Message from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton Branch.

Dear All

The ship Freedom, which was the ship 3 members of Southampton PSC, along with about 200 others, welcomed to Brighton back in June before she sailed to Gaza, has been boarded by the Israeli Navy and taken to Ashdod. This occurred on Friday 3rd August at about 8pm in the evening. Eyewitness account of Dr Swee Ang, please share widely

Richard Sudan who is a British Journalist working for Press TV and based in London is one of those detained. Please watch his SOS video and share it. This story about the illegal boarding of ships of the Freedom Flotilla needs to be shared. It is not being told by the mainstream media so please share the video far and wide on social media. www.facebook.com/richiesudan

Please contact Mr Jeremy Hunt at the foreign office fcocorrespondence@fco.gov.uk Also contact your own MP. Ask them to protest to the Government of Israel and ask that the ship freedom be allowed to sail to Gaza and to unload her supplies of medical materials.
Ask Mr Jeremy Hunt to use the influence of the UK to demand that Israel ends the blockade of Gaza. Ask Mr Hunt to protest at the treatment of both Dr SweeAng on the Awda and of Mr Richard Sudan on the Freedom.Both of these people were effectively kidnapped against their will while in international waters and posing no threat to Israel.Dr Ang was tasered and hit by members of Israeli forces. Ask Mr Hunt to demand that Israel investigates this and brings charges against those responsible. Also ask Mr Hunt to demand the immediate release of Mr Sudan and that he be allowed with the other members of the group travelling on the Freedom to return to the ship and sail to Gaza.
Also ask Mr Hunt to remind the state of Israel of their responsibility to protect a free press and therefore to not restrict Mr Sudan in his efforts as a journalist to record the events that took place on Friday evening on the Freedom.He must be released with all of his property, including all technology and information storage devices.

I would be very grateful if as many of you as possible could contact the foreign office and ask for these representations to the government of Israel to be made.
Also please share the story on social media.

www.facebook.com/freedomflotillacoalition

I would be grateful if you do contact the foreign office that you send me a quick email to let me know.

Thank you for your support of Palestine
Regards

Branch Secretary Southampton PSC.

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Bloody hell it was hot! Tolpuddle R.W.B. 2018

A rather laid back Tolpuddle with everyone seemingly subdued by the temperature. It was good to see Brighton SolFed take up a stall, and a pity the IWW didn’t manage to book one as we had loads of local Wobs on hand to crew it and plenty of IWW-related literature, which made our table a bit cramped. Les did us proud as ever, Theresa’s innovative engineering solution with the sacktruck made the Wob Kitchen table more strong and stable than her gormless namesake. Misty in Roots was sublime as I remember them from the 70s and I Destroy from Bristol is a band to watch.

We’re definitely past peak J.C., I only heard three desultory chants of “Ooh Jeremy Corbyn” Some geezer in a ‘wake up Labour’ T shirt came by the stall, seemed normal enough then handed over a leaflet – I can’t remember what it was about – full of anti-Semitic conspiracy bollocks. “What is this rubbish? Who cares if George Soros is Jewish or not?” Bloke shrugged and I gave him a pamphlet about anti-Semitism. Later on the march, the crank was spotted wearing a Guy Fawkes mask carrying a portrait of Vladimir Putin with the caption ‘peacemaker’. At the end of the village, the ‘friends of Israel’ we oiked off the site a couple of years ago stood brandishing vast British and Israeli flags, shouting something about Hamas.

Meanwhile the Labour party squabbles over two ‘examples of anti-Semitism’ from the I.H.R.A. code:

 g. Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour.

j. Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis

Now usually in anti-oppression politics, the hegemonic group doesn’t get to define what constitutes oppressive behaviour, but this is more complicated. Religion is a species of ideology, and ideology is an excuse for doing what you like and/or a palliative for those you’re doing it to. Worse, it’s a cross-class alliance. Caution should be exercised over cultural identity for the same reason; both these things often have implicit hierarchies embedded within them.

Racism is anything that materially or socially disadvantages members of a racialised group, or makes it more likely they will be targets for violence and oppressive behaviour. It’s a methodology for maintaining a power relation so it only works where such a relation exists. Anti-Semitic oppression falls on Working Class Jews who don’t have the protection of the state of Israel or the U.S. government, it doesn’t fall on Netanyahu and co. They are part of the hegemonic group, not because there is a conspiracy, or because Judaism exerts undue influence, but because they are the ultra-nationalist leadership of a state engaged in military-industrial capitalism. States are cross-class alliances; they don’t represent any people, just a mode of production.

