Jeremy Hammond, Stratfor Hacktivist, targeted in jail
Jeremy Hammond, a member of the hacktivist network Anonymous is currently spending a decade in prison for disclosing information to Wikileaks about Stratfor which was published as The Global Intelligence Files. These revealed Stratfor was spying on human rights defenders on behalf of corporations and governments. Jeremy Hammond has just been found guilty of a bogus prison infraction of assaulting a guard. He has been placed in solitary confinement and faces being sent to a higher security prison.
A description of the incident leading to his conviction was posted on his support website run by the Courage Foundation freejeremy.net:
“The incident occurred either Monday, November 19th, or Tuesday, November 20th. Jeremy was exiting his unit and either pushed or bumped a door. The door he was exiting through did not have a window or any way to see through to the other side. There was an officer on the other side of the door, and, when the door opened, it allegedly bumped the officer. In response to being bumped with the door, the officer grabbed Jeremy, threw him up against the wall, and took him to the SHU (segregated housing unit), without placing Jeremy in handcuffs or calling for backup, as is prison protocol. Once in SHU, he was written up for “assaulting a staff member” for the original act of bumping the officer with the door.”
Unfortunately Jeremy has been found guilty of this offence in a hearing wherein he was not even able to defend himself in personRead the full report here. As it explains if he is sent to a higher security level prison Jeremy will not be able to complete the college degree he was undertaking, could be moved much further away from friends and family and could be targeted even more by authorities due to the assault conviction.
Jeremy is a brave fighter for justice. His jailing was part of the Obama’s administration’s war on whistleblowers and leaks which has been continued by the Trump Adminstration, not least through its escalation of the persecution of Julian Assange. It is part of a lurch towards austerity, dictatorship and war under conditions of capitalist crisis. The ruling class must make examples of people such as Jeremy as it desparately seeks to stop the working class learning the truth about both the crimes it has already committed and the larger ones they are planning.
After being threatened with 40 years to life in prison for his brave actions and suffering numerous injustices at the hands of the legal system, Jeremy accepted a non-cooperating plea deal to one count of violating the arcane and draconian Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. After pleading guilty to the one count he was convicted on, Jeremy Hammond stated
“Now that I have pleaded guilty it is a relief to be able to say that I did work with Anonymous to hack Stratfor, among other websites. Those others included military and police equipment suppliers, private intelligence and information security firms, and law enforcement agencies. I did this because I believe people have a right to know what governments and corporations are doing behind closed doors. I did what I believe is right.”
Not only has Jeremy taken a brave stand in regards to the exposing of government/corporate spying but even whilst in prison he has continued to speak out on political issues including prisoner rights. The authorities targeting of Jeremy in jail are no doubt spurred on by his continuing resistance. You can read some of his prison writings at this link.
It is crucial that the international working class and youth make every efforts to publisize Jeremy’s plight and stand in solidarity with him. The fight to defend Jeremy is part of the broader against war and dictatorship and and ultimately the capitalism system itself which drives these processes.
Jeremy’s support networkhas issued the following call out for letters to be sent to Jeremy and the following update on his situation
“Calls are being made to Jeremy’s case manager and possibly to the warden to see what, if anything, can be done to help the situation. Please, at this time, we are asking that members of the general public do not call the prison. The situation is extremely delicate. However, you can write to Jeremy and we encourage everyone to do that!”
His address is:
Jeremy Hammond, #18729-424
Milan, MI 48160
Video of Julian Assange discussing Jeremy Hammond’s jailing on Democracy Now!
Protests in nine countries held on Nov 4th to defend Assange
Another round of significant global actions occurred on November 4th as part of the international campaign to oppose the persecution of Julian Assange and defend democratic rights. In response to a call out made by classconscious.org protests occurred in nine countries: Australia, Slovenia, Ireland, NZ, U.S, Canada, Brazil, Taiwan and Nepal.
Perhaps the most significant protests occurred in Taipei. This was the first major protest for Assange in Taiwan. Organised by the new Taiwan Support Assange group. Around 25 protestors gathered outside the AIT (American Institute) which is the defacto U.S. Embassy in Taipei. The protest was endorsed by a range of long time high profile Taiwanese human rights advocates such as Linda Arrigo, Mr. Cheng ZeCa, the leadership of the Tree Party of Taiwan and the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union.
The protest was entitled “Turn up the heat on the U.S. Government” and a number of the protests occurred outside U.S. Embassies and Consulates. Events since November 4th have only confirmed the need for the international working class and youth to protest at the Trump Government’s persecution of Assange.
On Nov 16th, news brokethat the assistant U.S. Attorney Kelln Dwyer had accidentally confirmed that a sealed U.S. indictment against Assange does exist. Details of the indictment were included supposedly by error in an unrelated case. It included two paragraphs that named Assange stating the sealing of an indictment was necessary “because… no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged.” It stated the charges must be kept secret until “Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter.”
This confirms the correctness of the claims by Assange that he needed to claim asylum in Ecuador or he would face extradition to the U.S. Whilst the attempts to get Assange to the U.S. via bogus charges from Sweden has lapsed, Assange if he left the British Embassy would be immediately arrested on bail related charges and then once in custody would be extradited to the U.S.
The charges in this indictment originated under the Obama Presidency which relentlessly pursued Assange from 2010 to 2016. However this persecution has continued under Trump despite his “I love Wikileaks” outbursts during the 2016 election. Under Trump, Wikileaks was labelled by Mike Pompeo then head of the CIA labelled Wikileaks a “hostile non-state intelligence agency”. Vice President Mike Pence travelled to Ecuador to bribe and threaten the new Government of Lenin Moreno to hand over Assange.
