Monday, August 4, 2014

Solidaires - Against repression, solidarity with the Palestinian people

Trade Union Solidaires
Originally published July 30 2014
The Trade Union Solidaires wishes to provide full support to NPA (Nouveau parti anticapitaliste - New Anti-capitalist Party) militant Alain Pojolat threatened today with repression for filing and negotiating with the Paris prefecture, in the name of all those who wanted to demonstrate, requests for demonstrations in Paris in support of the Palestinian people, demonstrations which were finally banned.
 
The authorities accused him of bringing individually what is required from a collective. 

Following complicit statements by the government, it bans protest, the government will not tolerate its inability to prevent the expression of the solidarity of thousands of protestors. After trying to create an amalgam between solidarity and anti-Semitism, an amalgam clearly denied by the solidarity movement, the government now uses repression.

The Trade Union Solidaires believes that the incidents that followed the massive, peaceful demonstration at Barbès on July 19 are the responsibility of those who decided the ban. It assumes its presence in the two Parisian demonstrations banned 19 and 26 July and the public call she made to join them.
 
Solidaires demands an end to any suit against Alain Pojolat and respect the right of expression and demonstration.
 
Solidaires asked the French government to work for:

  • ending the bombing;
  • lifting the blockade of Gaza;
  • the release of Palestinian prisoners;
  • the implementation of sanctions against the Israeli state to force compliance with international law.
Solidaires calls for new protests to be held in the coming days.

Read more...

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Solidaires - Lets be many in expressing our solidarity with Palestine

SUD PTT / Trade Union Solidaires
Issued 29 July 2014
Three weeks after the start of the Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip, there have been over a thousand casualties, including more than 75% are civilians. Added to these grim statistics, the wounded and the destruction of homes, schools, hospitals, wells and the main power plant.

Nothing can justify such a massacre, which is part of the Israeli government’s effort to put pressure on the population and keep it in a state of submission to an order which Israel imposes, regardless of international decisions.

Nothing can justify the complicity of either the French government or Western leaders:
Nothing is done to enforce international law, particularly the UN resolutions adopted since years
Nothing is done to stop the blockade of Gaza, which locks people into a permanent prison.

And in support of the idea that we should not import the war onto the French territory, the expressions of solidarity with Palestine are labelled anti-Semitism and the protestors are stigmatized.

Demonstrations were banned, causing incidents.

The Trade Union Solidarity has long participated in demonstrations of solidarity with the Palestinian people. It has enrolled in several trips solidarity missions, struggled against the blockade and more recently participated in the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions), which is the most peaceful way to apply pressure of each and every one on the Israeli government.

For a just and lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis, Solidarity with other organizations of the National Collective require:
The immediate cessation of the Israeli intervention,
Respect for international law and end the blockade,
The release of Palestinian prisoners
Sanctions against the State of Israel to impose a policy change.

Solidaires is an integral part in the many manifestations of solidarity planned in cities.

Read more...

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Victorian Trades Hall Council statement on Gaza

25 July 2014
Originally Published by Australian Unionists Supporting Palestine

The Victorian Trades Hall Council Executive meeting on Friday 25 July unanimously passed this resolution, proposed by Kevin Bracken (Maritime Union of Australia, Victoria Branch).

That this meeting of the Victorian Trades Hall Executive:

  • Condemns Israel’s latest horrific assault on the people of Palestine, which has resulted in over 600 deaths in the past three weeks – the overwhelming majority of the dead being civilians, and many of them children. 
  • We reiterate previous policy supporting a strategy of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against the state of Israel, similar to actions designed to isolate the former Apartheid regime of South Africa. 
  • We support the peaceful community protests called in solidarity with the people of Palestine, to be held on Saturday 26 July at 1pm, and Friday 1 August at 5pm, outside the State Library in Swanston St, Melbourne. 
  • We urge affiliates to support these protests through attendance, publicity, and other means.
~~~~~~~~~~~~
Background to this statement: On 7 July 2014, following a severe escalation in hostilities involving intense Israeli aerial and navy bombardment and Palestinian rocket firing, the Israeli Government launched a full-scale military offensive against the Gaza Strip, titled Operation ‘Protective Edge’.

Read more...

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Queensland Teachers Union statement on Gaza

Queensland Teachers’ Union State Council
Originally published 19 July, 2014

“THAT QTU State Council expresses dismay at the tragic loss of lives in the current conflict in Gaza and other Occupied Palestinian Territory and that 77% of those killed are civilians including many woman and children.

In light of the deaths of at least 58 children, and hundreds of other innocent civilians, and the wounding of 2200 others as a direct consequence of this conflict, the QTU State Council calls on the parties concerned to immediately cease hostilities, as well for the immediate lifting of the seven year blockade of Gaza, and an end to the military occupation and the illegal settlements.

THAT the QTU State Council calls on the AEU and Education International to make public statements in support of the United Nations Security Council call for a ceasefire and calls for the resolution of the conflict based on United Nation Security Council resolutions, and international humanitarian law, as a means to lead to a peaceful outcome for all.

THAT QTU State Council reaffirms its commitment to boycotts divestments and sanctions against Israel until such time as it complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights and calls on the AEU to initiate a broad discussion on an appropriate BDS commitment at a national level.”

Read more...

ITUC - Israel/Palestine: UN Ceasefire Call Must Be Respected

International Trade Union Confederation
Originally published 14 July, 2014

The ITUC has called for urgent implementation of the UN Security Council’s call for a ceasefire as the death toll in Gaza continues to mount. The Security Council has called for a “de-escalation of the situation, restoration of calm, reinstitution of the November 2012 ceasefire and respect for international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians.”

Around 170 Palestinians in Gaza, three-quarters of them civilians according to the UN, have been killed and more than 1,000 injured in the past week by more than 1,200 Israeli airstrikes. No fatalities in Israel have been reported from the 900 rockets fired from within Gaza.

“An immediate ceasefire and urgent humanitarian assistance to Gaza must be followed by renewed international pressure to end Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and find a negotiated settlement to respect the 1967 borders between Israel and a Palestinian state. The world cannot allow the injustice to continue, nor can it accept the prospect of yet more violence causing the deaths of innocent civilians,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

Read more...

Palestine - WFTU denounces the Zionist Israel

World Federation of Trade Unions
Originally published 10 July, 2014

The World Federation of Trade Unions true to its internationalist solidarity to the Palestinian people which is being expressed with moral and practical means in a day to day basis denounces the murderous policy of the Israeli Government, the attacks, the kidnappings and the expansion of the settlements in the Palestinian territories.

There is no law or argument that can make these bloody attacks acceptable. The blood of the innocent and the injustice over the Palestinian people is not only in the hands of the Zionist Israel but also those who support it like the USA and the European Union and those who do not do anything to put an end in their torment.

We express our solidarity, support and brotherhood to the WFTU affiliate the GUPW [General Union of Palestinian Workers], to the Palestinian workers and the Palestinian people for a free, independent and sovereign Palestine.

Read more...

IndustriALL Global Union: Violence, Blood and Tears Must Stop in Gaza

IndustriALL Global Union
Originally published 14 July, 2014

In just over a week, at least 225 Palestinians and 1 Israeli were killed of whom 80% were civilians and 20% children. According to the news provided, 1,400 are wounded while 1,255 homes are destroyed and 529 arrested.

IndustriALL strongly proclaims that the military action must be halted immediately. There must be an urgent implementation of the UN Security Council’s call for an immediate ceasefire.

“The United Nations Security Council’s call for a ceasefire must be implemented without any delay,” said General Secretary Jyrki Raina. “The Council has urged de-escalation of the situation, restoration of calm, reinstitution of the November 2012 ceasefire and respect for international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians”.

IndustriALL shares the call of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in demanding that an immediate ceasefire and urgent humanitarian assistance to Gaza be followed by renewed international pressure to end Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and find a negotiated settlement to respect the 1967 borders between Israel and a Palestinian state.

In her statement ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow commented: “The world cannot allow the injustice to continue, nor can it accept the prospect of yet more violence causing the deaths of innocent civilians”.

“Mostly working people are the victims of the current unacceptable situation” said Jyrki Raina.    “The international community must take all the initiatives to avoid further deterioration which could only bring more poverty, chaos and unsafe living and working conditions”.

Read more...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

International Transport Workers' Federation Condemns Gaza Airstrikes and Launches Appeal to Aid Victims

International Transport Workers' Federation
Originally published 14 July 2014

The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) has condemned the growing number of deaths resulting from Israeli military strikes against Gaza in the last few days and launched an appeal to assist those affected. The air strikes have been in response to the launch of missiles into Israel by Hamas, but the Israeli response is widely seen as vastly disproportionate and with a near total disregard for civilian lives.

ITF president Paddy Crumlin stated: “We strongly condemn the strikes by the Israeli military which are being launched into one of the most densely populated areas in the world. This is done in the full knowledge that there will be horrendous civilian casualties. We call for the urgent implementation of the UN Security Council’s call for an immediate ceasefire.”

The ITF’s call joins that of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in demanding that an immediate ceasefire be followed by renewed international pressure to end Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and find a negotiated settlement to respect the 1967 borders between Israel and a Palestinian state.

More than 170 civilians have been killed in Gaza in six days of continuous air strikes including many children; more than 1,000 have been injured. Thousands of families have had to flee their homes. To date there have been no Israeli casualties from Hamas missiles.

The ITF’s member union the Gaza Bus Drivers’ Union has reported that the humanitarian situation in Gaza has reached crisis point. All normal transport operations are stopped and fishing boats have become victims of military strikes.

The ITF is launching an immediate relief effort coordinated by its office in Amman, Jordan. See here for details of how trade unions can help send food and medical supplies to the people of Gaza.

“We are already preparing the means to send medical supplies and equipment to Gaza as soon as this becomes practically possible. I am making an urgent call to all ITF-affiliated unions to provide financial support for a trade union humanitarian relief effort for Gaza,” Crumlin concluded.

In 2009 a similar ITF programme delivered ambulances, food and medicine during the attacks at that time here.

Read more...

Friday, July 18, 2014

Israeli raids on Gaza - CGT urges the French government to intervene

Confédération générale du travail
July 16, 2014

CGT wishes to express its profound indignation and condemn strongly the wave of fire that has fallen on Gaza for several days.

It reiterates its opposition to all forms of violence, wherever they come from, and againt collective punishment of civilian populations.

No military action will solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has now lasted more than 47 years. Only dialogue, respect for human rights and the implementation of international conventions and the multiple United Nations resolutions are likely to bring peace to this region.

The CGT call for the immediate cessation of bombing in Palestine and urge the French government, the European Union and the wider international community to take fullfil thier full responsibility in categorically opposing the war logic.

Signatory to the two call by national collectives for a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians (11 and 15 July 2014), the CGT members of the national collective's delegation which was received at 3 pm on July 11 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to denounce the government's inaction and call for concrete actions to be undertaken by France toward the Israeli government and within the UN Security Council.

The CGT, whose Confederal Exectutive attended the rally this Wednesday, July 16, at 18:30, at the Esplanade des Invalides in Paris, demanding the implementation of economic and legal sanctions against the Israeli government which does not respect the international law and the lifting of the Gaza blockade, negotiations on the dismantling of settlements and the resumption of the peace process.

Montreuil, 

Read more...

COSATU Statement on Israel bombings of Gaza - Do unto apartheid Israel what you did to apartheid South Africa

Congress of South African Trade Union
10 July 2014

On the night of the 8th July, 2014, Gaza woke up to the tremors of earth-shaking bombings by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF). It is said since then more than 27 Palestinians, including more than 6 children amongst them, were killed and more than 200 have been injured as a result of the airstrikes by Israel. Dozens of homes have been demolished and several families lost relatives.

The Israeli cabinet has further authorised the reactivation of 40 000 army reservists in anticipation or signalling a possible ground offensive, to top up those already deployed in and around Gaza. How do we explain 60 airstrikes in one day?

The intensification of the mass arrests against Palestinians in various parts of the occupied territories, such as in West Bank where about 500 Palestinians have been arrested in a space of 3 weeks. Mohammed Abu Khdier a Palestinian child was kidnapped, tortured and burnt alive in Jerusalem. Mohammed is amongst millions of Palestinian children who have for years been murdered by the state of Israel in the name of self-protection against “terrorists”.

We firmly support the ANC statement that, “In line with our 2012 policy resolutions, that called on "all South Africans to support the programmes and campaigns of the Palestinian civil society which seek to put pressure on Israel", branches and structures of the ANC across the country will be joining the Palestine solidarity and boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in organizing protests and pickets calling for the immediate end of Israeli violence against the Palestinian people. We call on all South Africans, Black, White, Jewish, Muslim, Christian and all others to join us in expressing our solidarity. Solidarity will bring us together as different South Africans just as how the international anti-apartheid movement brought people together”.

It is only those who have lost their humanity who cant feel or share in the pain felt by the suffering people of Palestine from the barbaric and savage attacks by what has become the most acceptable, deliberate and legalised murder and deliberate violation of international law by a country.

Israel is only able to commit all these ruthless atrocities because of the licence from the US, EU and allies. The UN must be ashamed of itself for failing humanity and the people of Palestine, always pleading for restraint from the victim, equally. We cannot equate an aggressor to a victim or coloniser to a colonised. Nelson Mandela was also called a terrorist for fighting for freedom, hence the natural task of oppressed people to wage a liberation struggle and our natural responsibility is to support them.

We call on the international trade union movement, various civil society organisations, international religious bodies and even business to speak out against savagery and barbarism against fellow human beings. We support the call to recall South African ambassador to Israel, kick out the Israeli ambassador from South Africa and move with speed to decisively isolate Israel and all who sympathise with racism and Zionist occupation all over the world.