I would say the state of Israel is a racist endeavour, so is the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and the Russian Federation. Almost all states were founded on racism; they began with a cultural majority carving out a piece of territory, imposing their language and customs and excluding outsiders; they invaded and robbed their neighbours. The economic and political dominance of North-Western Europe and North America was achieved through the pillage of Latin America, Africa, and the Indian sub-continent. That is the context in which the state of Israel was founded.

So what do you think, if a state grants an absolute right of citizenship to Jews and only Jews, is it racist?

Allowing displaced Palestinians to return to Israel-Palestine would deny the Israeli state a Jewish voting majority, without which it could not guarantee such rights in perpetuity. Is it racist to give Jewish people a greater right to self-determination than Palestinian people?

Is it racist to contend that all Jewish people must make this moral compromise?

Is it racist to take sixty to a hundred Palestinian lives for every Israeli one lost?

Is it racist to claim that a body of privileged individuals speaks for an entire Diaspora, or even that anybody needs to? A Diaspora that comprises a range of ethnicities, religious and secular traditions, proletarians and bourgeois alike – including anarchist comrades – especially when clearly, it doesn’t, as many Jews on this island profoundly disagree with it?

Would it have been anti-Semitic for J.C. to refuse an invitation to a cultural event from a group of young Working Class Jews in his constituency on his night off?

Is it racist to conflate anti-capitalism with anti-Semitism, implying that all Jews are supporters of capitalism?

Is it anti-Semitic to call Jonathan Arkush an arrogant prick?

There is a noble tradition of Jewish anti-capitalist movements, anarchist, socialist and atheist in Britain, Europe and the U.S. and Jews have been active in antifascism as long as there have been fascists. The board of deputies is a deeply reactionary clique that opposed every grassroots Jewish antifascist initiative of the 20th century. It opposed the action at Cable Street, and the work of the 43 and 62 groups, which effectively confounded three waves of British fascism, and if you take these things as seriously as we do, undoubtedly saved many lives. There’s a reason for this, self-organised Working Class Jews kicking their persecutors around threaten the vicarious victimhood of their self-appointed representatives. Wouldn’t the board of deputies be buggered if people stopped being anti-Semitic? These wankers are literally playing politics with Working Class lives.

In practice, nobody represents anyone but themselves, communities do not need states or leaders, and many Jewish people agree. We disdain bourgeois Jews because they’re bourgeois not because they’re Jewish. Just as we have no time for black cops, gay fascists or female prime ministers. Where is the clamour about anti-Palestinianism?

I don’t know if it’s actually anti-Semitic to accuse a Jewish person of acting like a Nazi, but it’s pretty fucking tactless, just as I wouldn’t describe an African-American employer as a slave-driver, use your noggin, Ken. You shouldn’t say stupid things like “Hitler supported Zionism” in the sense that “Hitler supported Arsenal”, because he didn’t. The Nazi state cut a deal with one section of the Zionist movement in August 1933 because they shared part of an agenda – getting European Jews to move to Palestine rather than be comfortably settled in Europe. It meant breaking an embargo on German exports. Other Zionists were violently opposed to the idea and fought valiantly against the Nazis. Haim Arlosoroff, one of the architects of the Haavara settlement was subsequently assassinated.

Anti-Semitism certainly lurked below the surface of anti-capitalism, for example in the Occupy movement; it’s faulty politics and bad history. Using ‘Zionist’ as a pejorative is unhelpful and I wouldn’t recommend it. Historically Zionism was diverse, including utopian socialists, religious groups and of course the right-wing nationalists that eventually took it over.

These aren’t problems capitalism can solve. Jews will be free when everyone is free, when identities don’t have to compete on the market and we’ve done away with the bourgeoisie and their toxic state idea.

Message from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton Branch.

Dear All

You may remember back in early June a few of us traveled to Brighton to welcome the Ship Hurriya, Arabic for Freedom, which was part of the Freedom Flotilla which is now imminently due to arrive in Gaza. Two boats The Hurriya and the Awda, Arabic for return, are right now approximately 50 miles off the Gaza coast. When they arrive they are going to face fierce resistance from the Israeli Navy as they try to break the blockade.

Please take action in order to support them. Please send an email to: fcocorrespondence@fco.gov.uk  or to the UK embassy in Tel Aviv webmaster.telaviv@fco.gov.uk. Ask the Foreign Secretary, Mr Hunt, and the UK ambassador to Israel to demand that the Government of Israel allows these ships safe passage and permission to dock safely and deliver their supplies. Please also ask that the siege of Gaza comes to an end .

Please also write to your MP and ask him/her to raise this matter with Mr Hunt and to ask him and the prime minister to raise the matter with the Israeli Government in the strongest possible terms asking them to bring an end to the siege of Gaza

We will keep you posted about what happens to the Flotilla, they are likely to be arrested and their boats impounded. Follow them on: jfp.freedomflotilla.org/

There is a further important matter of news. PSC really need your support as they urgently need to raise £100,000. They have already raised £29,000 of this target but the need is great so please help.
Last year PSC won an important court action in the High Court, defending the right for local councils to ethically disinvest their pension schemes from companies complicit in Israel’s crimes against Palestine.

