraine to the Russian invasion.  The meeting will be hosted by Lighthouse Books, Edinburgh’s radical bookshop, on Saturday 21 January from 7pm-8pm.

Register to attend and buy the book here: https://lighthousebookshop.com/events/ukraine-voices-of-resistance-and-solidarity

The book is “Ukraine: Voices of Resistance and Solidarity” and is a collection of recent writings by Ukrainians and socialists around the world.

This is an extremely important book published at this tragic moment when our country has been invaded. It builds a bridge of solidarity between the people of Ukraine and the working class around the world. The contributions make it easier to imagine a better future without imperialism and injustice.
Vitalii Dudin, President of Sotsialnyi Rukh/Social Movement.

Ukraine: Voices of Resistance and Solidarity is a contribution to understanding what Ukrainians think, feel and need. Their voices are a call for solidarity, peace and progress. Above all, it is about the Ukrainian people deciding their future and an end to Russian imperialism.
Mick Antoniw, Member of Senedd Cymru.

There is an independent review of the book republished on the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign website – here.

The book is published by Resistance Books, with whom ecosocialist.scot is proud to be associated.

The Facebook event is here and the details and text of the leaflet for the meeting are below.

We urge all our readers to support this important meeting and to buy the book, which in Scotland can be bought or ordered from Lighthouse Books (Opening hours: Mon – Sat 10am – 8pm Sun 11.30am – 5pm) directions below or ordered by mail order from Resistance Books here



Lighthouse Books, 43-5 West Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9DB – directions

Saturday, 21st January, 7.00 – 8.00 pm.


Chris Ford, Ukraine Solidarity Campaign and co-editor of the book

Taras Fedirko, Ukraine Solidarity Campaign, Edinburgh

The world is becoming an ever more violent and oppressive place. Competing imperialisms, some growing in influence, others declining, are jockeying for place in an increasingly unstable global order. Whole nations and peoples have been repressed or invaded, either directly by imperial powers or by their local allies. We have seen this in Iraq, Syria, Kurdistan, Palestine, Yemen and Xinjiang. Most recently, we have witnessed the bloody invasion of Ukraine, launched by Putin’s Russian empire on February 24th, 2022.

Putin thought that this invasion would be walkover, and the USA and leading European powers initially thought so too. However, Putin’s invasion was met by the resistance of ordinary Ukrainians. Initially they were often unarmed, or only lightly armed. This in the face of Russian heavy artillery, air strikes and then tank-led troops. Women have been to the forefront of these communities of resistance and have been some of the main victims of the continuing occupation. The Donbass miners, with their history of opposition to exploitation and oppression by Ukrainian oligarchs, are also now in the front line of resistance against Putin and his kleptocrat backers. They have already won widespread international solidarity.

This meeting, organised by the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign (Scotland), invites people to hear the arguments presented in the book, Ukraine: Voices of Resistance and Solidarity. USC(S)’s New Year resolution is to help organise the solidarity necessary to support the people of Ukraine and end the Russian occupation. Self-determination whether, national, social or individual, needs to be defended wherever it is threatened. Please come to this meeting and bring others along too.

Ukraine Solidarity Campaign Scotland

Solidarity with Nicaraguan people – Scotland’s role

In Scotland, soon after the 1979 Sandinista [FSLN] revolutionary triumph over the Somoza dictatorship  in Nicaragua, a united front solidarity campaign was established called Scottish Medical Aid for Nicaragua (SMAN), writes Norman Lockhart.

The campaign included trade unions, Labour Party and other campaigns, including church organisations influenced by liberation theology.

It played a similar role to the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign based in London and was based on the experience of Medical Aid for Palestine.

It also incorporated the El Salvador solidarity campaign (ELSSOC) which had been more prominent in Scotland.

It not only sent NHS doctors and nurses to work mostly in the southern region and concentrated in sending Scottish delegations there, including trade unionists and MPs, but also built health centres and other facilities for people neglected by the Somoza dictatorship.

