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Middle East

  • Gaza Awareness Conference, Newcastle

    Ride to Gaza with Yvonne Ridley
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  • Gaza Awareness Conference, Newcastle

    Ride to Gaza with Chi Onwurah, MP
    Views: 33
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    Time: 04:19 More in News & Politics
  • Saudi Arabia and Western Hypocrisy

    Video featuring Madawi Al-Rasheed - Washington is calling the worst repression in the Arab world "evolving reform" and Britain is training forces involved in human rights violations.

  • Cairo Conference 2011: Long Live the Arab Revolution

    Tunisia started the revolutionary wave
    I'm flying to Cairo in the early hours of Thursday morning for the international solidarity conference.

    We'll be discussing some rather big issues, as indicated by the conference timetable below.

    See HERE for details of the follow-up meeting I'll be speaking at in Newcastle.  


    Friday 03/06/2011

    6-7pm Registration
    7-9pm Opening session

    Saturday 04/06/2011

    10-12am The Arab revolutions and democracy
    12-1pm Break
    1-3pm Challenges that face the revolution in Egypt and Tunisia
    3-4pm Break
    4-6pm The role of social movements and its future under the revolution
    6-7pm Break
    7-9pm Arab revolutions on the rise (Libya - Yemen - Jordan - Syria)

    Sunday 06/05/2011

    10-12am Arab revolutions and imperialism
    12-1pm Break
    1-3pm Arab revolutions and the Arab-Zionist conflict
    3-4pm Break
    4-5pm Final session
    7-9pm Concert

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  • Syria - the Permanent popular uprising

    Syrian female protestorsAs Syria enters its tenth week of protests the uprising continues despite continued repression. George Boustani looks at recent events and where the Syrian spring is heading.

  • "This revolution is far from over": Egyptians return to the streets

    For background to today's protests, involving tens of thousands of people, I recommend reading Wael Khalil's Guardian piece. The short video report below gives a sense of the spirit and politics of the protests. I'll be arriving in Cairo next Thursday, ahead of the international solidarity conference which opens the following day.



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  • Greg Philo - 'Do the Media Aid Israel?' London, 23.5.11

    The BBC's former Middle East correspondent, Tim Llewellyn, joins Greg Philo, Research Director of the Glasgow Media Group, and Abdel Bari Atwan, Editor of the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper, to discuss the mainstream media's coverage of Palestine and Israel.
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  • Tim Llewellyn - 'Do the Media Aid Israel?' London, 23.5.11

    The BBC's former Middle East correspondent, Tim Llewellyn, joins Greg Philo, Research Director of the Glasgow Media Group, and Abdel Bari Atwan, Editor of the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper, to discuss the mainstream media's coverage of Palestine and Israel. Do newspaper and television reporting favour one narrative over the other? How does this influence public perception and is real damage done to the Palestinians' hopes for justice? What pressure do journalists come under from their news organisations when trying to report the facts from the Occupied Territories? Tim Llewellyn was the BBC's Middle East correspondent for 10 years and speaks with an insider's knowledge of the tension between reporters on the ground and their more cautious management teams in London. Abdel Bari Atwan was born in Gaza, Palestine but has lived in London since 1979. He has been the editor of London-based al-Quds al-Arabi, an independent, pan-Arab daily newspaper since 1989. He is the author of The Secret History of al-Qa'ida, and A Country of Words, his memoir. Greg Philo is the co-author of Bad News from Israel (2004) and More Bad News from Israel (May 2011). Both books contain meticulous research from the Glasgow Media Group revealing how the language, tone and agenda of news reports result in a dangerously misleading view of the Occupation amongst the general public.
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  • Abdel Bari Atwan - 'Do the Media Aid Israel?' London, 23.5.11

    The BBC's former Middle East correspondent, Tim Llewellyn, joins Greg Philo, Research Director of the Glasgow Media Group, and Abdel Bari Atwan, Editor of the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper, to discuss the mainstream media's coverage of Palestine and Israel. Do newspaper and television reporting favour one narrative over the other? How does this influence public perception and is real damage done to the Palestinians' hopes for justice? What pressure do journalists come under from their news organisations when trying to report the facts from the Occupied Territories? Tim Llewellyn was the BBC's Middle East correspondent for 10 years and speaks with an insider's knowledge of the tension between reporters on the ground and their more cautious management teams in London. Abdel Bari Atwan was born in Gaza, Palestine but has lived in London since 1979. He has been the editor of London-based al-Quds al-Arabi, an independent, pan-Arab daily newspaper since 1989. He is the author of The Secret History of al-Qa'ida, and A Country of Words, his memoir. Greg Philo is the co-author of Bad News from Israel (2004) and More Bad News from Israel (May 2011). Both books contain meticulous research from the Glasgow Media Group revealing how the language, tone and agenda of news reports result in a dangerously misleading view of the Occupation amongst the general public.
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  • Greg Philo - 'More Bad News from Israel'

    Greg Philo speaks comes to SOAS to speak about his news book, 'More Bad News from Israel' which looks at the media coverage of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict
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    Time: 23:48 More in News & Politics
  • Syria's defiant women

    See the full article from today's Observer:

    'They came for the men first, as the security forces of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad killed, beat and arrested people protesting against his regime.

    Next, they came for the women of Syria's revolution. Despite the threats, however, they refuse to be silenced.

    As the violence has become worse, women activists have organised a Friday protest of Free Women showing solidarity with those seized or killed. Women-only protests in towns across the country have led the effort to let the outside world know what is happening in Syria. But they are now being targeted as well, with the same lethal brutality.

    Two weeks ago three women were shot dead at an all-women march near the besieged city of Banias. A week later human rights activist Catherine al-Talli, 32, was detained in the Barzeh district of Damascus after being forced off a minibus when it was stopped at a checkpoint by the secret police.

    Others, such as Razan Zeitouneh, whose husband has been arrested, have been forced into hiding as evidence emerges that the regime is targeting relatives of those it is seeking to arrest.'

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  • The Politics of Change in Palestine

    Michael Br√∂ning’s The Politics of Change in Palestine discusses the response of Palestinian political organisations to the challenge offered by US President Barak Obama in 2009. The book is clear and informative, but is lacking in alternatives that scrutinse Israel's role in the Middle East.

  • Palestine: ULU backs boycott, divestment and sanctions

    Via University of London Union:

    'Earlier today, Wednesday 18th May, the University of London Union (ULU) voted 10-1 to institute and campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) in support of Palestine.

    The motion called for “thorough research into ULU investments and contracts” with companies guilty of “violating Palestinian human rights” as set out by the Palestinian Boycott National Committee (BNC).

    Ashok Kumar, Senate member for LSE, speaking in favour of the motion, argued, “We have precedents for boycotting campaigns at ULU, especially with South Africa and the boycott campaign over Barclays bank, that supported the Apartheid regime. We are now responding to the Palestinian call for civil action in support of their fight against racism.”

    The motion also called on other students’ unions to join in the campaign for Palestinian human rights. ULU is the largest students’ union in Europe with over 120,000 members from colleges across London. ULU senate consists of the presidents of the 20 students unions reprsenting every University of London University.

    James Haywood, President-elect at Goldsmiths Students’ Union, stated, “We are delighted that this motion has passed, and with such a clear vote as well. We have seen throughout history that boycotts are a crucial nonviolent tactic in achieving freedom, and target institutions, not individuals.”

    Sean Rillo Raczka, incoming ULU Vice President, "I'm delighted that ULU has passed this BDS policy on Israel. We stand in solidarity with the oppressed Palestinian people, and as Vice President next year I will ensure that the University of London Union does not give profit to those denying the human rights of the Palestinians"'

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  • Sarah Colborne: 'Solidarity with Palestine - From Nakba to Intifada'. 13.05.11

    On 13.5.11, The Equality Movement held its 5th public meeting at ULU; 'Solidarity with Palestine - From Nakba to Intifada'. Panel discussion with: George Galloway. Former MP for Bethnal Green & Bow and political commentator. Karma Nabulsi. Oxford academic and former PLO representative. Yael Kahn. Anti-Zionist Israeli activist. Sarah Colborne. Survivor of the Mavi Mamara. Jody McIntyre. Writer and political activist.
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  • Jody McIntyre and Equality Movement: Solidarity with Palestine

    Jody McIntyre is speaking on Palestine - alongside Lowkey, Yvonne Ridley and others - in Newcastle on 12 June. See HERE for details.

    The speech here is from last Friday's Equality Movement meeting - 'Solidarity with Palestine: from Nakba to Intifada' - in London. See the Sternchen Productions channelon YouTube for the other speeches - by George Galloway, Karma Nabulsi, Yael Kahn and Sarah Colborne.



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  • George Galloway: 'Solidarity with Palestine - From Nakba to Intifada'. 13.05.11

    On 13.5.11, The Equality Movement held its 5th public meeting at ULU; 'Solidarity with Palestine - From Nakba to Intifada'. Panel discussion with: George Galloway. Former MP for Bethnal Green & Bow and political commentator. Karma Nabulsi. Oxford academic and former PLO representative. Yael Kahn. Anti-Zionist Israeli activist. Sarah Colborne. Survivor of the Mavi Mamara. Jody McIntyre. Writer and political activist.
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  • I Witness: Egypt

    John Rees talks to Egyptian activist Hannah Elsisi and SOAS academic Dr Vivian Ibrahim about the Egyptian revolution and the political militancy at its heart.

  • Palestine and unity: on the right track for liberation?

    Palestinian unity placardsThe reconciliation agreement between Palestinian factions in Gaza and the West Bank is a great step forward for Palestinians but does it provide a viable political programme or vision to free Palestine?

  • Bloody Sunday in Palestine

    Yesterday tens of thousands of Palestinians and others marked the Nakba anniversary by marching to the borders with Israel in Palestine, Syria and Lebanon.

  • Do to Libya what was done to Gaza and Iraq says head of UK army

    Sir David RichardsFaced with a third losing war against a Muslim country in a decade, General Sir David Richards, head of the UK army, says what Libya needs is a dose of "shock and awe".

  • Yael Kahn: 'Solidarity with Palestine - From Nakba to Intifada'. 13.05.11

    On 13.5.11, The Equality Movement held its 5th public meeting at ULU; 'Solidarity with Palestine - From Nakba to Intifada'. Panel discussion with: George Galloway. Former MP for Bethnal Green & Bow and political commentator. Karma Nabulsi. Oxford academic and former PLO representative. Yael Kahn. Anti-Zionist Israeli activist. Sarah Colborne. Survivor of the Mavi Mamara. Jody McIntyre. Writer and political activist.
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  • Karma Nabulsi: 'Solidarity with Palestine - From Nakba to Intifada'. 13.05.11

    On 13.5.11, The Equality Movement held its 5th public meeting at ULU; 'Solidarity with Palestine - From Nakba to Intifada'. Panel discussion with: George Galloway. Former MP for Bethnal Green & Bow and political commentator. Karma Nabulsi. Oxford academic and former PLO representative. Yael Kahn. Anti-Zionist Israeli activist. Sarah Colborne. Survivor of the Mavi Mamara. Jody McIntyre. Writer and political activist.
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  • Jody McIntyre: 'Solidarity with Palestine - From Nakba to Intifada'. 13.05.11

    On 13.5.11, The Equality Movement held its 5th public meeting at ULU; 'Solidarity with Palestine - From Nakba to Intifada'. Panel discussion with: George Galloway. Former MP for Bethnal Green & Bow and political commentator. Karma Nabulsi. Oxford academic and former PLO representative. Yael Kahn. Anti-Zionist Israeli activist. Sarah Colborne. Survivor of the Mavi Mamara. Jody McIntyre. Writer and political activist.
    Views: 7
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  • End of British Mandate in Palestine - video

    This Day In History- 14 May 1948: End of British Mandate in Palestine. Produced by Dan Poulton. Courtesy of the Islam Channel

  • Register for Cairo Conference: Long Live the Arab Revolutions

    Tony Benn, president of Stop the War Coalition, expresses support for the Cairo Conference:

    "The Arab Spring revolt opens up completely new possibilities for our future relations with the Arab world and we must work with the new governments to address the problems that concern their people. The Cairo Conference is a chance to make links with the people who made the revolution and the new labour movement in Egypt. I encourage all those who can to attend."