Now is the time for the world to stop words of pity and lamentation, but take action by doing what it did to apartheid South Africa when its policies were declared a crime against humanity. Indeed, apartheid remains a crime against humanity wherever it happens. If apartheid cant outrage us, our humanity is called into question and our morality is hollow.

Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Streets
Braamfontein
2017

P.O.Box 1019
Johannesburg
2000
South Africa

Tel: +27 11 339-4911 Direct 010 219-1339
Fax: +27 11 339-6940
Mobile: +27 82 821 7456
E-Mail: patrick@cosatu.org.za

- See more at: http://www.cosatu.org.za

Read more...

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

France: Notes on the French situation after the local elections and the 12th April demonstration

François Sabado
21 April 2014
from International Viewpoint

1) The last municipal elections represent a new worsening of the political balance of forces for the left and the labour movement. 150 cities of more than 10,000 inhabitants swung from SP or CP-led to the right or far right.

Of course, after years of social-liberalism where the PS took its distance from the labour movement, a defeat of the PS at the polls no longer automatically indicates a defeat of the workers’ movement.

These workers, who do not feel represented by the parliamentary left any more, do not feel the bankruptcy of the Socialists to be theirs, fortunately. They even abstained massively (between 50 and 60 % of the registered voters in the popular suburbs or regions).

2) But when such defeat at the polls of PS leaves the space to the right and far right, when what remains of “historical municipal socialism” is falling apart, when the PCF loses a third of its local councils, in particular in the “red suburbs”, and these retreats are not compensated for, far from it, by victories of the radical left, this can only weigh negatively on the power relations between the classes.

This took place in an economic context marked by plant closures and governmental attacks which can provoke struggles or partial mobilizations, but that are not strong enough to block the austerity policies or to force the government to retreat. Years of reorganization of the workforce force, casualization and unemployment have shaped a workforce that is now paralysed by the crisis.

Especially as here too, the trade-union leaderships directly support the government’s“ pacts” with the employers or position themselves as “accompanying” them.

3) The last demonstration of this turn to the right was the nomination of Manuel Valls as Prime Minister.

In the SP primary elections that decided on the candidate for the 2011 presidential election, Valls represented the right within a Socialist Party that is already itself well to the right. He stood as a candidate against the 35-hour week, against an economic redistribution policy, for the privatization of the public services, and for reduction of the social security contributions, which aimed at new attacks on the Social security system. He identified loud and clear with the “policy of offer” based on a reduction of labour costs and subsidies for businesses – opposed to a policy of restarting the economy by demand. He got only 5% of the votes in this election, which proved that even for a very rightwing PS Valls was too much.

Two years, later, Valls’ policy is being openly applied, by Hollande, by the government and the PS. Stark result: 30 billion of subsidies to business, 50 billion of budgetary “savings” which will result in severe cuts in the public budget and social security. Already announced: the closure of ten hospitals, non-refunding of certain prescriptions, fall in wages of state employees. In Europe that is in a deep and lsting crisis, and where growth rate is around 1 %, such a policy can only plunge the country into the infernal spiral of austerity, unemployment and precarity.

But isn’t this precisely the desired goal, a radical modification of the social and political balance of forces? To undermine what remains of the “European social model” by eliminating a series of social gains, and align Europe in world competition.

4) The problem is that these socio-economic choices sap the social bases of the traditional parties, both of the right and left, and provoke political crises.

As regards social democracy, these parties are “less and less working-class and increasingly middle-class”. They are not bourgeois parties like the others, because the system needs their specificity to ensure alternation. But the relationships of these parties to the labour movement no longer express their history and their politics no longer have much to do with the classical policies of social democracy. They are neoliberal policies. For ordinary citizens and salaried workers Hollande-Valls are on the same line continuity as Sarkozy not only on social and economic qustions, but also in pressions repression o the undocumented or communities like the Romani. Valls is not offended by being considered the Sarkozy of the left.

But will the neo-liberal evolution of the PS not put into question the very existence of these parties? In southern Europe, the Portuguese PS or the Spanish PSOE have not shared the historical catastrophe of the Greek PASOK, even if they have been weakened. The French PS is still a major party, but these elections shook one of its fundamental pillars: its in the bases… If it continues its policy, other electoral failures will follow: with forthcoming European election, in the regional elections and cantonal and one does not see how the PS could claw back its support before the next presidential and parliamentary elections in 2017. A total collapse cannot be excluded.

The drop in support for the PCF is of another nature, that of the historical decline of post-Stalinism, but it represents also this worsening of the balance of power, in particular in a series of cities where the right has replaced the PCF elected representatives in the councils.

5) It is in this situation, with record abstention, that there was the swing to the right and the Front National, the latter gaining control of about ten big cities. The right has been strengthened in spite of contradictions on a series of questions: Europe, relations with the Front National, its leadership given the possible “comeback” of Sarkozy. Its activist base and its electors are under pressure from the ultra rightwing or the far right. As for the FN, it has confirmed its popular base, and the fact is that it increasingly attracts part of the working and popular electorate. Like the parties of fascist origin, it combines social questions and racism in its programme, but how i, in this situation will it manage contradictions between its fascist origin and leadership and the pressures that will arise from its integration in the institutions?

Admittedly, we are not in the 1930s, the ruling classes have chosen integration in capitalist globalization and not protectionist nationalism, but there can be “political accidents”, swing moments, where there would be a desynchronization between the fundamental socio-economic choices of the capitalist classes and the irruption of authoritative political solutions with the coming to power of (direct or indirect) coalitions of the right and the far right. The growth of the far right throughout Europe and the acceptance of governments like that of Orban in Hungary show the possible dangers for democratic freedoms and the popular movement.

In France as in many Europe, the balance is tipping towards the right, but fortunately there is also a social and political fightback.

6) The day of demonstrations on Saturday 12 April 12 in Paris and throughout the country testifies to this resistance. Several tens of thousands of demonstrators answered the call of more than 200 leaders of campaigns, trade unions or political parties to fight against the right and the far right and to oppose the austerity plans of the Hollande-Valls government.

The origin was a call by Olivier Besancenot for a weekend of revolt by the left against the successive demonstrations of the extremist right and the governmental policy. This was followed by statements along the same lines from Front de Gauche leaders. Then there were several weeks of work on a united-front call and preparatory meetings. The nomination of Valls gave an additional impetus to this mobilization. What made the success of this demonstration was its unity, its radical nature and its diversity. As well as the political organizations, tens of campaigns in particular for the right to housing, and sectors of the trade union movement were mobilized. In the CGT, a significant number of federations and local sections called for the mobilization against the position of the confederal direction. We should also note the significant contingents of PCF and the NPA in the Parisian march. This demonstration showed that, despite of the results of the municipal elections, there is a leftwing in France that does not accept the government’s policy and resists, and goes well beyond simply the parties of the radical left.

7) One of the key questions is: how to continue, how to express politically this dynamic of partial but significant mobilization, in this context of downturn?

The questions of unity of action, of radicality, and the fight against the governmental policy, the right and the far right are a guiding line for anticapitalists.

First in day-to-day social resistance, the fights against redundancies, budget cuts, strikes or mobilizations for social rights. The demonstrations for 1st of May are the next occasion. Without broad social mobilization which blocks austerity plans, wrests some partial victories, makes it possible to give back confidence to the workers and social movements, there will not be the beginning of change of the balance of forces. It is decisive.

But this must also be expressed politically by united action in struggles and in electoral battles. Already in the local elections, the NPA presented or supported 87 lists including 55 united ones, on an anti-austerity programme independent from the SP in the first and second round of the elections. Beyond, the radical left presented several hundreds of lists which marked a certain resistance, with appreciable results – unlike the rout of the SP.

After the municipal elections and the preparation of the 12 April demonstration the question existed of a unity proposal for the European elections. It is on this basis that the NPA sent a letter to the Front de Gauche, to LO, to Alternative Libertaire to discuss the possibility of a united list for the European elections. There are, of course, different positions on this question: the Party of the European Left is for refounding the European Union which seems to be an attempt at reform, whereas the anticapitalists fight for a break with the European institutions; Mélenchon can make ambiguous statements against “German Europe” or for “interdependent protectionism”, whereas we defend an internationalist policy without concession to nationalism. But for the “general public”, both will seem to be opposed to governmental austerity policies and the European Union and will propose another social and democratic Europe.

We this it is regrettable that the conditions could not exist to reach an agreement. The hesitations on both sides had an impact, but the tensions which paralysed Front de Gauche did not allow for a true discussion. It was, moreover, only at the last minute that the components of Front de Gauche finally reached an agreement on their own lists.

But beyond this agreement for the Europeans, the Front de Gauche is deeply divided on the relations to have with the PS. In the majority of large and medium-sized cities the PCF was allied with the PS. The other components of the Front de Gauche refused this alliance for the first round of the local elections. The result was that the Front de Gauche exploded on a key question that the NPA has raised for years: relations with the SP, then with the government. Although the NPA has been violently criticized for having put this question at the centre of the debate and has been accused of looking for excuses not to make the unity, many FdG activists recognize today that in fact the divergences on this point led to the explosion at the time of the municipal elections. Many things will depend on the next election results, in particular the Europeans, but the formula of Front de Gauche launched in 2010 is null and void today, it is necessary to discuss again unity and the basis for unity.

Indeed, unity is needed, and the anticapitalists must redouble efforts to deploy a unitive policy, but with the stepping up of the neo-liberal attacks by the PS in government, electoral alliances with this latter are impossible, support for SP parliamentary majorities or governments even more so. This is why the policy of Mélenchon to build an “ecologist popular front” with the leadership of the Greens (EELV) would lead to a new dead end, especially as the majority of the EELV group supports the Valls government.

The objective, in the weeks and the months to come, it is to broadcast loud and clear the voice of a left opposition to the government. A broad unitive opposition but a true opposition and, in this sense, we cannot build a left opposition with forces that support or take part in the government. This is unfortunately the case with the “left” of the PS and the EELV…

For the anticapitalists, in this difficult situation we have to combine unity in social and political action with a policy of clear independence from the PS, and an anticapitalist programme that defends the social needs of the workers and the population as a whole.