A high point of the solidarity was the visit by the then revolutionary Sandinista president Daniel Ortega to the Glasgow Mayday 1989 celebrations at a time when right wing US President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher dominated the world of imperialist politics.

The revolution was never to be considered perfect –  it was even once described as the Labour Party but with guns!

One of the important lessons of both the Nicaraguan FSLN and the FMLN in El Salvador had been recognising the common grounds for uniting in struggle.

In the context of the popular struggles world wide and particularly in Latin America again today, it should be a priority to defend democratic and human rights against what can be referred to as the Orteguista dictatorship regime.

Ortega and his partner the current vice president Murillo have become another brutal dictatorship that has imprisoned several hundred political prisoners including his once fellow Sandinista combatants.

For example, one of them who has been detained in solitary confinement for over a year, Dora Maria Tellez, led a military wing of the Sandinista army in overthrowing the Somoza dictatorship and was also the minister for health during the Sandinista government.

This process became more obvious about four years ago when police, aided by para military thugs, shot down workers, peasants and students demonstrating in defence of the environment and for better state pensions.

While the Sandinista revolution heralded many obvious benefits for the population of Nicaragua in health and education as well as land reforms and farming cooperatives, it also set a worldwide example to those forces struggling for social justice and human rights.

Most notably the recognition of the need for the indigenous and minority black groups on the Atlantic coast for self determination.

This was very significant in undermining the base of the ‘contras’, the terrorist opposition financed, trained and armed by the USA.

Part of the consolidation of the revolutionary process and the best way for a legitimate international profile was the first democratic presidential election that confirmed the Sandinista popular liberation victory.

In contrast, a clear expression of the revolution’s many faults was the so called ‘piñata’ when after losing the next election many financial rewards and privileges (state property, land and businesses) were given to faithful FSLN party servants or bureaucrats.

The dictatorship of Ortega has even refused permission for revolutionaries from other latin american states to visit Nicaragua to find out first hand what conditions for working class people are like.  And even the Organisation of Latin American States OEA has condemned Ortega’s undemocratic regime repeatedly over the last four years but this year it was unanimous and without abstentions.

There is still a network of Scots previously sympathisers of the Sandinista revolution who support the people’s continuing struggle.

Norman Lockhart, October 2022

Image from https://correspondenciadeprensa.com/

After the floods, Pakistan needs reparations, not charity

At the time of writing, writes Farooq Tariq on 13 September, more than one-third of Pakistan is under water. Flash floods, generated by abnormal monsoon rains have so far claimed the lives of 1350 people. One million residential buildings are totally or partially damaged, leaving more than 50 million people displaced from their homes.

Crucially, the flood is expected to add $10 billion worth of damage to an already teetering economy. More than 793,900 livestock have died, depriving families across Pakistan of a critical source of sustenance and livelihood. Around two million acres of crops and orchards have been impacted.

These impacts are undeniably a symptom of an accelerating climate crisis. Despite producing less than one per cent of global carbon emissions, Pakistan bears some of the worst consequences of the climate crisis globally. The nation has consistently ranked in the Global Climate Risk Index as among the top ten most vulnerable countries in the world over the past twenty years. As Julien Harneis, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Pakistan says: ‘This super flood is driven by climate change — the causes are international’.

The people of Pakistan are the latest victims of a global crisis to which they have contributed almost nothing,— and which has instead been driven by the excess emissions of rich countries and corporate polluters. This fundamental injustice is at the root of increasing demands for climate reparations from Pakistan and the wider Global South.

We are now taking out more loans to simply pay off the interest of our previous debts. The money sent out of Pakistan to pay off our international creditors could be spent instead on rehabilitating the millions who are displaced

One such demand is debt cancellation. Debt injustice and the climate crisis go hand in hand. As extreme weather events intensify countries on the frontlines, such as Mozambique, and island states in the Caribbean are facing increasing economic damages. After these events, low-income (and often already heavily indebted) governments face a shortfall in funding and have little choice but to take out further loans to rebuild livelihoods and communities.