    Around 40 people are currently in the UK delegation (me included), but it will be great if even more people go. The registration form is now available - see HERE.

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  • I Witness: Egypt (courtesy of the Islam Channel)

    I Witness: Egypt, with John Rees and Hannah Elsisi
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  • Who’s Afraid Of The Arab Revolutions?

    Whos afraid clipThis programme looks at who stands to gain and who to lose as the Arab Revolution creates the biggest social upheavals in the Middle East for a generation.

  • Who's Afraid of the Arab Revolutions?



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  • Tunisia: an unfinished revolution

    Since the departure of Ben Ali, the opposition movement in Tunisia is still active. But the social and economic demands that brought Tunisians to the streets months ago have not even begun to be addressed.

  • Hidden Histories: Palestine and the Eastern Mediterranean

    Hidden Histories argues that the history of Palestine has been hidden, and that the struggle for Palestinian rights has also to encompass the struggle for their history and culture.

  • Syria: The revolution will go on

    The Syrians will not go back to their houses. They will continue their revolution in spite of the government's decision to end the state of emergency and abolish the Higher State Security Court.

  • Beyond Egypt: Ripples of Revolution

    British-Egyptian journalist Nadine El-Hadi looks at the continuing impact Egypt has had on international expressions of solidarity from Wisconsin to London.

  • Yemeni women refuse to stay at home

    I recommend reading the brief commentary on this by Juan Cole - see Yemeni Women: "We will not be silent!"



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  • Ilan Pappé: The Second Intifada and the Israeli media

    The limited public space available to question the Zionist narrative in the 1990s disappears as the Israeli media adopts an entirely uncritical perspective.

  • Syria: the popular Intifada

    The Syrian regime has been able to portray itself as anti-imperialist in relation to Lebanon and Palestine, but is against the popular uprising calling for democratic change.

  • Egypt: is this what democracy looks like?

    The tension between the old state and the revolution is re-emerging. If the revolution is to be successful, the army will have to be won over, and popular committees created, argues John Rees.

  • Med Taïeb Mekki talks about students in Tunisia.MP4

    On my trip to Tunisia as part of a solidarity delegation I spoke to Med about how students organise in Tunisia. There are lots of different opinions and experiences and this is just one of them...
    From: MutinyTV
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  • Egypt: soldiers join today's Tahrir Square protests



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  • Interview with Norman Finkelstein: ‘Israel has bigger problems than me’

    The American scholar Norman Finkelstein talks to Elias Stoakes about Hezbollah, Israeli fears of the Arab revolutions and the criticism he receives from various quarters.

  • Perseverance pays: a well-earned victory for Palestine solidarity movement

    'On 2nd April 2011, human rights activists came together to celebrate a great victory for the BDS movement. After a two-year campaign of direct action and regular pickets and demos, Ahava's Covent Garden lease will not be renewed by the landlord in September.

    Ahava is an Israeli company based in settlements in the occupied West Bank . NO to goods from West Bank colonies!'



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  • Manning Marable (1950-2011)

    Manning Marable sadly died on Friday 1 April, aged 60. He was an authoritative and respected voice on the American left, a penetrating analyst of racism in modern capitalist society, and an expert on the history of anti-racist struggles

    Gary Younge of the Guardian described Marable as 'a great man, a great intellect an a great loss'. The author of numerous books and essays, his major new biography of Malcolm X is about to be published in the US.

    A professor of history and African-American studies at Columbia University, New York, Marable was a pioneer in the study of the history of American black liberation struggles as well as a champion of anti-racist, anti-war and progressive political causes. He recognised and explained the achievements of the civil rights era, but also understood that racism remained an endemic problem in American capitalist society.



    Marable argued that racism is structural, rooted in society, not merely a matter of prejudices or something that can be removed by 'affirmative action' within unequal and unjust economic and political structures. The partial advancement of a modest black middle class was not enough, while many remained impoverished - and while the barriers of racism, while less overt than in the segregation era, remained.

    Marable was concerned in particular with bringing the past - experiences of both racism and anti-racist resistance - to bear on the present. His book Living Black History, for example, is a collection devoted precisely to the project of rediscovering and re-interpreting black history for the purpose of current struggles.

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  • Manning Marable: unyeilding opponent of a racist system

    Manning MarableManning Marable sadly died on Friday 1 April, aged 60. He was an authoritative and respected voice on the American left, a penetrating analyst of racism in modern capitalist society, and an expert on the history of anti-racist struggles.

  • Militarism, Mutilation, and Minerals: Understanding the Occupation of Afghanistan

    Malalai JoyaVideo documentary featuring Malalai Joya, an Afghan MP and activist who was recently denied an entry visa to the United States. Film by Iara Lee.

  • Khirbet Khizeh - A story from Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine

    The first English translation of the classic novel of the Nakba, Khirbet Khizeh, has just been published by Granta. It is a powerful story of the real cost of the creation of the state of Israel.

  • Ali Abunimah: Israeli Apartheid & Beyond. 24.3.11, London

    In a talk chaired by Oxford academic Dr Karma Nabulsi, Palestine Solidarity Campaign and KCL Action Palestine hosted two of the foremost analysts on the Middle East Conflict: Ali Abunimah - After Apartheid: Getting to justice and equality in Palestine - Journalist, author and co-founder and executive director of Electronic Intifada www.electronicintifada.net David Cronin -- Europe's Complicity with Israeli Apartheid - Journalist, author and Brussels correspondent of Inter Press Service news agency dvcronin.blogspot.com Cronin was recently in the news after he attempted to perform a citizen's arrest on Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman: www.youtube.com
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  • Syria: the people will not step down

    The Syrian regime is shaken by the popular uprising that started in the southern city of Deraa, and has now become a symbol of resistance nationwide. There have now been protests across Syria calling for freedom and the scrapping of repressive laws.

  • David Cronin: Israeli apartheid and beyond. 24.3.11, London

    In a talk chaired by Oxford academic Dr Karma Nabulsi, Palestine Solidarity Campaign and KCL Action Palestine hosted two of the foremost analysts on the Middle East Conflict: Ali Abunimah - After Apartheid: Getting to justice and equality in Palestine - Journalist, author and co-founder and executive director of Electronic Intifada www.electronicintifada.net David Cronin -- Europe's Complicity with Israeli Apartheid - Journalist, author and Brussels correspondent of Inter Press Service news agency dvcronin.blogspot.com Cronin was recently in the news after he attempted to perform a citizen's arrest on Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman: www.youtube.com
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  • Syria protests: breaking the wall of fear

    Syria protest Social unrest in Syria has grown in the last few days. Hundreds of people in Damascus, the capital, and the city of Homs have clashed with security forces, with protests in many other areas.

  • Europe’s Alliance With Israel: Aiding the Occupation

    David Cronin provides an indispensable account of Europe’s complicity with Israeli crimes in the occupied territories.

  • John Rees on where the Arab revolutions are going

    'Democratic revolutions can be more or less thorough going. Some of the ‘colour revolutions’ of recent years have merely given a thin democratic veneer, if that, to old corrupt elites. Others, like the South African dismantling of Apartheid, have led to a more fundamental political change, although the underlying relations of exploitation remained untouched.

    The Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions are heading towards a more, not less, complete dismantling of the old political structure. This momentum means that a second ‘revolution within the revolution’ which challenges the economic relations of exploitation is easier to contemplate.'

    See 'The Arab revolutions: results and prospects'


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  • The Arab revolutions: results and prospects

    Workers protestJohn Rees looks at the ongoing revolutions in Egypt and Libya and their significance for people fighting for a fundamental system change.

  • March 15th: Ending the division and reclaiming the struggle for Palestine

    IMarch 15th Movementn response to the Arab revolutions a new Palestinian movement seems to be taking shape. Driven by the youth it is in part aimed at a civil Palestinian mobilization to end the catastrophic political factionalism. But it must be placed in the larger context of reclaiming the struggle to liberate Palestine.

  • Middle East in Revolt: Democratic Revolutions in the 21st Century | John Rees |

    Writer, activist and broadcaster John Rees speaking at a Counterfire Public Meeting | 10 March www.counterfire.org.uk
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  • Palestine and the apartheid wall

    Palestine and the apartheid wall - life under occupation in 2011
    Public meeting hosted by Tyneside Palestine Solidarity Campaign

    Monday 14 March ∑ 7:00-8:30pm
    Muslim Welfare House, 6 North Terrace, Spital Tongues, Newcastle

    I've recently returned from a trip to the occupied West Bank - visiting major cities and towns including Jerusalem, Hebron, Jenin, Ramallah and Qalqilya - and will be reporting on what I saw and the discussions I had with local Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.

    At the meeting on 14 March there will be a particular focus on the impact of illegal settlements, military checkpoints and the separation wall on people in the West Bank, especially in Qalqilya - a border town completely encircled by the wall (it's also the place Newcastle is developing twinning links with).

    There'll be time to discuss what Palestinians are doing in response to the ongoing abuses of their human rights - and what we can do here to provide political and practical solidarity with them. Please join us!

    Read my 2 posts about the visit:

    Letter from Palestine: life under occupation
    Qalqilya: frontline of Israeli colonisation

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  • TONY BENN: Where Now for the Egyptian Revolution?

    After the exhiliration of the Egyptian uprising, the dictator has gone but the dictatorship remains. Mubarak's administration is still in place, with the army holding the reigns of power, led by Field Marshall Tantawi, who Wikileaks revealed recently is regarded by the United States as "Mubarak's poodle". This public meeting, organised by Stop the War Coalition and the Egyptian Liberation Initiative, brings together Egyptian speakers, Tony Benn, Jeremy Corbyn MP, human rights lawyers Louis Christian and others to discuss where now for the Egyptian revolution. Public Meeting: Where Now for the Egyptian Revolution? Where Now for the Middle East? Wednesday 2 March 7pm Conway Hall 25 Red Lion Square London WC1R 4RL Speakers: Tony Benn • Louise Christian Human Rights Lawyer • John Rees eyewitness from Egypt • Jeremy Corbyn MP • Speakers from Egypt including Yousef al Bady Egyptian Liberation Initiative
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  • Building a new left in revolutionary Egypt - an insider's account

    A meeting of 500 activists on Saturday took forward the project of establishing a new left-wing coalition in revolutionary Egypt. This is an extract from a fascinating interview with Tamer Wageed of Egypt's Socialist Renewal group:

    'Saturday's meeting was held in order to announce the new left movement, to gather the left and to build the institutions and organisations of this movement. The movement is still at its beginning. On Saturday people discussed the general rules and points of the movement.

    This first phase, Tamer explains, will be more understanding between the supporters, especially considering they belong to different schools of thought and organisations. He nevertheless thinks that the next three months will be crucial for the development of the movement.

    "The objective of this initiative is to build a vast and large united left movement gathering political parties, unions, workers, students, intellectuals, writers, artists, etc…" Tamer emphasised his wish to see all the popular strata to be represented in this movement.

    The main political parties involved are the Egyptian Communist Party, the Revolutionary Socialists, the Democratic left and the Socialist Renewal Current. Tamer insisted several times on the inclusive nature of this new movement. There is a need, as he says, "to create a wider gathering than those in the past - everyone will have a voice in this movement".

