Presentation and discussion: General Election: No Vote to Zionist New Labour – Support Left Independents/Anti-Zionists

(Top) Jeremy Corbyn,  Leanne Mohammad, (Below) George Galloway,  Andrew  Feinstein
 

The presentation and discussion at our forum this afternoon can also be heard here as a podcast

There is no major party standing in this General Election deserving of the support of class-conscious workers, socialists, anti-racists and fighters against oppression.

The Tories and Liberal Democrats are the open parties of the ruling class, speaking abstractly.

Being more concrete, we have all experienced the brutal austerity and increasingly decrepit corruption of this gang of looters of our social gains, public services, the Health service, the rivers polluted with raw sewage, the racist thuggery and sadism … I could go on.

First the Tory-Liberal coalition for 5 years, then the Tories alone. The rise of Jeremy Corbyn was a reaction from the workers movement to Tory-Lib Dem austerity attacks.

But today’s Labour Party was forged through a massive, reactionary driving out of the left that led the party from 2015-20 under Jeremy Corbyn.

This was the one period since the miners strike when millions of working-class people thought they had a chance of winning something back, through the election of a left-wing politician with a record of fighting for workers, of opposing privatisation and attacks on the poor, of standing up to bigoty and racism, and mobilisation against imperialist wars.

The current Labour leadership, as the whole country knows, buried that. They preferred the Tories. They engineered Johnson’s victory in 2019. Labour is standing in this election as a Tory second XI as they continue to stamp on the Labour left.

Some see the Greens as a potential repository of socialist possibilities. In Germany, the Greens are part of a coalition with the Social Democratic Party (SPD); they are deeply implicated in support for both Israel and Nazi Ukraine.

In this country sole Green MP Caroline Lucas, has been involved in ‘cross-party’ witchhunting critics of Zionism in academia, as shown in the case of David Miller.

They cannot be trusted, their environmentalism is bourgeois and depends on ‘Green’ capitalism, not socialist planning, which is the only thing that can solve the problem of human-induced climate change. We need a working-class alternative, not a petty bourgeois party that joins in with capitalist reaction.

But the main topic of this forum is Labour.

On October 8th Israeli ‘defence’ minister Yoav Gallant made his Hitlerian speech saying that the inhabitants of Gaza are “human animals” who should be allowed “no electricity, no food, no water, no gas”.

When Starmer was interviewed shortly after, he defended Israel’s “right” to carry out these genocidal measures.

This led to a major exodus of outraged members, particularly from Muslim working-class communities, and numerous defections of councillors.

The Labour leadership is dominated by genocidal Zionists.

The scam ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign against the left during the Corbyn period, was driven by the realisation by those forces that a genocide of the Palestinian people was in the offing, and politics had to be purged of sympathy for Palestinian rights.

But they have a huge problem now. This election takes place in the middle of that very genocide, that Starmer gave his support to

However much he tries to wriggle and evade now, he, and his supporters, are on the rack.

The Starmer leadership is a reversion to the politics of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and their neoliberal New Labour governments, which followed in the footsteps of Thatcher and Major.

That government, like the Tories, demanded austerity to make the working class pay for the world financial crisis of the late noughties.

The neoliberal right, which is interpenetrated with the Zionists as a matter both of history and current political reality, was horrified by the near victory of Labour under Jeremy Corbyn in the 2017 election.

It appears that only the sabotage of the Labour right –the funnelling of campaign funds to safe Labour seats inhabited by neoliberals and Zionists – deprived Corbyn’s Labour of being the largest party.

The shocked expressions of ‘Labour Friends of Israel’ like Jess Phillips and Stephen Kinnock when May lost her majority, said it all.

They worked overtime to sabotage Corbyn’s leadership and bring Boris Johnson to power in the 2019 election. For the bourgeois/Zionist right-wing, Johnson was the lesser evil to Corbyn.

When the anti-Semitism scam was ineffective (as was shown in 2017), Starmer manipulated the issue of Brexit to sabotage Labour.

So, the idea that Starmer and his followers are somehow a lesser evil to the Tories today is at odds with reality. They have more in common with the Tories than they do with the labour movement.

This election gives the opportunity to the left to begin to clarify that and split this bourgeois workers party along class lines. We are seeing the small beginnings of that.

There is already a substantial layer of independent socialist councillors around the country, many of whom successfully defended their seats in the council elections on May 4th.

Starmer has the party’s internal life sewn up, dissent is ruthlessly punished, and internal party elections are shamelessly rigged.

Then in February Starmer colluded with Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, another “Labour Friend of Israel”.

Hoyle broke with an element of parliamentary procedure that has a democratic content. The rule being that on a party’s “Opposition Day”, that party is allowed to put a motion, and only the government is allowed to put amendments to it.

The purpose of this is to ensure that all opposition parties get to have their say; they have the right to have their motions voted on by the house, yes or no.

Hoyle allowed Labour to put an amendment to the SNP’s motion calling for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

Predictably, the Labour Party was able to outvote the SNP.  So, the SNP motion was amended to remove its most important demands, for a ceasefire and condemnation of “collective punishment” of Palestinian civilians in this genocide.

Which were never voted on in counter-position to the government,

Labour was afraid that if they were forced to vote on a ceasefire, they would split. But voting for something with ambiguous wording that was deliberately unclear, would not cause a problem.

So, the SNP’s right to a yes-no vote/confrontation against the government on Gaza was buried.

If the Labour Party had been forced to vote on the SNP motion versus the government, the whips would have demanded that Labour either vote with the government or abstain. Many would have rebelled.

This manoeuvre was to stop that happening.

This showed that Starmer is not just a threat to Labour members’ democratic rights, but of all who criticise Zionism.

It is comparable, in some ways, to Boris Johnson’s illegal manoeuvre to prorogue parliament in the Summer of 2019. This was a kind of coup.

And Starmer/Hoyle carried out their own mini-parliamentary coup against the SNP and any MP in their own party or any other who wanted to vote to demand a permanent ceasefire.

This is an attack on an element of parliamentarism that actually has a democratic content.

Numerous independent socialists around the country are standing against Labour, as well as several left-of-labour political organisations.

The most prominent individual is Jeremy Corbyn himself.

His exclusion from Labour, when only a few years earlier he was the leader of a massive movement against austerity, racism and imperialist war, symbolises why socialists should not be supporting the Starmer-led Labour Party.

Hundreds of thousands of people loyal to Corbyn’s leadership have been impatiently waiting for him to defy Starmer in the election.