We can already see this cycle happening in Pakistan. Even before the floods, Pakistan was drowning in debt, having faced a steep fall in foreign exchange because of soaring global commodity prices and a rise in the US dollar. The cost of electricity and food has soared. By the end of this year, Pakistan will have had to pay a total of around $38 billion dollars to the IMFWorld Bank and other financial institutions including the Chinese State Bank. A spiral of borrowing is generating an impending economic crisis.

The floods have prompted a flurry of foreign aid, with USAID contributing $30 million, adding to a United Nations contribution of $3 million last week. The UN is launching a new flood relief plan for Pakistan, as its officials echoed calls for greater contributions from around the world. But still, it is nowhere near enough.

As humanitarian organizations scrabbled for emergency funds, a familiar face reared its head once more. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), recently approved a bailout request with a plan to release $1.1 billion to the country. At first glance, this may seem like a vital step in Pakistan’s recovery, but to pile further debt on a country already in the grips of a financial crisis will only end in further disaster.

The empirical evidence overwhelmingly supports the view that a large portion of government debt harms economic growth potential, and in many cases, the impact gets more pronounced as debt increases. Pakistan’s high degree of indebtedness has made it more vulnerable to economic shocks and weakened the country politically vis-a-vis powerful external lenders. It has also greatly reduced Pakistan’s ability to invest in education and healthcare, or its infrastructure.

If the West intends on supporting Pakistan through this crisis, it needs to implement a series of measures that tackle the scale of damage inflicted by the Global North upon the South since the Industrial Revolution. As a first step, this should include comprehensive debt cancellation, alongside greatly increased climate finance to support communities to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

In addition, many climate-vulnerable countries including Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Tuvalu are now also calling for compensation from rich countries for the disasters they are now facing.

This is often termed as ‘Loss and Damage’, which even now in 2022 is still not an official part of the negotiations agenda at the UN climate change conference, COP. Climate-vulnerable countries have on numerous occasions demanded climate compensation from the rich countries and corporations that have created climate chaos – each time they have been blocked. At COP27, there must be further concrete progress on these discussions.

The concept of waiving debt is not new. During the pandemic, some debt relief was put in place for low-income countries, although the private sector has continued to collect payments, which inevitably exacerbated the economic crisis generated by Covid-19. But even private creditors can be kept at bay when there is a strong moral demand. In July, a few months after Russia’s invasion, Ukraine’s creditors made a landmark agreement to cease collecting debt payments during the war.

If international institutions suspended the collection of debts, Pakistan wouldn’t need new loans. The money sent out of Pakistan to pay off international creditors could be spent instead on rehousing the millions who are displaced. Pakistan needs at least four years to rebuild and reconstruct its economy and to cover up the damages done by floods and heavy rains.

But there also remains a wider question: who should pay for the climate crisis? Why should Pakistan have to take out any loans at all to pay for the impacts of a crisis it has not caused? Pakistan’s climate minister Sherry Rehman told The Guardian that global emission targets and reparations must be reconsidered, given the accelerated and relentless nature of climate catastrophes hitting countries such as Pakistan.

Of course, repairing climate apartheid and fixing the crisis is not as simple as writing a cheque, and many other measures are needed to support Pakistan’s people through the catastrophe they are facing.

Yet without debt relief or funding to compensate for loss and damage, Pakistan’s cycle of debt and climate crises is only set to worsen

By Farooq Tariq 

Farooq Tariq is the General Secretary of the Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee, a network of 26 peasant organizations and a coalition member of the international platform La Via Campesina.

This article is republished from the website of CADTM, the Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt.  CADTM is an international organisation based in Liege, Belgium and is led by Eric Toussaint, a writer of several books on debt published by Resistance Books, here and here.

Original Source : New Internationalist


Jîna ‘Mahsa’ Amini Was Kurdish And That Matters – Say her Kurdish name.

In 1852, writes Meral Çiçek, the 35-years old women’s rights activist Tahirih Ghoratolein was executed by the Iranian regime in Tehran for two things: her Bábí faith and unveiling herself. Her last words were: “You can kill me as soon as you like, but you cannot stop the emancipation of women.”