    Democratic organisation is very important in Tamer’s mind; each party will keep its independence in the movement and not dissolve in it. In the longer term, however, there is the possibility of new permanent organisation.

    He also puts a lot of emphasis on the need for the youth to participate and to lead this movement, just like they led the revolution.

    Tamer explains that the new movement hasn't yet planned anything for the upcoming elections, but he is sure they will run for it and present candidates. He stresses that in the meantime:

    "The movement will still continue to encourage people to demonstrate and the workers to strike. All the different means and ways to mobilise the people will be used, whether being through legitimate and representative ways such as the elections or more radicals like strikes, occupation of workplaces and demonstrations."'

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  • A new left in revolutionary Egypt: interview with Tamer Wageeh

    The revolutionary process in Egypt is ongoing, with last Friday's demonstrations gathering hundreds of thousands of protesters. The resignation of Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq is one step in the right direction. He was replaced by former transport minister Essam Sharaf to form a new government.

  • JOHN REES: Where Now for the Egyptian Revolution?

    After the exhiliration of the Egyptian uprising, the dictator has gone but the dictatorship remains. Mubarak's administration is still in place, with the army holding the reigns of power, led by Field Marshall Tantawi, who Wikileaks revealed recently is regarded by the United States as "Mubarak's poodle". This public meeting, organised by Stop the War Coalition and the Egyptian Liberation Initiative, brings together Egyptian speakers, Tony Benn, Jeremy Corbyn MP, human rights lawyers Louis Christian and others to discuss where now for the Egyptian revolution. Public Meeting: Where Now for the Egyptian Revolution? Where Now for the Middle East? Wednesday 2 March 7pm Conway Hall 25 Red Lion Square London WC1R 4RL Speakers: Tony Benn • Louise Christian Human Rights Lawyer • John Rees eyewitness from Egypt • Jeremy Corbyn MP • Speakers from Egypt including Yousef al Bady Egyptian Liberation Initiative
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  • Socialists and the Middle East Revolutions | John Rees |Counterfire Members meeting | 22 March 2011

    John Rees introduces the opening session of a Counterfire members meeting. www.counterfire.org
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  • Qalqilya: frontline of Israeli colonisation

    The Wall at QalqilyaLast week I visited the occupied West Bank, as part of a trip organised by Camden-Abu Dis Friendship Association, meeting with Palestinian activists, teachers and others in several different cities and towns. One day was devoted to the district of Qalqilya which we in Tyneside have an embryonic link with (one I hope we can develop and strengthen in the months and years ahead).

  • Qalqilya: frontline of Israeli colonisation

    Last week I visited the occupied West Bank, as part of a trip organised by Camden-Abu Dis Friendship Association, meeting with Palestinian activists, teachers and others in several different cities and towns. One day was devoted to the district of Qalqilya which we in Tyneside have an embryonic link with (one I hope we can develop and strengthen in the months and years ahead).

    All of us in the group responded very warmly to Qalqilya - there's something about the mix of welcoming locals, a lively atmosphere, tree-lined roads in the city centre, and admiration for the incredible stoicism and determination of people living there. They are faced with many of the worst elements of life under Israeli occupation.

    If you look at any map showing the location of settlements and the separation wall you will see what I mean. There’s a particular concentration of illegal Israeli settlements around Qalqilya. This is one reason, too, why the wall is so remorselessly dominant in the area - it totally encircles Qalqilya, designed to ‘protect’ the Israeli settlers and to enforce strict segregation between relatively privileged settlers and the local Palestinian population.

    The wall carves up the land, often separating Palestinians from their own farms or fields, splitting up families, or making it arduous for people to reach where they work or study every day. Even a brief visit to the West Bank makes it abundantly clear why many people talk of ‘Israeli apartheid’, and why the wall and the settlements are together regarded as a process of colonisation, encroaching deep into Palestinian territory.

    A lot of Palestinian land has been stolen to build the settlements, which loomed over us in the hills as we approached. We passed roads that Palestinians could once travel on, but are now reserved exclusively for settlers. We saw fields where olive trees had been hacked down by settlers, damaging Palestinians' agriculture (and deliberately insulting the farmers who depend on the land).

    There are two further factors at work here. Firstly, Israel wants control of the plentiful water supplies in the area. It has set about systematically controlling and re-directing water so it supplies the settlements, while Palestinians lose much of their access to what should be their natural resources. This makes Qalqilya economically significant for Israel.

    Secondly, it is a frontier town, located on the border between Israel and the West Bank. This reinforces Israel’s desire to tightly control it - and some of those we met locally speculated that Israeli authorities ultimately want to shift the border so it is in fact absorbed  as part of Israel itself.

    Traditionally many local Palestinians have travelled across the border to work. There was a time when the large majority of the local population worked for Israeli companies. The local economy is weak, but people have previously benefited from access to jobs in Israel.

    But this has become tougher, partly as a result of discrimination and partly because workers must walk through a horribly intimidating military checkpoint to get to work. Sometimes the Israeli army make Palestinians wait… and wait. We went to two major border checkpoints and they are a vivid, sometimes humiliating, reminder of Israeli control and power, as well as a source of practical inconvenience.

    The people talked to us of Qalqilya as an open (or not so open) prison, an indiscriminate collective punishment of a whole population. In our group we observed a higher security presence than anywhere else we visited, frequently seeing Israeli soldiers and Palestian police (who in reality are powerless, except as compliant agents of the occupation). It is a place dominated by checkpoints, terminals and the ever-present wall. It captures so much of what is grotesque and unjust about Israel’s occupation.

    There are also high levels of poverty and unemployment. Generally, a high proportion of the West Bank’s young people go to university, but a large number of them struggle to find work. High graduate unemployment is a problem in Qalqilya as elsewhere.

    It’s an area where people are so desperate to find work, an estimated 2000 Palestinians locally - according to a trade union official we met - currently work on settlements (primarily in construction). The union council said they may hate doing a job that serves the Israeli colonisation of their land - and they get treated poorly, with no rights and often appalling health and safety - but they feel there’s no alternative.

    None of this means the situation is hopeless. A good example was the local response, in a small town nearby, to the army’s brutal killing of a 16 year old boy around two years ago, when they intervened in support of settlers who had an altercation with the boy. A health union organiser who lives there told us that since the killing the local population has prevented any of the settlers from entering their town centre, swiftly gathering to collectively rebuff them if they dare try to enter the town.

    We met a young graduate who can't find work, but who has just started getting organised with other recent graduates. They set up a Facebook group on life in Qalqilya, calling for jobs, opportunities and justice, which attracted several hundred mainly local young people in the space of a week. The union activists we met are evidently struggling, but they still represent thousands of workers and are admirably determined.

    A number of people fiercely criticised the Palestinian Authority - its corruption, its political impotence, its collaboration with Israeli occupation. One aspect of this is the way Ramallah, home of the PA and thousands of its employees, has drawn people towards it, away from places like Qalqilya which suffer the worst effects of segregation and colonisation policies. Economic desperation, combined with restrictions on movement and freedom, has led some people to leave.

    This long-running disastisfaction was largely responsible for Hamas doing especially well in the 2006 elections. The Palestinian Authority is perceived as complying meekly with occupation policies, a consequence of the rotten deal that resulted from the Oslo negotiations in the 1990s and the reluctance of Fatah - the dominant force in the PA - to think beyond its imposed limitations.

    What we can do, meanwhile, is to let people know what's really happening in this corner of the world, promote solidarity actions like the continuing boycott campaign, and establish connections (in whatever way possible) between ourselves and the people of Qalqilya who are fighting to get by, persisting with the struggle for freedom and continuing to believe - despite relentless Israeli attrition - that justice for Palestine is possible.

    Also see my 'Letter from Palestine: life under occupation'

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  • Iraqis get the Tahrir spirit

    Fallujah protestIraqi academic and activist Sami Ramadani argues that last Friday's day of rage shows Iraqi premier Nouri al-Maliki is in danger of becoming the Mubarak of Baghdad.

  • Louis Theroux: An Englishman in Palestine

    Louis Theroux’s latest documentary, whilst rightfully welcomed as a rare glimpse of the settler mentality on British television, failed to fully portray the warped reality in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

  • Socialists and the Middle East revolutions: John Rees

    John ReesJohn Rees, recently returned from Egypt and Tunisia where he interviewed socialist activists centrally involved in the revolutions. He talks about the implications for the region and the world.

  • Egyptian Workers Strike for Minimum Wage and Independent Unions

    A TRNN report on the strike of the Mahalla workers 100 kilometers north of Cairo

  • Solidarity with the people o the Middle East - Edinburgh Protest 26 February 2011

    www.counterfire.org Video by Graham Kirkwood
    Views: 8
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  • Egypt in Revolution

    John Rees' latest documentary provides eyewitness accounts and analysis of the twists and turns of the Egyptian Revolution.
    Views: 16
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  • Egypt in Revolution - documentary

    John Rees' two documentaries provide eyewitness accounts and analysis of the twists and turns of the Egyptian Revolution.

  • Letter from Palestine: life under occupation

    Abu DisSince Saturday night I've been here in the West Bank, based in Abu Dis (a suburb of Jerusalem), and am flying home on Sunday evening. A half-term holiday with a difference.

  • Tunisia: Army fires shots over heads of protestors at Government Square Demo | 20 Feb 2011

    Filmed by Oumeima Krichen www.counterfire.org
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  • Tunisia occupied Gov Sq goes wild w apparent news of Gaddafi leaving Tripoli. Sun, 20 Feb

    even if it's not entirely accurate, subjectively we thought he had-u can feel the excitement!
    From: MutinyTV
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  • Neil Faulkner- Middle East on Fire: "Two Types of Democracy"

    Neil Faulkner, historian and author of A Marxist History of the World; speaking at Counterfire's East London public meeting, "Middle East on Fire". 17 February 2011
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  • T-shirt to raise funds for democracy groups in Egypt


    "You are the generation that will overcome defeat" - Arab poet Nizar Qabbani

    'For eighteen days so many of us were glued to the TV screens as a revolt unfolded that shook the Arab world, and beyond. When Mubarak finally resigned, Philosophy Football were inspired to produce a fundraising solidarity T-shirt by an article Tariq Ali wrote in the Guardian 

    The article quotes one of the great Arab poets of the modern era, Nizar Qabbani. Writing in the aftermath of the 1967 six-day war and the coming to power in Egypt of the US-backed dictators, first Saddat, then Murbarak, the poem's prophecy was finaly fulfilled in 2011: "You are the Generation that will overcome defeat."

     
    Philosophy Football's T- shirt is produced in association with the publishers Verso.
     
    It will raise funds for Egypt's pro-democracy campaign groups. Groups already active in solidarity with Egypt, Stop the War and others, as well as Verso authors who know the protest movement very well (including Tariq Ali) will be asked to nominate recipients who will make the most effective use of the resources.
     
    And generosity is rewarded with the offer of The Verso Book of Dissent at half-price, usual price £12.99, when bought with the shirt.'
     
    Available from Philosophy Football
     
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  • Egypt’s ongoing revolution and the Middle East revolts

    In the same way the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia strengthened the movement of protest in Egypt, the events in Cairo are encouraging people of the region, from Algeria to Bahrain to Yemen, to start or continue their struggle against their own authoritarian regime.

  • Egypt 2011: what sort of revolution is this?

    With the overthrow of dictator Hosni Mubarak on 11 February 2011, the Egyptian uprising became a successful revolution. The question now is ‘what sort of revolution is this?’

  • Egypt Valentine

    Egyptian flagRevolution shatters the arrogance of power. In the same gesture it can wipe away years of accumulated apathy, alienation and defeat.