Trump’s real position was revealed in earlier statements. In April 2017 Trump states “Its OK with me” if Assange is charged by the Justice Department. In fact going back as far as 2010 Trump repeatedly called for the death penalty for those responsible for the leaks of U.S. War crimes and State Department documents.
In this context and with the Moreno Government doing everything in its power to try and force Assange out of its London Embassy through isolating and removing his rights, it is crucial that the international protests by the working class and youth for Assange continue. Classconscious.org has shown it is possible to mobilise coordinated protests for Assange across the globe but much more is needed in the future. In the event of worst case scenario, Emergency protests will be held outside U.S. Embassies immediately following any eviction of Assange.
Please contact classconscious.org if you would like to take part in organising a future protest in your city or town to defend Julian Assange, defend democratic rights and fight censorship. Journalism is not crime ! Workers of the world unite!
“Call things by their right names”: The “hired, fascist demagogues” who have no place in a campaign to defend Julian Assange.
The rise of fascism on a global scale, poses a mortal threat to the international working-class. The fight against this menace is inseparable from the broader campaign against the drive to world war and internet censorship. The crucible of this campaign is the defence of Julian Assange.
This is why classconscious.org has taken a stand – that far-right, fascistic, media personalities should not be platformed alongside progressive speakers on the #Unity4J monthly online vigils to defend Julian Assange.
We reject the perspective that “unity is the ultimate act of resistance” when it means standing with those helping to cultivate a deadly, fascist base within the U.S. and globally. The individuals we have criticised are Cassandra Fairbanks, Lee Stranahan, Ross Cameron, H.A. Goodman and Jack Posobiec.
Leon Trotsky, a leader of the Russian Revolution and the pre-eminent opponent of Stalinism, emphasised the political necessity“to call things by their right names”. These people are not “independent journalists” defending democratic rights but “hired, fascist demagogues” who are working for a section of the ruling-class to build a mass, fascist movement.
WHAT IS FASCISM?
Fascism arises during periods of capitalist crisis. The economic chaos following World War 1 that led to the Great Depression, birthed European fascism. It took power first in Italy before spreading to other countries – including most disastrously for the world, Germany.
Now, after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2008 and the worsening capitalist crisis of this century, fascism is again rearing its ugly head. Fascistic parties are in power in Ukraine, the Philippines, Hungary, Poland, Austria and Italy. They are on the rise in France, Brazil, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, the Baltic nations, Croatia, Slovakia, Czech Republic and last-but-not-least, the United States, led by the fascist Donald Trump.
Under conditions of ever-increasing inequality, and the threat of world war, the ‘normal’ mechanisms can no longer be relied upon to keep the working-class from entering revolutionary struggle.
Once again, the ruling-class (in crisis) needs a movement to prevent socialist revolution. Fascism is an ideology with the specific class purpose of developing a mass movement that can install a dictatorial government to smash the working-class and pave the way for total war.
This movement does not arise spontaneously. It must be cultivated through spreading the filth of racism, extreme nationalism, xenophobia and militarism to the petty bourgeois (middle-classes) and elements of the disoriented working-class. Trotsky states: “In this way, big capital ruins the middle-classes and then, with the help of hired fascist demagogues, incites the despairing petty bourgeoisie against the worker.”
Fascism can only find an audience due to the crisis of leadership on the Left. The working-class has been betrayed by the Social Democratic parties around the world such as the Democrats in the U.S. along with their partners in the Trade Unions since the 1970’s. There is a paucity of revolutionary left-wing leadership around the world. This is why the fascist demagogues are finding such a receptive audience.
FASCISM 2.0 – HOW MAGA (MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN) IS SPREADING FASCISM VIA THE WEB
Whilst the “hired, fascist demagogues” of Trotsky’s time used the tools of radio, cinema and print, the far-right of today is making full use of online media sources including social media.
These include far-right online “news outlets” that are funded by the ultra-wealthy and also the use of social media like Facebook and Twitter. These online media platforms have been used to successfully ‘mainstream’ far-right ideas and help elect Donald Trump.
The ‘journalists’ we have named: Stranahan, Fairbanks, Cameron, Goodman and Posobiec, are in fact, all high-profile individuals immersed in this far-right online ecosystem of websites and social media platforms.
Just listing the social media followings of these individuals alone, puts their influence in some context.
Classconscious’ labelling of these journalists as alt-right fascists has been vociferously rejected by the leadership of #Unity4J. An examination of each of their backgrounds however, fully backs our assertions.
Lee Stranahan, who has appeared on every #Unity4J vigil since June, is described on the #Unity4J websiteas “Journalist, Broadcaster, Faultlines”. #Unity4J, refers only to his most recent gig at Sputnik News Agency. However, Stranahan, up to March 2017, was the investigative lead reporter at the far-right website, Breitbart News. Stranahan worked for Breitbart News on-and-off again from 2010 to 2017.
The influence of Breitbart News in mainstreaming the alt-right agenda is hard to overestimate. Co-founded by Andrew Breitbart and Steve Bannon in 2007, Breitbart News became even more influential when Bannon took over as Editor in 2012 (upon Andrew Breitbart’s death). Bannon proudly declared in 2016 that, “We’re the platform for the alt-right”. By January 2016, Breitbart.com was receiving 17 millions monthly visits and was the most popular far-right website on the net.
Under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart News emitted a steady stream of anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim and right-wing conspiratorial filth. Trump’s decision to bring Bannon into the White House was celebrated by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. “We appear to have taken over,” Duke told an interviewer.