Almost exactly 170 years later, in the same city, a 22-year-old woman died after being arrested by the so-called guidance patrol, Islamic religious police who adhere to strict interpretations of sharia law. Her offence was not wearing the hijab in accordance with government standards. When the police detained her, the woman’s brother explained they weren’t from Tehran and were unaware of the city’s rules (the family were  visiting from Saqqez, a Kurdish city in the west, close to the border of Iraqi Kurdistan) to no avail: she was taken to a police station anyway. There, her family allege, she was “insulted and tortured”, collapsing before eventually being taken to hospital. Upon arrival doctors discovered the woman had suffered “brain death”. Two days later, she suffered a cardiac arrest and was unable to be resuscitated.

The woman’s name was Jîna, which means ‘life’ in Kurdish. Jîn (and its equivalent Jiyan) is etymologically related to Jin, the Kurdish word for woman. But the world has come to know her better in death by her Iranian name: Mahsa Amini.

Shortly after Amini’s violent death on 16 September, protests broke out and spread from the Kurdish parts of Iran to the whole country and the world. Demonstrators chanted  the Kurdish slogan “jin, jiyan, azadî” – “woman, life, freedom”. But in news reports, particularly Western ones, Jîna Amini’s Kurdish identity has been erased – she is described as an Iranian woman and her ‘official’ Persian name ‘Mahsa’ – which for her family and friends existed only on state-documents –is the one in headlines. Calls to “say her name” echo in real life and across social media but unwittingly obscure Jîna’s real name and, in doing so, her Kurdish identity.

Iranian state discrimination against Kurds includes a widespread ban of Kurdish names which forces many families to register their children officially with non-Kurdish names, while maintaining their actual names at home. This in turn fragments the experience of many Kurds and creates an ‘official-legal’ and an ‘unofficial-illegal’ identity. The authentic ethnic-cultural identity loses its validity and a name that says nothing about your roots identifies you.

Some people that insist on calling Jîna Amini by her state-approved name Mahsa effectively argue that she did not lose her life under detention because she was Kurdish, but only because she was a woman. Therefore – according to the argument – it is not necessary or significant to call her by her Kurdish name.

Iran is an antidemocratic state, based on brutal rule. Anyone who is not part of the apparatus of oppression is in danger – no matter what sex, religion or ethnic group they belong to. Some are even more vulnerable than others. This is particularly the case for women and for Kurds.

It is likely that the immoral ‘morality police’ that arrested Jîna on 13 September at the entry of Shahid Haghani Expressway in the presence of her brother (who has also an unofficial Kurdish and an official Persian name) were aware of her ethnic identity. It is possible that they treated her with particular brutality because of it. It is likely that she resisted the insults and curses of the officers so much because of her identity and political consciousness as a Kurdish woman.

But regardless of whether or not her Kurdish identity played a significant role in the detention and brutal violence that led to Amini’s death, understating or concealing her ethnic origin represents a reproduction of colonial politics of the Iranian regime towards the Kurdish people. This attitude is a distillation of the power and suppression of the majority nation – even when expressed by well-meaning Persian feminists.

Amini’s death has seen Kurdish slogans calling for women’s liberation and revolution echo around the world. “Jin, jiyan, azadî” – and its translations – has reverberated through crowds and demonstrations held in solidarity with freedom-seeking women in Iran. Even in Afghanistan women chanted the slogan, despite attacks on demonstrators by the Taliban.

This chant originated in the Kurdistan women’s liberation movement. It embodies the movement’s goal: to liberate life through a women’s revolution. It was first chanted collectively by Kurdish women on 8 March 2006, at gatherings marking International Women’s Day across Turkey. After this came a period in which annual campaigns challenged patriarchal mindsets and misogynist practices within Kurdish society.  This period of intense struggle against patriarchy culminated in the Rojava revolution 10-years-ago, on 19 July 2012, which sent the slogan “jin, jiyan, azadî” echoing around the world, beyond the borders of Kurdistan.

