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Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 00:17:00 +0200

Palestine: The courage of the #GreatReturnMarch

The Fourth International salutes the desperate courage, resolve and creativity of the thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip taking part in the #GreatReturnMarch. We are in full solidarity with them. They have already made a great step forward for the Palestinian cause, by bringing 70 years of dispossession and ongoing Nakba back to the attention of a world that had proved all too willing to be distracted.

For the state of Israel, the #GreatReturnMarch is truly the ‘return of the repressed’, a jarring reminder that millions of Palestinians will not die out, disappear or be ignored. Only this can make the wholly disproportionate and criminal nature of the Israeli response comprehensible: shooting down and in dozens of cases killing human beings guilty above all of coming within a few hundred meters of a borderline. The world’s passivity in the face of this crime shows how widely shared complicity in it is.

The Fourth International joins international public opinion in condemning:

- the Israeli governing class, the obvious primary culprit – not only the right-wing and extreme-right-wing parties that make up the current government, but also the so-called ‘centre-left opposition’, notably the Labour Party/Zionist Union, which has joined in justifying the use of live ammunition against defenceless demonstrators

- the US governing class, including not only the Trump Administration but also the great majority of Democratic Party politicians – with a few honourable exceptions like Bernie Sanders – who continue to constitute an unshakeable military and financial base of support for the Zionist state

- the governments and political establishments of the European Union, which are ineffectually backing U.N. Secretary-General Guterres’ call for an investigation in the confident knowledge that the US Security Council veto will protect them from any consequences, and are meanwhile continuing their military and scientific cooperation with Israel and their free trade agreement with it that make Europe the main bulwark of the Israeli economy and of Israel’s regional supremacy

- almost all the Arab region’s governments - notably Egypt, Israel’s unflagging partner in the strangulation of Gaza, and the Saudi kingdom, which is now moving closer week by week to an open alliance with Israel and open abandonment of the Palestinian people

- the Palestinian Authority, which has unforgivably continued its ‘security cooperation’ with Israel in the face of each new atrocity, and has taken the initiative in a series of assaults on the people of Gaza, enlisting Israel as a willing accomplice

- so many other governments and political and economic actors around the world, which have responded to Israel’s crimes with verbal denunciations without lifting a finger to help the Palestinians in practice.

In the face of the complicity and passivity of the world’s rulers, the Palestinians of Gaza and the rest of the Palestinian people have no one to turn to except solidarity and social movements. These movements, at least, must not let the Palestinians down. The courage of the marchers must elicit a qualitative escalation in international solidarity and mobilization. If not now, when?

Boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns remain a key component of the resistance. While BDS campaigns have not yet taken a major toll on the Israeli economy, they have made rapid enough progress to make Israel and its international allies view BDS as one of the most serious threats they face. As the uselessness of the U.N. and of the ‘international community’ generally in reining in Israel becomes steadily clearer, political, civil society and labour movement institutions must be forced to take their responsibility for cutting the economic and social lifelines of the Zionist juggernaut.

The Gaza marchers have now given BDS campaigners additional, powerful arguments for the indissolubility of the campaign’s three central demands, as formulated in Palestinian civil society’s call in 2005: not only an end to Israel’s occupation of the 1967 territories, but also fully equal rights for Palestinians, Jews and others in every part of historic Palestine, and the right of Palestinian refugees to return to the homes they were driven from 70 years ago. These demands are also, as the Fourth International has consistently maintained, central components of a just solution to the question of Palestine. The protests by Israeli Jews against the Israeli army’s killings in the Gaza Strip, however small, are important in keeping hope alive for a just solution, founded on equality and solidarity, in which the three central demands of the BDS campaign have been achieved The Palestinians of Gaza have now made clear, at the cost of their lives, that the Palestinian struggle cannot and will not end until every one of these demands has been won.

The Fourth International Bureau, 20 April 2018

Fourth International

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 17:14:00 +0200

PSM (Malaysia): Socialists launch their biggest election campaign yet

S. Arutchelvan, better known as “Arul”, is the PSM’s election campaign coordinator.

It is 2.34am in Malaysia and S. Arutchelvan (better known as “Arul”) is typing in answers to my questions on the PSM campaign in the country’s general election on May 9.