Although Stranahan might downplay his Breitbart News connections whilst appearing on #Unity4J online vigils, he is far from ashamed of his association. As recently as October 6th, in order to solicit donations from his far-right supporters, Stranahan tweeted that Andrew Breitbart had said working with him was the “best professional experience of his life”. As for his other employer at Breitbart News, Stranahan declared, “I love Bannon”.
Steve Bannon and Andrew Breitbart epitomise the unholy trinity of the alt-right, corporate America and the current Trump White House and how they are working together to build a fascist base.
Steven Bannon himself, is an ex-military, ex-Goldman Sachs investment banker. Bannon was the CEO of Trump’s election campaign and served as the White House Chief Strategist until August 2017.
Bannon was instrumental in getting billionaire hedge-fund manager, Robert Mercer to bankroll Breitbart News to the tune of 10 million dollars. Robert Mercer’s daughter Rebekah Mercer, still plays an active role in Breitbart News. The Mercers donated tens’ of millions of dollars to the Republican campaign in 2016 and backed Donald Trump. Rebekah Mercer’s reward was a role in the selection process of Trump’s reactionary cabinet.
The Mercers, alongside other billionaire backers of Trump – support his agenda of destroying social services, slashing corporate taxes and imperial war. They understand the kind of political movement needed to implement such an inherently unpopular and anti-working class agenda.
These are the forces who directed and bankrolled Breitbart News and paid Stranahan’s wages for seven years.
Cassandra Fairbanks is simply described as a “journalist” on the #Unity4J website. Fairbanks’ wages are paid by Jim Hoft, the founder of The Gateway Pundit, another high-profile, far-right ‘news website’ helping to build a fascist base in the U.S. and that also supported Trump in 2016. Fairbanks also previously worked for Big League Politics, a far-right news website founded by ex-Breitbart employees.
Fairbanks has featured prominently on the #Unity4J vigils, most recently on October 6th. Fairbanks achieved social media fame as a supposedly left-wing activist, supporting Black Lives Matters and Bernie Sanders, before switching during the 2016 election into an enthusiastic supporter of Trump and MAGA.
Fairbanks has been politically and personally linked to high-profile, white supremacist/alt-right figures. She unsuccessfully tried using the courts to suppress a photo of herself giving a white nationalist symbol in the White House Press Room alongside notorious alt-right figure, Mike Cernovich. Fairbanks has also endorsed the German fascist party the ‘Alternative für Deutschland’.
Ross Cameron has appeared on multiple #Unity4J vigils including the most recent on October 6th. He is described by #Unity4J as “TV host, Sky News Australia”.
This description obscures the fact that Cameron is an ex-Liberal party politician and renowned Islamophobic, homophobic, climate-skeptic reactionary working for Rupert Murdoch’s Australian version of Fox News.
Cameron is essentially an Australian appendage of MAGA. He had Donald Trump on his show and on election night 2016 he helped host a ‘Trump’s Aussie Mates’ celebration. Ross Cameron also appeared alongside ex-Breitbart News, alt-right figure Milo Yiannopoulos on his tour of Australia.
Murdoch’s media empire, featuring outlets such as Fox News, prominently backs President Donald Trump’s “America First” drive to restore the post-World War II hegemony of US capitalism and to cultivate an extreme right-wing movement to divert the mounting discontent of the working class in nationalist and xenophobic directions.
Jack Posobiec, who appeared on the first #Unity4J vigil in June is described on the #Unity4J website as a “journalist, conservative activist”. In reality, Posobiec is an ex-naval intelligence officer who now works for the pro-Trump, far-right, cable TV, media outlet – One American News Network (OAN) owned by millionaire businessman, Jack Herring. Posobiec promoted the Pizzagate conspiracy theory that posited high-profile Democrats were running a child sex-ring out of a D.C. pizza restaurant.
The use of this online ecosystem to move U.S. politics even further to the right has been a very conscious one. It is no accident that Steve Bannon helped found Cambridge Analytica, which was found to be harvesting Facebook data to assist Trump’s election. Cambridge Analytica is also part-owned by the aforementioned Bannon pal, billionaire Robert Mercer.
The far-right are making a scientific study of how to spread their ideas and influence whilst getting around the traditional gatekeepers of the mainstream press and bourgeois parties. This echoes the German Nazi party’s pioneering exploitation of demographic data to target propaganda in the early 1930’s. Trump’s continued use of Twitter is another manifestation of this strategy. The #Unity4J journalists we have named are part of this far-right project.
VIOLENCE ON THE STREETS – MAGA ‘BROWNSHIRTS’
Another characteristic of fascism is the building up of paramilitary forces which can be used to inflict violence and terror against their working-class opponents. Like the Italian Blackshirts and German Brownshirts before them, such forces are developing as part the threat of fascism in the U.S. This phenomenon exploded into the public consciousness with the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in 2017. Heavily armed militia were allowed by the police to take over the streets as the alt-right joined with neo-nazi’s to lead a fascist riot that culminated in the murder of anti-racist protester, Heather Heyer.
The merger of these violent forces with the MAGA movement could be seen at the “Unite the Right 2” in Washington where a small group of fascists, many wearing their “Make America Great Again” caps, protested with the full protection of the ‘Homeland’ state security apparatus.
The Proud Boys, led by co-founder of Vice Media – Gavin McInnes, are another MAGA/Pro-Trump fascist gang. This video montage shows McInnes inciting violence. He has incited his followers to choke, bash, shoot and kill leftists, transexuals and any other opponents. McInnes stated “I want violence, I want punching in the face. I’m disappointed in Trump supporters for not punching enough.”
