United Public Workers for Action call rally in San Fransisco – “Hands off Julian Assange”

Class conscious website is happy to endorse and urge the widest possible attendance  of the following action called by the United Public Workers for Action – UPWA.

1/8/18 – 12 Noon – Rally at the Ecuadorean consulate in San Fransisco, 235 Montgomery street, San Fransisco

Hands off Julian Assange – Don’t allow the arrest of journalist whistleblower Julian Assange

The US has been pressuring the Ecuadorean government to force the removal of Julian Assange because of the US embarrassment over the release of emails of governments and politicians. The British government has also spent millions of dollars to surround the consulate and the May government plans to arrest Assange as soon as he is pushed out of the consulate. The effort to silence Julian Assange is not just about him but silencing all journalists who release information that threatens the exposure of government corruption and crimes. The refusal of the US government to prosecute those involved in US crimes in Iraq, Libya and around the world despite the evidence of these crimes provided by Wikileaks is further reason why the US government is so interested in arresting Assange.

Journalists are also under attack globally and the right of journalists to write and publish material about these activities is something that must be defended. The US and UK government officials are united in continuing the silencing of Journalists and those who want to hold them responsible for the crimes of the government and around the world.

It is time to stand up for Assange and all Journalists who are speaking truth to power.

Dont force Assange out of the Ecuadorean consulate!
Hands off Journalists and Whistleblowers!
Prosecute the Real Criminals!

Contact details:
info@upwa.info”

Further event details can be found here – including a list of speakers:
https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/07/28/18816635.php

The following short statement from Class Conscious is to be read out during the rally:

“Fraternally greetings from the team at ClassConscious.org in Australia.

This important rally is an important step in the international struggle to free Julian, in defending this courageous journalist who has consistently fought to expose the truth, we are defending our right to know. The Wikileaks revelations have exposed the true character of governments around the world in revealing the facts of their criminal conduct. Thus the fight to defend Julian is part and parcel of the broader struggle to defend democratic rights, against war and against censorship.

There are credible reports that the Ecuadorean government may renege on the political asylum Julian was earlier granted, and that he may be removed from the embassy in the coming period. Yet the Australian government refuses to use its diplomatic power to intervene on Julians behalf to uphold his rights and promote his welfare, this is business as usual for the ruling class, they do not respect the right of Asylum.

The Australian government has established a precedent in its cruel treatment of asylum seekers fleeing war and persecution in their home countries, they are routinely denied their fundamental democratic rights through the ‘Pacific solution’. Whereby The boats used for the dangerous ocean crossing to Australia are intercepted by the navy and taken to be indefinitely detained in third countries in prison camps. Rather than fairly processing their asylum applications they are held in a deliberately punitive system. Held as an example in inhumane conditions to deter others from seeking asylum in Australia.

The Australian government does not respect the rights of asylum for the refugees, nor does it respect Julian’s right to asylum, these cruel people do not deserve to govern, their crimes are too great.

The poor treatment of refugees and the persecution of Assange show the necessity of developing a internationally based, ongoing campaign in defence of all democratic rights. From this rally we must move to build this campaign, developing links with politically progressive elements is an important step.

Urgent protests are currently being organised in many countries to respond when Assange is evicted from Ecuador’s London embassy. Please check our website for further details.

Thank you!

FOOTAGE FROM THE SAN FRANCISCO RALLY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4yHvfVMiVE&feature=youtu.be&app=desktop




Step by step guide to organising your own emergency protest 4 JA

Emergency protests outside U.S. Embassies, U.S. Consulates or U.S. Political Offices are now confirmed in 22 cities across ten countries in Australia (Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, Hobart), France (Paris), Ireland (Dublin), Nepal (Kathmandu) New Zealand (Wellington), Cananda (Toronto, Montreal), United States (Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, New York, Toledo, Philedelphia), Slovenia (Ljubljana), Bulgaria (Sofia).

However Julian needs a global defence movement that spreads much further. We know many people around the world want to take a stand for Julian but are not sure where to start. Thats why we have made the following guide to starting your own protest!




World Socialist Website endorses call out for global emergency protests if Julian Assange is evicted

The World Socialist Website (www.wsws.org), the online publication of the ICFI, has endorsed the call out for emergency protests by workers and youth at U.S. Embassies, U.S. Consulates and U.S. Political offices if Julian Assange is evicted.

In an article posted on July 21st entitled Protests being organised against imminent eviction of Julain Assange from Ecuador’s London embassy, National Secretary of the Australian Socialist Equality Party, James Cogan stated:

The protest in London will be taking place at 10am, Monday, July 23, at the Ecuadorian embassy. Protests in other cities have been called at US embassies and consulates, to take place the day after Assange was evicted. Rallies are organised so far in Melbourne, Australia; Wellington, New Zealand; Paris; and Los Angeles. Click here for details.

The WSWS endorses all protest action against the persecution of Julian Assange and urges its readers to participate.