Now he has done so, he deserves the support of all in society who have a basic working-class consciousness, along with those fighting oppression and imperialist war, crucially the attempted genocide in Gaza.

But it should be a critical support, as many of Corbyn’s own actions when he was leader, did not help to resist the reactionaries who sought to overthrow him.

Corbyn showed chronic weakness in Labour with the position that he explicitly formulated later in the witchhunt period, that both Zionists and anti-Zionists should work together in Labour.

Jon Lansman of Momentum, who admitted to being a left Zionist, was among his most influential supporters. He played a key role in undermining his leadership.

Even more to the point, Corbyn’s adherence to the view that Zionists and anti-Zionists should work together, meant that when the Zionists came after outspoken opponents of Zionist racism in the party, Corbyn turned the other cheek, which meant throwing them under the bus.

Corbyn’s appointee Jenny Formby, as General Secretary, proved more efficient at purging the pro-Palestinian left in the guise of fighting ‘anti-Semitism’, than her right-wing predecessor McNicol.

So that was disastrous weakness.

He is still at it – in the ‘Collective’ Umbrella he has initiated for this election, and his ‘Peace and Justice’ initiative, ‘left’ Zionists: Justin and Clare Schlosberg, are active.

Justin Schlossberg denounced David Miller, the militant, victimised anti-Zionist professor formerly of Bristol University, as a ‘psyop’.

David Miller who defeated Bristol University at an industrial tribunal, establishing for the first time that anti-Zionist views are a protected belief under British law.

The types are a danger to the left and Palestine supporters. It is terrible to be allying oneself with such people, particularly in these terrible circumstances. It is wrong in principle in any case.

Zionism is a key driver of racism in the Labour Party.

Diane Abbot, the first black woman MP, was deprived of the Labour whip based on phoney allegations of anti-Semitism, driven by Zionists.  Par for the course.

Abbott and her supporters appear to have forced Starmer to reinstate her as a Labour candidate. It is clear that Starmer wanted rid of her, and that she refused to go, and had the clout to insist, and defeat him.

This is because the Labour Party feared to take on black working-class communities in London, and in Britain generally, who still have considerable regard for Diane Abbott.

She is one of the few Labour candidates who deserve a vote in this election. For defying and defeating Starmer.

What happened to Faiza Shaheen is the converse of this. She was outrageously dropped as a candidate in Chingford/Woodford Green on the basis of feeble Zionist smears only a few days before the national candidate selection deadline

A highly regarded left-wing economist of Muslim family background, she was supposed to be crushed by this.

But not so, she denounced the ‘hierarchy of racism’ in Labour.

What this actually means is that Labour has a racial hierarchy, that privileges Jewish and white supremacists over the black and Asian communities.

She is now standing as an independent against the Tory Iain Duncan Smith and the Starmer stooge.

The quintessence of this racial hierarchy is Labour’s parachuting of Luke Akehurst into a safe Labour seat in North Durham.

He is a white supremacist, who as Diane Abbott has noted, had tried repeatedly to get rid of her from her Hackney seat.

He is also an ardent Zionist, but he is not actually Jewish. There is a famous photo of him wearing a T-Shirt bearing the caption “Zionist Shitlord”.

 It appears that his Zionist fervour is driven by his hatred of non-whites – he has deleted thousands of his tweets and social media posts recently to hide this.

One reportedly referred to Palestinians as ‘rats’.  Akehurst is basically a Zionist-Nazi and should be treated as one.

There is a proud working-class history in Durham, as symbolised by the Durham Miners’ Gala. They should ensure his type are better acquainted with the pavement.

George Galloway of the Workers Party is seeking re-election in Rochdale after his recent by-election victory.

There are also some independent candidates standing in Birmingham who are closely associated with GG and the Workers Party.

Jody McIntyre in Yardley against Jess Philipps, and Ahmed Yakoob in Ladywood against Shabana Mahmood.

They are making Gaza a big issue, but not just Gaza. Labour’s more general racism, neoliberalism and contempt for the working class, and particularly the British Asian working class, is crucial here.

Former UK Ambassador and Julian Assange defender Craig Murray is standing for the Workers Party in Blackburn (he may win also).

Chris Williamson, the former very left-wing Labour MP and Deputy Leader of the Workers Party is standing in Derby South, adjacent to his previous Derby North seat.

Former Labour whistleblower (about Zionist lobbying and witchhunts), Halima Khan, is planning to stand in Stratford and Bow, East London, also under the banner of the Workers Party.

George Galloway is excellent on Palestine and Ukraine and has a long and creditable anti-imperialist record.

But in the past decade he has shown softness on right-populism, and some of his followers follow in the same vein and to be treated with caution.

There are political debates to be had with the Workers Party about social conservatism and backwardness on questions involving immigration and oppression, including sexual oppression of various types.

However, Galloway’s views cannot be taken to represent the final word about the Workers Party and its politics. There are signs of it being a more inclusive project than that. 

Galloway himself has appeared to welcome the idea of prominent figures with different views joining with him. If that were to happen, then it could become a real vehicle for political advance.

Williamson, Craig Murray and Halima Khan appear to give substance to that.

Possibly the most prominent independent socialist campaign in London, barring Corbyn, is Andrew Feinstein in Holborn and St Pancras constituency, against Starmer himself.

He is a Jewish former member of the South African Parliament for the African National Congress. He is an outspoken defender of the Palestinians and supporter of South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at the ICJ.

He was selected by OCISA (Organise Corbyn-Inspired Socialist Alliance), a left-Corbynite campaign group set up a couple of years ago with the aim of standing a socialist candidate against Keir Starmer.

Labour sees that as threatening politically, which is perhaps why a ‘left’-talking independent candidate, who appears to have family connections with the Labour right wing, is running in that constituency seemingly to split the left-wing opposition to Starmer.

Leanne Mohammad, a British-Palestinian Palestine solidarity activist, is challenging Wes Streeting is in Ilford North. Streeting can be considered an Israeli agent – and he evangelises for private healthcare. His defeat would be a major blow to the Zionists and neoliberals.

There are also the celebrated Liverpool Community Independents, who are standing Sam Gorst against arch-witchhunter Maria Eagle in Liverpool Garston.

They are now standing under the banner of Transform, another new leftist party that is partly the product of ex-Corbynites, notably the very youthful Breakthrough Party, which merged with the remnants of Left Unity as well as the Liverpool Independents last year.

Transform appears heterogenous; it has ‘socialist’ elements who are flatly on the wrong side in Ukraine, mixed with others with better views.

