Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dallas Protests Gaza Bombings

On December 28, Dallas played its part in the worldwide protests against the Israeli bombings in Gaza. As the protest moved intoitsthird hour, just after 2 PM, about 750 protesters had gathered along the street where John F Kennedy was murdered in 1963. The crowd spread from Houston Street, where Kennedy's parade made its last turn, all the way down to the infamous railroad overpass. More families were still arriving. It was the largest peace demonstration in recent memory.

Noor Elashi was accosted by reporters as soon as she arrived. They asked the slim young woman if she thought the tremendous turnout was fueled by the outrage over the government persecution of the Holy Land Foundation. Leaders of the charity had been jailed just two months earlier after years of government efforts to connect them with terrorism. Ms Elashi's father was the most prominent of the victims.
She told reporters, "Yes," that progressive North Texans had begun to see the United States government's role in the 60-year occupation of Palestine, and that they were ready to stand up and do something about it. She referred to her imprisoned father as a hero who is already being acknowledged by progressives around the world.
Speakers raised their voices over the din of "Stop the bombing, stop the war!" and "Free, free Palestine!" Mustafa Carroll of the Committee on Arab Israeli Relations read a statement denouncing the bombings and calling for steady pressure on the U.S. government. Civil Rights leader Reverend L. Charles Stovall reminded the crowd that persecution of a people never works. Other community leaders praised the many families in the protest and denounced the violence in the Middle East.
Similar voices were being heard all over the world!

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Monday, December 29, 2008

American Jewish and Arab statements on Gaza

Statement on Gaza from Brit Tzedek v'Shalom (Jewish peace group)
Sunday, December 28, 2008


Who among us has not watched in alarm and anguish as the crisis has unfolded in Gaza and southern Israel over the past two days? Close to 300 Palestinians have died and hundreds more are wounded -- both Hamas militants and ordinary citizens. More than 120 rockets have been launched into Israel, with one man killed.

Though some Israeli action is an understandable response to continued rocket fire from Hamas, and the idea of contained surgical strikes may be compelling, these airstrikes represent a huge escalation of the conflict -- a crisis that may end in a wider war in which many more Palestinians and Israelis die in the weeks to come.

The now familiar sequence of escalating mutual hostility, invasion, and withdrawal without security arrangements has never worked -- in Lebanon, the West Bank, or in Gaza itself. The United States and the entire world community must intercede to help reestablish a ceasefire, put an end to rocket attacks on Israel, and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Brit Tzedek calls on President Bush to initiate an international effort aimed at negotiating an immediate ceasefire. Such a ceasefire must halt all attacks from both sides and allow humanitarian assistance into Gaza.

Further, we call on President-elect Obama to make clear that he will, as President, urgently assert US leadership to achieve a comprehensive diplomatic resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian and Arab-Israeli conflicts.

Today, black smoke spirals over Gaza as the hospitals fill with the wounded. Israelis stay close to bomb shelters and 7000 reservists get ready for a possible ground assault. If the international community fails to swiftly establish a durable peace, the consequences will be dire. The current hostilities in Gaza may be only the beginning.

There is no doubt that Israel has the right and the obligation to protect its citizens. But Israel's only hope for survival as a secure and democratic Jewish homeland lies in a diplomatic -- rather than military -- solution, and in a negotiated peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Steve Masters, President, Brit Tzedek v'Shalom
Diane Balser, Executive Director, Brit Tzedek v'Shalom

National Office
11 E. Adams St. Suite 707
Chicago, IL 60603
Ph: (312) 341-1205
Fax: (312) 341-1206

ADC Condemns Gaza Attacks

Advocacy group calls on US to play its proper role as an honest broker to the humanitarian disaster in Gaza

Washington, DC | December 29, 2008 | www.adc.org | The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) today strongly condemned the continuing Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip. Reports indicate that the Israeli air strikes over the past two days have killed 330 people in Gaza and have left over 1450 more injured, almost 300 of which are in critical condition. The UN estimates that %5 of those killed are children under the age of 18. These strikes come after several weeks of a tight blockade which left many of Gaza's 1.5-million inhabitants without sufficient food, water, fuel or medicine. The population of Gaza is 2/3 refugee and more than half are under the age of 16. The UN has listed Gaza as the most densely populated area in the world with a population density that is higher than that of Manhattan in New York City.