It’s far from a really late night for the PSM’s election campaign coordinator (he seldom gets to bed before 4am) and the next day, the full list of party candidates is to be announced. Each will make a full declaration of assets.

When “people’s doctor” Jeyakumar Devaraj (“Dr Kumar” as he’s popularly known) won the PSM’s only seat in federal parliament in 2008, he was hailed a “giant killer”. He had defeated a powerful, notoriously corrupt minister in the ruling Barisan Nasional.

Kumar has held onto the seat of Sungai Siput since then and is now standing for a third term.

The PSM has had a long struggle to participate in elections. Arul explained to Green Left Weekly: “In 1999, we stood in one parliamentary seat. In 2004, 2008 and 2013 election, we stood in four seats and this election we are standing in 16 seats (four for the federal parliament and 12 for state assemblies).

“Between 1999 and 2008, the party was not allowed registration and we were forced to run under the logo of other opposition parties.

“In the 2013 election, though the PSM had won electoral registration, we were still bullied by the bigger opposition parties out of running under our own logo.

“In spite of our reluctant agreement to use the Justice Party (PKR) logo as requested by [opposition leader] Anwar [Ibrahim] in 2013, we were three cornered in three out of the four seats we stood in by other opposition parties.

“So in this election we decided to stand in more seats and popularise the party in more places where we have done work, have election machinery and a candidate endorsed by the local branch.”

Arul said that the PSM had been mocked as a “four-seat party”. Its members felt if it did not expand its electoral campaigns, the PSM would not be taken seriously as a national party or potential third force.

“There was also a growing demand among young voters for a third alternative,” Arul noted. “They were fed up with the governing and major opposition parties all supporting neoliberal capitalist policies.”

This frustration built up even more sharply when the major opposition parties, now in a coalition called Pakatan Harapan (PH, Alliance of Hope), fell behind former repressive and corrupt PM Dr Mahathir Mohamed, who was responsible for first jailing opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on sodomy charges.

Mahathir was responsible for violently repressing the “reformasi” democracy movement in the late 1990s.His government also detained, without trial, many progressive activists, writers and opposition politicians under the notorious Internal Security Act.

He also brought in anti-worker laws and opposed minimum wages legislation.

“Mahathir’s politics has not changed but the opposition’s has”, says Arul citing the significant retreats in the opposition front’s program since the last election such as dropping the call for the re-introduction of election for local governments and free university education and returning to race-based instead of needs-based social policies.

“The major opposition parties brought in Dr M in the hope that he would deliver them a ‘Malay tsunami’ in votes.

“It is an act of desperation. They think Mahathir is the only one who can do it and everyone in the opposition, including Bersih (the Movement for Free and Fair Elections), seems resigned to this fact. The opposition have given it up to Mahathir and many in the civil society movements are quite silent because they have got no alternatives.”

Some well-known civil society figures such as Haris Ibrahim, Jayanath Appudurai, Rohana Ariffin, left-wing author Dr Kua Kia Soong and even a retired naval commander, S Thayaparan, have endorsed the PSM’s campaign. However, many PH supporters are denouncing the PSM candidates as “spoilers”.

Arul vehemently rejects this accusation.

“We are only standing in 3% of seats. We are asking people to vote for us in the 3% because our candidates are mostly activist and our party aspirations are much better than the rest and on the 97% seats we are not contesting, we are asking people to vote PH.

“If PH wins that will be great and the illusion that BN cannot be beaten will be over. If the opposition loses because of mass cheating by the ruling party then we must fight back. PSM is ready to work with PH in such a fight back.

“If, in that scenario, PH is not ready or willing to fight back, then we believe the opposition may crumble and the old guard, including Mahathir, [Democratic Action Party leader] Lim Kit Siang and Anwar may have to go.”

Arul agrees with PH activists who warn that apart from the usual electoral gerrymandering and other dirty tricks with election registration, the ruling BN is trying to keep voter numbers down. It has even chosen a mid-week election day, making it hard for working-class voters to return to their home towns to vote, as the electoral laws require.

In this context, PH have even more viciously attacked the new #UndiRosak movement by frustrated youth, which calls for spoiling or boycotting the vote. PH accuses the movement of being funded by the BN.

Arul said no evidence has been produced to back up this charge. Rather he said PH leaders should reflect on their responsibilty for the disillusionment that #UndiRosak reflets.