TUSC, which is basically a front for the Socialist Party, is standing in this election.

Its left-reformist sectarian caricature of Marxism makes it appear bureaucratic and sterile, but it does stand for some basic working class demands for trade unions, against privatisation, imperialist wars etc., so it is worthy of critical support in principle.

Though its habit of standing against other leftists gratuitously is part of what renders it sterile.

It does appear they might have a candidate standing under their ticket from the Spartacist League. That is an interesting anomaly. And also critically supportable.

The new Revolutionary Communist Party, formerly the labour entrist Socialist Appeal, that also has its origins in Militant is also standing on politics that appear critically supportable. It appears more political and open to debate.

What is necessary above all is a perspective that seeks to unite all of these fragmented initiatives in a new, democratically organised party, where proper political debates are possible, and thereby unity in action, so that political and programmatic development in a revolutionary direction comes onto the agenda.

Communist Fight Series 2, issue 4 is Out Now!

This issue centres on the General Election, and the Gaza genocide, and also refers to the Ukraine war.

The lead article is an extensive and detailed analysis of the various parties and trends standing in the General Election. It concretely makes it clear why the Labour Party is not supportable – the current leadership is one that has waged a class war against all elements within it who aspire to stand up for workers and the oppressed. The Zionism of this leadership was always genocidal, and it is pretty clear in hindsight that there was plenty of conscious understanding of this among the various ‘Friends of Israel’ and ‘Jewish Labour Movement’ witchhunters who targeted the Corbyn movement.

Starmer’s clear endorsement of the use of starvation/dehydration and deprivation of power as a weapon of genocide after the break out from the Gaza concentration camp on 7th October, caused a major crisis in the Labour Party, with many defections, including of sitting councillors, who often retained their seats in the local elections in May. Now there is a layer of socialist-inclined independents standing all over the country against Labour – the most prominent being Jeremy Corbyn himself, as well as at least four national left-wing organisations, most prominently the Workers Party of George Galloway. The main article gives life to the concept of critical support, elaborating in some depth the strengths and weaknesses of the various trends and putting forward a perspective of what is necessary to create a cohesive and democratic socialist alternative to bankrupt neoliberal social democracy.

The article on the back cover also contains useful material on the election, in the form of an account of a public debate between two left-wing trends, with the CPGB-Weekly Worker advocating votes for Starmer’s genocidal leadership in the election, and the Spartacist League opposing it. The rightward motion of the CPGB-WW is evident here; during the whole Blairite period they were opponents of the left hustling votes for the pro-privatisation, warmongering Blairites. But now that Starmer has taken that a stage further and publicly endorsed openly genocidal actions, they suddenly click their heels and denounce those hundreds of thousands of class-conscious militants who abhor voting for Starmer as ‘third period’-ists, “Ohlerites” and similar nonsense. “Left” Islamophobia and softness on Zionism are what is driving their drift into the Starmer camp. Their opponents in the debate, the Spartacists, have ironically some similar flaws, but on the issue being debated: for or against voting for Starmers openly righwing Labour, they are correct.

Another article, an edited transcript of the presentation at the forum we held on the genocide at the beginning of May, gives a lot more historical and contemporary detail about the roots of the genocide, as well as its relationship with the decline of US hegemony and the rise of resistance to that hegemony from a block of the global South with the ex-workers states of Russia and China.

As well as these substantial articles, we have a number of short pieces on the war in Ukraine, the arrest warrants that are in train from the ICC against Israeli leaders, and also an update on the recent partial legal victory of Julian Assange at the Court of Appeal on May 20. And we have a brief piece by our Argentinian comrades on the 9 May General Strike against the fascist-inclined President of Argentina, Javier Milei, and the ferocious attacks he is carrying out against the working class of that country as part of a US-funded counteroffensive of recolonisation in Latin America.

Debate on the Left: No Vote for Zionist New Labour!

Spartacists v CPGB/Weekly Worker

The 9th May article in the Weekly Worker on the online debate between the Spartacist League and the CPGB, Debating with Oehlerites (https://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1490/debating-with-oehlerites/) , shows nothing so much as the rightward political evolution of the CPGB, as well as some contradictory and problematic aspects of the political evolution of the Spartacist tendency since the death of their founder-leader James Robertson in 2018. The WW polemic against today’s reformed Spartacists as ‘Ohlerites’ (akin to Hugo Ohler, a sectarian critic of the Trotskyist movement in the 1930s) is frankly absurd, as it has not been demonstrated that faced with a genuinely leftward moving opportunity in the Labour Party, such as actually existed in the recent past with the Corbyn movement, today’s Spartacist League would simply abstain and refuse to intervene.

Seems reasonable to us…

James Robertson, the US American leader of the Spartacists, died (aged over 90) right in the middle of Corbyn’s leadership, and even before his death the Spartacists were politically paralysed and engaging in an agonised and confused political soul-searching about aspects of his legacy. Particularly involving allegations of chauvinism against oppressed peoples, which just before his death were unconvincingly blamed on Joseph Seymour, one of his senior lieutenants, excusing Robertson himself. During the Corbyn project, the ‘new’ Spartacists did not yet exist, and it appears that the old group went into a state of political collapse and only re-emerged, in a somewhat contradictory and less-than-fully rational manner, in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic. That could be subject of another exploration, but it is not relevant here.

The point is that the SL’s involvement in TUSC is itself evidently proof that they are not Ohlerites. TUSC is itself a left-social democratic project – ‘Ohlerites’ would treat involvement in it as a heresy. Evidently the SL today see involvement in social democratic organisations as a valid tactic, their disagreement with the CPGB appears to be about which social-democratic trend to conduct political work within. In our view they are mistaken to see TUSC as the optimum milieu to conduct communist political work within today, as it is a project that, though it gets some semi-respectable votes in a few places, stands a lot of merely paper candidates that routinely get derisory votes and have done for many years.

Ridiculous CPGB polemic in favour of kissing the arse of genocidare “Sir Keir”.