Numerous studies have indicated that similar attacks in the past have failed to make Israeli citizens any safer and resulted in increased support of Hamas extremists. During the cease-fire brokered by Egypt this past summer, rocket attacks by Hamas extremists had greatly diminished. The blockade of Gaza was relaxed slightly by Israel however it never ended completely. Israel escalated the situation in early November by killing 4 Palestinians in Gaza in the bloodiest violation of the cease-fire during the Egyptian-brokered agreement. The month that followed brought a return of a suffocating siege on the civilians of Gaza and rocket attacks against southern Israel. Prior to the current Israeli attacks, over 850 Palestinians had been killed by Israel since the Annapolis summit in late 2007. These numbers are compared to less than 20 Israelis killed by rocket fire from Gaza since 2000. The disproportionate nature of this latest round of violence is representative of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in general and continues to fan the flames of discontent in the Arab and Muslim worlds. On Saturday, ADC called upon Americans to contact their legislators and representatives to express thier outrage at the attacks in Gaza. That action alert can be found here : http://www.adc.org/index.php?id=3396

Today, ADC sent letters to President Bush, President-Elect Obama, Secretary of State Rice, and the Ambassador of Israel in Washington calling for an immediate end of hostilities on all sides. Further, the letters criticized the American response to the attacks which placed all blame on Hamas with no mention of Israel's disproportionate and continuing bombardment of Gaza. While Hamas is guilty of rocket fire, which indiscriminately targets civilians in Israel, this falls within the context of a prolonged siege in which Israel too is indiscriminately targeting 1.5 million civilians in Gaza. The official response from the White House and State Department was irresponsible and ignored American national and economic interests in addition to international humanitarian law and the laws of war.

ADC Calls on:

1) All parties directly involved to immediately work to end hostilities on all sides and arrive at a new cease-fire agreement;

2) The United States to exert immediate pressure on its ally Israel to halt attacks on Gaza's population;

3) The Arab world to work to alleviate the suffering and hunger in the Gaza Strip;

4) The American media to fairly portray the situation in Gaza and to recall the disproportion, context of occupation, and siege when mentioning the indiscriminate rocket attacks by Hamas on southern Israel
Throughout the history of Arab-Israeli peace negotiations only cease-fires and agreements have brought peace and security for both Arabs and Israelis.

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New York Times endorses Employee Free Choice Act

Dear friends -- from Rick in Ohio

Great news! This morning the New York Times, the most influential voice in the major media, called on President-elect Obama to ignore corporate pressure and push for quick passage of the Employee Free Choice Act.

"The measure is vital legislation and should not be postponed," the editorial said. "Even modest increases in the share of the unionized labor force push wages upward, because non-union workplaces must keep up with unionized ones that collectively bargain for increases."

It goes on to say that "if pay continues to lag, it will only prolong the downturn by inhibiting spending."

The editorial also calls for greatly increasing staff and resources of the Labor Department, hopefully under the direction of Rep. Hilda Solis, Obama's nomineee for Secretary of Labor. The Department, it says, should do far more to enforce and strengthen labor standards, including safety and overtime regulations.

The editorial should strengthen the hand of centrist Democrats and Republicans who have supported the bill but will be the main targets of the campaign, led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to defeat it. It also gives us another weapon to pile the pressure on Sen. Voinovich who has so far opposed the bill.

Here is the link to the editorial:



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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Iraqi CP opens new office in Sadr City

This is pretty impressive, and probably will not get reported in The New York Times or other commercial media.

Iraqi Letter reports:

A new office for the Iraqi Communist Party was opened in Al-Thawra City (Sadr City) in Baghdad on 5th December 2008. The ceremony, held in open air in Jamila district, was attended by a big gathering of party members and supporters, as well as a delegation from the party Central Committee. The president and members of the municipal council of Sadr City, and other guests were present.

Note: This vast very poor neighborhood was long known as "Revolution (al-Thawra) City" until the Islamic Shiite upsurge after the U.S. toppled Saddam Hussein. Today, reports indicate the standing of religious parties has suffered as Iraqis are turned off by the sectarianism and violence.