Some of the far-right speakers on #Unity4J directly associate with these violent thugs. For example in January 2018, Mike Cernovich held a “A Night for Freedom” in Manhattan where Jack Posobiec spoke alongside Gavin McInnes. Cassandra Fairbanks was also in attendance and is an ardent supporter of Gavin McInnes (see image right).
WHY WALL ST NEEDS A GLOBAL FASCIST MOVEMENT
The cultivation of fascism serves the interest of U.S. finance capital under conditions of capitalist crisis domestically and globally. Domestically, the only way profits can be maintained is through implementing policies of extreme austerity, this necessitates a government of total dictatorship. Internationally however, U.S. finance capital must also dominate and subjugate its capitalist competitors, this necessitates a government that can implement policies of total war. A dictatorship at home is then also required to suppress the inevitable movement of the working class against war.
Trotsky summed up the need for fascism to project itself globally:
The productive forces are in irreconcilable contradiction not only with private property but also with national state boundaries. Imperialism is the very expression of this contradiction. Imperialist capitalism seeks to solve this contradiction through an extension of boundaries, seizure of new territories, and so on. The totalitarian state, subjecting all aspects of economic, political, and cultural life to finance capital, is the instrument for creating a supernationalist state, an imperialist empire, the rule over continents, the rule over the whole world.
The same class-forces who are attempting to build a mass base for fascism in the U.S. are also cultivating fascism around the world to advance the interests of the imperialist U.S. Empire. The plan is to install far-right governments around the world to suppress their own working-classes and to align with the geopolitical aims of the U.S. Indeed some of the #Unity4J “independent journalists” are linked to this global project.
Steve Bannon, Stranahan’s old Breitbart boss, has started an organisation called ‘The Movement’ to help far-right parties internationally. He has met with Marine Le Pen in France, Victor Orban in Hungary and the AfD in Germany. He is now advising Brazilian fascist, Jair Bolsonaro. Bannon’s data company, Cambridge Analytica, also assisted far-rightist Nigel Farrage and the Brexit campaign.
Cassandra Fairbank’s employer has also been busy promoting fascism internationally. In September, The Gateway Pundit co-hosted The Gateway Pundit’s Gateway Eagle Council XLVIIwith the arch-conservative lobby group the Eagle Forum. Aptly described by the Nation Magazine as “Davos for Fascists”, the forum brought together far-right media, military, religious and political figures from the US. Cassandra Fairbanks herself, appeared on behalf of The Gateway Pundit on a panel called “Women Warriors”.
Significantly, the forum included representatives of European fascism. These included Petr Bystron, who is an Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) Parliamentarian. The AfD is the fascist party that is now the official opposition in Germany. Petr Bystron has stated that Islam has no place in Germany and defended the use of deadly force on Germany’s border against immigrants. The AfD has helped create the atmosphere that recently saw thousands of neo-Nazi’s marching in Chemnitz giving the Nazi salute, chasing migrants and attacking a Jewish restaurant. The leader of the AfD, Alexander Gauland recently wrote an article riffing on a 1933 Adolf Hitler speech in a major German daily newspaper.
Also present was Dominik Tarczynsk, currently a deputy of the ruling Law and Justice political party in Poland. This party is virulently anti-immigrant, nationalist, Islamophobic, socially-reactionary and authoritarian.
Under its rule, the largest gathering of the far-right in Europe since the Nazi’s, was held in Warsaw when 60,000 marched in November 2017carrying banners which read “Pure Poland, White Poland!”, “Pray for Islamic Holocaust” and “Refugees, Get Out!”. The march was praised by sections of the Polish
Trump spoke in Poland in 2017, appealing openly to anti-immigrant, far-right sentiments. This is part of the U.S. government plans to use the resurgence of Polish nationalism to build the Three Seas Alliance of far-right Eastern European countries as a bulwark against both Germany and Russia.
This is one example of how building fascism benefits the U.S. ruling-class domestically and abroad as it prepares for a World War. Previously, under Obama, the U.S. ruling-class built up fascist, neo-Nazi forces in Ukraine to attack Russian interests.
THE WOLVES IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING – HOW THE FAR-RIGHT SUBVERTS A PROGRESSIVE CAMPAIGN
The far-right figures participating in the #Unity4J vigils have cynically tailored their message to include progressive-sounding positions.
Firstly, they have avoided spouting the kind of overt, fascist rhetoric that they use when speaking to the MAGA crowd directly through their other media platforms.
Secondly, they have played to the cross-over that exists between rabid Trump supporters and many liberals in the form of virulent anti-Democrat and anti-Clinton sentiment. The Democrats -should of course – be slammed for their persecution of Assange, their bloody warmongering and their corruption.
The far-right however only makes such criticisms in order to take focus away from the current crimes being committed by Trump which includes the persecution of Assange. An almost exclusive focus on the crimes of the Democrats establishes a pro-Trump agenda through the act of omission.
Thirdly, far-right figures utilise the narrative of ‘the people vs the deep state’. The intelligence services of the U.S. and other imperialist powers deserve every word of condemnation for their murder, surveillance, lies, oppression and war mongering.
In the hands of the far-right though, this narrative is cynically used to cast Trump as a ‘victim’ of the same people persecuting Assange. Trump is transformed from the oppressor of Assange to a fellow victim!
Lastly, the far-right points to the lies perpetrated by the mainstream press about Assange. The mainstream press has deservedly lost credibility with swathes of the working-class for its slavish regurgitation of ruling-class lies. However, such condemnation from the far-right is only used to bolster Trump’s narrative that the press is really the “enemy of the people”. Ultimately, such far-right criticisms of the press will be used to justify the repression of the entire working-classes’ freedom of speech and expression.