It is a sterile project, dominated by what Mike MacNair accurately terms “sectarian purity politics combined with sub-reformism”. Without the RMT and the CPB, TUSC has long been a Socialist Party ‘front’ – and their sectarian boorishness and sub-reformism makes it deeply unappealing to those radicalised by the genocide in Gaza. Their policy statements on Gaza are very vague and bland, limited to ‘opposing’ the Israeli ‘war on Gaza’. Behind the scenes, the Socialist Party’s own statement after the October 7th prison break equated the two sides:

“Once again, in this new round of Israel-Palestine conflict, many civilians have already been killed and injured. The leaders of both sides have no hesitation in terrorising civilians whether it be the history of the Israeli state in Lebanon and Gaza or the Hamas leaders in their 7 October offensive. The killing of around 260 young people on Saturday at a ‘rave’ will not bring progress in the fight for liberation but was an attempt to terrorise the Israeli population, which can play into the hands of the ultra-right Israeli government.”

https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/116365/09-10-2023/stop-the-israel-gaza-war-for-workers-unity-and-struggle-against-national-conflict-and-oppression/

More recently, on 15th May, their article titled “Mass workers’ struggle can end slaughter in Gaza” put forward the following key demand as a ‘solution’ to the Palestinian liberation struggle:

“For an independent, socialist Palestinian state, alongside a socialist Israel, with guaranteed rights for all minorities, as part of the struggle for a socialist Middle East

https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/124705/15-05-2024/mass-workers-struggle-can-end-slaughter-in-gaza/

For all its rhetoric, this is a caricature of a socialist programme, as Israel was created through the forcible expulsion of the indigenous Palestinian Arab people of Palestine, who are not a ‘minority’ anywhere, but the overwhelming, legitimate majority over the whole territory of Palestine from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea. Such is the conservative bureaucratic politics in TUSC in practice that it is not difficult to confuse these statements on this with that of the British TUC after October 7th, such as:

“We unequivocally condemn the attacks by Hamas and their targeting of civilians in this recent escalation of violence. Nothing can justify such an attack.”

[…]

“Finally, we reiterate our support for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace that is consistent with international law and is based on a two-state solution, security for both Israel and Palestine, and which promotes equality and respect for human and labour rights.”

https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/tuc-statement-israel-and-palestine

The policy of the Socialist Party, the main force (by far) in TUSC, is only a ‘socialist’ phrase or two different from that of the TUC! No wonder TUSC is considerably less inspiring and capable of mobilising struggles against oppression than was the Labour Party in the late 2010s under Corbyn’s leadership!

The Spartacist League of old used to excoriate, and even try to incite Irish Republicans against, anyone who would work with the Socialist Party in the late 1990s/early 2000s Socialist Alliance because their similar ‘both sides’-ism over Ireland meant softness on Ulster loyalism just as today on Zionism. Even though the old SL shared much of the SP’s ‘both sides’-ism over Ireland with their slogan ‘Not Green against Orange but Class against Class’, and their opposition to ‘forcible’ Irish reunification. They disguised that behind virulent sectarian provocations and idiocy, which they thankfully appear to have abandoned.   But TUSC, unlike the Socialist Alliance in the late 1990s/early 2000s, is a sterile SP front.

Entry into TUSC is a mistaken tactic, that quite likely has strategic and opportunist aspects to it. Better to give TUSC a degree of critical support from the outside and try to play a role in cohering something better as we are doing in the Socialist Labour Network. But the Spartacist League are quite right to refuse support for Labour in current circumstances under Starmer’s leadership and there is nothing ‘Ohlerite’ about that refusal.

Bourgeois Workers Parties: Concrete not Abstract

A bourgeois workers party, by its very nature, is a party with a class contradiction built into it, a party with two contradictory class poles, a proletarian element at the base, that may coexist with other elements, either oppressed groups that are not purely proletarian in composition, or elements of the petty-bourgeoisie who also make up part of the base of the party. And the other pole is the labour bureaucracy, initially connected to the bureaucracy of mass trade unions, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.

As well as a pro-capitalist labour bureaucracy element, Labour also has an extensive political bureaucracy which has considerable autonomy in dealing with other sections of society, particularly elements of the ruling class. With the de-industrialisation and financialisation of imperialist countries such as Britain under the neoliberal paradigm since the 1970s, we also see that this semi-autonomous political bureaucratic element can grow and become complicit with elements of financial, as opposed to industrial, capital, and wander a long way from the traditional politics of the right-wing of the trade union bureaucracy.  Thus, we see Blairism, Starmerism, and the growth of neoconservative bourgeois politics in Labour, and not least an expanded role for Zionism.

As a bourgeois workers party, sometimes the proletarian pole within Labour is capable of fighting back, and in such periods critical support and entryism is appropriate, as in the Corbyn period. We in the Consistent Democrats, the main British Group affiliated to the Liaison Committee for the Fourth International, were then in Socialist Fight, which did engage in work within the Labour Party in that crucial period. If that opportunity arose again, we would do the same, though in current conditions that is unlikely. But it is difficult to call us ‘Ohlerites’ particularly given our work in the Socialist Labour Network, which is in part the continuity of Labour Against the Witchhunt (also the former Labour-In-Exile Network) and which organises a significant layer of the most advanced ex-Labour militants. We were pivotal in changing the policy of the SLN from one of neutrality in the war in Ukraine to one of critically supporting the struggle of the people of the Donbass, and the Russian side, against NATO’s Nazi proxy war.

In a period where the proletarian pole of Labour is driven back by the right-wing, and particularly today’s neoliberal, massively corrupt and bribed neoliberal/Blairite right-wing, in hock to Thatcherite privatisation, Zionism and the Israeli attempt to exterminate the people of Gaza, the Spartacist League are quite correct to agitate against voting for Starmer on the mass Palestine demonstrations. We would critically support that. Our criticism is that some of the literature the SL has put out about Gaza and October 7th has shown too much of a tendency to accept the demonisation of Hamas, who it is clear did not seek mass civilian casualties, as Scott Ritter correctly noted. We are also sharply critical of their failure to take sides with Russia and the people of Donbass in the current Ukrainian proxy war, which is another crucially important anti-imperialist struggle.

Not only are the SL absurdly characterised as ‘Ohlerites’. McNair is also quoted as arguing for:

“…fighting for working class unity requires the pursuit of the united front – including from above with rightwing leaders of the labour movement. We do not simply regard them as ‘social fascists’: ie, as untouchables. The SL’s claim that voting Labour is crossing class lines, or to vote for anybody who would back a Starmer government crosses class lines, argued comrade Macnair, is what Leon Trotsky dismissed as the ‘third period’ theory of Comintern.”

WW, op-cit

Here McNair resorts to Sean Matgamna-style dishonest demagogy.  “Third period” Stalinism was a cynical, bureaucratic pseudo-ultraleft policy formulated by the Soviet bureaucracy to obscure the Stalin faction’s previous rightist policy of conciliation of capitalism abroad and rich, exploiting peasants (kulaks) at home. These led to the destruction of the 1926-27 Chinese revolution and a 1928 kulak revolt that came close to overthrowing Soviet power. “Third period” Stalinism (1929-33) was not a reflection of the mood of an advanced part of the working class, it was a bureaucratic policy from above to fool the advanced working class. Completely unlike anything today.