  • The significance of the Egyptian revolution

    An excellent new article by John Rees, who is currently in Cairo, begins:

    'The self-activity of working people is at the heart of every revolution. The greater the self-activity, the greater the revolution. The greater the self-activity in one phase of the revolution, the greater its resources to deal with the challenges of the next phase.

    So let’s not hurry on too quickly, as some left commentators do, to the ‘inevitability’ of this or that ‘bourgeois settlement’, ‘betrayal of the revolution’ and so on. Let’s stay awhile with the revolution’s immediate past and present and assess this critical resource...'

    Also see 'Inside the Egyptian Revolution'


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  • The Egyptian Revolution: what is past and what is to come?

    John Rees examines the momentous events of the last weeks in Egypt and argues the Egyptian revolution is deeper and potentially more far-reaching than most modern revolutions.

  • Making history: the dynamics of revolution in Egypt

    Just a few weeks ago a popular revolution was still, to most Egyptians, unthinkable. There have been demonstrations for years, but they have mainly been small. January 25 changed all that.

  • Egypt: here we fought, here we won

    There is no better sight in the world tonight than the view from the stage raised 30 feet above Tahrir Square. Hundreds of thousands chanting, singing and waving flags that stretch out North, South, East and West.

  • Victory for the Egyptian revolution

    Vice President Omar Suleiman announces in a televised address that Hosni Mubarak was stepping down, and had handed over authority to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

  • Inside the Egyptian Revolution



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  • Egypt’s people make history: dictators tremble around the world

    For many Egyptians this is the greatest day of their lives. For the whole world, the Egyptian revolution will go down in history as an extraordinary example of people power.

  • Egypt: Inside the Revolution | Documentary by John Rees | Islam Channel

    www.islamchannel.tv John Rees [ http ] visited Cairo's Tahrir square during the January revolution.
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  • 12 February: Global Day for Egypt - London rally

    Via Stop the War:

    Amnesty International and the TUC have called a demonstration this Saturday 12 February in Trafalgar Square, 12noon to 2pm, as part of the global day for Egypt.

    Stop the War urges all its supporters to join this demonstration and to do everything possible to publicise it as widely as possible.

    The situation in Egypt remains critical. The protests are stronger than ever, not just in Cairo, but across the country. It's estimated that up to eight million may have joined the protests. But there are reports of many leading activists being arrested and Mubarak's strategy is clearly to slowly re-assert the regime's authority.

    An international show of support this Saturday can make a difference. London is just one of the solidarity protests that will be taking place worldwide. The need to mobilise the biggest possible turnout cannot be over stated.

    EGYPT: IN SOLIDARITY - IN DEFIANCE
    DEMONSTRATE SATURDAY 12 FEBRUARY 12-2PM
    TRAFALGAR SQUARE, LONDON
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  • Iran 1979, Egypt 2011: history repeating?

    The Guardian website's rolling coverage of the Egyptian revolution today has this interesting account, by the paper's Middle East editor Ian Black, of a BBC phone-in programme. The interactive programme was a joint effort by the BBC's Arabic and Persian services, broadcast yesterday, discussing similarities and differences between the Iranian revolution of 1979 and the current upheavals in Egypt.

    'An Iranian caller warned Egyptians to take steps not to allow an Islamic government to take over. "Do you intend to let the Qur'an influence the new constitution after your regime changes?" he asked.

    The caller from Cairo replied: "Absolutely not. We have no such intentions, as the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood have already assured. This is not an Islamic uprising. We intend to bring about a united revolution and are aiming for democracy and a secular and transparent government. This will not be a move toward Islamisation of our nation. We want to be a modern secular society like the western world. You don't hear any talk of an Islamic current being discussed among the protesters."

    Another Cairene rejected the claim of an Iranian from Mashhad that the Iranian revolution of 1979 and the uprising in Egypt had "haunting similarities".

    "This is not correct," the Egyptian replied. "There are many differences between what is happening in Egypt and 1979 [in Iran]. The leadership is different. Our movement calls for democracy and freedom. It is a popular movement without a particular ideology. Our demands are obvious and simple. This is a popular movement. It is not possible to describe is as an Islamic movement, because it is a revolution of all people."

    Iranian and Arab callers both emphasised the importance of social media and Facebook.

    Many compared the Egyptian protests to Iran's Green Movement and the post-election demonstrations in June 2009. They urged the Iranian opposition to learn lessons from Tunisia and Egypt. "They should not to go home when it gets dark in the evening this time," said one caller. People in Iran should "stay out until they prevail".

    Protests are scheduled in Iran on Monday to mark the anniversary of the revolution.

    BBC callers also discussed differences between the way plainclothes police, riot police, and the army treated demonstrators in each country. One viewer emailed to say: "The Tunisian military joined the people, the Egyptian army stood aside, and their police did not dare get very violent. But the Iranian armed forces decided to obey the rulers and turned their backs on their own people."

    An Egyptian said: "These events are like a tsunami that will take down all dictatorships and will soon topple all despots in the region."'

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  • Middle East: The Revolution marches on!

    Cairo university faculty staffKhalil Habash looks at the growing protest movement in Egypt and the political upheaval that continues to sweep across the region.

  • United Egyptians - Downing Street, London. 6.2.11

    United Egyptians - Downing Street, London. 6.2.11 Petition to No. 10 Downing Street From: United Egyptians, London Date: Sunday 6 February 2011 Background: We, the United Egyptians, a group of concerned Egyptian citizens, are extremely distressed with the latest developments in Egypt. Since Tuesday 25th January, millions of ordinary Egyptians have taken to the streets to protest against the repressive 30 year dictatorship of President Hosni Mubarak and his regime. Under Egyptian Emergency Law, enacted in 1981, Mubarak has systematically denied basic social, political and human rights to the Egyptian people. The character of the current protests in Egypt has been a grassroots movement; based on a broad spectrum of the Egyptian population, from a variety of political and social backgrounds. Protests have been secular and inclusive of all communities in Egypt, regardless of faith or political affiliation, and represent the popular consensus for democratic reform. Mubarak and the current regime have responded to calls for reform with intimidation, beatings and killings and have attempted to isolate the country from the international media. They have hindered communication and freedom of expression by disconnecting internet and mobile services nationwide. Security services and government sponsored thugs have attacked unarmed peaceful protesters and have used live ammunition against crowds of men, women and children causing large numbers of deaths and injuries. The protesters <b>...</b>
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  • SOLIDARITY WITH THE EGYPTIAN PEOPLE in LONDON

    STOP THE WAR COALITION Solidarity with Egyptian people Egyptian people have spoken Emergency Demonstration Saturday 5 February 2.30pm Assemble US Embassy Grosvenor Square London W1K March To Egyptian Embassy
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  • DOWN MUBARAK SOLIDARITY TO EGYPT PEOPLE in LONDON

    STOP THE WAR COALITION Solidarity with Egyptian people Egyptian people have spoken Emergency Demonstration Saturday 5 February 2.30pm Assemble US Embassy Grosvenor Square London W1K March To Egyptian Embassy
    Views: 8
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  • BERNARD REGAN: SOLIDARITY WITH THE EGYPTIAN PEOPLE

    STOP THE WAR COALITION Solidarity with Egyptian people Egyptian people have spoken Emergency Demonstration Saturday 5 February 2.30pm Assemble US Embassy Grosvenor Square London W1K March To Egyptian Embassy
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  • MESSAGE: SOLIDARITY WITH THE EGYPTIAN PEOPLE

    STOP THE WAR COALITION Solidarity with Egyptian people Egyptian people have spoken Emergency Demonstration Saturday 5 February 2.30pm Assemble US Embassy Grosvenor Square London W1K March To Egyptian Embassy
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  • Support the Egyptian People - JOHN REES. US Embassy, London. 05.02.2011

    This emergency demonstration, organised by Stop the War Coalition, calls for an end to US/British/EU involvement in the region, solidarity with the Egyptian people and freedom for the Middle East. March from US embassy to Egyptian embassy.
    Views: 15
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  • JOHN REES: SOLIDARITY WITH THE EGYPTIAN PEOPLE

    STOP THE WAR COALITION Solidarity with Egyptian people Egyptian people have spoken Emergency Demonstration Saturday 5 February 2.30pm Assemble US Embassy Grosvenor Square London W1K March To Egyptian Embassy
    Views: 16
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  • TARIQ ALI: SOLIDARITY WITH THE EGYPTIAN PEOPLE

    STOP THE WAR COALITION Solidarity with Egyptian people Egyptian people have spoken Emergency Demonstration Saturday 5 February 2.30pm Assemble US Embassy Grosvenor Square London W1K March To Egyptian Embassy
    Views: 15
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  • DONNACHA DELONG: SOLIDARITY WITH THE EGYPTIAN PEOPLE

    STOP THE WAR COALITION Solidarity with Egyptian people Egyptian people have spoken Emergency Demonstration Saturday 5 February 2.30pm Assemble US Embassy Grosvenor Square London W1K March To Egyptian Embassy
    Views: 2
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  • Newcastle: show solidarity with Egyptian people on Saturday

    Newcastle protest - solidarity with the Egyptian uprising

    Grey's Monument - 2pm - Saturday 5 February
    Called by Tyneside Stop the War Coalition

    Facebook Event page HERE

    Revolution in Egypt: imperialism, resistance and the Middle East
    Stop the War Coalition public meeting in Newcastle

    7.30pm - Monday 7 February
    Muslim Welfare House, 6 North Terrace, Spital Tongues, Newcastle NE2 4AD

    Facebook Event page HERE

    50-100 people joined a solidarity protest for Egypt in Newcastle today. Last night around 400 people attended a Stop the War public meeting on Egypt in central London. Protests and meetings are happening around the country.

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  • GEORGE GALLOWAY: "Mubarak, you are PERSONA NON GRATA In EGYPT". Step Down!

    Wed 2 February 7pm: Public Meeting: Solidarity with the Egyptian Uprising Conway Hall • Red Lion Square • London WC1R 4RL Organised by: Stop the War Coalition
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  • JOHN REES, Solidarity with the Egyptian Uprising

    Wed 2 February 7pm: Public Meeting: Solidarity with the Egyptian Uprising Conway Hall • Red Lion Square • London WC1R 4RL Organised by: Stop the War Coalition Speakers: George Galloway, Dina Makram Ebeid -- Egyptian activist, John Rees -- eye witness from Cairo, Bernard
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  • Daud Abdullah, Solidarity with the Egyptian Uprising

    Wed 2 February 7pm: Public Meeting: Solidarity with the Egyptian Uprising Conway Hall • Red Lion Square • London WC1R 4RL Organised by: Stop the War Coalition
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  • BERNARD REGAN, Solidarity with the Egyptian Uprising

  • LOWKEY: EGYPT REVOLUTION- "Man on horseback running into people, protesters? Sounds Familiar?"

    Wed 2 February 7pm: Public Meeting: Solidarity with the Egyptian Uprising Conway Hall • Red Lion Square • London WC1R 4RL STOP THE WAR COALITION
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  • Shaping the future of the Arab world

    'The message of the people of the region is clear: Enough! Enough of the IMF and World Bank policies that have impoverished their society. Enough of authoritarian and corrupted regimes serving foreign political and economic interests.

    And, finally, enough of American imperialism. This has been shaken across the region. In addition to these revolts, the US-backed government in Lebanon has fallen. The recent leaked information on the high concessions to the Israelis made by the Palestinian Authority, which is strongly supported by the US administration, weakened and discredited it even more.

    A revolution in Egypt could change completely the face of the region and the balance of power. It was Nasser’s ascent to power in 1952 that paved the way to a new Middle East. The impact of the revolts in Egypt resonate very strongly in the region, due to the political importance of the country, especially in relation to the Arab Israeli conflict.