The government appealed against this decision, and – unless PSC are able to raise the money to take this case to the Supreme Court, is set to re-introduce regulation that will prevent local councils from implementing their own judgement and moral autonomy.

Please make a donation to support this appeal. Please give what you can. Here are the bank details:

Unity Trust Bank
Name: Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Acct number: 20333702
Sort code: 086001

I am very pleased to report that £1409 was raised this year by our sponsored walk. Thank you to everyone who took part. This money will be split between Medical Aid for Palestinians and the National PSC Appeal

Please send an email to pscsoton@gmail.com if you want details of Southampton PSC Branch meetings we would love to see you.

Thank you for your support
Regards
Cathryn Spiller

Branch Secretary Southampton PSC.

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Public meeting in Bristol: anti Trump and antifascist demonstrations

Public meeting, Monday 9th July, 7pm. The Station, Silver Street. BS1 2AG.

Resist Trump and the march of fascism!

Donald Trump, megalomaniac disgrace to humanity, epitome of all things bad and most hated man in the world, is inflicting a visit on us on July 13th.

The perfect embodiment of authoritarian state politics and ruthless capitalism, he has been welcomed by the UK government. Unsurprisingly, this billionaire friend of the super rich and unashamed enemy of the working class has the support of the UK government which is equally committed to reactionary politics.

Since Trump’s election, his bare faced sexism, misogyny, xenophobia and bigotry has emboldened racists and fascists everywhere, leading to a huge upsurge in racist attacks, police brutality and fascist violence against political opponents. His tough talking, toxic rhetoric and policies have provided a massive confidence boost to the far right both in the U.S. and elsewhere. They feel more able to show their true colours knowing they now have a fellow white supremacist in the White House.

Whether it’s more ruthless, racist border controls, abducting and imprisoning immigrant children, the attempted Muslim ban or showing support for fascist and neo nazi “Unite the Right” marchers, Trump thrives on the politics of provocation, controversy and conflict. A self obsessed tyrant, with his arrogant and aggressive tweets, inflammatory speeches and dictatorial executive orders, he shows total contempt and disdain for any attempts to stand in his way or to promote more progressive politics.

The resistance in the U.S. to Trump and what he represents has been impressive and determined. Widespread anger, outrage, demos, airport blockades and mass direct action have been largely successful in putting a brake on Trump’s totalitarian plans. Communities have come together in solidarity to defend themselves and each other against the attacks and fight back.

Let’s follow their good example and stand in the way of this tyrant and everything he stands for. Everyone out to the streets of London on 13th July!

Come to the public meeting: 7-9pm, Monday 9th July at the Station,
Silver Street. BS1 2AG.
Demo details: 2pm, Friday 13th July, BBC, Portland Place, W1A 1AA. Coach leaves from Eastgate Road (by Eastville Tescos) 10am sharp on 13th July. Book your place! Contact bristolantifascists@riseup.net

And the next day… Saturday 14th July, central London. Join the antifascist resistance!

Tommy Robinson and the march of the far right.

Ever since the formation of the racist, islamophobic English Defence League, it’s founder Tommy Robinson (real name Stephen Yaxley Lennon), has been working hard to further an extreme right wing, anti muslim, racist agenda. As well as forming alliances with far right politicians, parties, groups and individuals worldwide, his latest big tent for islamophobia and far right politics is the so called “Democratic Football Lad’s Alliance”. This organisation is uniting fascist groups, neo nazis, hooligans and everyday racists under one banner and building an extreme right wing street army. Their demos often end in attacks by DFLA mobs against anti racist demonstrators and people of colour.

Publicity hungry and self obsessed Robinson was recently imprisoned for 13 months after masquerading as a journalist to harass and intimidate some muslims on trial, all under the guise of “reporting” and “free speech”. After successfully cultivating a personality cult around himself, he has now become a martyr to far right activists worldwide and will be revelling in the attention and publicity that his imprisonment has provided him and his fellow racists. He claims to speak for ordinary, white British people but we recognise his words as the voice of 21st century bigotry and fascism.

In response to the jailing of Robinson, the racists and fascists are stepping up their efforts with more angry threats, demos and political violence in an attempt to put pressure on the government to free their de facto leader. Thousands of them rampaged in London on 9th June and they will return on 14th July. We need to outnumber, demoralise and defeat the racists and fascists on the streets again. Let’s oppose and expose the DFLA for what it really is and destroy their movement with all means necessary. It’s going to take all of our efforts together to win the struggle on the streets, on the internet, in our communities and everywhere we find racism and fascism. We can’t let them grow. It’s up to us to make sure fascism doesn’t become the new “normal”. Remember history and fight for the future. Now is the time to get involved, get organised and fight back!