In an article published on 23rd July entitled Imminent threat to Julian Assange underscores need for global defence movement, journalist Mike Head wrote:

These developments underscore the necessity to deepen the fight for a powerful international working-class movement for his freedom and for the defence of all basic democratic rights.

Urgent protests are being organised in many countries to respond when Assange is evicted from Ecuador’s London embassy. Click here for details. The WSWS endorses such demonstrations and urges its readers to participate. Such action, however, will be the beginning of a protracted campaign to defend Assange and oppose the increasing attack and censorship on critical voices and independent media on the Internet.

The ICFI and the World Socialist Website played a crucial role in organising and promoting the June 19th Vigils outside U.K. embassies and other protests for Julian Assange. They have published prolifically on the need to defend Julian Assange as part of the broader campaign to defend democratic rights, oppose censorship and to fight the drive to war.

 




Persons of Interest: ASIO’s dirty war on dissent: Documentary Series Review

Persons of Interest is a four part documentary series exploring the lives of a cross section of Australia’s radicals through delving into their previously classified ASIO documents. It portrays their changing political perspectives in a roving discussion of their’ life and times, through interviesws and with reference to the archived material in the reports, photos and footage from their files.

F61E3382-C54C-4E4B-ABCF-AFF5BAFA5258The documentary traverses decades of Australian’ political life in examining their changing fortunes, from the post war period, through Mcarthyism, the campaign against Australia’s involvement in Vietnam, right up to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It is a meticulously researched and well crafted documentary series, it is a gives great insight into these tumultuous periods.

The first disk shows the story of Roger Milliss and his father Bruce, both Communist Party members. Next shown is Michael Hyde, part of the student protests against Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam war. The third disk is centred on Gary Foley, a black nationalist modelled after the Black Panther movement. The final story is that of Frank Hardy, Australian novelist and Communist.

Within this short documentary series is the entire gamut of the characters involved, from the people formerly under investigation themselves, their family, acquaintances, the informants that spied on them, and even former ASIO intelligence agents are interviewed. Along with historians and other academics who give insightful and worthy commentary.

The film it is hostile to the intrusion of ASIO into the personal life of the various political opponents of the government of the day. In an obvious reference to the leaks of Snowden, it contrasts the crude surveillance of an earlier era, against “the recent leaks that exposed spying and surveillance on a massive scale”. This alongside the continual year on year increases in the powers, budget, staff numbers of Australia’s intelligence agencies, with the implementation of various anti terror laws, the narrator grimly states that: “it paints a bright future” for them. Since the documentary’ release the process has continue uninterrupted, most recently with the passing of the foreign interference bill.

Since making Persons Of Interest for in 2014, Smart Street Films have struggled to secure funding for a second season, largely due to the perennial budget cuts to Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the semi-privatisation of SBS, both a component of the ongoing austerity and the slashing of social spending. The first four documentaries were envisaged as only the first series in a running project, there are lots of stories to be told from reading though the archives. After the filmmakers lobbying and petitioning the two state broadcasters, it was only recently that we saw the announcement that they have secured a new contract to produced a program of short 12 minute documentaries on major news stories from the last 40 years for ABC Iview to be called Retro-Report.

The trend towards ever increasing funds for the Intelligence agencies alongside the decimation of funding for arts and culture shows no sign of abating, in the 2018-19 budget, the Turnbull cabinet announced:

“To deal with anticipated social and political disaffection, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), will receive a $24.4 million boost this year, up from $518.6 million, adding 121 full-time jobs to its staff of about 1,800.” (1)

And in the next breath:

“Australian Broadcasting Corporation news services and jobs will be further gutted by freezing its funding until 2021–22, slicing another $83.7 million over three years, on top of $254 million in cuts imposed since 2014.” (1)

Nearly limitless funds for the intelligence agencies while funding for access to high quality arts and culture through the public broadcaster is slashed!

Despite the eggregious state of affairs, Persons of Interest is a great concept, it is a fascinating documentary. It acts as a damning exposure on the pernicious influence excersized by the intelligence agencies over the lives of ordinary Australians. I would even go so far to say that it is exciting to see this reasoned, probative look into Australian history produced. To that end it deserves a wider audience.

Persons of Interest: ASIO’s dirty war on dissent
4 x 52 minute films
Smart Street Films
2014
Director: Hayden Keenan
www.smartstreetfilms.com.au

Reference

1. Mike Head, Desperate and vicious pre-election budget in Australia
www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/05/09/budg-m09.html




The Commissar Vanishes: the falsification of photographs and art in Stalin’s Russia By David King: Book review

The Commissar Vanishes is another anthology of images from the David King collection in which he displays original artwork and photographs from the early period following the Russian revolution, against later images where people were edited out and removed in the campaign of political genocide initiated by Stalin.