“Young voters who are frustrated with the politics of both BN and PH have called for this, especially after Mahathir came back into the picture.

“Some of these young people say if there is no PSM, then vote ‘undi rosak’ (spoiled vote), so we are also being accused of being behind #UndiRosak.

“#UndiRosak is definitely not funded by BN. We know the people behind it, they are just young activists who are fed up with the system.

“The PSM’s position is that people should come out and vote. But if they decide not to vote because of the political bad choices, then it is their democratic fundamental right to spoil their ballot.”

With limited resources, the PSM has tried to give as many voters a real political choice by offering non-PSM activists a chance to run as candidates under the PSM logo.

“Two prominent activists who were keen to run under the PSM logo could not stand because of repressive laws, while around 20 others applied. Some were prominent opposition party MPs and State Assembly members who had been denied seats by their party in this general election.”

“The PSM was very careful,” said Arul on the criteria to accept non-PSM candidates. In the end, it accepted only three: Teh Yee Chieu, a popular environmentalist activist and former state assembly member in Penang; Abdul Razak Ismail, a reformasi and labour activist; and activist and local rock star “Zack” Zainurizzaman Moharam, who is respected for his work with poor communities.

“Besides these, our candidates include two farmers endorsed by a coalition of farmers in the state of Perak and another Indigenous candidate endorsed by the Indigenous community. These are PSM members.”

All PSM candidates have agreed to four basic conditions: Support the “For the 99%” election manifesto; declare their assets; reject racial and race politics; and open a service centre in their electorate to take up the needs of ordinary people.

Peter Boyle


Fri, 20 Apr 2018 17:10:00 +0200

The PSM: reluctant politicians who fight for a better Malaysia

Amid this dystopian backdrop, there is a band of politicians who refuse to participate in the mudslinging match, preferring to focus on policies and the problems of the poor instead.

And while history is replete with examples of how politicians would devise diabolical schemes, manipulate, lie and even kill for positions and power, PSM, however, has to twist the arms of its members to contest in elections.

Its chairperson Mohd Nasir Hashim is no different. Despite writing letter after letter to dissuade members from electing him as party leader, he keeps winning unopposed.

In an interview with Malaysiakini, PSM’s central committee member S Arutchelvan discusses what sets the socialist party apart and its struggle to find a place in the hearts and minds of Malaysians.

“We have a different kind of problem compared to other parties,” he quipped.

“We have leaders who are reluctant to be politicians, they want to remain as activists working on the ground and helping people.

“Even I had written letters in the past, explaining why I should not be fielded as a candidate. So we have to force people to stand. We have to tell them it’s their ‘revolutionary’ duty,” he added.

According to Arutchelvan, PSM’s sole federal lawmaker Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj had also objected to defending his seat for the third time in the coming general election.

In the past, Jeyakumar had tabled a resolution to limit PSM’s elected representatives to two terms and it was passed.

“Jeyakumar has always emphasised setting a good example. He warns us about corruption. That is why he gives most of his salary as an MP to the party and declares his assets,” said Arutchelvan.

“After his resolution was passed, there was much discourse on the issue. There was a feeling that as a socialist, you must spend a longer time in politics.

“Jeyakumar was against this. Another branch put forth a different resolution (to lift the two-term limit) and this was passed.

“Jeyakumar felt he should not contest again, but in PSM, we believe that the wisdom of the majority outweighs the views of an individual.”

Big picture vs the bigger picture

On the party’s appeal amongst Malaysians, Arutchelvan claimed that PSM’s membership has increased, with more Malay youths signing up.

“It was initially more Indian-based, but now Malay members are on the rise, especially those born in the 1990s. Out of 10 who join us now, seven are Malays,” he revealed.

Arutchelvan conceded that while its position might not be pragmatic in the political sense, it is, however, rooted in principles and when the rest look at the ‘big’ picture, PSM sees the ‘bigger’ picture.

He explained that one of the reasons for PSM not being as popular as other political parties is because it steers clear of using the race and religious cards.

“All political parties in Malaysia play the racial and religious cards,” he added.

The second reason, he pointed out, is that Malaysians are clear about the two-party system, with many desiring change.

“Even we are hoping Pakatan Harapan would come into power. Because when they do, people would see there is no much difference between the two parties (Harapan and BN) and would look for an alternative.