    A successful revolution in Egypt could be the beginning of the true and new Middle East decided by the people and not USA imperialism. This will require the successful overthrow of the Mubarak regime, a deepening of the revolts in Algeria, Jordan and Yemen, and further spread of popular rebellions elsewhere in the region.

    It also requires the Arab working classes challenging the economic structures and inequalities, as well as pursuing political demands. The meaning of ‘Tahrir Square’ (Liberation Square) has perhaps never been as appropriate as in the days ahead.'

    From 'Seizing the future: Egypt's masses shake the Middle East'

    Also see Counterfire for reports from John Rees in Cairo.

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  • Seizing the future: Egypt’s masses shake the Middle East

    Revolution has entered the Arab dictionary. Revolution is no longer a simple theory we use, in the Arab world, to explain foreign or past events. It now means something to the masses.

  • Revolutionary Cairo: John Rees reports from Egypt

    The most striking fact about Cairo is the popular control of the streets. As the mass demonstrations enter their sixth day, the old police have simply disappeared, creating a power vacuum at street level.

  • The March of Revolution: John Rees reports from Egypt

    In this transcribed interview, John Rees reports from Tahrir Square, in the centre of Cairo, on the Egyptian revolution, its future and its significance for the Middle East.

  • Egypt: Eyewitnesses to the deepening revolution

    Eyewitnesses describe a strengthening movement. Speaking in Tahrir Square, one protester said, "we have been afraid for 30 years, but we are no longer afraid. We want freedom." The Egyptian uprising appears to be reaching a defining moment.

  • Egypt: "They are not waiting for our children's dreams to become true"



    Via Counterfire

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  • London public meeting: solidarity with Egyptian uprising

    STOP THE WAR COALITION PUBLIC MEETING
    WEDNESDAY 2 FEBRUARY 7PM
    SOLIDARITY WITH THE EGYPTIAN UPRISING

    CONWAY HALL, RED LION SQUARE, LONDON WC1R 4RL

    SPEAKERS INCLUDE: George Galloway, Dina Makram - Ebeid, John Rees, Bernard Regan

    Egypt has been a cornerstone of the US "war on terror" and America's strategy for dominating the Middle East. Not for nothing is Egypt second only to Israel in the amount of US aid it receives, including $1.3 billion a year for the security forces alone - the same forces who have killed dozens of protesters inthe last few days and injured hundreds more.

    President Mubarak has made Egypt a US client state for decades. If his tyranny is overthrown the implications are momentous. As one commentator noted, "Every Egyptian knows today that the United States government is not a friend of Egypt, it is a friend and ally of the Mubarak regime ‚Äî a regime that does not represent the Egyptian people. Democracy isnot the United State's gift to the world and it will not be acquired underAmerican tutelage. Real democrats don't bankroll dictatorships." 

    As well as expressing solidarity with the uprising for democracy in Egypt, Stop the War's public meeting on Wednesday 2 February will discuss the implications for the anti-war movement. For updates see Stop the War.

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  • Waseem Wagdi, Egyptian protester. Egyptian Embassy, London. 29.1.11

    Waseem Wagdi, an Egyptian living in London talks about recent events in Egypt. Egyptian Embassy, London.
    Views: 303
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  • Egypt: Middle East revolt terrifies Washington’s warmongers

    MubarakLindsey German: The growing revolutionary ferment in the Middle East is bad news for western imperialism as one by one their Arab tyrant friends face the wrath of their long oppressed people.

  • Egyptian activists on the rise of the Egyptian Working Class movement

    TariqIn these videos a leader of the newly formed Independent Union of Real Estate Tax Collectors speaks about the struggle to form independent unions and a speaker from the Centre for Socialist Studies speaks on the working class movement.

  • Egypt: Three minute history

    John Rees speaking at MarxismIn this video John Rees gives a three minute history of the last decade of the Egyptian workers movement

  • Egypt: will today be the start of revolution?

    'There is a general expectation that today will be decisive, one way or the other. If the protesters win the day, it will set the course for a new Middle East: Egypt is not Tunisia - it is the most populous Arab country and a real heavyweight. The outcome will have even greater influence than it did in Tunisia.

    My hunch, though, is that today will signal the start - in earnest - of the Egyptian revolution rather than its culmination. In Tunisia it took a month; Egypt is a much bigger fish and this has only been going for three days. The regime won't give up easily and will try to fight on, even if mortally wounded.

    But evaluating all the signs as honestly as I can, think Mohamed ElBaradei was right when he said yesterday that the situation has passed a point of no return. For all practical purposes, the Mubarak - father and son - era is finished and the only question left is whether or not its death throes will drag on until the presidential election scheduled for October.'

    This comes from Brian Whitaker: 'Information lockdown in Egypt'

    Also see:
    Juan Cole: 'Egyptian Demonstrators Rev up for Big Friday as Regime Cracks Down'
    Robert Fisk: 'Egypt's day of reckoning'

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  • The revolt spreads to Egypt

    The call for change and revolution from Tunisia has spread to other countries of the region, especially Egypt, where we have witnessed huge demonstrations of 15,000 to 50,000 people, throughout the country against the regime.

  • Egypt in revolt

    "During the first week of the Hungarian Revolution, I could hardly close my eyes. I stayed up practically throughout the night, every night, listening to the radio."

    Quite a few socialists, wherever they are in the world, will currently identify with Tony Cliff's recollection of 1956, though it's now more likely to be Twitter (or perhaps Al Jazeera) than the radio. Tens of thousands have protested in Cairo today, with many more demonstrating elsewhere in Egypt, inspired by the extraordinary example set by the people of Tunisia.



    Here's a report from Hossam in Cairo:

    'As I’m writing, there are tens of thousands of protesters in Tahrir Square, chanting against Mubarak.

    The demonstrators are trying to storm the parliament, only to be met with teargas and water cannons. There are dozens who are injured. Twitter and Bambuser are blocked by the government. We are using proxies now to Tweet.

    The protesters are chanting the same slogans as the Tunisians: الشعب يريد إسقاط الحكومة! The people want to overthrow the govt!



    Protesters in Mahalla have taken down Mubarak’s poster in the Shawn Square.

    I’m updating my Twitter now, after I broke the ban using a proxy. Follow my Twitter account

    Protests continue in Mahalla, as I’m writing.'

    Also see detailed coverage of today HERE


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  • Display your solidarity with Tunisia

    “ If, one day, a people desires to live, then fate will answer their call.”
    - Abul-Qasim Al-Shabi

    'Tunisia 2011: the people, with popular protest and civil disobedience, have overthrown a ruthless despot, chanting in the streets the words of the great Tunisian poet of the early twentieth century, Abul Qasim Al-Shabi.
     
    Philosophy Football have produced this T-shirt to help promote solidarity, featuring the poetry in the original Arabic. With a shattered Tunisian flag, representing the structures of totalitarianism which divided their country for generations.
     
    Get yours from HERE.' 
     
    Local readers (yes, both of you): please get along to this Thursday's Counterfire meeting in Newcastle on Tunisia: revolution at the crossroads. Recommended reading HEREand HERE.
     
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  • London vigil for Gaza: 1417 candles

    Congratulations to the student activists who made this happen - a powerful event, documented superbly in this short video.

    'In a peaceful vigil, 1,417 candles were lit to remember the 1,417 lives that were extinguished by Israeli bombs and missiles during the Gaza massacre. Vigil Hosted by: UCL Friends of Palestine, KCL Action Palestine, SOAS Palestine Society, QM Palestine Society, Imperial College Palestine Society, LSE Palestine Society and Goldsmiths' Student's Union.'



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  • Gaza 44

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  • The Iraq Inquiry - Timeline with John Rees

    Saddam HusseinJohn Rees looks at the Iraq war and whether the current government Inquiry will be a whitewash.

  • Tunisia - solidarity with the revolution - Jeremy Corbyn MP | Coalition of Resistance 20 Jan 2011

    Meeting organised by www.coalitionofresistance.org.uk
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  • Tunisia - solidarity with the revolution - Mohamed Ali | Coalition of Resistance 20 Jan 2011

    Meeting organised by www.coalitionofresistance.org.uk Mohamed Ali is CEO of the Islam Channel [ http ] and a former Tunisian political prisoner.
    Views: 0
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  • Out of the Frame: The Struggle for Academic Freedom in Israel

    The account of the progress of Pappe’s research into the events of 1948, and the reception of the ‘New History’ in Israel in the 1990s and 2000s is placed in the context of a wider analysis of Zionist ideology, of the history of Palestine, and of the creation and development of the Israeli state.

  • Tunisia: where is the revolution heading?

    Tunisia’s Jasmine revolution is at a crossroads: will the wind of protest stop with the fall of Ben Ali and the composition of a “unity government” already weakened by the resignation of four ministers? Or will the mobilization continue, leading to a new system of governance?

  • Lowkey - Remembering Israel's War on Gaza. 18.1.11

    Speakers and supporters come together to commemorate Israel's war on Gaza, 2 years on. Between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, over 1400 Palestinians were killed by Israel in a brutal and illegal attack on the Gaza Strip, destroying lives and infrastructure. Two years on, Gaza's infrastructure has still not been repaired due to Israel's blockade. Families are still living in tents. UN schools are unable to rebuild as Israel blocks concrete and building supplies. Play in HD for best results
    Views: 7
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  • Lowkey rap: Long Live Palestine - Remembering Israel's War on Gaza. 18.1.11

    Speakers and supporters come together to commemorate Israel's war on Gaza, 2 years on. Between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, over 1400 Palestinians were killed by Israel in a brutal and illegal attack on the Gaza Strip, destroying lives and infrastructure. Two years on, Gaza's infrastructure has still not been repaired due to Israel's blockade. Families are still living in tents. UN schools are unable to rebuild as Israel blocks concrete and building supplies. Play in HD for best results
    Views: 1
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    Time: 02:51 More in Nonprofits & Activism
  • Jody McIntyre - Remembering Israel's War on Gaza. 18.1.11

    Speakers and supporters come together to commemorate Israel's was on Gaza, 2 years on. Between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, over 1400 Palestinians were killed by Israel in a brutal and illegal attack on the Gaza Strip, destroying lives and infrastructure. Two years on, Gaza's infrastructure has still not been repaired due to Israel's blockade. Families are still living in tents. UN schools are unable to rebuild as Israel blocks concrete and building supplies.
    Views: 2
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    Time: 07:37 More in Nonprofits & Activism
  • The Tunisian Revolution in historical context

    tunisians protestAll revolutions, said Frederick Engels, start as a ‘revolution of the flowers’ in which an isolated and unpopular regime faces a broad mass movement drawn from every corner and every class of society. The Jasmine revolution, as befits a revolution named after a flower, is no exception.

  • Rally4Gaza Tony Benn

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  • The Middle East at the Crossroads: Tony Cliff on Israel

    Tony Cliff

    Shortly after leaving Palestine in 1945, Tony Cliff wrote this seminal article about the foundations of Israel and Western imperial intervention in the Middle East. He locates hope for the future in the workers and the poor across the region.

  • Paris celebrates Tunisian revolution

    A report from Kate Connelly in Paris:

    'The atmosphere on the streets of Paris was one of joy and elation at the news of the revolution that has sent the Tunisian dictator, Ben Ali, scuttling from power.


    Thousands of people poured onto a demonstration of celebration where Tunisian flags were seen everywhere and people tossed red and white flowers (the colours of the Tunisian flag) into the crowd. Every time a flag was waved from one of the balconies along the way a huge cheer went up, and there were more ecstatic cheers when pictures of the hated Ben Ali were held aloft and burnt.

    Tunisians, Algerians, Muslims, non-Muslims, left groups and other campaigners impassioned by events all marched together in the streets. In a country where the left has, regrettably, been divided over the question of a woman’s right to wear the veil it was wonderful to see young women in hijabs marching and chanting in the streets. It shows that it is not what you wear that matters, but whose side you are on.