If German Social Democracy, hypothetically speaking, had been directly complicit in Hitler’s (coming) genocide of Jews in the way that Starmer’s Zionist Labour Party is complicit in Israel’s  genocide of the Palestinians in Gaza (for which they are rightly hated), then the Stalinist epithet ‘social fascist’ might have had some justification. But in the actual historical situation that was impossible. In fact, the Stalinist bureaucratic policy of the ‘Third Period’ played a major role in sabotaging the united front of the German workers against Hitler’s Nazi movement that actually threatened such a genocide at the time. So, what is MacNair suggesting, that the left should form a ‘united front’ with Der Stűrmer to save the Palestinians from genocide? What the hell?

Starmer made it very clear that he supported Zionism, which now stands utterly exposed as the Nazism of today, “without qualification” as he grabbed for the Labour leadership after stabbing Corbyn in the back. Starmer is himself a genocidal racist, who rose to power in Labour with the support of Political Zionism and the Labour Friends of Israel, Jewish Labour Movement, etc, which as is visible to all now, is the hegemonic, open form of genocidal racism of today, which has the bulk of the imperialist ruling classes dancing to its tune. MacNair’s polemic is a damned insult against all those who suffered from the Zionist filth in Labour!

The polemic goes on. MacNair

“…in his response described the Spartacist position as ‘classic ultra-leftism’ of the sort attacked in Lenin’s Leftwing communism … it mistakes the mood of a section of the advanced part of the class for the mood of the broad masses. Yes, there is hatred of Starmer expressed by hundreds of thousands on Palestine demonstrations, but millions are supporting Labour in elections. They are not doing so under the illusion that Labour will bring socialism, or that it defends the fully independent interests of the working class. The illusion is that Labour will partially defend workers’ interests within the frame of the constitution and the nation.”

WW op-cit

CPGB support for Starmer: Another Capitulation to Zionism

This an example of rightward motion by the CPGB and softness on what Starmer represents politically. Lenin in Left Wing Communism attacked those ultraleft communists who refused on principle to support any candidates in bourgeois elections, and to stand communist candidates in such elections. The WW polemic is bizarre, as the Spartacist League apparently are standing a candidate under the TUSC banner in the upcoming election, and many others of those who oppose voting for Starmer are planning to stand, or support, independent leftist candidates themselves. It seems that for the CPGB, the epithet ‘Ohlerite’ is reserved for those who fail to kiss Starmer’s arse.

 This is shown by their respectful address to Starmer as “Sir Keir” in their coverage when the vernacular of those who have been through the mill of the Zionist witchhhunts in Labour is more often “Der Stűrmer”, “Kid Starver” or sometimes “Keith Stalin”. The absence of socialist or class illusions in Starmer’s Labour is because Starmer’s strategy is to win over alienated Tory voters by appearing to them as a slightly less deranged kind of Tory. That is why he excluded Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott from the parliamentary party, while welcoming in anti-immigrant scum like Natalie Elphicke. That is why Starmer can be opposed from the left by far-right Tory vermin like Suella Braverman (!!) when she called for an end to the two-child cap on child benefit, which Kid Starver is pledged to carry on with. That is why Starmer wraps his party up with the Union Jack to the point that his flag-shagging has become a sick joke and the object of hatred by those targeted by the far right.

But even more so, there is the overt Zionism of the Labour Party. In an earlier period, when Tony Blair was rising to become prime minister, and for the whole of the Blair/Brown government’s 13 years in power, the CPGB made a point about not calling for a vote to New Labour. They strongly opposed supporting New Labour in the 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2010 General Elections, because of new Labour’s overt Thatcherism, which was not some obscure point of doctrine but the whole basis of its attempt to win over Tory voters. They correctly opposed this because of what they called the “De-Labourisation of Labour”.  Now they call for votes for Starmer’s Labour and denounce as ‘Ohlerities’ those who refuse to snap to attention and vote for ‘Sir Keir’.

This is an index of their political softness on Zionism. The CPGB grandstands that

“Of course, the Spartacist League was nowhere to be seen in the 2015‑20 class war which raged inside the Labour Party. The CPGB, by contrast, through Labour Party Marxists, played a leading role in Labour Against the Witchhunt.”

WW op-cit

But their role was not so creditable as their braggadocio pretends. It would be justifiable to say that the CPGB turned Labour Against the Witchhunt, as originally conceived, into something that could justly be called Labour Against the Witchhunt (sic!). Under their stewardship, Labour Against the Witchhunt had its own witchhunts, some of which achieved national publicity, against those who were too consistent in their anti-Zionism, and analysed the material roots of the power of the Zionist lobby in Marxist terms.

Such as Socialist Fight, our political forerunner. who for our Marxist analysis of the Jewish question today were thrown out of Labour Against the Witchhunt by the CPGB and its then allies. Our comrade Gerry Downing was thrown out of the Labour Party after being denounced as a supposed ‘terrorist’ supporter by David Cameron and was then subjected to a prolonged witchhunt for supposed ‘anti-Semitism’ for referring to facts about the social weight of Zionist Jews in the ruling class, which are increasingly obvious today as one of the key driving forces of Western support for genocide and also repression in the imperialist countries against the pro-Palestine, anti-genocide student movement.

The CPGB originally lost the vote when the motion to purge SF was put to the meeting of LAW in December 2017, and SF stayed in. So WW declared a national mobilisation to throw us out, which they duly did, at an enlarged meeting in January 2018 where they ‘won’ by approximately two to one, having mobilised pro-imperialist pseudo-lefts like the supporters of Socialist Resistance, the British USFI group (now known as Anti-Capitalist Resistance), who are known for their support for the US/UK invasion of Libya in 2011, the reactionary US/Israel-sponsored jihadist war to overthrow Assad in Syria (which was foiled by Russia and Hizbullah), and now the NATO imperialist Nazi proxy war in Ukraine.

If you choose to block with such elements, it is purely accidental if you get a majority for a purge.  But a pro-Zionist, pro-imperialist witchhunt is what it was, and the rightward motion of the CPGB is shown today by their cynical deployment of the language of the Trotskyist movement against people who oppose their political softness on Starmer.