The far-right within the #Unity4J vigils has infiltrated the campaign to defend Julian Assange through cynically manipulating legitimate anger at the mainstream press, intelligence services and the Democrats. They are attempting to subvert this anger and direct it behind the equally reactionary Trump-faction of the ruling class. They are also working to redirect this legitimate anger away from its true source, the capitalist ruling-class.
It is extremely disorientating that figures such as Lee Stranahan are platformed and given equal respect as the likes of Chris Hedges and Daniel Ellsberg within #Unity4J. The working-class cannot effectively fight fascists if these wolves are allowed to dress up in the sheep’s clothing of defending Assange and ‘fighting the establishment’ – hiding amongst real progressive voices.
THE BIG LIE THAT THE FAR-RIGHT ARE ‘ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT’
It is worth recalling that the Nazis cast themselves as ‘anti-establishment’ figures, fighting on behalf of the ordinary German – not just against the threat of Bolshevik revolution but also against the threat of the cosmopolitan or globalist elites in the form of the Jews. To this end they postured as ‘anti-capitalist’. In 1925, Joseph Goebbels who later became the Nazi Propaganda Minister, appealed for a ‘United’ struggle against capitalism:
Capitalism is the immoral distribution of capital… Germany will become free at that moment when the thirty millions on the left and the thirty millions on the right make common cause. Only one movement is capable of doing this: National Socialism, embodied in one Führer – Adolf Hitler.
Fascism thrives off the ‘outsider’ trope. Donald Trump is a politically-connected, property billionaire but his campaign was characterised as an ‘outsider’ coming to “drain the swamp” of Washington and stop the supposed exploitation of the U.S. by other countries. Trump himself has railedagainst the “globalists“ who conspire against the U.S.
Supporting Trump is pretty rebellious. You’re getting hate from the right and the left,” she says. “His whole presidency is kind of like a rebellion against the establishment, or the neo-cons, and just D.C. in general, the way things were going. It’s pretty punk rock.
The “rebellion” against “D.C. in general” is shown to be a sham when Fairbanks tweets of the alt-right’s influence and connections in D.C. when justifying her and other MAGA figures’ role in #Unity4J (see image right).
Stranahan, Fairbanks, Posobiec, Goodman and Cameron are similarly seeking to exploit the Defend Assange campaign to bolster their phoney ‘anti-establishment’ credentials. On a deeper level they seek to bask in the reflected glory of Julian Assange himself, a true anti-establishment figure who has risked all in a real struggle against imperialist power.
These figures and the MAGA movement they support are in no way anti-establishment. They are backed by powerful sections of the ruling-class, including the corporate billionaires and millionaires who have funded the careers of Stranahan, Fairbanks, Posobiec and Cameron. Far-right figures currently dominate the White House through the Trump Presidency – including the fascist, senior policy advisor Stephen Miller and a coterie of fascistic-minded generals and billionaires in Trump’s Cabinet.
Whilst a faction of the ‘Deep State’ clearly opposes Trump, other sections of the CIA, FBI and NSA recognise a friend who throws money at them and installs a torturer like Gina Haspel as CIA chief. To see that the State is actively facilitating the far-right in the U.S., one only has to look at the red carpet treatment given to the fascists who demonstrated recently in Washington D.C.
Internationally, the ‘Deep States’ are also helping to spread the tentacles of fascism. There is known collusion between the security services in Germany and the fascistic AdF. Stephen Bannon, like other far-right figures, has ties to the military/ intelligence complex in the form of his past service. It is hard to believe that Bannon’s current work with the far-right in countries such as Brazil is being done without the knowledge and collaboration of sections of the U.S. intelligence services.
These fascist, ‘anti-establishment’ phonies in #Unity4J are in fact tied to the ruling-class by a thousand threads.
THE DEAD END OF UNITING WITH FASCISTS TO STOP WORLD WORD THREE
There is no doubt that the world teeters on the edge of another World War, which would bring a nuclear holocaust. The U.S. is determined to offset its declining economic power through the projection of naked, military might. The countries that must be subjugated first are the nuclear-armed states of China and Russia.
China is being militarily encircled and hit with trade war measures by the US, NATO forces are amassing on Russia’s borders, and U.S. and Russian forces face off in the powder keg of Syria. The U.S. has ripped up the INF Nuclear Treaty. Both the Democrat and Republican factions of the U.S. ruling-class are equally committed to this homicidal imperial policy – although they disagree on exact strategy.
This is no hyperbole! The U.S. Empire has military and bases in the majority of countries in the world, is the only nation-state to use nuclear weapons aggressively and has killed millions of people in military and political interventions since World War 2.
The youth and working-class will inevitably respond to any global conflagration with a powerful international anti-war movement. Within the seeds of #Unity4J however lies the potential for a deadly trap for the working-class.
The fascists in the #Unity4J vigil held on October 6th, clearly signalled that they are planning such a trap. Lee Stranahan and Cassandra Fairbanks made several points arguing that #Unity4J is laying the foundation of a future anti-war movement subordinated to the noxious politics of the far-right and the class-forces it represents.
It should go without saying that anyone who supports the Trump regime of vicious war hawks, which currently wages war, threatens to annihilate entire countries and has vastly expanded the budget of the Pentagon – is not truly anti-war!
This development only increases the urgency of exposing these forces within the Defend Assange Campaign. The international working-class and revolutionary socialists must take every opportunity to expose and defeat fascists before they can pollute the anti-war movement.