In a situation where the old left is rejected, it is necessary to rebuild the labour movement by redefining a unitive perspective which integrates the organizations but invents new forms and new programmiatic content. It is by fertilizing “the unity in action” with anticapitalist content that the revolutionaries will be useful in rebuilding.

The unity achieved on 12 April and suggested for the Europeans is a good indication for the orientation of the NPA in the months to come.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

François Sabado is a member of the Executive Bureau of the Fourth International and an activist in the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) in France. He was a long-time member of the National Leadership of the Revolutionary Communist League (LCR).

Read more...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

France: Punishment of the PS, rise of the FN ... A leftwing response is urgent!

Roseline Vacchetta
Originally published in l’Anticapitaliste (weekly newspaper of the Nouveau parti anticapitaliste - NPA) of 27 March 2014.
This translation is taken from International Viewpoint
31 March 2014

The first round of municipal elections in Ftrance on 23 March was marked by record abstention, massive rejection of the PS (Parti Socialiste - Socialist Party) government, and a rise of the far-right FN. All significant indicators of a deep crisis.

This is a historic victory... for abstention. It increased from 30% in 1995 to 38.62% in 2014, which is a lot for an election that traditionally mobilizes voters. This massive abstention is not homogeneous, and affects working-class and popular areas most: it is 62 % for example in Roubaix or Vaulx-en-Velin.

It confirms the radical break between a sector of citizens and government at all levels It is a deep resentment against institutions that do not provide answers to concrete problems of the majority of the population (employment, housing, equal rights, quality of life... ). This reflects the views of all those who do not hope for any improvement in their situation in the act of voting right or left.

Sordid affairs, scheming, lies did the rest and many voters no longer want to participate in this charade of democracy. The Leftist particularly disappointed, is the one who has the most boycotted the election.

Crushing defeat of the government

The NPA explained in this campaign that local and national issues were related because government decisions to reduce grants to municipalities, cut public services, disengage the national government from policy from policies for which it is reponsible, for example education , weigh heavily on people. Distrust of an PS government carrying out righwing policies was total.

On the evening of the first round, that’s what the results reflect : 6 mayors elected for the left in government 16 for the right and 1 for the FN! [1] There was a political collapse of the PS, which fell by 5 to 20 points depending on the city.

Popular disgust with politics is also reflected in good results for non-party lists, not only in small towns but also in medium-sized cities. They may play an important role as arbiter for the second round. They suggest that for voters, it is better to choose managers who seem honest and do not display ambitions other than "good governance " of their community. It is the very idea of politics that is receding !

In the vast majority of large cities, the PS has to face a second round even where its list won in the first round in 2008, or it is even in third place behind the National Front, as in Marseilles.

Dangerous thrust of the National Front

Its strategy of rooting itself in localities has paid off : it has risen from 118 lists in 2008 to 597 lists presented in 2014. In the first round, it came first in 7 cities and can already boast of having won 473 members of municipal councils, from the first round alone.

It has created strongholds in the North, to some extent in the East and the South East, in cities and localities where residents are particularly hard hit by the social crisis and political despair. It took the city of Henin-Beaumont in the North, and improved its score in Lille by 11%.

Riding on the popular rejection of corruption scandals that have affected both the PS and the UMP (Union pour un Mouvement Populaire  Union for a Popular Movement), it now wants to be a respectable party, closeto the people, capable and efficient in responding to people’s needs. Its success is built on the defeats of institutional parties and no “republican front” [2] will prevent it.

And now back on the street!

The NPA was present on 87 lists, including 54 as a united lists, with different parties (sometimes the PG (Parti de gauche - Left Party of Jean-Luc Mélenchon), the PCF (Parti communiste francais - French Communist Party), the Alternatifs, Ensemble (an organization member of the Front de gauche (Left Front) created by the fusion of several small organizations including Gauche anticapitaliste), MOC, local associations... ). In all cases, these lists have gathered far more than the party members. If we have not been able to capture the popular discontent, we were present to offer a clear anti-capitalist political alternative; to build a left opposition to this government; and to give a clear alternative discourse to that of the National Front, that of the right and of the "left" government is only left-wing in name.

This struggle for another society free of profit in the service of many, will be won by our struggles and mobilizations. To do this, we must take the streets, coordinate our struggles to unite all those who come in resistance. This is the meaning that we want to give the united-front initiative on 12 April : “Maintenant, ça suffit” (Enough is enough).

Footnotes
[1] The municipal elections in France are on a two round system. However if one list (the head of the list is the future mayor) wins over 50% of the vote then the elections is definitive and there is no second round.

[2] The “republican front” is an alliance of the traditional left and right parties to keep out the National Front. The PS called in the second round for PS lists in areas where there was a "tirangular" second round with the FN present to ally with the traditional right to block its success. Local PS lists which did not do so would be stripped of their offical PS label.


Roseline Vacchetta is a leading member of the NPA in France, and of the Fourth International.

Read more...

Monday, March 10, 2014

Rape Culture in Left Organisations - Drawing Lessons from Recent Experiences in the US ISO

Lisbeth Latham

(This post was written several weeks ago but I haven't had a chance to publish it until recently. Since I wrote it the handling of the case has been raised by ISO Renewal Faction here - the RF were expelled from the US ISO at ISO's convention. The US ISO's national leadership have responded to the RF in Socialist Worker and the RF have in turn responded. I will be writing some comments on the exchange between the ISO and the RF shortly).

The pre-convention internal discussion documents for the US ISO were published in early February at the Charnel House Blog. This site is run by Ross Wolfe who is a bitter opponent of intersectionality and thus many of his posts reflect deeply racist, misogynist and transphobic ideas. This is said as a warning for those perusing the site rather than having any reflection on the bulletin’s contents or the veracity of the bulletins themselves. While many of the articles in the bulletins are fairly standard fair – there are a number of interesting articles including those discussing the ISO’s shifting attitude to feminism and intersectionality
(which is a partial and conditional acceptance of the idea of intersectionality as it emerged from Black Feminism but an absolute rejection of both those aspects of intersectionality that emerged from post-modern theory and concepts of privilege in any form) however of interest to me is an article in the final bulletin discussing the handling of rape allegations against a leading ISO member in the San Diego branch – the publication of the article had been signalled in earlier contribution on problems of sexism and transphobia in the San Diego branch.

The article is an outline of the experiences of the San Diego branch’s efforts to deal with allegations of rape against a member of the San Diego Branch Committee (SDBC), the difficulties they encountered in handling this, the limitations of the support provided by the organisation's national leadership and in the organisation's formal procedures for handling allegations against members.

Before proceeding it is important to note that the article is written from members who view themselves as loyal ISO members who believe “The ISO as an organization, and all ISO comrades as individuals, are committed to fighting for a better world free from exploitation and oppression. We are also committed to practicing our fight on the terms of the oppressed. Not only is this the right thing to do morally, but we consider it fundamental that the overthrow of capitalism will require the confrontation of oppression by the oppressed themselves. We must therefore do everything we can so that victims of oppression can feel safe in the ISO and with ISO comrades, in order that they can fully participate in the struggle.”

Moreover they state that “We are not claiming that any ISO members acted in bad faith, but that is precisely the point: Even with the best of intentions, our established procedure produces huge failures”, so the article is written from a framework of wanting to both strengthen the organisations formal procedures in handling complaints of rape and assault against members and to combat any complacency – rather than arguing any deliberate failing by the organisation or its members.

While in general, from what is described in the article, the members who initiated and conducted the investigation sort to take allegations of violence from a survivor seriously, however there were clearly serious deficiencies on the part of the ISO, and it would be stretching credulity to argue that this was all done in good faith.

So what happened is that in July 2013, an activist from a different socialist group made comments of Facebook referring to a local leading member of the ISO in San Diego, referred to throughout the text as “Daniel”, as an attempted rapist, with other activists also stating that a cover-up had been carried out by the ISO at a local and national level. The response of some of the branch’s members was to seek to work out who might have made the original accusation, i.e. to not see the allegation as a fabrication but based on a concrete experience, and to speak to that person and get a firsthand account of what happened.

According to the article – the survivor (described throughout as “the victim", I’m not really sure why they didn’t give the survivor a pseudonym rather than depersonalising them in this way) described the incident in full – and stated that she did not want “Daniel” to be expelled from the ISO, but that she thought it was wrong for him to speak about women’s rights. In response an emergency meeting of the SDBC was called. The difficulty was that of the four members of the SDBC, one was “Daniel”, one recused themselves as they were “Daniel’s friend”, another member had been accused of the cover up and the final member was relatively new. So they had an impromptu branch meeting that initiated an investigation into the incident.

The incident had happened a year earlier and it became clear that five members of the branch had been aware of the allegations prior to them being raised in July 2013 (including two members of the SDBC), as they had been told by friends of the survivor and that their had been rumours circulating. Members of the ISO’s Steering Committee (ISOSC) had also been made aware of the allegations prior to July 2013.

The reasons given at the local level for not investigating the allegations in 2012 were due to “how it [the allegation] was brought (on facebook), and that the person bringing it (that they were hostile to the ISO). Also people didn’t want to bother the victim about it”. While a member of the ISOSC informed them "I was told in September 2012 that the issue had already been resolved because [the victim] wanted to move on with her life and didn’t want to press charges."

But the ISOSC impression was based on the view of the SDBC member(s) who in 2012 (without doing any investigation) thought that the actions described did not amount to attempted rape, as the third-party accuser had characterized it, nor did they think that there was a violation of consent. The existence of a complaint was also brought to an ISOSC member’s attention in March 2013, when a member of the San Diego branch contacted them to report the fact that a third party had accused "Daniel" of attempted rape. The
ISOSC member said that they assumed the accusations were false and did not connect the San Diego member with the ISO’s national Discipline Committee (ISODC).

The branch response to the allegations were hampered by the approach of the ISO to dealing with complaints, where the national bodies refused to intervene, despite requests from the branch to do so, this was because their policy requires formal written and signed complaint for the national body to intervene.

Based on their experiences the San Diego members draw a number of lessons and make recommendations for changes to the ISO’s procedures . The lessons are “Political context:

  • False accusations of sexual abuse made by people who face gendered oppression are incredibly rare. It is, however, disturbingly common for assaults to remain unreported or be unjustly dismissed. We must therefore approach every accusation as though it is almost certainly true.
  • No one, including the most militant anti-sexists, are immune to living in this deeply sexist culture. 