There is nothing orthodox Marxist or owing to the early Congresses of the revolutionary Comintern about the CPGB’s critique of the Spartacist League, as they claim. The CPGB reject the Comintern and the Russian Revolution itself as models for revolutionaries to seek to emulate.  As MacNair’s writings reveal, they prefer the politics of pre-1914 Karl Kautsky, the centrism that laid the basis for the destruction of the Second International and the necessity for a third. Their softness on Starmer and his genocidal Zionist Labour Party has deep roots in their own affinity for reformism and their fealty to the political method of Hal Draper, the ‘third camp’ theorist of later forms of pro-imperialist social democracy that have given the false impression that the Zionist neoconservatives had something to do with the Trotskyist movement.

They do not, but the politics of the CPGB and the Alliance for Workers Liberty, who the CPGB tried to fuse with in the early 2000s, have also a common root in the politics of Hal Draper, one of whose earliest tracts, titled How to defend Israel (https://www.marxists.org/archive/draper/1948/07/israel.htm) put a ‘socalist’ gloss on the Nakba of the Palestinians. Ironically, to a degree the Spartacists under Robertson’s also had roots in Shachtmanism, which seriously flawed their own politics on West Asia. But this debate had a left and a right, and it is useful for the left and political clarity to get a proper view and orientation of what the protagonists represent.

The Irish Easter Rising

The History of the Class Struggle in the oldest colony on the planet

Humberto Rodrigues

This article is an updated and improved version of a 2011 article on class struggle in Ireland. It was taken from the original version of the Communist League blog:  IRISH REPUBLICAN PRISONERS: For recognition of the status of political prisoners and for freedom for Irish republican prisoners from the clutches of British imperialism!, From Bolshevik #5.

2024 marks 108 years since the Easter Rising and 43 years since the hunger strike of Irish political prisoners, two of the most important conflicts in the Irish national liberation struggle. That last event, the 1981 hunger strike, was led by Bobby Sands and was one of the most heroic events in world history.

Ireland was for centuries the oldest of the colonies, it was stunted from the 12th century until today in its development by the invasion of England, which made the neighbouring island its first colony, subjugated “through the most abominable reign of terror and the most reprehensible corruption” (Letter from Marx to Kugelmann, 29/11/1869).

The struggle of these people has always been passionately followed by socialists since Marx and Engels, who uncompromisingly defended Irish national liberation and the Fenian political prisoners (an Irish revolutionary guerrilla organization). For Marx, the liberation of Ireland was “The” preliminary condition of the socialist revolution in England, the main capitalist nation of his time.

 “It is therefore the task of the International, everywhere, to bring to the fore the conflict between England and Ireland, by openly siding with Ireland. And it is the task of the Central Committee in London to awaken the consciousness of the English workers to the fact that for them the national emancipation of Ireland is not a question of abstract justice or humanitarian sentiments, but the first condition of their own social emancipation.”

 Letter from Marx to S. Meyer and A. Vogt, London, 04/09/1870, emphasis in the original.

 It is from this struggle that Marx deduced that “a people that subjugates another, forges its own chains.

From the fusion of the workers’ struggle for Irish national liberation with Marxism, a brave workers’ leader called James Connolly was born, who warned his brothers about the inability of the Irish bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie to lead the country’s emancipation from colonialism. In one of his earliest writings, a pamphlet entitled Erin’s Hope – the End and the Means (1897), he concluded that the Irish working class was “the only sure basis on which a free nation can be built.” 

Thirteen years later, in his main work Labour in Irish History (1910) he states that the middle and propertied classes “have a thousand economic ties in the form of investments that link them to English capitalism […] Only the Irish working-class remains the incorruptible heir of the struggle for freedom in Ireland.”

It is impossible not to notice that, in an embryonic form, Connolly had ideas similar to those that were fully developed by the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky at the same time, and which came to be known as the theory of permanent revolution. Despite being embryonic, these ideas were visionary for the future of the class struggle in their country. He said: “If they withdraw the British army tomorrow and raise the green flag over Dublin Castle, unless they organize a socialist republic, all their efforts will have been in vain and England will still govern them through the landowners. , capitalists and commercial institutions”.

 At the end of 1911, Connolly, in the leadership of the General Transport Union (ITGWU), the country’s main union, faced off politically and militarily against the employer lockouts and the police controlled by the British army. In this dispute, workers formed a defence organization, a “Irish Citizen Army”, to protect themselves from the police and armed strikebreakers. This “Irish Citizen Army” was a precursor of what would become the Irish Republican Army, the IRA, a guerrilla organization founded in 1919, as a military arm of Sinn Fein (Ourselves Alone), the bourgeois republican nationalist political party.

Proclamation of the Irish Republic

The Irish revolutionary was prophetic in fearing the harm of a division of the island for the future of the struggle for its liberation. He had predicted that the partition that would take place between Ireland and Northern Ireland a few years after its execution by British troops “would mean a carnival of reaction in North and South, set back the Irish labour movement, and paralyze all progressive movements for as long as it lasted.”

Regarding this, Connolly is increasingly correct not only about his country, where the “divide and rule” rule was valid as a prototype at the beginning of the 20th century, but also about all other counter-revolutionary secessions of colonies, manipulated by imperialism (Korea, Vietnam, Sudan… with Libya now being the hot topic). However, in 1916, the carnage of World War I and a series of defeats and betrayals confused the Irish revolutionary, who came to put aside a series of conceptions he had defended throughout his life, to lead a premature uprising without the essential independent political and organizational action of the working class in the form of a revolutionary party. The betrayal of the insurrection led by Connolly by bourgeois nationalism cost him his life. The military uprising known as the “Easter Rising” was cruelly crushed. Connolly was seriously injured and arrested. Soon afterwards, he was court-martialled at the army hospital and transferred to a prison where, upon arrival, he was shot by occupation troops.

 After the massacre of the “Easter Rising”, in the revolutionary wave opened by the Russian revolution of 1917 and the German revolution (massacred in 1919), Irish Republican fighters returned to fight bravely, causing a civil war that ended in 1921 with a relative retreat for British colonialism. Representatives of the Irish bourgeoisie established a Treaty with England that recognized the “Irish Free State” on the condition that the “Free State” remained part of the British Commonwealth, that members of the Irish parliament swore loyalty to the English King George V and that six of the 32 Irish counties, with a Protestant majority located in the north, remained under British occupation and under the control of the Irish Unionists, defenders of unity with England. The IRA was then divided between the defenders of the Treaty, or treatyists, led by Michael Collins, today represented by the Fine Gael party, and the anti-treatyists, led by Éamon de Valera, who years later broke with Sinn Fein and the IRA and founded Fianna Fail. There is a film that romanticizes these events called “Michel Collins, the price of freedom” (1996), and justifies Collins’ betrayal. Filmmaker Ken Loach in “Winds of Freedom” (2006) portrayed this period better, more truthfully.