    A popular chant was “Ben Ali, assassin; Sarkozy, complice” (Ben Ali, murderer; Sarkozy, accomplice) which reflects the anger at the conspicuous silence of the French state over Tunisia. They haven’t always been so silent.

    Shortly after his election, Ben Ali was given a grand reception in Paris by President Mitterrand, and since then the French government has fawned over their corrupt ally. Chirac declared Ali’s Tunisia was “on the road to modernisation, democracy and social harmony”, while Sarkozy paid a high-profile visit to Ben Ali in Tunisia in April 2008.

    Ben Ali has not been ungrateful. Le Monde reports that one former French ambassador received a villa near the presidency, while influential figures in French politics have been invited on luxury holidays in the Tunisian desert courtesy of the regime.

    For the French establishment Ben Ali’s regime has kept Tunisia ‘stable’ - which really means the people are oppressed while French businessmen have the right to exploit Tunisia to get as rich as they can. Tunisia may have won formal independence from France in 1956 but that has not stopped the French elite from treating it like a colony. Now their avarice, corruption and complicity has been exposed.

    The Sarkozy government, which was only last involved in a hugely damaging corruption scandal this summer, looks increasingly vulnerable.

    Adding fuel to the fire has been the comments of the Foreign Affairs Minister, Michèle Alliot-Marie, who has called for restraint on both sides and, in a moment of breathtaking arrogance which nevertheless reveals her impartiality does not last long, suggested that the French police lend their expertise to the Tunisian police! Olivier Besancenot, the spokesperson of the left-wing Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste has called on her to apologise or resign.

    The Tunisian revolution has sent shock waves around the world. It may yet topple more corrupt regimes.'

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  • Tunisia: Celebrations spread to Paris, and why the French government shouldn’t be sleeping peacefully

    The atmosphere on the streets of Paris was one of joy and elation at the news of the revolution that has sent the Tunisian dictator, Ben Ali, scuttling from power.

  • Revolution in Tunisia: can it deepen and widen?

    The future of Tunisia hangs in the balance. There could be bloody retribution by the corrupt old regime, despite it being beheaded (with the hurried exit of ex-president Ben Ali). Or the democratic advance could become permanent, with new freedoms and a more liberal government.

    But the radicalism, militancy and social weight of the popular movement raise the spectre of a third possibility: social and economic revolution, not just the 'democratic revolution' we are clearly now witnessing. Whether that becomes an actuality depends principally on the combativity, strength and political independence of Tunisian workers.

    This is about deepening the revolution - from a democratic revolution (which, let's be clear, is already driven by mass action from below not by machinations inside the elite) to - whisper it - a socialist revolution. Because, ultimately, that's what is needed to permanently end the poverty, mass unemployment, economic insecurity and inequality that has largely triggered the Tunisian revolt and given it such force.

    But there's also the question of widening the revolution, spreading it in what has been described as a "domino effect" across north Africa and the Middle East. Algeria, a neighbour, has already been witness to profound social upheavals in recent days and weeks. This is no abstract question.

    Egypt is the most populous of Arab states, with a large working class. One Egyptian commentator has said: "Every Arab leader is watching Tunisia in fear. Every Arab citizen is watching Tunisia in hope and solidarity."

    Mohamed Ali of the Islam Channel is a former political prisoner of the Tunisian regime. Interviewed on the BBC's Newsnight, he compared Tunisia to the country which prefigured the Eastern Bloc revolutions of 1989, saying "Tunisia is the Poland of the Arab world - this is like 1989". He also said: "We have got rid of the head of the snake, but the revolution is continuing".

    There are two articles I recommend for exploring these issues further. Khalil Habash's new piece, 'Tunisia: the revolution begins', gives an account of an extraordinary 24 hours in the Tunisian revolt, but also raises the issue of the country's working class deepening the revolution. Ian Black's Guardian commentary concerns the potential for broadening the revolutionary process across the Arab world.

    Related posts:
    Tunisia: resistance, revolution, repression
    What does 21st century revolution look like?

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  • Tunisia: the revolution begins

    President Ben Ali has fled the country amid violent protests, and the Tunisian people have achieved a fantastic success. But until the economic system that condemns Tunisians to poverty and unemployment has been overthrown, the revolution is incomplete.

  • Tunisia: resistance, revolution, repression

    Channel 4 News is currently liveblogging events in Tunisia, where the popular revolt appears to be growing and threatening key sites of power like state television. The government and parliament have both been disbanded.

    For understanding the dramatic events in Tunisia I highly recommend two articles by SOAS student activist Joseph Daher, both published at Counterfire in the last few days:
    Tunisia and Algeria: the wind of anger rises
    Gunfire in Tunis: Protests and repression continue

    There will be a solidarity protest in London on Monday, followed by a public meeting (at University of London Union) on Thursday.

    Protest at Tunisian Embassy in London - Monday 17 January, 2.30pm - see HERE

    Public meeting in solidarity with Tunisia uprising - Thursday 20 January, 7.30pm - see HERE

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  • 21 January: Blair returns to Iraq inquiry - join the protest!

    'Tony Blair is appearing before Chilcot for his recall evidence next Friday 21st
    January. We are calling a demonstration outside the inquiry at the Queen
    Elizabeth II centre Westminster (nearest tubes Westminster and St James's).

    Please do everything you can to attend and make the day a success. We will be
    organising a series of activities, stunts etc as part of the protest.

    There is clearly real disquiet even in establishment circles about the
    evidence which has come out about the legality of the war. Now's our chance to bring this issue to the forefront of politics.

    Further details of the time will be out soon but prepare for an early start.'

    Via Stop the War Coalition circular - check the website for any updates.

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  • Tunisia and Algeria: the wind of anger rises

    Tunisian protestsThe wave of protests and strikes has swept Tunisia and Algeria in the recent weeks are the biggest for a generation. Khalil Habash looks at the background.

  • Protest when Blair returns to Iraq inquiry

    Via Stop the War Coalition circular:

    1. SOMETIME BETWEEN 18 JANUARY AND 7 FEBRUARY: BLAIR RETURNS TO THE CHILCOT INQUIRY

    Stop the War is organising protests, street theatre and media briefings along
    with Rose Gentle and others who lost family members due to Tony Blair’s rush to war. Look out for announcement of the date and contact the office if you can help.

    2. MONDAY 7 FEBRUARY: A PUBLIC RALLY IN SUPPORT OF WIKILEAKS.

    As Julian Assange goes back to court, Tariq Ali, Joe Glenton, John Rees and
    others speak out to defend the Wikileaks exposures.

    Monday 7 February, 7pm, Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL

    3. SATURDAY 12 MARCH: CONFRONTING ANTI MUSLIM HATRED, A CONFERENCE WITH SPEAKERS FROM BRITAIN, EUROPE AND THE US.

    Stop the War is working with a range of organisations in the Enough Coalition
    to host this crucial conference. Speakers include Tariq Ramadam, Robert Lambert, Mehdi Hassan, Salma Yaqoob, Peter Oborne, Lindsey German and leading Muslim and anti racist activists from France, Germany, Scandinavia and the USA.

    10 -5pm March 12th, London Muslim Centre, 92 Whitechapel Road, E1 1JX.

    4. SATURDAY 11 JUNE: AFGHANISTAN AND THE WAR ON TERROR, A CONFERENCE.

    As the tenth anniversary of 9.11 and the war in Afghanistan approaches , Stop
    the War is organising a day event to assess the damage done by the War on
    Terror, the impact of challenges to US global power and the likelihood of
    further wars. The conference will also be a chance to discuss the strategy for the movement.

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  • The Left in Iran 1905-1940

    The book comprises a comprehensive range of crucial documents showing the foundation of left and socialist organisations in Iran in the wake of the Constitutional Revolution, and the early 1920s.

  • Remember Gaza - Justice for Palestine



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  • Why we are activists for the cause of Palestine

    Jody McIntyre

    Four speakers from very different backgrounds who are united in campaigning for the Palestinian cause talk about why they are activists.

  • ‘Peace process’ stuck without justice for Palestine

    Children in Israeli jails are tortured, Galid Shalit waits for release, Gaza waits for an end to its indignity. While these and a thousand other attendant nightmares continue, nothing is moving in the Palestine-Israel peace talks.

  • Afghanistan: Time To Go. 20/11/2010. London

    Afghanistan: Time To Go. 20/11/2010. London Called by Stop the War Coalition, CND and British Muslim Initiative
    Views: 490
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  • Gilbert Achcar, The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives

    The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of NarrativesGilbert Achcar's book is convincing in its deconstruction and refutation of many aspects of the dominant Zionist narrative, argues Joseph Daher.

  • Afghanistan: Troops out now protest | John Hilary - War on Want | 20 November 2010 | London

    www.stopwar.org.uk Video by Ady Cousins & Paul Hanes www.counterfire.org
    Views: 10
    3 ratings
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  • Afghanistan: Troops out now protest | Jenny Jones - Green Party | 20 November 2010 | London

    www.stopwar.org.uk Video by Ady Cousins & Paul Hanes www.counterfire.org
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  • Military Families Against the War | Afghanistan: Troops out now protest | 20 November 2010 | London

    www.stopwar.org.uk Video by Ady Cousins & Paul Hanes www.counterfire.org
    Views: 4
    1 ratings
    Time: 04:30 More in News & Politics
  • A Marxist History of the World part 22: Arabs, Persians, and Byzantines

    Islamic preachingThis week Neil Faulkner describes the rise and explosive spread of the third great monotheistic religion, where compassion, charity, and protection became moral imperatives - Islam.

  • Afghanistan: Troops out now protest | Phil Shiner | 20 November 2010 | London

    Protest organised by www.stopwar.org.uk Video by http
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  • Afghanistan:Troops out now protest | John McDonnell MP | 20 November 2010 | London

    Protest organised by www.stopwar.org.uk Video by http
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  • Afghanistan: Troops out now protest | Seamus Milne | 20 November 2010 | London

    Protest organised by www.stopwar.org.uk Video by http
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  • School Students Against the War | Afghanistan: Troops out now protest | 20 November 2010 | London

    Protest organised by www.stopwar.org.uk Video by http
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  • Former soldier Joe Glenton | Afghanistan: Troops out now protest | 20 November 2010 | London

    Protest organised by www.stopwar.org.uk Video by http
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  • Lowkey | Afghanistan: Troops out now protest | 20 November 2010 | London

    www.counterfire.org
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  • Afghanistan: Troops out now protest | Lindsey German | 20 November 2010 | London

  • Iraq: the Invisible War

    Invisible warThe US continues to paint a rosy picture of progress in Iraq but the reality is one of poverty, violence, torture and political corruption in a country still suffering from sanctions, the invasion and the continuing imperial plunder of its resources.

  • Afghanistan: Time to Go - Troops Home Now

    The info below comes from a national Stop the War circular. We have a Tyneside Stop the War coach leaving Newcastle Central Station at 6.30am on the day, leaving London for the return journey at 5pm.

    Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like more info, or to reserve a seat ( £30 waged/ £15 unwaged).

    NATIONAL DEMONSTRATION -SATURDAY 20 NOVEMBER 2010

    ASSEMBLE 12 NOON SPEAKERS' CORNER, HYDE PARK, LONDON, MARCH TO TRAFALGAR SQUARE

    'The demonstration is timed to coincide with the Lisbon NATO conference at which Afghanistan will be the main talking point. For all the talk of diplomacy and troop drawdown, there are more NATO troops in the country than at any time since 2001.

    This year has seen the highest number of casualties amongst Afghan civilians and NATO troops since the invasion, and there is widespread recognition that the war is a disaster.