Join the Anti Fascist Network on July 14th!
Contact bristolantifascists@riseup.net for transport.
Check out “antifascistnetwork” on facebook for more info.

Book Launch. ‘Your Freedom and Mine: Abdullah Öcalan and the Kurdish Question in Erdoğan’s Turkey’. 11th July SOAS

“Only free men can negotiate. Prisoners cannot enter into contracts… I cannot and will not give any undertaking at a time when I and you, the people, are not free. Your freedom and mine cannot be separated.”

—Nelson Mandela during his imprisonment, 10 February 1985

Join Black Rose Books, Peace in Kurdistan, Kurdistan National Congress UK, Kurdish People’s Assembly in Britain, Freedom for Ocalan Campaign – UK for a special event marking the release of Your Freedom and Mine: Abdullah Öcalan and the Kurdish Question in Erdoğan’s Turkey Edited by Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley and Dr Federico Venturini.

Wednesday, 11 July, 6.30 – 8.30pm at SOAS, Russell Square, College Main Building, Room DLT, WC1H 0XG Register for the free event here:

A solidarity donation of £2 is suggested to help cover our costs. Copies of the book will be available for half price! £12.50 Paper back

Speakers include: Dimitrios Roussopoulos political activist, ecologist, and publisher; Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley lecturer of political sociology at the University of Cambridge; Dr Radha D’Souza Reader in law at Westminster University; Julie Ward MEP (TBC); Jonathan Steele veteran journalist and author; Simon Dubbins UNITE international director; Joe Ryan Chair, Westminster Justice and Peace Commission. In addition, Adem Uzun, member of the Executive Council of the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK), will send a video-message.

The event will be chaired by: Dr Federico Venturini independent activist-researcher

About the event

 “It is an objective, extremely well-documented analytical report of Turkish state terrorism against Kurds. Shocking revelations make this an emotionally powerful book.”

Dr. Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, researcher and author.

A revolutionary imprisoned on an island fortress may hold the key to peace in the Middle East. From the confines of his Turkish prison cell, Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the Kurdish Freedom Movement, has proposed a political solution to the Turkish-Kurdish conflict, leading many to describe him as the ‘Kurdish Mandela’.

His ideas on direct democracy and women’s liberation are what inspired the Rojava Revolution in northern Syria.

As Syria exploded in civil war and Turkey descended into tyranny, an international peace delegation of European luminaries led by Mandela’s lawyer twice attempted to meet with Öcalan at his prison on İmralı Island. This book is the fruit of these momentous delegations.

Your Freedom and Mine offers crucial insight into the dramatic history, reality, and prospects of the Kurdish Question in Turkey by combining historical survey, human rights reports, interviews, personal accounts, geopolitical analysis, and political philosophy. The volume is the remarkable work of 25 contributors, including politicians, academics, journalists, Iceland’s former minister of justice, veteran war correspondent Jonathan Steele, and key leaders inside the movement.

For information in UK contact Peace in Kurdistan:

e-mail: estella24@tiscali.co.uk

Mobile 07846 666804

Red and Black Telly: WILL THERE BE RIOTS THIS YEAR IN THE U.K ?

Fingers crossed, ‘eh!

Commander Arian film screening, in Lewes 14th June.

There will be a screening of Commander Arian at the Depot Cinema in Lewes on June 14th at 6.15 pm. After the screening, director Alba Sotorra Clua will take questions from the audience with Elif Sarican and Dirk Campbell.

On the front line of the Syrian war, 30-year-old Commander Arian guides a female battalion towards the city of Kobane to release its people from the grip of ISIS in an empowering tale of emancipation and freedom. When the war in Syria broke, a group of women from the Kurdish resistance assembled the YPJ – Women Protection Units. Arian, who witnessed at a young age the nefarious treatment of sexual assault victims, leads the unit and dedicates her life to battling ISIS. As the YPJ inches closer to their target, she implores her comrades to discover the true meaning of their fight: freedom for the next generation of women. With unprecedented access to the commander and her troops, including delicate scenes of her recovering from multiple bullet wounds, Sotorra brilliantly crafts an enthralling portrait of a woman on a mission.

Anna Campbell from Lewes chose to support the Rojava revolution by going out and fighting alongside the brave women of the YPJ. She met and was interviewed by Alba Sotorra Clua. After the YPG/YPJ defeat of Daesh in the autumn of 2017, Anna went to defend civilians from the Turkish incursion into Afrin in January 2018 and was killed by a Turkish air strike on 15 March.

Proceeds will be donated to the charity Kurdish Red Moon