Throughout the 20th century, republican nationalists capitulated to several peace agreements or were crushed several times and new fighters raised the anti-colonialist flag again, reorganising dissent from the IRA to fight by all means against the separation imposed on the country by the agreements between imperialism and the corrupt Irish bourgeoisie.

 In 1939, the Marxist magazine “The New International”, published by the Trotskyists of the Communist League of America, noted:

“Bombs are exploding again in Ireland and England. Under the very nose of the Home Office in London, beneath the monument to English kings in Belfast, beneath the walls of the prisons where thousands of Irish patriots served their sentences, and beneath the customs offices along the Ulster border, loud and sudden explosions mark the 23rd anniversary of Easter Week. And these explosions are not merely celebratory. They serve to remind the world of the struggle for national independence of a people who have fought tirelessly for seven hundred years against the most powerful and merciless oppressor of all colonial peoples: the ruling class of the British Empire. (…) Understanding that without the combined forces of the Irish working class and English workers and the revolutionary forces in the colonies, national independence cannot be completely won, we cannot simply dismiss the current bombings as futile or reactionary. They are not merely isolated acts of violence committed by dismayed and frustrated individuals. They are, on the contrary, carefully planned and conducted according to a plan organized and drawn up by revolutionaries who, themselves, admit that the bombs are only the first step in the renewal of the struggle. These men know and are planning the necessary steps to unite the opposition forces. The bombs are serving to draw attention to the Army of Occupation now in Ireland and the return of the repression that preceded the last war. Revolutionaries everywhere must mobilize to support the movement to wrest freedom and independence from ‘Europe’s greatest landlord’ and thus, by striking a blow to the heart of the world’s greatest imperialist power, unleash the forces of revolution in all colonial countries before war engulfs humanity in a struggle to destroy itself for the profits and power of capitalism” .

New International #4, 04/1939
Television mini-series called Rebellion that narrates the Irish Easter Rising from the point of view of three women who have different life stories, motivations and participation within the rebellion.

In 1972, British occupation troops fired on a peaceful demonstration in Derry, Northern Ireland, killing fourteen people, seven of whom were minors. All the victims were unarmed and five of them were shot in the back. The protesters were protesting the Northern Ireland statelet government’s policy of summarily arresting people suspected of terrorist acts. This policy was directed against the IRA. After “Bloody Sunday”, the IRA gained a huge number of young volunteers, giving the guerrilla group even greater strength. In 1973, Marian Price, who had just qualified as a nurse, was recruited by the IRA. She and nine other militants were arrested, accused of planting bombs in London in order to blow up the Old Bailey (Central Criminal Court), Hillgate House (a government building) and the Whitehall army recruitment centre. Two hundred people were injured, one man died of a heart attack and his death was attributed to the bombings. Marian Price was sentenced to life in prison.

 In 1981, several IRA militants imprisoned by Britain, led by Bobby Sands, an IRA leader, went on hunger strike to demand that the Crown recognise their status as political prisoners. After 66 days, the inflexibility of the Britain government led to their death. But the strike demoralised the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher, founder together with the Yankee Ronald Reagan of the anti-worker offensive called neoliberalism. Thatcher increased the presence of British troops in the six counties of Northern Ireland and attempted to criminalise Irish Republicanism in the eyes of public opinion, suppressing any difference between the treatment meted out in prisons to the IRA and ordinary prisoners.

In response, Irish Republican inmates launched a hunger strike. Their demands: not to wear prison uniforms; not perform forced labour; freedom of association and organization of cultural and educational activities; right to one letter, one visit and one package per week; and that the days of protest were not deducted when calculating the sentence served. Refusing to be treated as criminals, they simultaneously defended their personal dignity and the legitimacy of the struggle for the liberation of their country.

Sands, the first of the strikers to refuse food and the first to die after 66 days, led a tenacious political struggle that was portrayed in the film “Hunger” (2008). Even in prison, his companions inside and outside prisons managed to elect him to the British Parliament as a representative of Northern Ireland. The objective was, obviously, not the parliamentary mandate, but to prove the support of the Irish population and the political recognition of the Republican prisoners and their struggle. It was only after this that British legislation began to prohibit prisoners from running for office. From then on, the Northern Irish population elected, every year, in elections held by imperialism, candidates who refused to swear loyalty to the Queen in support of the struggle for independence.

Poster for the film Hunger

The second setback imposed by the hunger strike lies in the very way in which it was organised. Against the intransigence of their enemies, they were, in an intelligent way, even more intransigent, converting an announced defeat into a political victory, turning time, an extremely unfavourable element in a hunger strike, into a political weapon for the strikers. They established intervals of days between them for the beginning of the refusal to eat, in order to increase the political weariness of the British government with the extension of the durability of the strike movement as a whole. This is how a movement that could last at most two months (the maximum limit that someone can fast without dying of hunger) if everyone started the strike at the same time, dragged on for a long seven months. The international impact of each prisoner death from starvation was repeated ten times over, claiming the lives of Bobby Sands (died at age 27), Francis Hughes (25), Ray McCreesh (24), Patsy O’Hara (23), Joe McDonnell (29), Martin Hurson (24), Kevin Lynch (25), Kieran Doherty (25), Thomas McIlwee (23) and Mickey Devine (27). The strike began on March 1st and only ended on October 3rd, 1981, when, under pressure from the Roman Catholic Church, the families of the strikers broke their commitment to disallow tube feeding when they fell into a coma, making it impossible to continue.

The Irish musicians of the trio the Wolfe Tones, exponents of the so-called Irish rebel music, banned from playing in England, made a song for the Irish heroes “Joe McDonnell Live” (www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrqjAQVLzzE)  . In a performance by the Tones in 2008, when the names of the ten martyrs are mentioned and their images displayed during the song, one can see, through the audience’s reactions, the place they occupy in the hearts of the Irish people. In 1982, during the Falklands War, the Wolfe Tones composed another song in support of Argentina in the war.

At the cost of 10 deaths, the strikers achieved two victories: a moral one, by making the British, even without officially granting them the status of political prisoners, ease the prison repression a few months after the end of the movement; and a political victory, by frustrating plans to criminalise the struggle for Irish national liberation in the eyes of the world, which was truly a great feat, taking into account that in her eleven years of government, Thatcher crushed everyone who crossed her path, from the Argentine military dictatorship (in the Falklands war) to the English trade union movement. Convicted until the end of his days, Bobby Sands stated: “They have nothing in their imperial arsenal that can break the spirit of an Irishman who does not want to be broken.”