    The 20 November demonstration, which has been called by Stop the War, CND and the British Muslim Initiative, will be led by members of military families who oppose the war and want to see their loved ones return immediately.

    They will be joined by Joe Glenton, the soldier who went to prison for refusing to return to Afghanistan to fight a war he believed to be unjustified.

    College and school students from across the country will be out in force, raising the slogan "Fund Education Not War" and protesting against a war that has now lasted as long as World I and World War II combined.

    Coaches are being organised to bring protesters from outside London. The list of towns organising coaches, and details of how to book a place, will be updated here: http://bit.ly/cDXKmN

    HOW TO HELP BUILD THE DEMONSTRATION

    We do not want anyone after the demonstration to be able to say they were not on the demonstration because they did not know about it. This is why we are asking all our supporters not just to come on the demonstration but actively to help publicise it as widely as possible. Everyone can contribute:

    * EMAIL: Email all your contacts with details of the demonstration and encourage them to join us

    * LEAFLETING: Order leaflets, window posters and stickers from the national office (020 7801 2768) and use them to spread the word among your friends, family, work colleagues, fellow students etc

    * FACEBOOK, TWITTER, BLOGS: If you use social media networks, these can be one of the most effective ways of publicising the demonstration very widely

    * LOCAL STOP THE WAR GROUPS: If there is a local group in your area, they will very much welcome you joining their activities promoting the demonstration. Call the national office for contact details.'

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  • Antony Loewenstein on Israel, Palestine and the peace talks

    Interview with the scholar and author Antony Loewenstein speaking about the current peace talks. Loewenstein helped to found Independent Australian Jewish Voices, has had bestselling books that are very critical of Israeli mistreatment of Palestinians and has written for The Guardian, Haaretz, The Sydney Morning Herald, Democracy Now and Al Jazeera.
    Views: 8
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  • None of us were like this before: The Story Begins in Afghanistan

    Soldier's drawing of torture methods used on Dilawar, the prisoner depicted in 'Taxi to the Dark Side'

    Extracts from chapter 2 of None of us were like this before by Joshua E. S. Phillips. The book explores the legacy of torture in the “War on Terror,” told through the story of one tank battalion.

  • The Political Economy of Israel’s Occupation: Repression Beyond Exploitation

    Shir Hever's analysis attempts to answer important questions such as why the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories live in poverty, and whether Israel benefits from their condition.

  • The political economy of Israel's occupation

    My new review of Shir Hever's book 'The Political Economy of Israel’s Occupation: Repression Beyond Exploitation':

    Shir Hever, a radical Israeli economist, recently wrote an article which posed the question: ‘Why does Israel continue to occupy the Palestinians?’ That is also one of the major questions addressed in his new book, an ambitious work on the political economy of the occupation.

    Hever is an academic/activist on the Israeli Left with a consistently critical perspective on the Israeli state. As a researcher based at Jerusalem’s Alternative Information Centre, he is able to draw on a wealth of sources for this tremendously well-informed account of the economic dynamics of the Israeli occupation.

    He provides an invaluable historical perspective, tracing developments since 1967, when Israel massively expanded its occupation of Palestinian land. Perhaps surprisingly considering the topic, Hever’s book is highly accessible to those who don’t specialise in economics.

    The analysis seeks to address some important questions: why is it that Palestinians in the Occupied Territories live in such awful poverty? Does Israel benefit from Palestinian poverty, and if so how? A great strength here is Hever’s skilful avoidance of simplification. The focus is on ‘the economic aspects of the relations between the Israeli authorities and the occupied Palestinians’, noting that these are frequently neglected yet just as important as military and geopolitical aspects.

    Nonetheless, he rejects the reductionist, over-simplistic idea that Israel is driven to maintain its occupation solely by economic factors, narrowly conceived. The reality is more complex. He insists that that ‘profit alone cannot explain the actions of the many actors perpetuating or resisting the occupation.’

    Read the rest HERE

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  • Tony Blair to face Iraq inquiry again

    On Saturday Wikileaks revealed a vast amount of fresh information about the realities of war and occupation. Against that background, Tony Blair is called to re-appear at the official inquiry into the war. This is via a Stop the War circular:

    'Stop the War Coalition is pleased to hear that Tony Blair is being summoned again to appear at the Iraq war inquiry to account for "conflicting statements" -- better known to the rest of us as lies - when he first appeared.

    Stop the War will call a demonstration outside the inquiry when Blair appears -- as we did on his last appearance  - to give voice to the majority in this country who opposed his illegal war and which now believes he should be indicted for war crimes.

    Blair's last appearance at the inquiry was a fiasco, with the committee seemingly unwilling or unable to challenge his most damaging admissions, deceptions and lies.

    It must do better this time, or else confirm the widely held view that it was selected by Gordon Brown when he was prime minister, not to expose the truth of the Iraq war - as this week Wikileaks revelations did so graphically - but to deliver a whitewash which lets war criminals like Blair off the hook.'

    Also see: Joe Glenton and Tony Benn to address Stop the War conference

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  • The Road to Gaza: 48 members of Samouni family killed

    Interview with members of the Samouni family after 48 members of the family were killed by Israeli forces in January.
    Views: 408
    5 ratings
    Time: 01:51 More in News & Politics
  • No More Normality: Iraq, Afghanistan and the Wikileaks revelations.

    US marineThe new set of classified war logs released by Wikileaks confirm what was already known about the war in Iraq: massive civilian casualties, widespread use of torture, official denial and cover-up.

  • Viva Palestina convoy: ready to sail for Egypt

    'Following week long negotiations with the Egyptian government, the Viva Palestina convoy has been given permission to sail to Egypt and logistical preparations for travel to Al-Arish are now underway. They are expected to set sail on sunday morning.

    The ship will pass the exact place in international waters where Israel boarded the Mavi Marmara in May and killed nine Turkish humanitarians on board as they attempted to sail to Gaza to deliver aid.

    Those on board the ship, including 40 survivors of the Mavi Marmara attack, will throw a wreath into the sea to commemorate those killed by Israeli troops.'

    Via Palestine Solidarity Campaign

    Also see HERE

    Image from Unite union activists join latest Viva Palestina convoy

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  • BBC Bias: The Gaza Freedom Flotilla

    Mavi marmara victimsAnthony Lawson's video investigation into The BBC Panorama programme Death in the Med showing it to be a biased and often untruthful treatment of Israel's worst atrocity since Operation Cast Lead.

  • Help fund Viva Palestina's mission to break siege of Gaza

    Philosophy Football has another good fundraising initiative in support of the Viva Palestina convoy, in addition to this solidarity shirt. Here is the info:

    'Wear the Viva Palestina convoy t-shirt in solidarity with the siege-breakers!

    On Saturday 18 September, the fifth, and most ambitious convoy leaves for Gaza. From London, Casablanca and Doha three simultaneous routes consisting of hundreds of vehicles to break the siege.
     
    Three times in the last eighteen months Viva Palestina has broken Israel's siege, each time successfully delivering their aid, despite Israel's murderous assault on the Freedom Flotilla , they fully intend to deliver this time too.
     
    Philosophy Football's VIVA PALESTINA 5 T-shirt will be worn by all drivers and crew. Sales of the shirt help fund the convoy. We can't all be on this incredible journey to bring vital material aid and international solidarity to Gaza but by wearing this shirt we are all convoy members.'
     
    Available from HERE  
     
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  • The Road to Gaza: Interview with Egyptian socialist and anti-war activist, Hossam El-Hamalawy

    Interview with Egyptian socialist, Hossam El-Hamalawy, on the recent wave of strikes across the country and their umbilical link to the resistance in Palestine. Filmed at the Centre for Socialist Studies, Giza.
    Views: 677
    6 ratings
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  • The Road to Gaza: Activists' camp at the Rafah crossing Pt1

    International activists set up protest camp at the Rafah crossing from Egypt in to Gaza. They stayed for five days. On the last night they slept at the border and heard Israel bombard the border area. In Part 2 the activists succeeded in pressuring the Egyptian authorities to open the border.
    Views: 862
    5 ratings
    Time: 03:11 More in News & Politics
  • The Road to Gaza: Use of chemical weapons by Israel

    The effects of the use of chemical weapons on a civilian population during the Israeli assault on Gaza.
    Views: 1767
    8 ratings
    Time: 01:45 More in News & Politics
  • Gaza First Day

    Footage of the bombed police academy in Gaza. Near the Rafah crossing. Keep checking www.theroadtogaza.org for updates.
    Views: 1126
    10 ratings
    Time: 01:35 More in News & Politics
  • Middle East: 5000 years of imperial history... in 90 seconds

    I'm thinking about maps at the moment - I've just got back from a day trip to London, where amongst other things I visited the history of maps exhibition at the British Library (highly recommended - it inventively reveals the role of maps in propaganda, military planning, and the projection of power and status).

    Now for an especially ingenious and illuminating use of mapping, with the aid of 21st century technology, to show the history of imperialism and military competition.

    Click HERE to speed through the last 5000 years of conquest, expansion and war in the Middle East. 

    On a related theme, see Neil Faulkner's fascinating Marxist History of the World series (8 installments so far).

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  • Gaza: show your solidarity

    Great (and cheap!) new offering from Philosophy Football, in the run up to September's hugely important Gaza convoy:

    'In the 1970s and 1980s Soweto became a global watchword not simply for the murderous brutality of the racist Apartheid regime but also the heroic resistance of the South African people. Solidarity with Soweto became a huge, popular international movement which helped isolate Apartheid.

    Today Gaza requires that same wave of support. As part of Philosophy Football's contribution towards this we have produced a delightfully simple T-shirt design on a non-profit making basis.

    We are actively supporting and raising funds for the September 2010 aid convoys to Gaza organised by Viva Palestina but we cannot all join the convoys by land and air. Yet we can all wear 'GAZA' on our chest and help spread the message of solidarity. T-shirt in sizes S-XXL, plus womens' skinny-rib fit.

    Special campaign low-price JUST £9.99 Available from HERE.
     
    Also see HERE.
     
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  • Wikileaks revelations: beginning of the end in Afghanistan?

    Lindsey GermanHow much longer can the British and US governments maintain the fiction that the war in Afghanistan is, in the words of former UK defence minister Des Browne, one of the most noble causes of the 21st century?

  • Now more than ever, end the war in Afghanistan

    Via Stop the War circular:

    RALLY: Afghanistan - Time To Go
    Monday 26 July, 7pm
    Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4RL

    SPEAKERS: Lance Corporal JOE GLENTON, just released from prison following court martial for refusing to fight in Afghanistan, CAROLINE LUCAS MP, JEREMY CORBYN MP, MARK STEEL, comedian and columnist, LINDSEY GERMAN, Stop the War Coalition, YASMIN KHAN, War On Want.

    'The 90,000 US secret documents leaked today confirm everything the anti-war movement has said for years. The biggest ever wartime leaks show conclusively that the war in Afghanistan is pointless and unwinnable and the warmongers have lied to us continually.

    The war must end now. All foreign troops must be withdrawn without delay.


    The Guardian, giving 14 pages of coverage to the revelations, reports, "The huge cache of secret US military files provides a devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan, revealing how coalition forces have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents, Taliban attacks have soared and Nato commanders fear neighbouring Pakistan and Iran are fuelling the insurgency."

    In this context, David Cameron's timetable of at least five more years killing is tantamount to premeditated mass murder. British soldiers are being asked to kill and die in a war which is lost. They must come home now.

    The rally tonight (26 July) in London, AFGHANISTAN: TIME TO GO, featuring among others, Joe Glenton (pictured with his wife, Clare), the soldier court martialled for refusing to fight in Afghanistan, MPs Caroline Lucas and Jeremy Corbyn, and columnist and comedian Mark Steel, could not have been more timely. If you live in London, it has become a must go event.'