THE INTERNATIONAL WORKING-CLASS – THE ONLY SOCIAL FORCE THAT CAN FREE ASSANGE
Fascism is not yet a mass movement in the U.S or Europe. Nor is it the dominant force within the Julian Assange campaign. However, this is no cause for complacency. The class-pressures being generated by the crisis of capitalism means the balance of forces can change very quickly.
Fascism as an anti-working class movement will never win majority support. However, it only needs to be large and well-armed enough – that working in conjunction with the ruling-class, it can seize power. This is why fascism must be fought and defeated before it can fully seize power.
Only an international movement of the youth and working-class, that fights independently and in opposition to all factions of the ruling-class, can generate the political force necessary to free Julian Assange. This is also the only social force that can defend democratic principles and fight censorship and war.
Such a movement will not be built on the rump of disorientated, petty bourgeois, Trump voters but by appealing to the most progressive elements of the international youth and working-class. The prominent inclusion of far-right figures in the #Unity4J vigils retards this process.
It is our sincere belief that publishing articles that demarcate the class-forces involved in the campaign and organising global protests are both essential elements of our efforts to free Julian Assange.
Worker-Communists, you are hundreds of thousands, millions; you cannot leave for anyplace; there are not enough passports for you. Should fascism come to power, it will ride over your skulls and spines like a terrific tank. Your salvation lies in merciless struggle. And only a fighting unity with the Social Democratic workers can bring victory. Make haste, worker-Communists, you have very little time left!
Trotsky’s words came tragically true as the Nazi’s helped turn Europe into a charnel house. The fascist movement of today is equally dangerous, in fact, armed with nuclear weapons, mass surveillance and other modern technologies, the horrors of the 20th century could be vastly exceeded. Even before Fascism is consolidated, we are seeing the re-emergence of concentration camps for immigrants, Nuremberg-type laws against Muslims, fascist gangs organising violently on the streets and the build-up of police states by capitalist governments around the world.
We do not say this out of a sense of defeatism or demoralisation but as a call-to-arms to the working-class and youth – to heed the lessons of history and use all its power to stop fascism from consolidating its power further.
The international working-class now numbers in the billions and is linked by modern communication technology, most notably the internet. The working-class and youth is the only social class that has the power to defeat fascism, stop world war and avoid the ruling-class plunging the world into a barbarous nightmare.
If Julian Assange has shown us anything – it is that armed with the truth we have power!
It is an important truth to expose the fascists who are trying to subvert the campaign to defend Assange through their participation in #Unity4J. We need to call them by their real names and then move on together to build the movement of the youth and international working-class needed to free Julian Assange and protect all of our freedoms!
“I’m gonna tell you fascists You may be surprised The people in this world Are getting organised You’re bound to lose You fascists bound to lose”
Ecuadorian politician announces second attempt to revoke Assange citizenship in National Assembly
On October 11th, Paola Vintimilla, from the right-wing PSC (Social Christian Party) announced on Twitter that another attempt would be made in the Ecuadorian National Assembly to publicly release files related to Julian Assange being given citizenship – as a stepping stone to having both his citizenship and asylum status revoked. This would remove any domestic legal barriers to the Ecuadorian Government of Lenin Moreno fulfilling its stated aim of handing over Assange to British and U.S. authorities.
The English translation of this tweet reads :
Given the false news broadcast on social networks, I clarify that: next week in the @AsambleaEcuador, we will vote for the declassification of the documents #CasoAssange. No one will prevent this process from continuing, the truth should not be hidden anymore, we’ll fight for it.
The attempt was announced only one week after Vintimilla and the PSC narrowly failed to get a majority in the Assembly to vote to start this process on October 4th. Paola tweeted at the time that they only had 85 votes secured when they needed 91 votes on the floor of the Assembly. As a consequence they did not put the motion to the vote.
The latest manoeuvres in the high-level, multi-government conspiracy to hand over Assange to be prosecuted for Espionage in the U.S. became public on September 20th, when Vintimilla fronted a press conference with 12 other of her party’s MP’s. She presented documents she claimed were given to her by the current Ecuadorian Foreign Minister, José Valencia. She claimed the documents showed that as part of Assange being given citizenship to Ecuador, he renounced his status of political asylum. She also claimed the documents showed irregularities in the conferring of asylum that meant that the process was not legitimate. She also claimed all the documents should legally have been made public. At this stage there is no way of judging the validity of the documents Vintimilla presented or her claims.
In a further development Sputnik News quoted Carols Poveda from Assange’s legal team, stating that they intend to seek legal redress over the illegal releasing of the documents to Vintimilla from the Foreign Ministry. Poveda stated “In the next few days we start legal proceedings… The proceedings will be against the Foreign Ministry and its legal representative, who is the foreign minister”.
Although Vintimilla and the PSC only hold a relatively small number of seats in the National Assembly, according to a tweet from Wikileaks on Oct 2nd, they are working with other “U.S. aligned” parties. In addition, the alleged involvement of the current Foreign Minister Valencia from Moreno’s governing PAIS alliance, raises the question of whether Moreno himself is orchestrating these manoeuvres in the National Assembly. The PAIS Alliance has itself not given any public support to the PSC efforts to revoke Assange’s asylum, but it would not be the first time Moreno had worked to overturn the policies of his own party that he inherited from the previous President Correa.
Moreno has publically stated many times he wishes for Assange to be removed from the Embassy and that he thought it was a mistake to grant him citizenship. On Moreno’s orders, Assange has been in virtual solitary confinement since March 28th, cut off from the internet and friends and family. He has had to step down as a consequence as Editor-in-Chief of Wikileaks.