Inside Kilmainham, the jail where the leaders of the rebellion were imprisoned and executed. Today the space has been converted into a museum in the city of Dublin.

In 1998, Sinn Féin signed the Belfast Agreement, also known as the Good Friday Agreement (GFA), to dismantle the guerrillas. The agreement, articulated by Great Britain, Ireland and the USA, put an end to the armed conflict in the North, establishing power sharing in Northern Ireland between the Unionists and Sinn Fein. The main objective was to guarantee bilateral relations between Northern Ireland and Ireland, through the good development of investments and trade. This agreement is an expression of the strengthening of imperialism, after the capitalist restoration in the USSR, over that national liberation struggle. The most industrialized part of the island has become an important base for the financial parasitism of multinationals seeking to enter the European Union. As a consequence, Ireland was the first country in the European Union to officially enter into recession in the 2008 crisis. The austerity policy is violently employed by the government with the complicity of Sinn Fein through a brutal cut in public spending and the increase in the reserve army of the unemployed, forcing a fall in wages in the North, the South and also in Great Britain. This growth in misery affected Catholic and Protestant workers equally, but the English and Irish imperialist bourgeoisies stimulate inter-worker sectarian tensions through paramilitary groups such as the Ulster Volunteer Force, to divide the proletariat and manipulate their class dissatisfaction against their own brothers. In this package, the repression against Irish Republican political prisoners increases, mainly among activists who disagreed with the capitulation of the IRA, such as Marian Price, a dissident who became leader of the 32 Counties Sovereignty Movement (32CSM).

Like Sands, Price and other prisoners went on a hunger strike to be transferred from English prisons to a prison in Northern Ireland. But they were force-fed for 200 days as she recounts:

“Four male prison officers tie me tightly to a chair. You clench your teeth to try to keep your mouth closed, but they push a metal spring device around your jaw to open it. They force a wooden tong with a hole in the middle into your mouth. Then, they insert a big rubber tube and you can’t move and through this tube they punch you with everything they put in a blender: orange juice, soup, or cartons of cream if they want to top up the calories. They take jugs of this liquidized porridge and pour it into a funnel attached to the tube. Force-feeding takes 15 minutes, but it seems like it will never end. You have no control over anything. You are terrified that the food will go the wrong way and choke you, you cannot speak or move. You are afraid that you will suffocate to death.” .

The Guardian, 03/13/2003

Price was in the 1990s one of the main voices opposing Sinn Féin’s “peace strategy”, the GFA, as she said: “It certainly wasn’t this sort of thing that I came to prison for.” see more sense for the national liberation struggle today, Marian Price argues: “as long as the British presence in Ireland remains, there will always be justification, republicanism will never go out. My principles and ideals will never be crushed. I did not make the choices I did for individuals within the republican movement or Sinn Fein. The fact that they sold out in no way detracts from my cause” (ibid).

Republican political prisoners have been attacked in a cowardly and savage manner in their own cells by prison guards, with the aim of breaking their political resistance through systematic physical violence. As highlighted in the Bulletin of the Irish Political Prisoners Support Group (IRPSG, facsimile on page 29 of the newspaper O Bolshevique #5), one of the attacks suffered by political prisoner Harry Fitzsimmons:

 “…in Maghaberry prison on 29/05/2011, Harry’s cell was invaded by riot police, without there having previously been any confrontation or exchange of words, just brutality. His glasses were broken with such force that glass entered his eyes. He has multiple lacerations on his face. The uniformed bandits held him down, while others punched, kicked and tore his clothes.”

According to Gerry Downing, leader of the British Socialist Fight and Secretary of the IRPSG, “there are Irish prisoners of war today fighting as they were in 1981. Resistance is inevitable. Republican ‘dissenters’ denounce that British imperialism continues to divide the Irish people by force and that is why they continue the fight for the expulsion of the crown forces. The fight for recognition of the status of political prisoners, which was abandoned 13 years ago with the signing of the GFA, is intensifying inside prisons, in the same way that the 10 on hunger strike died 30 years ago. The GFA made it difficult to unify Ireland. At the Sinn Féin Conference on the 30th anniversary of the hunger strike on 18/06/2011 in London, we demanded that participants in this meeting take seriously their responsibilities towards today’s prisoners by fighting for their political prisoner status and that the Sinn Féin breaks with the policy of economic austerity on the working class and the poor.” This austerity policy, where Irish workers are forced to pay for the imperialist crisis, expresses how England continues to govern Ireland, now through Sinn Féin.

In June 2012, Sinn Féin leader Martin McGuinness, Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland fraternized with Queen Elizabeth. McGuinness’ symbolic gesture did not surprise the fighters for the Irish national cause nor the workers of that country, which has suffered for years from the perverse austerity plans imposed by the coalition government made up of the political wing of the IRA in the service of its majesty and imperialism. Meanwhile, as part of this colonialist policy, the best Irish republican fighters, known as POWs (prisoners of war), as well as thousands of other martyrs in the struggle for Irish self-determination against British imperialism, endure brutal oppression in the prisons of the British Crown, as the Communist League denounced at  http://lcligacomunista.blogspot.com.br/2011/07/prisioneiros-republicanos-irlandeses.html . Here , we reproduce an article by Charlie Walsh, from the editorial board of Socialist Fight, British member of the Liaison Committee for the Fourth International. Socialist Fight comrades also drive the Irish Republican Prisoner Support Group (IRPSG).

THE GAMBLER AND THE SCOUNDREL: Demonstrating that the foci of anti-imperialist resistance remain, Ronan O’Gara, rugby player for the Irish national Rugby Union team refuses to shake Betty Windsor’s hand claiming Ireland’s right to self-determination during the team’s reception as Grand Slam rugby winner in 2009. In the photo below, Martin McGuinness has the pleasure of shaking the same blood-stained hand, symbolizing their abandonment of the anti-imperialist struggle.

The socialist revolution in England continues to depend on the resolution of the Irish question and, as Connolly concluded, the resolution of the Irish question remains in the hands of the Irish proletariat, which in turn will only emancipate itself when it arms itself with the program of permanent revolution, fights for Irish unity and together with their British and European brothers build their own revolutionary, socialist and internationalist party, for a federation of European socialist republics to bury the old capitalist world.