  • Education is needed for ISO members on consent, intimate violence, and other interpersonal expressions of gendered oppression (or any oppression for that matter).
  • When the ability of the BC to function is compromised, the only substitute is the full branch.
When an accusation is made:

  • Make every effort to get a firsthand account as soon as possible.
  • Ask for endorsement of the account from the accuser if notes are taken by a third party.
  • Even in the absence of a formal complaint, the allegations must still be dealt with by the branch.
  • If the accused departs the ISO during an investigation, the organization must still resolve the investigation to make a determination about the member’s status.

During the investigation:

  • Every accusation must be taken seriously, regardless of how it was brought, or who is making it.
  • Taking allegations seriously should never be met with hostility by any member.Those who may bring an allegation forward in a way that can be seen as problematic, unserious, sectarian, emotional, etc. should not be attacked for doing so.
  • Members close to an accused comrade should be especially conscious of reflexive defensiveness by themselves and the accused toward those taking allegations seriously.
  • Do not form unannounced factions, and be aware of informal discussions that could amount to that.
  • Disagreements will arise among members in a situation like this. Bringing them up early to the branch as a whole is the best way to diffuse tension. It is the responsibility of the BC to make space to discuss the progress of a case like this early and often.
  • Be aware of the tendency to form cliques. Informal networks should not be the basis to develop political currents in the branch.
  • Even when an allegation is made in a public forum in a way that’s meant to harm the ISO, members should respond prudently and thoughtfully. We should be aware that we can be held publicly accountable for anything we say, even in private or online.”

The recommendations that were made for the ISO's policy are that organisation drop the requirement for a signed written statement written by a complainent in order for the ISODC to investigate, and instead accept either a written statement (not necessarily written by the complainant personally, or an audio recording of a statement made with the consent of the complainant) and to add a protocol to the complaints proceeding that "If an individual ISO member makes or hears about an accusation of sexual misconduct, they should make every effort, with the help of other ISO comrades as necessary, to contact the alleged victim and obtain a formal statement, if they wish to give one. The statement should then be forwarded to the ISODC and the local BC.

“If the alleged victim does not wish to give a formal statement, the member should take the accusation to the BC. If the member is concerned that the BC is compromised, such as when the accused is a member of the BC or is closely tied to a majority of the BC, the member should bring the accusation to the whole branch".

While the members who responded to the allegations in July 2013 would appear to have responded genuinely and with a motivation for justice for the survivor, I don't think that it would be unkind to say that this has not been the case with all of the responses by the ISO in this case. Moreover the assumption that all members of the ISO, or any other organisation in this society, are acting in good faith if they fail to act around allegations, and having a focus on maintaining internal dynamics of a branch during an investigation ignores the reality that internal opposition to such an investigation is likely to reflect sexist and misogynistic attitudes amongst members. While attempting to lower the trigger for the ISO's Dispute's Committee to start an investigation is positive, the recommendation to reduce the requirements in relation to the type of formal statement being made ignores the fact that progressive organisations should be proactive in seeking to exclude sexual predators from their organisation - and that to rely on survivors making formal allegations both ignores the social and personal pressures on survivors that can make reporting difficult, but also makes making activists spaces safer the responsibility of survivors rather being a collective responsibility. The recommendation idea that there would be regular discussion of an investigation into a rape at a branch meeting is also deeply disturbing - such discussions would:
  • violate the survivors right to confidentiality and privacy
  • it makes the investigation and its findings something that is up for general debate (highlighted by the fact that nowhere in the document are specifics as to what was alleged in this case and all we are left with are the various assessments as to the character of what was alleged)
  • it has the capacity to enable the spreading of gossip and disinformation against a survivor to publicly undermine their credibility both in the organisation and in broader activist circles
  • trigger survivors in the branch, and make branch meetings unsafe
  • It will also act as a deterrent from reporting as it sends a signal to survivors of what they can expect if they raise a concern

The discussion in the article of the investigation makes the investigation more than it should really need to be. The purpose of the investigation shouldn't be to convince the branch membership, or the friends of the perpetrator of the perpetrator’s guilt, if that is what is seen as being required then there are some serious problems that need to be addressed through the avenue of politics rather than through an "investigation" and how its proceeding. Ultimately why would anyone want to talk about the ins and outs - of the investigation? Doing so risks recreating in the organisation the worst elements of the bourgeois legal system's treatment of survivors. Moreover as a community the left, whether within an organisation or more broadly needs to shift it’s orientation to one of zero tolerance of violence, particularly to violence towards oppressed communities – this opposition to violence should be premised on the basis that it is the right thing to do in building empathy, solidarity and empowerment rather than some instrumental motivation of making it easier for people to be involved in your organisation.

                      -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 Verbatim copying and distribution of the entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved. If you reprint this article please email me at revitalisinglabour@gmail.com to let me know.

Read more...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

France: NPA and Left Party call for united mobilisation against government austerity and the right

Joint Statement of Nouveau parti anticapitaliste and Parti de gauche

February 17, 2014
Original in French is available here

Olivier Besancenot and Jean-Luc Mélenchon
Delegations of the Nouveau parti anticapitaliste (NPA – New Anti-capitalist Party) and the Parti de gauche (PG - Left Party) lead by Olivier Besancenot for the NPA, and Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Martine Billard for the PG met yesterday afternoon in the head office of the PG[1].

The two organizations signed a broad agreement. This agreement related to both the need to not leave the streets to the right, extreme-right, racists, anti-semites, sexists and homophobes of all kinds, by gathering all those on the left who reject the policy of the government. Because “enough is enough”! It is time to express the dissatisfaction of the left vis-a-vis the pro-Medef[2] policies of a government which creates the conditions of the rise of confusion and reaction to which it reverses its pledges!

The NPA and the PG observe with satisfaction that similar concerns arise in several places: call together, the idea of Pierre Laurent[3] of an initiative in April, proposals for an action of the whole of the Front de Gauche. Concretely, the two organizations agree on the need for a national march, in Paris the same day. Given the electoral calendar and demonstrations already envisaged in the calendar, including trade-union mobilization of March 18 to which the NPA and the PG call, the date April 12 seems the best. The two parties insisted on the fact that this date is a just proposal. The success of any initiative will depend indeed on the broadest possible call joining together political leaders, trade-union associations, collectives of workers in struggle (companies which are dismissing workers or threatening to close) and militant teams… It is the collective which will unite them together that will thus be responsible to embody this common will. The two organizations have agreed to work in this direction.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1 The NPA is an anti-capitalist party initiated by the Ligue communiste revolutionaire i(LCR) in 2008, the LCR dissolved itself into the NPA prior to the NPA’s founding conference in early 2009.
The PG established in 2009 following the decision by leading parliamentarians of the Parti Sociliste’s (PS) left wing to leave the party over it’s pro-austerity policies. The PG was a founding party in the Front de gauche (FdG – Left Front) in 2009.
Olivier Besancenot was the LCR’s candidate in the French Presidential electionsin 2002 and 2007 – in which he received 4.25% and 4.08% respectively. These results which were seen as a significant breakthrough for the LCR gave impetuous to the move to initiate the NPA.
Jean-Luc- Mélenchon is a former PS senator. He left the party in 2008 to form the PG. He was elected on the FdG ticket to the European Parliament in 2009. In 2012 Mélenchon was the FdG presidential candidate, campaign, which included a series mass rallies including protests of 100, 000 people at each of the Front’s election rallies in Paris, Toulouse and Marseille – Mélenchon ultimately ran fourth in the first round receiving 11.10% of the vote. Mélenchon is co-president of both the PG and the FdG.
Martine Billard – is a FdG deputy in National Assembly of France and co-president of the PG. Billard is a former member of Les Verts (The Greens) with whom she was elected as a deputy as parted of a “united left” ticket in the 2002. She was an outspoken opponent of the European Constitution and campaign for the “no” vote in referendum on the referendum on French ratification, against the position of Les Verts.
FdG – electoral coalition initiated for the 2009 European elections. The initial adherents were the PG, the Parti communiste francais (PCF – French Communist Party) and Gauche unitaire (united left) which was a split from the NPA.

2 Refers to Francois Hollande’s call for a “responsibility pact” with MEDEF (Mouvement des entreprises de France - Movement of the Enterprises of France), which would consist of reduction in state charges on business including taxation reform and the gradual abolition of company contributions to family allowances, in exchange for a commitment to boost employment.

3 Pierre Laurent is the national secretary of the PCF, co-president of the FdG and president of the European Left Party. Laurent has called for a march against austerity in on April 12.
Three of France’s union confederations Confédération générale du travail (General Confederation of Labour – CGT), Fédération syndicale unitaire (United Union Federation – FSU) and Solidaires have called for a united day of mobilisations and strikes for March 18 to demand urgent action on wages, employmen, social protection and public services.

Read more...

Sunday, January 19, 2014

SWP Rape Allegations and Lessons for the Left

- Lisbeth Latham

Trigger Warning: description of rape apologism, victim blaming, bullying survivors and a detailed outline of the handling of rape allegations in the British SWP 

For those not aware, over the past two years a scandal has been unfolding within the British Socialist Workers Party. SWP is the mother organisation of Solidarity and the founding organisation within the International Socialist Tendency from which Socialist Alternative traces itself, and is the largest far-left organisation in Britain. This scandal has resulted in hundreds of members resigning from the SWP (including 90% of its student members) over the handling of rape and sexual harassment allegations against former SWP National Secretary Martin Smith dating back to 2010. In this piece I argue that the SWP’s experience has important lessons for the left in general dealing with problems of misogyny and particularly sexual predators within the left.

The case 

from sovietgoonboy.wordpress.com
In 2010, a young woman (W) made allegations against the then general secretary of the SWP, that Smith (known throughout the process as Comrade Delta), following the ending of a relationship had continued to harass W. One section of the leadership immediately began to harass W and her supporters. Other sections of the leadership placed responsibility on whether action would be taken against Smith on W’s shoulders.

Based on the harassment she experienced W resigned from the SWP in late 2010. However, based on these allegations the SWP’s Central Committee moved to remove Smith from the position of national secretary. At the 2011 national conference, where this decision was formally endorsed, Smith and the central leadership acted to downplay and trivialise the allegations, suggesting that hostile forces outside the organisation were using the allegations to damage the SWP. Smith’s speech announcing his stepping down was met with a standing ovation including footstamping from the audience and chants of “workers united will never be defeated”. Although removed from the national secretary position, Smith continued as a member of the CC and was heading up the SWP’s union and anti-fascist work, which as central activities of the SWP meant that Smith continued to play an extremely prominent public role in the party.