The Kurdish women’s movement does not aim to monopolise this slogan, in contrast it aims to universalise it in the struggle for women’s democratic confederalism worldwide. Nevertheless, its roots and context should be acknowledged. Otherwise, we run the risk of emptying our slogans of active struggle and allowing them to lose their meaning. As I write this piece, women of the German party CDU/CSU – under whose government the Kurdish liberation movement has been criminalised the most – are protesting Jîna’s killing in Berlin, holding posters with the German translation of “jin, jiyan, azadî”.

Jîna Amini was a Kurdish woman. Kurdish women have fought so hard not to be erased in life; do not let their stories be rewritten in death.

Meral Çiçek is a Kurdish political activist and journalist.

This article was originally published by Novara Media: https://novaramedia.com/2022/10/04/jina-mahsa-amini-was-kurdish-and-that-matters/

End of the Nightmare in Brazil?

The result of the first round of the Brazilian elections on 2nd October is mixed, writes Michael Löwy. Certainly, Lula, the candidate of the Workers’ Party, is in the lead, with 48.4% of the vote. But the hope of a victory in the first round has vanished and, above all, he is closely followed by Jair Bolsonaro, the neo-fascist candidate, with 43.2%–much more than the polls predicted. There will therefore be a second round on October 30, which, barring an unexpected reversal, should be won by Lula. However, Bolsonaro’s supporters appear to be in control of parliament as well as several regional governments. In short, the neo-fascist current will probably lose the presidency, but remains an extremely powerful political force.

Brazil’s dominant classes have never had a great fondness for democracy. Inheritors of three centuries of European colonization and four centuries of slavery, they have shown, in the last hundred years, a strong propensity for an authoritarian state from 1930 to 1945 under the personal power of the caudillo Getulio Vargas; 1964-1985, a military dictatorship; in 2016, a pseudo-parliamentary coup against President-elect Dilma Rousseff; from 2018-2022: neo-fascist government of Jair Bolsonaro. The more or less democratic periods seem to be parenthesis between two authoritarian regimes.

The four years of Bolsonaro’s presidency have been a huge disaster for the Brazilian people. Elected with the support of the bourgeois press, business circles, landowners, banks, and neo-Pentecostal churches, he took advantage of the fact that Lula, the only opponent capable of beating him, had been put in prison, under false accusations. The former captain was unable to fulfil his dream of re-establishing a military dictatorship and shooting “thirty thousand communists.” But he has sabotaged every health policy in the face of Covid, resulting in more than 600 thousand deaths; he has ravaged Brazil’s fragile public services (health, education, etc.); he has reduced tens of millions of Brazilian women to poverty; he has actively supported the destruction of the Amazon by the kings of soybeans and cattle; he has promoted neo-fascist, homophobic, misogynist, and climate-sceptic ideas; he supported the paramilitary militias (responsible for the assassination of Marielle Franco); and he has not ceased to try to set up an authoritarian regime.

Will the October 2022 elections put an end to this nightmare? Lula is likely to win in the second round on October 30. But Bolsonaro, following the example of his political model, Donald Trump, has already announced that he will not recognize an unfavorable result: “If I lose, it is because the vote has been falsified.” A part of the Army, strongly represented in his government, seems to support him: will it go so far as to take the initiative of a military coup against the elected president, i.e. Lula? This hypothesis cannot be ruled out, even if it does not seem the most likely: the Brazilian Army is not used to moving without the green light from the Pentagon and the State Department. But right now, Biden has no interest in supporting a tropical Trump at the helm of Brazil. Bolsonaro tried to mobilize his supporters—police, militiamen, retired generals, neo-Pentecostal pastors, etc.—to create a crisis situation comparable to that caused by Trump around the Capitol after his electoral defeat. Will he have the same success as his North American idol?