Abdul Hussein al-Rubaei, representing the party district committee, stressed in his speech the political significance of opening the new party office in this toiling [working class] area. Comrade Izzet Abu-el-Timmen, member of the party Political Bureau, conveyed the greetings of the Central Committee, and reiterated the party's support for the population of the City and their demands to aleviate the injustive they had suffered under the former dictatorial regime. He also called upon them to participate actively in the forthcoming provincial elections and to give their support to the electoral list "Madaniyoun" (No. 460) that represents the democratic forces.

The secular and democratic left in Iraq has wide and deep roots, and is vastly under-reported in U.S. commercial media and in the left. The provincial elections, currently set for Jan. 31, will show something about how the political trends are shaping up in Iraq. That's why there's been an upsurge of violence with various reactionary elements (right-wing Islamists, former Baathists, etc.) trying to intimidate or eliminate their opponents.

See more photos here.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Why is it the most powerful nation can't stop such a rip-off? Why is it one of the most technologically advanced nations can't smell a rat? Why did people look the other way? One answer for all: capitalism. It doesn't include checks and balances...it's all about maximizing profit.

What about socialism?


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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Strikes in Greece

Big demonstrations in Athens

The following is a message published on the KKE Web Site in regard to the struggle taking place in Greece:

Today, Wednesday December 10,2008 in 63 Greek cities PAME organized big strike rallies. Today’s strike is very successful. Key demands of the strike are: increases in wages and pensions, to stop privatization, to stop the layoffs and measures to be taken immediately for the unemployed.

Among strike’s demands, the demand to stop the state violence and the state authoritarianism at the expense of democratic freedoms has a leading position.

Today's strike rally of PAME in Athens was attended by a WFTU Delegation. The General Secretary of WFTU who participated in the demonstration, speaking to journalists declared:

"We condemn the murder by police forces of Alexandros Grigoropoulos, a 15-years old pupil, which happened in the center of Athens. We demand the government to stop the state violence and state authoritarianism. On behalf of the WFTU we express our solidarity to the thousands of young workers, pupils and students who demonstrate every day against the policy of the government. We welcome the large labor demonstrations. The responsibilities of all governments so far are big for the existing unemployment, the high-prices and the poverty of the people. The economic crisis of the system should not be payed by the workers. The government is trying to take advantage of some few demonstrators who hide their faces or wear hoods over their heads and put fires to scare the people.
The government's plans will not succeed. "

Grandes manifestaciones en Atenas

Hoy, miércoles 10 de diciembre de 2008, PAME ha organizado grandes manifestaciones en 63 ciudades griegas. La huelga que tiene lugar hoy es un gran éxito. La principales reivindicaciones de la huelga son: el aumento de salarios y pensiones, el cese de las privatizaciones, el cese de los despidos masivos y que se tomen medidas inmediatas para los desempleados.

Entre las reivindicaciones de la huelga, ocupa una posición principal el cese de la violencia del estado y el cese del autoritarismo estatal contra las libertades democráticas.

Una delegación de la FSM ha participado en la manifestación de PAME en Atenas. El Secretario General de la FSM, que ha tomado parte en la manifestación, ha declarado a la prensa:

“Condenamos el asesinato a manos de las fuerzas de la policía de Alexandros Grigoropoulos, un alumno de 15 años, que ocurrió en el centro de Atenas. Exigimos al gobierno que pare la violencia del estado y el autoritarismo estatal. En nombre de la FSM, expresamos nuestra solidaridad a los miles de jóvenes trabajadores, alumnos y estudiantes que se manifiestan cada día contra la política del gobierno. Aplaudimos las grandes manifestaciones laborales. Las responsabilidades de todos los gobiernos hasta ahora son muy grandes respecto a la actual tasa de desempleo, los elevados precios y la pobreza del pueblo. La crisis económica del sistema no deberían pagarla los trabajadores. El gobierno está tratando de aprovecharse de unos pocos manifestantes que ocultan sus caras o llevan palos en sus manos y prenden fuego para asustar a la gente. Los planes del gobierno no tendrán éxito.”

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

On the rebellions in Greece

From the Greek Communist Party (KKE) on the riots over the police shooting a teenager.