In Autumn 2011, W rejoined the SWP. As a consequence of the SWP’s condemnation of George Galloway’s rape apologist remarks re: Assange in mid-2012, she became more confident that the SWP would handle her case properly and an approach was made by W to take a dispute against Smith further, and that her allegation was rape. The Disputes Committee hearing was highly problematic:

  • W was made to wait for four hours prior to being heard by the DC – without being told what was going on;
  • The DC read out a “legal definition” of rape and said that this would be the benchmark; 
  • While Smith was given W’s allegations and statement in advance to prepare his response, W was not given Smith’s material in order to be able prepare; 
  • The DC’s questioning of W was inappropriate, asking why she had gone for a drink with Smith, detailing the nature of her relationship with him, and her other relationships and sexual history. 
from sussexasn.tumblr.com
The DC’s “verdict” was that the accusation of rape was unproven. In the wake of the hearing W was subjected to bullying from her “comrades” in the local branch. This largely included being ostracised and being treated as if she didn’t exist – when she did try talk to talk to members she was told by one member “it is not appropriate for me to speak to you” and by another that she was a “silly girl” and that “14-year olds get groomed not 19-year olds”. Some members started holding meetings in the cafe area of W’s work despite her request that they not do this.

At the same time a second member (X) came forward with allegations of sexual harassment against Smith. X had a meeting with the DC following which she was told her evidence was not relevant. During the hearing X was asked questions about her drinking habits and whether she could have misconstrued Smith’s behaviour as he was a “friendly man who often bought her coffees”.

Under the SWP’s disputes process any DC decision goes to the national conference and supporters of W began organising to challenge the DC report. In the lead up to the conference, which was in January 2013, four SWP members were expelled for “factionalism” based on a Facebook chat where a discussion occurred over whether to form a faction – and it was the decision to not form a faction that was used as a basis to expel these members. In the end, a small faction was formed with the intention of articulating a statement calling for changes in how the SWP handles rape allegations. The CC and supporters of Smith organised to limit the ability for the faction members to be elected as delegates (in the British SWP delegate elections are based on a winner-takes-all scenario, with different sides putting forward slates of delegates).

In the DC session at the Conference the report presented a very sketchy outline of the proceedings: that W had made an allegation against a CC member “Delta”, and that they had concluded that the allegations were not proven. In the discussion, members were barred from discussing the detail of the allegations or the hearing and W was barred from attending the session, despite requesting that they be able to attend. One DC member informed members present at the session that the case was very difficult because Smith and W presented very different stories and none of the witnesses saw what had happened. Despite this, the report was passed by a thin margin of 239 for accepting, 209 voting to reject and 18 abstentions.

Following the conference, the CC moved to close down discussion. Paid full-timers were told to toe the line or they would lose their jobs. Despite this, and the SWP’s bans on factions outside of the pre-conference discussion period, members started organising for a new conference. Ultimately, while this push was successful in forcing an emergency conference, opposition forces were heavily defeated and a wave of resignations began. Another wave has just occurred, after oppositionists who remained in the party were unsuccessful in trying to force the most recent national conference to adopt an apology from the party to both W and X and to block Smith’s supporters along with Alex Callinicos and Charlie Kimber, the party’s current national secretary, from being re-elected to the CC.

In the meantime, X and her supporters continued to push for X’s case to be heard, which the CC resisted and wanted to put off until 2014. X was removed from their full-time position in the SWP centre on the basis that it would improve office dynamics. Despite the efforts of the CC to protect Smith, however, pressure mounted from within the organisation and also from outside, with more and more people becoming aware of what of had happened as a consequence of a range of leaks. Not only did the right-wing media attack the party, but a large number of prominent left-wing activists publicly distanced themselves from the SWP. Under this pressure and with X’s allegations still looming, Smith resigned from the SWP in July 2013. It has emerged that a range of prominent SWP members had been seeking to find ways to help Smith, and he had secured a funded PhD place in Social Work at Liverpool Hope University, where a SWP member is a senior academic. Following Smith’s resignation the CC agreed to have a DC hearing into X’s allegations, where it was found that Smith had a case to answer, but no action would be taken unless he rejoined the organisation – which hardline supporters are now rumoured to be pushing for. Despite Smith’s resignation his supporters still accused X of being an MI5 agent (British domestic intelligence) and argued “we aren’t rape apologists unless we believe that women always tell the truth – and guess what, some women and children lie”, which received a round of applause during a session at the conference.

This case brings together a number of threads that get tangled together and encourages a view that the problems were specific to the SWP – particularly how it interprets and applies the concept of democratic centralism and the specific problems associated with how the SWP handled the allegations. This tends to result in a view that the problems in the SWP are a consequence of either the political regime in the SWP, the SWP’s hostility to feminism or a necessary consequence of handling a rape allegation internally.


It couldn’t happen to us 
There has been a common refrain from a section of the left that this could not happen to us. To anyone who thinks this, my response is that it probably has and if it hasn’t, it definitely could. Any conceit that it couldn’t will only make it harder for people who have been assaulted in your organisation to raise their experiences because you are already in a mindset of denial.


 The SWP undoubtedly has an extremely problematic internal life and structure. These include a large apparatus with considerable authority, which is detached from the lived experiences of the rest of the membership, with access to information which the majority of members don’t have, along with the time to think about the work of the organisation in a way in which most people who are working full-time and do the bulk of their political work in their spare time do not. However, this is the reality in all political organisations that have some form of apparatus – it has been recognised as a key feature of the tendency towards bureaucracy identified by social theorists such as Weber, Michels and Gramsci more than 100 years ago.


The SWP's regime
The SWP’s approach to internal democracy is also problematic, as there are a number of features that make communication between members and fights for organisational change difficult. These include: limits to the forming of factions outside of pre-conference discussion periods; the limited number of preconference discussion bulletins produced – normally three – which particularly limits the ability of the oppositionists to respond to criticisms of their position from the leadership. The leadership is not limited in this way as they receive contributions as they come in and so can respond in the same bulletin as the original statement, which undermines the impact of any statement or rebuttal by an opposition member, being immediately countered in the readers mind, while creating the impression of the leadership as almost omniscient. The leadership also has the added advantage of being able to legitimately communicate its views to the membership almost at will through the medium of the organisation’s Party Notes bulletin.

However, most far-left organisations have similar organisational rules, although there may be some differences regarding how and when factions can be organised, how many pre-conference bulletins will be produced and who is able to contribute to and what is able to be included in the organisation’s regular membership newsletter.

More generally the SWP, like much of the far-left, values bullying and non-consensual behaviour. Such behaviour is central to much of the political activity, discourse and interactions both within the organisation and with the external world. Most people who have had their names on a contact list from a left political organisation will be able to tell stories of receiving unwanted phone calls which continue well after they made it clear they weren’t interested in participating in the organisation – often the person won’t have even known they were putting their name on a contact list having simply signed a petition (which was a contact list masquerading as a petition). Bullying behaviour only becomes a problem when there is a falling out between the leadership and the bullies. At which point the leadership will either suddenly “discover the bullying” or produce the dirt file they have already been keeping on the individual/s in question, depending on the particular internal culture of cynicism in that organisation.

Feminism and the SWP
from revoltingpleb.wordpress.com
It is undoubtedly the case that the SWP’s long history of hostility to both feminism and any form of autonomous self organising by people sharing an oppressed identity made it easier for sexist and misogynist arguments to be mobilised by the SWP’s leadership and its supporters. It made it much easier for oppositionists to be denigrated as “creeping feminists” and succumbing to “movementism” as Kimber and Calinicos argued in their International Socialism piece on the politics of the crisis in the SWP written prior to the most recent national conference.

While much of the far-left does not necessarily share the SWP’s public hostility to feminism, autonomous organising and intersectionality, they do share elements of it particularly when you scratch the surface. The old Australian Democratic Socialist Party (which I was a member of), for instance, while supporting the right for people sharing oppressed identities to organise autonomously in the movement did not support the idea of such organising within the DSP. This was based on the idea, shared with the SWP, that the organisation is “opposed to fighting against the oppression of women and is democratically organised” – so it’s not necessary to have such separate organising – however, as a number of oppositionists in the SWP pointed out, this ignores the constant impact on an organisation’s membership of living a deeply sexist society. Moreover, a number of organisations that were “shocked” by what happened in the SWP wanted to keep criticism focused on the SWP regime rather than get distracted by “side issues” such as rape and sexism. The Communist Party of Great Britain, publishers of the Weekly Worker, the socialist equivalent of the News of the World, ran a number of charming articles aimed at combating this feminist error, the most prominent being one entitled ‘SWP and feminism: Rape is not the problem’ which attacked feminist writer Laurie Penny for her criticisms of the SWP.

Case should have been taken to the police
A number of commentators have argued that the complaint should simply have been taken to the police and no effort made to handle the matter internally. This response is problematic on a number of levels. First, many of those making these statements refuse to accept that W had agency in making a decision to not go to the police. I have no problem with people talking about how the SWP’s attitude to the police and their desire to protect the organisation ¬– attitudes shared with much of the left – would create a difficult environment in which to go to the police, however, there are very good reasons why an individual might decide to not report a rape to the police:

  • Previous negative interactions with the police;
  • Knowledge or experience of how women who report rape are treated by the criminal justice system
  • Knowledge or experience of poor outcomes of rape cases taken to the police 
Most importantly, it is the choice of a survivor to act in their own best interests in meeting their own needs and it is not anyone else’s place to judge that.

The discourse around the case and the need to go to the police reflect some problematic attitudes to police in general, and specifically around the investigation of the rape. Implicit in the idea that people have to report a crime and the suggestion that an internal investigation would contaminate the police investigation is the idea that rape investigations are like episodes of CSI, where the case is dependent on forensic evidence, when in fact, with cases where consent is central, the case turns on what people say and who is believed. While it is very true that discussions about events can contaminate people’s memories, a lot of things will do this – that’s why it is important when something happens to someone, if they want a clear record of it, to write it down at the time.