Despite the highly questionable choice of a reactionary bourgeois politician (Geraldo Alckmin) as his running mate for for vice-president, it is clear that Lula—Luis Inacio da Silva, former metalworker, trade union leader of the great strikes of 1979, and founder of the Workers’ Party—is currently embodying the hope of the Brazilian people to put an end to the neo-fascist episode of the last four years. He is supported by a broad coalition of forces, which includes not only most of the organizations of the left and the social movement—trade unions, the landless movement, the homeless movement—but also the broad sectors of the industrial bourgeoisie, which unlike the land owners, who remain loyal to Bolsonaro, came to the conclusion that the ex-captain was not a good option for business. It must be acknowledged that the electoral battle was not preceded by a rise in popular mobilization as in Colombia.

The Party of Socialism and Freedom (PSOL), the main force of the radical and/or anti-capitalist left in Brazil—where there are several currents associated, in one form or another, with the Fourth International—decided, after a long internal debate, to support Lula from the first round. A small dissident current, led by the economist Plinio de Aruda Sampaio Jr, who disagreed with this choice, left the party, but the main left currents of the PSOL—such as the Movement of the Socialist Left (MES), whose spokeswoman, Luciana Genro, was the presidential candidate of the PSOL in 2014—have, despite their desire for a PSOL’s own candidacy in the first round, accepted the majority decision and actively participated in the campaign in support of Lula.

Most PSOL activists have no illusions about what the government led by Lula and the Workers Party (PT) would be: probably an even more unbalanced version of the social-liberal policies of class conciliation of previous experiences under the aegis of the PT. Admittedly, these experiments have allowed some social advances, but it is not certain that this will be the case this time. This will depend, of course, on the ability of the radical left and, above all, of the social movements, of the exploited and the oppressed to move, autonomously and independently. Nevertheless, it is obvious that the vote for Lula is an unavoidable necessity to free the Brazilian people from the sinister nightmare that the regime of Jair Bolsonaro has signified.

Once elected, Lula will face many difficulties: fierce opposition from sectors of the Army, the kings of cattle and soybeans, neo-Pentecostal churches, fanatical (often armed) supporters of Bolsonaro. He risks having before him a hostile Congress, dominated by reactionary forces; the present Chamber is governed by the so-called “4 Bs: beef, banks, Bibles, bullets”, i.e. landowners, finance capital, evangelical sects and paramilitary militias. One of the decisive battles of the future will be the rescue of the Amazon, which is being destroyed by agro-capitalism.

In addition, Lula will be, like Dilma Rousseff, under the permanent threat of a “parliamentary coup.” This results from a disastrous choice for the vice-presidency: Geraldo Alckmin, former governor of Sâo Paulo, the former right-wing opponent beaten by Dilma Rousseff in 2014. Lula probably chose him to give pledges to the bourgeoisie and disarm the right-wing opposition. But he has thus given a decisive weapon to the ruling classes. If Lula takes any action that does not please the Brazilian oligarchs, who controls the majority of the parliament, he will be the subject of impeachment proceedings, as was the case with Dilma in 2016. In this sad precedent, she was punished under ridiculous pretexts, and replaced by the vice-president, Temer, a reactionary of the so-called bourgeois “center”. The same could happen to Lula: impeachment and substitution by Alckmin. The Colombian Gustavo Petro was more skilful, choosing as running mate Francia Marquez, an Afro-Colombian woman, feminist and environmentalist.

That said, the imperative of the moment, in October 2022, is, without a doubt, the vote for Lula. As Trotsky explained so well almost a century ago, the broadest unity of all the forces of the workers’ movement is the necessary condition for defeating fascism.

3 October 2022

Michael Löwy, activist of the Fourth International, is an ecosocialist, sociologist and philosopher. Born in 1938 in São Paulo (Brazil), he has lived in Paris since 1969. Research director (emeritus) at the CNRS and professor at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales, he is the author of numerous books published in twenty-nine languages, including The Marxism of Che GuevaraMarxism and Liberation TheologyFatherland or Mother Earth? and The War of Gods: Religion and Politics in Latin America.  He is joint author (with Joel Kovel) of the International Ecosocialist Manifesto. He was also one of the organizers of the first International Ecosocialist Meeting, in Paris, in 2007.

This article was originally published by New Politics, this version is the one republished by International Viewpoint: https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article7840