Unlike Russian Revolutionary Posters, The Commissar Vanishes does not confine itself to discussing only one medium, it is a wide foray into a range of images from all types of photography and art. Secondly in the previously reviewed work, King let the images speak for themselves as it were, providing only a short scintillating introduction along with short footnotes for each image. Thankfully this is a larger book at 192 allowowing King to provide a much larger body of text, a welcome development. The commentary in the back story for each image, and the subsequent developments in the constant re-editing of each images are thought provoking.

The book takes its title from a photo from the celebration of the second anniversary of the October revolution in Red Square Moscow (page 46). In this image, Trotsky and Lenin are standing side by side, it is later retouched to remove Trotsky along with Kamenev and other minor figures in the Bolshevik party that fell out of favour. The original photo published in 1919, the highly edited version later appearing in 1967, 14 years after Stalin’s Death! So much for Kruschev’s secret speech and his call for the period of glastnost and perestroika with the full rehabilitation of the bureaucracies’ victims. This treatment did not apply for Trotsky and the most ardent Left Oppositionists. The falsification of Soviet history via direct orders from the Kremlin continued on long after Stalin’s death.

 

 

 

Next the cover shows a striking example of the ultimate absurdity of this historical revisionism. The original photo shows Stalin and three others “in Leningrad 1926, celebrating the destruction of Zinoviev’s anti-Stalinist opposition”. In subsequent photos one figure disappears at a time, until “Stalin the executioner alone remains”
(page 104). The ‘grey blur’ of the revolution eliminated all rivals and revised history to sit him front and centre in the Bolshevik Party and the history of the Russian Revolution as a whole, in all official records and books he was said to be Lenin’s best disciple.

Stalin and his cohorts were devastatingly characterised in Trotsky’s autobiography My Life as follows:

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“the beginning of 1917 found them left to their own resources. The political situation was difficult. Here was there chance to show what they had learned in Lenin’s school and what they could do without Lenin. Let them name one of their number who arrived independently at the position achieved identically by Lenin in Geneva and by me in New York. They cannot name a single one. The Petrograd Pravda, which was edited by Stalin and Kamenev until Lenins arrival, will always remain a document of limited understanding, blindness and opportunism. And yet the mass membership of the party, like the working class as a whole, was moving spontaneously towards the fight for power. There was no other path for either the party or the country.

In the years of reaction, one needed political foresight in order to hold fast to the prospect of a permanent revolution. Probably nothing more than political sense was required to advance the slogan of the fight for power in March, 1917. Not a single one of the present leaders revealed such a foresight or such a sense. Not one of them went beyond the position of the left petty bourgeoise democrat in March 1917. Not one of them stood the test of history.” (1)

And again in Victor Serge’s brilliant novel Midnight in the Century, wherein two exiled Left Oppositionists are again imprisoned in the days leading up to a coming party congress, from prison they are allowed to write appeals for their case, but in the finest traditions set by other Marxists on trial they sought to use the trial as a political exposure of the real criminals, their letters from prison are vehement in their denunciations of Stalin, one prisoner writes from his cell:

“What more would you do. Kona Djugashvili Stalin, the Cain of tomorrow, what more would you do if, like the agent provocateur Avec, you were a mere tool of the bourgeois police scum? You were kicked out of the party in 1907 for pushing it into highway robbery; Mou were an opportunist in 1917, and opportunist in 1923, slapped down by Lenin in his last letter, an opponent of industrialisation until 1926, an apologist for the rich peasantry in 1926, an accomplice of Chiang Kaishek in 1927, responsible for the useless Canton massacre, the harbinger of Fascism in Germany, the organiser of famine, the persecutor of proletarian Leninists…” Ryzhik had written these lines – and many more vehement lines -in his impersonal hand, every letter etched deeply into the grey paper. With each sentence, as he wrote, Ryzhik had leaped to his feet and paced around his cell, gesticulating. Aloud, he harangued the Other: ‘Koba! Koba! You scoundrel! What have you done to the party? What have you done to our iron cohort? You’re as supple as a noose, lying to us at every congress, every politburo meeting, bastard, bastard, bastard…”

Like the fictional Rhyzik quoted above, King has successfully exposed the historical revisionism of the Stalinist bureaucracy by comparing the original images against later revisions, effectively demonstrating how political figures in the Soviet Union, Trotsky above all, were murdered then scrubbed from history. The Commissar Vanishes is another splendid contribution to the study of the Soviet Union. He has done us all a great service in preserving these images, and getting the message out there about what really happened in the degeneration of the first workers state though his many published works and exhibitions.

The Comissar Vanishes: the falsification of photographs and art in Stalin’s Russia
David King
Metropolitan books
192 pp, 1997

References

1. Leon Trostky, My Life, pp 259
https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1930/mylife/1930-lif.pdf

2. Victor Serge, Midnight in the century , pp 183
https://thecharnelhouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Victor-Serge-Midnight-in-the-Century-1936-1938.pdf

Further reading

Exposing Stalin’s “retouching”
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/1998/12/exh-d29.html