“So the illusion of the two-party system must be eradicated before the progressive third wave can flourish,” he added.

Arutchelvan said PSM is at the forefront when the poor face problems and it champions issues such as better healthcare, affordable housing, and minimum wage.

“(But) only the minority of Malaysians look at policies and whatnot. Malaysian politicians don’t have to do such things...

“All they need is race politics, 1MDB, how (caretaker prime minister Najib Abdul Razak’s wife) Rosmah (Mansor) dresses…

“I am in about 120 Whatsapp groups, everything is racial. So there is no need to talk about policies,” he added.

Shattering the belief that elites control politics

Arutchelvan also pointed out that Harapan appears to have engaged the reverse gear in its pursuit of Malay votes in the coming general election.

“When (former opposition leader) Anwar Ibrahim came out with the ’Buku Jingga’ and changed ’Ketuanan Melayu’ (Malay hegemony) to ’Ketuanan Rakyat’ (People’s hegemony), we thought it was a brave move. ’Buku Jingga’ was a progressive document.

“But now, in order to generate a ’Malay tsunami’, the current manifesto has gone backward... things like local government elections have been left out because of the race factor as there might be a lot of Chinese and Indian councillors.

“So it looks like we have to go one more round. Dr Mahathir Mohamad comes to power and we fight racial politics all over again,” he added.

Meanwhile, Arutchelvan said PSM is fielding Orang Asal, farmers and activists in the coming general election.

This is to shatter the illusion that it is the elites who control politics. We want to send a message that a good leader does not need to be a doctor or a lawyer,” he added.

PSM’s manifesto makes it crystal clear where the party’s struggle is focussed. Dubbed as the “Manifesto for the 99%”, it pledges, among others, equal opportunities for all communities and to enable all to escape poverty and marginalisation.

“We, the people of this land of earthly beauty and ecological diversity, each with our different tongues and traditions, pledge to co-create a new society founded on the principles of freedom, equality, and solidarity” - reads the preamble’s opening paragraph.

R.K Anand

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Fri, 20 Apr 2018 15:16:00 +0200

Notre-Dame-des-Landes : la politique de la matraque ne nous arrêtera pas – Répression à Nantes

Le samedi 14 avril avait pourtant bien débuté. À 14h30 une manifestation à l’appel de l’intersyndicale, des cheminotEs et des étudiantEs, rassemble pas moins de 5000 personnes. Puis, bonne nouvelle, la jonction s’opère avec la seconde manifestation prévue à 16h30 contre les expulsions à la Zad et ailleurs…

Cette convergence bienvenue rassemble alors plus de 10 000 personnes sur le pavé nantais.

Derrière deux banderoles qui proclament « SNCF, ZAD, universités, vive le commun » et « Enracinons l’avenir sur la Zad ! Contre toutes les expulsions » se retrouve une foule bigarrée et enthousiaste avec musique, panneaux et drapeaux mêlés de la CGT, de Solidaires, du NPA, de la FI, de LO, d’AL et de bien d’autres...

« Nantes en état de siège »

Mais c’était sans compter avec la volonté de revanche politique et idéologique de ce gouvernement Macron qui ne veut ni de la Zad ni de la convergence des luttes... Ce samedi à Nantes, les autorités préfectorales et le gouvernement ont déclaré une véritable guerre à celles et ceux qui contestent leur politique en empêchant toute possibilité de manifester. Ils ont sciemment provoqué la violence et d’abord leur propre violence. Nantes est bien devenue une des villes laboratoire de la répression d’État.

C’est en effet un arsenal policier impressionnant, sans doute un millier de CRS, qui a bloqué très vite la manifestation joyeuse mais déterminée, au bout de quelques centaines de mètres seulement de défilé, puis l’a systématiquement nassée.

Lacrymogènes, grenades assourdissantes et de désencerclement ont fusé, puis gazage à hauteur de visages et canons à eau impitoyables... Brûlures aux yeux, poumons qui crament, des grenades et matraques qui blessent... Terrasses de bars attaquées...

Les flics ont, jusqu’en fin de soirée, bloqué toute issue pour décourager tout regroupement, faire fuir, arrêter, faire mal... Les street medics ont recensés plusieurs dizaines de blesséEs.

De Nantes à la Zad, le combat continue !