Donald Trump’s government has continued the persecution of Assange began by his predecessor Obama. Mike Pence has visited Ecuador to pressure Moreno directly. The U.S. first threatened to withhold loans from Ecuador if they didn’t cooperate and has since rewarded Moreno with over a billion dollars of funds for his compliance. Top Trump officials have repeatedly stated their determination to put Assange on trial for his work with Wikileaks, labelled a “hostile, non-state intelligence service”
That Vintimilla is attempting so soon after her first failed efforts to get another vote up in the National Assembly demonstrates the relentless nature of the conspiracy against Julian Assange and the ongoing dangers he faces.
The almost complete media blackout on these efforts to revoke Assange’s asylum in the English-speaking press also ominously point to the powerful forces working behind the scenes to both orchestrate this campaign and suppress any public discussion of it.
We call on workers and youth to participate in building the international campaign needed to defend Assange as part of the struggle against war, censorship and to defend democratic rights. We must be prepared for the fact that if Assange’s citizenship is stripped – he may be evicted from the Embassy very quickly. Visit the Call out for Emergency Global Protests if Assange is Evicted to read how you can get involved in Emergency protests if this occurs. Protests will also be occurring in cities around the world on November 4th in order to “Turn up the heat on the U.S. Government”. Email ClassConscious@protonmail.com to get involved in either of these protests.
U.S. aligned parties fail in Ecuadorean National Assembly to review Assange’s citizenship
There are moves afoot which show that the high-level conspiracy to hand Julian Assange over to U.S. authorities to be prosecuted for Espionage continues apace. On Oct 2nd, the Wikileaks Twitter account announced that U.S. aligned parties in the Ecuador National Assembly were planning to vote on taking steps towards stripping Assange of his Ecuadorean citizenship, which has acted as a legal barrier to his extradition to the U.S. There was a complete media blackout of this development in the English-speaking press. Not a single reference to the vote showed up in a Google news search.
The plenary session of the National Assembly to debate Assange’s citizenship occurred on Thursday 4th October. Due to the complete blackout in the Western press, we were only able to obtain information in English about the vote from a Twitter account from an Assange supporter in Ecuador called Jose Rivera. He tweeted that the U.S. aligned parties had failed in their efforts to review Assange’s citizenship (a step towards revoking it) as they narrowly lacked the numbers necessary. As a consequence, the vote to review Assange’s citizenship status did not occur.
The review of Assange’s citizenship was initiated by Paola Vintimilla from the right-wing PSC (Social Christian Party). On September 20th, Vintimilla and the PSC fronted a press conference claiming there had been irregularities in the granting of Julian Assange’s citizenship which occurred in late 2017.
Whilst the vote failed to take place, rest assured the U.S. and its lackeys in Ecuador will not stop here in their efforts to get the votes necessary to strip Assange of his citizenship. After placing Assange in conditions akin to solitary confinement since March 28th, cut off from the internet and friends and family, Moreno has made it abundantly clear that he is desperate to sell out Assange to the U.S. in return for closer economic ties to the U.S.
As Wikileaks tweeted on August 31st, there has been direct economic pressure placed on Ecuador to hand over Assange in the form of one billion dollars from Goldman Sachs and the Inter-American Development Bank. Jimmy Dore and Abby Martin discuss what the Trump Presidency is doing to pressure Ecuador on the Dore show here.
New Zealand activist Alex Hills has prepared a list of Facebook contacts for Ecuadorian politicians if people wish to contact them directly to lobby on Assange’s behalf. They can be found here.
The attempt to strip Assange of his citizenship comes in the wake of the appointment of Icelandic journalist Kristinn Hrafnsson as the new editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks in the past week. The fact that this development has occurred is further evidence of the deteriorating situation for Assange.
We must be prepared for the fact that if Assange’s citizenship is stripped – he may be evicted from the Embassy very quickly. Visit the Call out for Emergency Global Protests if Assange is Evicted to read how you can get involved in Emergency protests if this occurs. Only an ongoing, sustained, mass campaign of the youth and international working-class can defend Assange in the face of the imperialist conspiracy he faces.
Free Julian Assange!
Turn up the heat on the U.S. Government – Protest Sunday November 4th for Julian Assange!
Classconscious.org is placing another call-out for workers and youth to rally to defend Julian Assange and turn up the heat on the U.S. Government on Sunday November 4th. So far protests have been called for Sunday 4th of November in 9 cities: Auckland, Canberra, Dublin, Kathmandu, Ljubljana, Melbourne, Philadelphia, Taipei, Toronto,! A protest in also be organised outside the Embassy in London by the WISE Up Action group on November 4th. (Details for each protest can be found at the bottom of the article).
We are excited that people in Taipei are joining these global protests for Assange for the first time. Organisers are holding a protest/press conference outside the American Institute of Taiwan which operates as a defacto Embassy. Representatives of the Tree Party have endorsed this protest .
Once again, the focus of these protests is the U.S. Government – headed by President Donald Trump – which is ultimately responsible for the ongoing persecution of Julian Assange. Just as his predecessor Obama, before him, the Trump government is pursuing its relentless efforts to arrest and extradite Assange – to put him on trial for Espionage. The U.S. Empire is determined that Assange and Wikileaks’ ongoing revelations about their war crimes, surveillance and political corruption be stopped forever and an example made of Julian Assange to other whistleblowers and publishers.
How to stay informed and get involved:
1) Join theFree Julian Assange Events Facebook page 1) Join an Action 4 Assange Facebook group.