These arguments demonstrate significant levels of both delusions of and reliance on the criminal justice system to not only deliver justice to survivors but to take responsibility for the question of disciplining members. Anyone who knows anything about the way rape is handled by the police and the courts should know that this confidence is not well placed. Even if you don’t, you would expect that revolutionary socialists with a Marxist analysis of society and an understanding of how women’s oppression is central to capitalist domination should also know that the ideas legitimising this domination are central to bourgeois hegemony. Thus, ideas normalising rape and violence again women are wide spread and will act to undermine the ability to obtain justice.

This Marxist analysis of society and understanding of the relations between women’s oppression and capitalist domination should also make it clear that the question of whether an accused perpetrator should be in a left organisation should not simply be based on whether there is a “guilty” verdict. We must take into account, if the “not guilty” verdict is based on being “innocent”, often such a verdict could occur due to lack of evidence or the accused creating sufficient doubt as a consequence of rape apologism or victim blaming. If this is how a person was found “not guilty” then should that person still remain a member of a left organisation? I would think not. In addition, what happens, as in so many complaints made to the police about rape and domestic violence, the party chooses not to proceed with the allegations?

In both the SWP internal discussion and some of the broader discussions there has been easy and confident mobilisation of rape myths, victim blaming and anti-women stereotypes. Dave Renton, in a critique of the SWP’s handling of the allegations against Smith, indicates that at the conference (when Smith stepped down as national secretary), a number of the delegates formed the view that the allegations were based on a jilted lover being unhappy. Renton blames this on the way the leadership characterised the allegations. While there is no doubt that the leadership’s framing of the allegations was disgusting and disingenuous, that these members could so readily dismiss the allegations based on the idea that “it must have been a jilted lover”, speaks volumes about the attitude of a section of the SWP’s membership to women.

What way forward?
The left has to attempt to create safer spaces for women and anyone who experiences rape. An important part of this is to adopt a zero tolerance to rape and to empower all members to raise concerns about rape and sexual violence and for such concerns to be pursued in whichever jurisdiction the survivor chooses.

This requires the establishment of robust and transparent mechanisms for handling allegations of violence. We know that a major problem with the way in which rape is handled in the courts is the extent to which survivors are put on trial. If we think of the refrain “people accused of rape are innocent until proven guilty” then the opposing logic also at play is that those marking allegations of rape “are guilty of lying about the allegation until proven innocent”. Defendants and their supporters (both legal and extra-legal) focus their energy not on proving innocence, but on undermining the credibility of the survivor. This not only has an awful impact on the individual survivor, but on all survivors, both past and future, and their ability to feel supported or like they belong. On the flipside, it sends clear signals to predators and potential predators that predatory behaviour will be explained away and provides strategies for getting away with it.

Far-left party members don’t want to find that rape has occurred in their party, as it may be possible that the predator would have to leave when predators are often seen as valuable to the party (many predatory attributes are valued on the left). Such a finding would also damage the organisation’s reputation. This problem is magnified if the person has played a prominent role and/or the organisation has defended them against allegations. Importantly, it also demonstrates the extent to which the participation of survivors is both not valued and taken for granted.

We need mechanisms that fundamentally turn these dynamics on their head. 


How should this be done?
First, be clear that internal processes are not legal or quasi-legal processes. Second, prioritise the creation of left organisations and social movements as safer spaces and limit the space within which predators can operate. This means not just starting from the framework of believing survivors, but also acting against members who attempt to build support for predators, particularly if this support is based on perpetuating rape myths, victim blaming, or negative stereotypes of women. It is also important to act against any member, particularly leading members who discourage members from bringing complaints, in whichever jurisdiction that they choose.

As a general pattern, the left needs to adopt an approach which makes it clear that they are consistent opponents of violence against women and not simply when opposition to said violence lends itself to anti-system arguments. The exclusion of predators and would-be predators (which is what most enablers and apologists are) is not a loss for the left – it will make the left and the social movements a stronger, safer and better place for building a new world.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
This article originally appeared in issue #3 of the Dealing with an Unsafe Left zine. Check them out on tumblr and facebook.

                      -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Verbatim copying and distribution of the entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved. If you reprint this article please email me at revitalisinglabour@gmail.com to let me know. 

Read more...

Saturday, January 18, 2014

How the Left’s Defence of Assange Promotes Rape Myths and Misogyny (and what this says about the left)

- Lisbeth Latham

Trigger Warning: This article will discuss at length how publications have trivialised rape and tried to undermine survivors. It contains references to apologist material.

The question of how to respond to the allegations of rape and sexual assault against Julian Assange has been controversial amongst left-wing and progressive people. Most of Australia’s far-left would argue that they have adopted a nuanced and sophisticated approach which combines standing up for the rights of women and defending the work of Wikileaks from interference from the US government and its allies. A closer reading of Green Left Weekly and Socialist Alternative’s publications Red Flag and Socialist Alternative however reveals a different picture. Whilst they may argue that you “need to take the allegations seriously”[1], the articles they publish fail to support the rights of two the Swedish women “A” and “W” who have brought allegations. Instead, they fall into a range of problematic approaches that tend to trivialise and minimise the allegations against Assange, and, importantly, do nothing to combat the widespread misogyny articulated by Assange’s supporters, whilst placing the most emphasis on defending Assange’s reputation and interests. This failure is important, as these far-left organisations (through the articles published in their papers and on their websites) are helping, rather than combating rape culture, and as a result are creating an environment that is damaging to all survivors of rape and abuse.

A major problem with both Green Left and Socialist Alternative’s coverage of the case against Assange is that many of the articles do not mention, or gloss over, the allegations against Assange; or immediately go from talking about taking the allegations seriously to discussing how the state has a long history of misusing rape allegations[2]. In the first article in Socialist Alternative on the case in early December 2010, Ben Hillier stated that Assange would be “unlikely to receive a fair trial” in Sweden”[3].  This tends to erase the fact that the extradition proceedings initiated by Sweden are part of an investigation of rape, and instead create the impression that these proceedings are part of a formal process to extradite Assange to the US to face espionage charges. While this possibility is a core argument mobilised to oppose any extradition, there is a significant difference between acknowledging that the US government, and many of its allies, don’t like Wikileaks or Julian Assange – that these governments view the allegations against Assange as being useful in undermining him – versus proving that in the current process he is ”targeted because of his political actions, not his personal affairs”[4], or that the extradition to Sweden would “let the US get hold of Assange”[5].


Trivialising Allegations
Green Left has run three articles that state that what was has been alleged did not constitute rape. One of these entitled “Don’t let lying dogs sleep over Assange, Ecuador”, a speech by the Marxist historian Humphrey McQueen, was prefaced by a statement critical of McQueen’s assertion stating:

Green Left notes that, while most of McQueen’s speech is an entirely justifiable defence of Assange and WikiLeaks, McQueen makes an argument in the case of the allegations of rape against Assange that Green Left strongly rejects. Green Left believes allegations of rape are very serious and should not be dismissed or minimised as simply “misconduct” -- as McQueen does. At the same time, we reject the hypocritical use of these allegations by the US government and its allies as a smokescreen to attack Assange and WikiLeaks”[6].

The disclaimer also stated that the speech did not reflect Green Left’s views and we feel it is important to address this matter among Wikileaks’ supporters[7]. However, Green Left, while also joining in criticisms of British Respect Party MP George Galloway for making similar comments, has not offered similar disclaimers accompanying two other articles that made the same claim that were published prior to McQueen’s speech; nor has the paper been critical of the fact that Assange’s defence team unsuccessfully argued that the Swedish charges did not constitute rape under British law as part of his unsuccessful appeal against extradition[8]. 


 Denying Rape (proceed with caution- this is particularly awful)
Green Left has run several articles that state that the sex between Assange and the two Swedish women was consensual:
“Both complainants admit consenting to sex and that consent to sex was not removed at any stage. The allegation made is that Mr Assange did not immediately inform the complainants that a condom had split or that he was not wearing a condom”[9] 
And:
“Both the women involved said they had consented to have sex. On the facts alleged, no crime would have been committed in Britain”[10].

By arguing that the sex was consensual, the authors argue either that what happened was not rape, or that Sweden has brought ridiculous allegations against Assange, a common argument by Assange’s supporters seeking to paint Assange as the victim of Sweden’s “overly harsh” rape laws. The reality is that no-one has argued that no consensual sex occurred between Assange and the two women – what has been argued that some of Assange’s actions were non-consensual and constituted rape. This should not be too difficult to understand, unless you are of the incorrect view that once a person consents to sex once, you don’t need seek consent in the future.

It is important to understand that while Sweden’s laws around rape are different to those of Britain or Australia, they are not stricter, indeed unlike in Australia or Britain, where consent is central to the definition of rape. In Sweden the key question is the use of force, or threat of the use force[11].

Distorting the facts of the case
There are number of key facts around the case that are frequently misrepresented by Assange’s supporters. Beyond the question of the nature of the charges, US intentions and how these relate, and which decisions were made to prosecute Assange and seek his extradition – are the questions of how the investigation was run, including whether the prosecutors sought to interview Assange prior to him leaving Sweden and motivations behind the bringing of the charges. Writing in June 2012, the editors of Green Left Weekly state,
“When the allegations first surfaced, Swedish prosecutors dismissed the case and repeatedly refused Assange’s attempts to meet with them for an interview. Months later, a different, politically-appointed Swedish prosecutor reopened the case and applied for Assange’s extradition from Britain”[12]. This argument fits with the narrative put forward on websites such as Wikileaks Citizens Alliance Australia and Justice4Assange. However, it doesn’t bear up very well when compared with the timeline of events and the evidence presented at the various court hearings in Britain and the findings in those hearings.
August 20: an arrest warrant was issued for Assange.

August 21: warrant withdrawn, senior Stockholm prosecutor Eva Finne saying “I don’t think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape,” but prosecutors indicated they would continue to investigate lesser chargers that did not warrant arrest.

August 31: prosecutors interviewed Assange in Stockholm formally informing him of the allegations against him.

September 1: Swedish Director of Public Prosecution, Marianne Ny (who is also head of the department which oversees sex crimes), announced that she was reopening the rape investigation “There is reason to believe that a crime has been committed, considering information available at present, my judgement is that the classification of the crime is rape”[13]. 

The argument that prosecutors did not try to interview Assange until after he left Sweden, originated with his Swedish lawyer Bjorn Hurtig, who stated this in his witness statement to the February 2011 extradition hearing in the City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court. Hurtig had also provided this information to expert witnesses that Assange’s defence team called during the hearing. However, under cross-examination Hurtig was forced to admit the following timeline:
September 21 or 22: Ny had contacted him to arrange a follow up interview with Assange.

September 27 9.11 am: Ny contacted Hurtig, who indicated he had not been able to Assange. Ny indicated that she would let him know shortly what action they would take given the inability to arrange an interview. Sometime that day Assange reportedly leaves Sweden.

Sometime between September 27 and September 30: Ny informed Hurtig that she intended to arrest Assange.

Ny continues to attempt to interview Assange, including on October 6th as he was scheduled to holding a public meeting in Sweden. However, this meeting never occurred and the interview was unable to occur[14].

October 18: Assange was informed that his request for residency had been denied.
November 18: the Stockholm District Court Approved “approves a request to detain Mr Assange for questioning on suspicion of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion. Sweden’s Director of Prosecution Marianne Ny says he has not been available for questioning”.

November 20: Swedish police issue an international arrest warrant for Mr Assange via Interpol[15].

Ny has been subject to a range of inconsistent attacks regarding her motivations in deciding to initiate a rape investigation against Assange. While both Green Left and Socialist Alternative argue that the investigation it is part of a politically motivated agenda against Assange, a range of pro-Assange websites including Wikileaks Australian Citizens Alliance and Justice4Assange have, drawing on the “expert testimony” of Brita Sundberg-Weitman, a retired Swedish Judge, have additionally argued that Ny has brought the charges because she is a radical feminist who “regards the prosecution of men, even without sufficient evidence, as in the public interest”[16].

Sundberg-Weitman’s assertion that Ny is a radical feminist is based on comments quoted in a 2001 report for the Act to Protect Women. These are:
“Women who are subject to repeated violence often feel ashamed. They think that they themselves are to blame for what happens. This makes the kicks and blows logical – the victim develops a strategy to explain what she has to go through”[17], 
and
“If the police and prosecutor get enough evidence during the initial investigation, the matter goes to prosecution. Legal proceedings place the responsibility on the persons who resort to violence. Marianne Ny is of the opinion that such proceedings have a beneficial effect in protecting women, even in cases where perpetrators are prosecuted but not convicted”[18].

Sundberg-Weitman interpreted these comments to mean that Ny is “biased against men and takes for granted that everyone prosecuted is guilty ... She is so preoccupied with the situation of battered and raped women that she has lost balance”[19]. Even under cross examination, when it was put to Sundberg-Weitman that Ny’s statements could be taken as meaning “there is a public interest in prosecuting, where evidence justifies prosecution, even if the case results in an acquittal”[20], Sundberg-Weitman rejected this as a possible interpretation .

It is important to remember that in Sweden, like in Australia, there are real problems with low reporting rates of rape and real problems with attrition rates with rape cases being dropped by police and prosecutors prior to cases going to court. The approach advocated by Ny, who has also been involved in policy discussions to strengthen Sweden’s rape laws, would help to address this problem.

Failure to confront misogyny of Assange Defence campaign
Assange’s case has become a cause celebre not just with the far-left but also with significant layers of Men’s Rights Groups. Indeed, the official Justice4Assange site has an entire section on “Gender Politics” or more precisely, how Sweden is a place where crazy feminists have taken over. The introduction to the section states “Gender politics in Sweden has also been decisive in shaping the Swedish Sexual Offences legislation that criminalises conduct that is considered legal in the UK as long as it is consensual (which is the case in the alleged conduct involving Julian Assange)”[21]. 

Assange also very early in the process argued that feminism was a problem. In a December 2010 interview he told The Australian that “Sweden is the Saudi Arabia of feminism” and that he had fallen into a “hornet’s nest of revolutionary feminism”[22]. This denigrates the experiences of both “A” and “W”, and promotes a wide range of inconsistent rape apologism and rape myths. However, Green Left, while asserting that allegations of rape need to be taken seriously and that attempts to trivialise rape need to be debated amongst Assange supporters, has not published any articles that sort to seriously challenge the use of such examining this ugly aspect of the Assange’s support base - beyond saying

“This type of argument hurts the struggle against sexual assault,  where women often face a difficult battle to receive justice.

“Allegations of sexual assault and rape are a serious matter. What is concerning about Assange’s case is
that the serious problems of sexual assault and rape, which do not receive the attention they deserve, are being used in an attempt to discredit an organisation that is a threat to powerful interests.

“The singling out of Assange for severe treatment (such as the initial denial of bail in Britain and ongoing extradition attempts for a man not even charged with a crime), amounts to dangerous abuse and trivialisation of a serious issue”[23].

In addition they have published articles critical of feminists who have raised concerns about the trivialisation of rape by Assange’s supporters, accusing them of “not having a nuanced analysis”[24].

Socialist Alternative has not been as coy on this question. In a November 2012 article, Louise O’Shea argues that:
“Phoney concern about women’s oppression has been instrumental in giving various policies of the ruling class legitimacy over the last decade or more. In addition to helping win support for the invasion of Afghanistan, some feminists have contributed to anti-Muslim racism by advocating a ban on Islamic dress have refused to support the rights of fly-in-fly-out mining workers on the basis that they can be sexist and have opposed defending Julian Assange against the US government because he has been accused of rape. The mindset that much of the left has, that any attention to “women’s issues” must by definition be a good thing, is wholly inappropriate for the times”[25].

A central element in the logic that is applied to justify the downplaying of rape allegations against Assange is the way in which a hypothetical conspiracy between the Swedish and US governments is treated as fact. It is unquestionably the case that the US government, and many of its allies have condemned Wikileaks and Julian Assange, and have sought to undermine Wikileaks. It also undoubtedly the case that these governments view the allegations against Assange as being useful in undermining both him and Wikileaks, however, this doesn’t mean that it can be said that “Whether or not the claims are true, he is being targeted because of his political actions, not his personal affairs”[26], or extradition to Sweden would “let the US get hold of
Assange”[27].

Calling for no trial to occur
Although both Socialist Alternative and Green Left, have published articles that argued “that it’s not possible to know what occurred in Sweden, and the need to take allegations seriously”, Green Left and Socialist Alternative[28] have run articles calling for the Australian government to push for Assange to be brought home to Australia or be freed, which would make justice for both “A” and “W”, impossible – but then again I don’t think they ever cared about that.

These statements are not just an attack on “A” and “W”, but on all survivors – it sends a message that survivors cannot expect the far-left to consistently stand up for survivors, and if your abuser is a member of the left you can expect the left to mobilise rape myths against you and apologise for the perpetrator “for the good of the movement”, Anyone who is serious about supporting the rights of women needs to support survivors. This involves accepting survivors’ stories and combating the rape apologism and victim blaming that legitimises and normalises sexual violence. If we are to achieve a world where rape is viewed as abhorrent we need to fight rape apologism wherever it is found. 


_______________________________________________


Notes

1 Pemberton, A. ‘Anti-WikiLeaks campaign undermines anti-rape campaigns’, Green Left Weekly, 24 Aug. 2012, para. 14, <https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/51992>, accessed 6 Jan. 2014.
2 Ausburn, K. ‘Why feminists and the left must defend Julian Assange’, Green Left Weekly, 12 Jan. 2011, para. 18, <https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/46421>, accessed 6 Jan. 2014
3 Hillier, B. ‘Truth is a crime in an empire of lies’, Socialist Alternative, 3 Dec. 2010, para. 20, <http://www.sa.org.au/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=4148:wikileaks-truth-is-a-crime-in-an-empire-of-lies&Itemid=543>, accessed 7 Jan. 2014.
4 Hillier, para. 20
5 Green Left Weekly, ‘Assange is right to seek asylum’, Green Left Weekly, 23 Jun. 2012, para. 4,  <https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/51428>, accessed 6 Jan. 2014.
6 McQueen, H. ‘Humphrey McQueen: Don’t let lying dogs sleep over Assange, Ecuador‘, Green Left Weekly, 22 Aug. 2012, para. 2, <https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/51975>, accessed 6 Jan. 2014..
7 McQueen, para. 5.
8 Pemberton, A. ‘Anti-WikiLeaks campaign undermines anti-rape campaigns’, Green Left Weekly, 24 Aug. 2012, para. 12, <https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/51992>, accessed 6 Jan. 2014.
Wikileaks, ‘WikiLeaks: Assange’s detention unfair, dehumanising’, Green Left Weekly, 20 Jun. 2011, para. 9, <https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/47960>, accessed 6 Jan. 2014.
Pilger, J. ‘John Pilger: ‘Getting’ Assange and the smearing a revolution’, Green Left Weekly, 11 Oct. 2011, para. 3, <https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/49029>, accessed 6 Jan. 2014.
9 Wikileaks, para. 6.
10 Pilger, para. 3.
11 Amnesty International, Case Closed: Rape and Human Rights in the Nordic Countries – Summary Report (2010)   <http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ACT77/001/2010/en/5ba7f635-f2c3-4b50-86ea-e6c3428cf179/act770012010eng.pdf> , 9, accessed 2 Sept. 2012.
12 Green Left Weekly, para. 7.
13 BBC News, ‘Timeline: sexual allegations against Assange in Sweden’, BBC, (16 Aug. 2012) <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11949341>, accessed 8 Jam 2014.
14 Riddle, H. The Judicial Authority in Sweden v. Julian Paul Assange, (City of Westminster Magistrates Court, 2011) <www.judiciary.gov.uk%2FResources%2FJCO%2FDocuments%2FJudgments%2Fjud-aut-sweden-v-assange-judgment.pdf&ei=iS7OUripDNHYkgWO04HIAg&usg=AFQjCNEkM4qYA0FOEwSC4QWBdbn_Aw4zUQ&bvm=bv.59026428,d.dGI>, 7-8, accessed on 3 Sept. 2012.
15 BBC NEWS.
16 Riddle, 2.
17 Sundberg-Weitman, B. Exhibit to Expert Report of Brita Sundberg-
Weitman
, <http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&ved=0CC8QFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.howardkennedyfsi.com%2Fcms%2Fdocuments%2FExpertOpinionofBritaSundbergWeitmanExhibitBSW1.pdf&ei=uzLOUpSKL8X5kgW2k4DADQ&usg=AFQjCNHY3DgYQCywePwlkgo-NIeLVkXerg&bvm=bv.59026428,d.dGI>, 7, accessed on 7 Jan. 2014.
18 Sundberg-Weitman, 8.
19 Riddle, 2.
20 Riddle, 2-3.
21 Julian Assange Defence Fund. ‘Gender Politics’, Justice4Assange [webpage], (n.d.) <http://justice4assange.com/Gender-Politics.html> para. 1, accessed 7 Jan. 2014.
22 Colvin, M. ‘Wikileaks Founder Baffled by Sex Assault Claims’,
Australian, 27 Dec. 2010, para. 16, <http://www.theaustralian.com.au/in-depth/wikileaks/wikileaks-founder-baffled-by-sex-assault-claims/story-fn775xjq-1225976459286>, accessed 8 Jan. 2014.
23 Pemberton, A. ‘Assange: ‘Gillard must bring me home’, Green Left Weekly, 13 Feb. 2011, paras. 17-19, <https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/46706>, accessed 10 Jan. 2014.
24 Ausburn, 2.
25  O’Shea, L. ‘Jill Meagher, Reclaim the Night and the political right’, Socialist Alternative, 22 November, 2013, para. 26, <http://www.sa.org.au/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=7577%3Ajill-meagher-reclaim-the-night-and-the-political-right&Itemid=542>, accessed 6 Jan. 2014.
26 Hillier, 20.
27 Green Left Weekly, para. 4.
28 Pemberton, A. ‘Assange: ‘Gillard must bring me home’, Green Left Weekly, 13 Feb. 2011, <https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/46706>, accessed 10 Jan. 2014.
Bolger, C. ‘The battle over Wikileaks has only just begun’, Socialist Alternative, 23 Dec. 2010, para. 15, <http://www.sa.org.au/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=4129:the-battle-over-wikileaks-has-only-just-begun&Itemid=543>, accessed 10 Jan. 2014.


This article originally appeared in issue #3 of the Dealing with an Unsafe Left zine. Check them out on tumblr and facebook > -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Verbatim copying and distribution of the entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved. If you reprint this article please email me at revitalisinglabour@gmail.com to let me know.

Read more...

About This Blog

Revitalising Labour attempts to reflect on efforts to rebuild the labour movement internationally, emphasising the role that left-wing political currents can play in this process. It welcomes contributions on union struggles, internal renewal processes within the labour movement and the struggle against capitalism and imperialism.

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP  

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Australia License.