As you probably already know riots have broken out in
Athens and in several Greek cities.

We thank all the comrades expressing already solidarity
with the struggle in our country against the police

The unrest began on 7.12. in the centre of Athens soon
after the killing by police forces of a young man in
Exarchia district.

Riots then spread to Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest
city, to the northern cities of Komotini and Ioannina, and
to Crete.

Two police officers have been suspended, and an inquiry is
under way.

Interior minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said in a statement:
"The government expresses its profound regret over this

"An inquiry on the circumstances of the death has already
begun and, if the policemen are found to have been derelict
in their duty, the punishment will be exemplary."

In Athens police fired tear gas at hundreds of
stone-throwing youths, who went on a rampage as news of the
shooting spread.

After a lull of a couple of hours, rioting resumed shortly
after midnight local time (2200 GMT), with some protesters
marching through Athens city centre and others fighting
police outside the National Technical University of Athens.

In Thessaloniki dozens of youths attacked a police
precinct, while others blocked a road near the university

An Interior Ministry press officer told Reuters news agency
that Mr Pavlopoulos had offered his resignation to Prime
Minister Costas Karamanlis, but it had been rejected.

The riots continued also on Sunday 7th December.

The Communist Party of Greece and the Communist Youth KNE
are organizing on Monday 8th and on the following days
protest rallies in all big cities of the country.

The 4 biggest Universities of the country are closed and
more will follow on the next days.

Under the popular protest the government was forced to
close all the public schools for the 9th December.

KKE and KNE issued a statement [ see bellow] condemning
the police attacks and the growing police violence against
workers, immigrants and young people. Mass mobilizations
and protest demonstrations will follow since on 10.12.08 is
planned the next big general strike against the "anti
crises" measures by the government in favour of the big
capital an on the expenses of the working people.


Statement by the Press Bureau of the CC of KNE on the
murder of the 15-year-old boy

We condemn the murder in cold blood of 15-year-old
Alexandros-Andreas Grigoropoulos committed by a policeman
in the Exarchia area of Athens.

The leadership of the police forces and the government bear
outsized responsibility.
This incident is a result of the education and orientation
of the security forces which are directed against the
people, against the popular and working class movement,
against the struggle of the youth.

The repressive measures of the state are fully in line with
the attack against the life and the rights of the youth to
work, education and stable working time, through the
flexible working relations. Their target is to cause fear
to the workers and the youth.

The arsons and damages have nothing to do with the mass
popular movement. Such attacks legalise violence and
authoritarianism. On the other hand, they are used as an
alibi by the government of ND as well as by the previous
ones, in order to conceal the fact that the target of state
repression is the popular labour movement.

The only effective response to the provocations of the
government is the organised popular movement; the
combative, organised, self-protected mobilisation of the
youth. The real causes and the responsibility for this
incident should not be concealed as it has been in other
cases (e.g. torture of immigrants in police stations, the
beating of the student in Thessaloniki etc.).

We appeal to the youth to express its indignation, to
protest, to condemn and to make, through its organised
struggle, accountable politically and criminally the
responsibles for the police attacks.
Schools, universities, TEI (Technical Education Institutes), IEK (Vocational Training institutes) and evening schools should be closed down. The mass organisations should release statements condemning the police attacks and organise mass demonstrations and rallies. The youth along with the popular labor movement

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

CANADA: Dump Tories to solve crisis

Dump the Harper Tories NOW!

Fight for New Policies that Put People First!

The federal Conservatives under PM Stephen Harper are teetering on the verge of shattering defeat, six short weeks after the October 14 general election. They fully deserve to be thrown out of office in next Monday's non-confidence vote. The Communist Party of Canada joins with labour and other forces in calling for the defeat of this government.

Contrary to the 'spin-doctoring' coming out of the Prime Minister's Office, the present governmental crisis erupted not because of some conspiratorial intrigue cooked up on the Opposition benches, but rather because of the Tories' own unmitigated arrogance and conceit, and their own stunning indifference to the fears and concerns of working people as the capitalist economic crisis deepens, threatening the jobs, benefits, pensions and social welfare of millions of Canadian workers.