Mais c’est en vain que cette politique de la matraque s’abat sur nous. Dimanche nous étions de nouveau près de 10 000 dans le bocage !

À peine une semaine après le début de l’opération d’évacuation, la mobilisation continue et s’amplifie. Des soutiens venus de toutes la France ont convergé vers le lieu symbolique de la ferme de Bellevue. Pique-niques, constructions de barricades, reconstruction de lieux de vie… tout le monde participe à la réoccupation de la Zad au son du slogan « La Zad, elle est à qui ? Elle est à nous ! »

Des kilomètres dans la boue pour dire non aux expulsions, aux destructions, soutenir des pratiques et des projets agricoles alternatifs et un autre mode de vie aussi. Des projets respectueux de l’environnement, comme celui de la Ferme des 100 noms, piétinés sauvagement au premier jour d’une intervention démontrant, s’il le fallait, l’hypocrisie et le double discours de ce gouvernement sur ses réelles intentions.

« De gré ou de force nous garderons la Zad ! »

Le gouvernement a choisi de s’enferrer dans un affrontement policier délirant pour restaurer son autorité, avec le risque apparemment assumé de faire une nouvelle victime comme à Sivens.

Le recours aux blindés indique le niveau du curseur répressif. La volonté de l’État est non seulement de liquider un mouvement de résistance victorieux mais également de mettre en garde et dissuader l’ensemble des opposantEs à sa politique de destruction sociale, des cheminotEs aux étudiantEs.

Face à cette répression féroce, le mouvement pour la défense de la Zad doit encore s’amplifier et converger avec toutes les autres luttes. Car seule notre force collective pourra mettre en échec Macron et son gouvernement, sur la Zad comme ailleurs.

Comme nous nous y étions engagés en octobre 2016, nous étions des milliers à reprendre nos bâtons comme symboles de notre détermination. Déterminés à défendre jusqu’au bout la reconnaissance des projets collectifs des habitantEs de la Zad. « De gré ou de force, nous garderons la Zad ! »

Sandra (44) et Gégé (29)

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 12:11:00 +0200

Montreuil (93) : suspecté de braconner des oiseaux au parc des Beaumonts

Le chardonneret élégant est très prisé pour son plumage et son chant [1]. Au marché noir, il se vendrait 150 € pièce.

Après le cheval errant et le lionceau en appartement, c’est à de coquets volatiles que s’intéressent les policiers de Montreuil. Ou plutôt à un trentenaire interpellé pour braconnage. Il a été arrêté mercredi soir et s’apprête à passer une seconde nuit en garde à vue.

« Des riverains nous ont prévenus après avoir aperçu un braconnier lundi, en fin d’après-midi. Nous avons pris l’affaire très au sérieux », confie-t-on à Est Ensemble. Le braconnier aurait été vu avec une cage, dans le parc des Beaumonts après 17 heures, à la fin du gardiennage. Et dans la cage, quelques graines pour attirer les oiseaux graciles. Certains ont cru qu’il s’agissait de mésanges charbonnières, d’autres de chardonnerets élégants. La prolongation de la garde à vue du suspect permettra peut-être aux policiers d’en avoir le cœur net. Ce matin, aucun volatile n’avait été saisi.

Au marché noir, il se revend 10 € le gramme

Au marché noir, le chardonneret élégant se revend 10 € le gramme, soit environ 150 € pièce. « Le Chardonneret élégant est très réputé pour son plumage coloré et son joli chant, notamment en Afrique du Nord », indique Romain, vendeur à « l’Oisellerie du Pont Neuf » à Paris (Ier). En Tunisie par exemple, d’immenses filets sont installés dans les arbres pour les capturer. L’oiseau est classé parmi les espèces vulnérables et a récemment intégré la liste rouge des oiseaux nicheurs en France. Sa vente est très réglementée. « L’oiseau doit être issu d’une troisième génération d’élevage », précise Romain.

En pleine période de « mirage » - la préparation des nids pour les œufs - la capture de mâles ou de femelles est susceptible de « mettre en péril la reproduction de l’espèce dans le parc », souligne-t-on encore à Est Ensemble. Classé Natura 2000, le parc est habité par une faune et une flore rares et fragiles.

Carole Sterlé et Victor Tassel

STERLE Carole, TASSEL Victor