    Also see:

    Video: Joe Glenton interviewed after release from military prison

    Joe Glenton and Caroline Lucas to share anti-war platform

    End the war in Afghanistan: national demonstration set for 20 November


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  • The Road to Gaza: Blog day one

    Blog report on the first day of the Road to Gaza by Patrick Ward and Stewart Halforty. Stay tuned for more blog reports as we get closer to Gaza.
    Views: 330
    5 ratings
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  • Lindsey German: Afghanistan - its time to go now

    Stop the War protestThe Kabul conference that discussed the war in Afghanistan only served to demonstrate the impasse which the war has now reached.

  • Hillary Clinton: Israel is making it more difficult for the US to deal with Iran

    Hillarty Clinton at AIPACIts worth persevering to read all Hillary Clinton's recent speech to the Zionist lobby organisation, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). If you push through the inches deep praise that she heeps on Israel there is something significant being said here.

  • Iran: revolution, Islamism and the left

    The prophet and the proletariat, first published in International Socialism in 1994 and later issued as a pamphlet, was one of Chris Harman's most sophisticated works of political analysis.

  • Gaza Flotilla testimony - Palestine Solidarity Campaign meeting Part 1 of 3

    Produced by www.reelnews.co.uk Film by Shaun Dey of Reel News for the Palestine Solidarity Campaign [ http ]
    Views: 3
    1 ratings
    Time: 30:19 More in News & Politics
  • Lost at Sea: Israel and international law

    Israeli Pirate flagIn rejecting UN and EU proposals for an independent inquiry into the Gaza Flotilla Incident, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that “it would create a problematic precedent” - that Israel is accountable to the international community and is subject to international law.

  • The Road to Gaza: Blog Day Two

    Stewart and Patrick's second video blog from Cairo, on The Road to Gaza.
    Views: 625
    6 ratings
    Time: 02:24 More in News & Politics
  • The attack on the Mavi Marmara: Turkey, Israel and the Middle East crisis

    Mavi MarmaraIsrael's attack on Mavi Marmara could become one of those emblematic incidents that mark a milestone in world politics. Susil Gupta looks at the implications for Turkey and the wider region.

  • Boycotts can hit Israel where it hurts

    flotilla protestThe widespread outrage at Israel's deadly assult on the Freedom Flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, leading to at least 9 deaths and the detention of hundreds of activists, is galvanising millions of people to ask how they can help bring justice for Palestine.

  • Lowkey | Gaza Freedom Flotilla Massacre protest | London 31 May 2010

    More at www.counterfire.org
    Views: 2
    1 ratings
    Time: 04:50 More in News & Politics
  • The struggle to free Palestine - Timeline with John Rees

    Stop the War officer John Rees provides a short history of imperial intervention in the middle east and the ongoing struggle of the Palestinians to regain their homeland

  • Nakba: Tony Cliff on the roots of Israel’s violence

    Israeli troopsIn 1948 zionist militias launched a war that turned thousands of Palestinians into permanent refugees. Alex Snowdon introduces an account by Jewish socialist and anti-zionist Tony Cliff.

  • Nuclear powers push new Iran sanctions

    nuclear symbolDespite moves by Iran to defuse tension over it's nuclear programme the five nuclear powers plus Germany are pushing for new sanctions. Kate Hudson detects double standards.

  • Should the troops be in Afghanistan Debate: Lindsey German

    www.stopwar.org.uk Debate organised by Stop the War Coalition,
    Views: 28
    2 ratings
    Time: 09:36 More in News & Politics
  • Should the troops be in Afghanistan Debate: Prof Christopher Coker

    www.stopwar.org.uk Debate organised by Stop the War Coalition,
    Views: 15
    3 ratings
    Time: 09:34 More in News & Politics
  • Should the troops be in Afghanistan Debate: Martin Cakebread, Defence Association

    www.stopwar.org.uk Debate organised by Stop the War Coalition,
    Views: 11
    1 ratings
    Time: 05:31 More in News & Politics
  • Should the troops be in Afghanistan Debate: Mehdi Hasan

    www.stopwar.org.uk Debate organised by Stop the War Coalition,
    Views: 5
    1 ratings
    Time: 06:59 More in News & Politics
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  • Iranian elections crisis

    A pivotal and unpredictable process of events are taking place in Iran that have serious implications, not only for the lives of Iranians, but for the future of political Islam.

    What the courageous protests and the violent repression on the streets represent is a struggle over the true legacy of the Iranian revolution which established the Islamic Republic 30 years ago. To understand the complexity of the current situation, we need to address a number of important questions.

    Sunday’s Chatham House report has answered key questions over vote-rigging. It found a turnout of more than 100% was recorded in conservative provinces Mazandaran and Yazd. But putting the election result to one side, if the protests have demonstrated one thing it is the breadth and scale of Mousavi’s “green wave”. Not limited to the middle-class, northern Tehran ‘elite’ the movement has shown its deep social roots.

    Of course millions of Iranians did vote for Ahmadinejad and for valid reasons - in support of his populist hand outs, pension rises and state subsidies. For example, he introduced a law that provided insurance to three million female domestic carpet-weavers. He cleverly grouped Mousavi with the corrupt political powerhouse ex-President Rafsanjani whose family had funded the reformist campaign.

    However this tactic was far more effective in 2005 - when he could pit himself against the likes of Rafsanjani as the unknown blacksmith’s son ready to ‘cut the hands of the oil mafia’. He could revive the economic populism of the 80s, which benefited the poor, in stark contrast to Rafsanjani’s 90s economic liberalization which increased inflation and inequality. In 2009, as a President who has failed to deliver on promises of reducing corruption and inequality (both have increased) and against an ‘establishment’ candidate like Mousavi - whose term as Prime Minister in the 80s associates him precisely with those populist policies - it just didn’t wash.

    More importantly, with 70-80% of Iranian industry still state owned, organisations that were set-up in the 80s to provide social and welfare programmes have now become massive capitalist enterprises owned and controlled by the state bureaucracy including the military. The Revolutionary Guard, for example, controls 30% of the Iranian economy. In power, Ahmadinejad has shown to defend and represent the interests of this bureaucracy.

    Hence during the election campaign it was in fact Mousavi who was greeted as the ‘man of the mostazafin (oppressed)’ even in Ahmadinejad strongholds like the eastern town of Birjand.

    Mousavi’s mix of revolutionary credentials and call for greater social and political freedoms, in which his wife Zahra Rahnavard played a decisive role in representing the grievances of women, gathered greater momentum than the campaign which saw the election of reformist President Khatami in 1997.

    We cannot underestimate how deep the crisis goes. Twenty years ago, it was Rafsanjani and Khamenei’s conservative alliance that wrestled control of power over the ‘leftists’ (like Mousavi) at the top. Now Rafsanjani’s daughter has been arrested and he himself is in the religious city of Qom (where Khamenei is already unpopular) trying to convince the clergy to move against Khamenei. Five senior clerics have already protested but as Iranian academic Ali Ansari argues a serious intervention from an essentially quietest clergy ‘could be decisive’

    What’s behind all this? One factor is Khamenei himself. Lacking the political charisma, popularity and authority of Khomeini, he has relied on constitutional changes and an alliance with radical conservative elements to maintain and strengthen his position as Supreme Leader. Another is the reformist demise. Despite being a formidable force in the 1990s the Presidency and parliament majority, by 2005 they had lost all centres of power to conservatives.

    There were reasons for this. Khatami held the movement back at its peak, condemning university students in 1999 who had risen up to defend the banning of a reformist newspaper. A demoralised movement then boycotted the Presidential election in 2005 - another reason behind Ahmadinejad’s victory (interestingly he only just beat Karoubi to second place in the first round).

    This time round the reformist voters turned out in huge numbers knowing a high-turnout would benefit them (with 70% of Iranians living in the cities). This explains the explosion of anger over the election result and refusal to halt demonstrations.

    But a far more important consequence of conservative control was the debate it precipitated in the movement which questioned the very theoretical foundation of the Islamic Republic - velaayat-e faqih (rule of the jurist). It has now reached a point where the majority opinion in the reformist movement believes the only solution for Iran is a separation of religion from the state.

    This does not, as some suggest, spell the end of political Islam. Rooftop chants of “Allahu Akbar” late into the evening (reminiscent of the Iranian revolution) and Mousavi’s ‘green’ (representing Islam and peace) movement is a reminder that religion still plays an important ideological framework. But the call for secularization of the state by an Islamist reform movement is undoubtedly a turning point. So important is this, that Mousavi was ‘ready for martyrdom’ and calling for a general strike if arrested. Indeed, the stakes are high for both the leadership and the demonstrators.

    This raises huge questions for the movement in Iran. It’s a no brainer that the interests of a powerful capitalist like Rafsanjani or Mousavi conflict sharply with the office worker throwing rocks at police and putting his life in danger. After all, the maior factor of Khatami’s demise was the continuation of Rafsanjani’s privitisation and neoliberal reforms, which alienated the poor. Unfortunately Mousavi in power is likely to follow a similar path.

    So whilst working with them, the left must form a critique of its reformist leaders. It should challenge their ties to neo-liberalism and raise the struggle of the poor and the working class.

    It must also try to win over Ahmadinejad supporters. There is evidence of this with slogans like “Baseej why kill your brothers?” (the Baseej come from the poor) and reports that some Baseeji are refusing to attack protestors. This is not to say that the Baseej have stopped attacking or killing protesters (as a daily stream of amateur video footage proves) but that crisis goes deep into even the armed conservative elements defending the regime.

    A further challenge is to organise separately from the leadership. The demoralization with Khatami stemmed from resting too much hope in his promises of reform. Mousavi is after all a key figure in the regime during some of its most horrific excesses.

    Crucially there’s the question of western powers wanting to use this movement as a way of undermining the obstacle Iran presents to their plans for the region.

    Under Khatami the government’s opportunist support for the US invasion of Afghanistan provided a valuable lesson. As a consequence, Iran found itself in the ‘axis of evil’, surrounded by US military bases in neighbouring countries Iraq and Afghanistan and a massive American naval fleet in the Persian Gulf. Ahmadinejad’s victory and popularity (in Iran and the region) relied heavily on his fiery antagonism towards the US and Israel.

    Mousavi is, in fact, not the ideal candidate for the US. He does not recognise Israel, has vowed to continue with uranium enrichment and openly committed to the ideals of the revolution - that’s why he is popular with Iranians. Though Obama’s administration is likely to deal with any Iranian leader. As activists in Egypt and Saudi Arabia will attest, the struggle for democracy will be a lot harder in Iran with a government backed by the US.

    Despite Obama’s talk of ‘not meddling’ in Iran’s affairs, the conservatives can still point to the $400 million dollar budget allocated to ‘covert operations’ in Iran, especially with the bombing of a mosque in Shiraz last month.

    Given the Iranian government’s monopoly on anti-imperialism, this is the hardest of challenges for the movement in Iran, but a critical one which must be taken up.

    But for now the main priority is to be at the forefront of the democratic struggle. Because if this movement is crushed, life for Iranians (and the left) will be a lot worse off.

    As activists in the West, we must throw our full support behind those who have taken to the streets in Iran against their rulers.

    At the same time we must also highlight the hypocrisy of our own governments and media organisations. Their support for democracy stands in stark contrast with their refusal to recognize the democratic election of Hamas in Palestine or the vote-rigging of Mobarak’s dictatorship in Egypt.

    So whilst expressing solidarity with Iranians, we must warn against the dangers of imperialist powers abusing the situation by continuing to our campaign against the existing suffocating sanctions and any catastrophic plans for war. That way, we allow the Iranian democracy movement to continue without foreign intervention or interference.