Last Thursday's economic update presented by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty exposed the anti-working class, right-wing, pro-corporate nature of the Conservative government. Flaherty's 'mini-budget provoked the current impasse when it failed miserably to address the people's concerns through legislative protections and stimulative public spending. Instead, the Harper government used the deepening economic crisis as an excuse to opportunistically launch a frontal assault on the public sector through its plan to sell off $3.4 billion in public assets to its corporate friends; by limiting federal wages and 'suspending' the right to strike for federal employees; by attacking pay equity for women; and by cancelling the Party Financing Act, upon which the large political parties – especially the opposition parties – largely depend.

Wedded to their right-wing, neoconservative economic and political agenda, and arrogantly overconfident that they could survive yet another round of parliamentary 'chicken' with the opposition parties, the Harper Conservatives decided to press ahead as if they had a majority in Parliament. But as our Party stated immediately after the October election, the "Tories have no mandate to impose their right‑wing agenda on the country".

As a result of its anti-people policies and actions, the Harper government has not only lost the 'confidence' of the majority of MPs in the House; the overwhelming support by the labour and people's movements for new Liberal-NDP coalition shows that this government has also lost the confidence of most of the Canadian people.

Our Party welcomes the refusal of the opposition parties to be taken in by Harper's latest retreats (to abandon the cancellation of party financing and the ban on federal workers' right to strike), and calls on these parties to hold firm in their commitment to defeat this discredited government and to establish a new working majority in Parliament.

The defeat of the Harper Tories will mark a significant victory for working people across Canada, but while such a change is a necessary condition for real progress to address the pressing needs of the people, it will not be a sufficient condition to ensure a genuinely new direction in government policy. A new Coalition government would be highly susceptible to public pressure, and would open new doors to win pro-people policies.

Labour, Aboriginal peoples, youth and students, women, and other people's movements and organizations will need to intensify extra-parliamentary mobilizations to demand real and immediate action from any new government that emerges after Monday's vote.

In the view of the Communist Party of Canada, such an Anti-Crisis Action Plan should include:

  • protections for Canadian working people through the immediate introduction of plant closure legislation to stop the exodus of manufacturing jobs;
  • substantial public investment in auto, forestry and other vital manufacturing industries on a full financial equity basis (no corporate hand-outs), along with iron-clad guarantees preventing layoffs, job cuts, wage or pension reductions, and requiring reinvestment in the domestic economy;
  • the expansion of EI to cover all workers for the full duration of unemployment (including the elimination of the waiting period), with benefits at 90% of former earnings;
  • a moratorium on evictions and mortgage foreclosures and utility cut-off due to unemployment;
  • an immediate increase in the minimum wage to $15/hr., along with legislation to protect and improve wages, benefits and pensions for all workers, to help raise incomes and stimulate domestic consumption;
  • emergency action to improve the social and economic conditions of Aboriginal peoples;
  • a massive public investment program to construct affordable social housing, to rebuild Canada's decaying infrastructure, in environmental protection and conservation, and in job creation programs for youth and the arts;
  • sweeping progressive tax reform based on ability to pay, and the revocation of all corporate tax breaks, write-offs and deferrals at every level – measures that will shift the tax burden from working people onto the corporations and the wealthy;
  • emergency measures to protect and extend our public healthcare, education and other social programs, including the establishment of a publicly funded and administered system of universal, quality, affordable childcare with Canada-wide standard; and
  • Canada's immediate withdrawal from the disastrous war of occupation in Afghanistan, and a 50% cut in military spending.

The longer-term security and effectiveness of these immediate anti-crisis actions will in turn require more transformative measures to safeguard the jobs, incomes and services for the Canadian people, including (amongst others):

  • the democratic nationalization of the big banks, insurance and other financial institutions in Canada;
  • the nationalization of the energy industry to guarantee domestic supply and to provide the material basis for the economic rebuilding of Canadian industry and the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs;
  • Canada's immediate withdrawal from NAFTA, a halt to the "Security and Prosperity Partnership" (SPP) negotiations, and the adoption of a much more diversified, multilateral trade policy based on mutual benefit; and
  • the introduction of a liveable, guaranteed annual income (GAI), as well as a shorter work week with no loss in take-home pay.
    Issued by the Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada, December 3, 2008

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