2) Sign up for Email updates from classconscious. (Note: we also send out our new articles on other topics from our website in addition to campaign info).
3) Email classconscious.org at email@example.com if you want to start organising a protest in your city or country on November 4th. We can assist you with organising and publicising your protest.
Resources are available such as the awesome ‘Bean’ print-quality pdfs for Julian Assange banners, placards, leaflets, stickers, badges, etc made by Somerset Bean which can be obtained from his website.
We are also encouraging people to make banners and signs using the theme of ‘blowing the whistle’ on the U.S. Empire’s persecution of Assange by incorporating the image of whistles. You can also blow real whistles at your demonstration!
Only a massive mobilisation of the youth and international working-class will generate the political force necessary to prevent Julian disappearing into an American prison for life or worse. The fight for Julian’s freedom is inseparable from the fight to defend democratic rights and the fight against censorship and against imperialist war.
DETAILS OF PROTESTS
AUCKLAND Nov 4th – U.S. Embassy 23 Customs St East, 11 to 1 pm – Facebook Event
CANBERRA Nov 4th – U.S. Moonah Place, Yarralumla 11AM- Speak Out for Assange! – Journalism is not a crime!
– Facebook Event – Media Statement
Nov 4th – U.S. Embassy, Ballsbridge 12 PM – Facebook Event – Facebook Event
Details to be confirmed
Nov 4th, Park Zvezda, 12:00 PM
Nov 4th – U.S. Consulate 553 St Kilda Rd, 12 PM – Facebook Event
Nov 4th – WHYY, the headquarters of public radio in Philadelphia, 150 N 6th St, Philadelphia, 12 PM
Nov 4th, American Institute of Taiwan is: No. 7, Ln. 134, Sec. 3, Xinyi Rd., Da’an Dist. Taipei City, 2-4 PM
TORONTO Nov 4th – Across the street from U.S. consulate in parkette at 360 University. 12 PM – Facebook Event
United Public Workers for Action call public meeting – “The Attack On Julian Assange, Journalists, Democratic Rights, Labor & Imperialist War”
The California based United Public Workers for Action (UPWA) have called an important public meeting to hold a forum to discuss the persecution of Julian Assange in the broader framework of the attack on free speech and democratic rights more generally.
Classoncious.org fully endorses this meeting, and encourage the widest possible attendance where possible.
We eagerly await the release of a recording of this event through labour video, as has been the case with previous meetings and protests organised by this group.
From their announcement:
The Attack On Julian Assange, Journalists, Democratic Rights, Labor & Imperialist War
The effort by the US government to continue to attempt to arrest whistleblower and journalist Julian Assange is a threat to all labor, journalists and free speech rights. He has exposed the criminal activities of governments and corporate crooks as well as the corrupt Democratic party who manipulated the results of the primary in the last election. Governments, politicians and the billionaires who he has exposed want to shut him up to silence all whistleblowers and journalists.
This forum will look at the attack on Julian Assange as not only an attack on all democratic rights but also in terms of the growing crisis in capitalism and US imperialism. It will also look at the role of independent media in how the Julian Assange case is being covered.
Steve Zeltzer KPFA WorkWeek Radio KPFA
Nozomi Hayase, Journalist and Author
Anne Garrison, San Francisco Bayview and Black Agenda Report
Randy Credico, WBAI Radio Host and Journalist by Skype and WBAI
John Holmes, Retired member of CWA Pacific Media Workers Guild
Sponsored by Bay Area Free Julian Assange Action Committee BAFJAAC
The I.C.F.I must expose the petit-bourgeois and far-right forces who have co-opted the campaign for Julian Assange: An appeal to ICFI members and supporters
“Assange and WikiLeaks are a sharp example of the broader campaign to censor and silence oppositional voices. The fight to defend him is inseparable from the struggle to alert and mobilise the international working-class against the ongoing attacks on fundamental democratic rights and against the danger of dictatorship and war.” – James Cogan 5 July 2018
The Trotskyist I.C.F.I (International Committee of the Fourth International) has continually emphasised the importance of the campaign to defend Julian Assange, published extensively on the topic on their website the World Socialist Website, several of their Socialist Equality Party sections have organised demonstrations including a major rally in Sydney, and it has strongly and publicly endorsedthe call-outs for international protests made by this website (classconscious.org) on June 19th and in the event of Assange’s eviction from the Ecuadorean Embassy.
It is in this context, that we appeal to the I.C.F.I and it’s members/supporters to rectify the party’s silence on the co-option of the Julian Assange campaign by petit-bourgeois tendencies, opportunists and the pro-Trump far-right. It is an urgent political task to demarcate the class forces involved in this campaign so it can be re-orientated back to the international working class.
The vehicle of this take-over of the campaign is the #Unity4J ‘Movement’.
#Unity4J is the creation of both Suzie Dawson – the current President of the New Zealand Internet Party and the Internet Party’s multi-millionaire founder, Kim Dotcom.
Launched in response to the cutting off of Assange’s internet on March 28th by the Moreno Government, #Unity4J consists of a series of monthly, online vigils featuring prominent supporters of Julian Assange.
Although the campaign to defend Assange has been ongoing since 2010, the vigil’s online prominence enabled Dawson, Dotcom and their associates to claim that they are now leading and in control of the campaign to defend Julian Assange.
The name of #Unity4J encapsulates the bankrupt perspective “that Assange must be defended under a ‘Unite with the Right’ banner”.
The About section of the #Unity4Jwebsite states : “In a world of divide and conquer, uniting people is the ultimate act of resistance. Therefore, we must bring together ALL public figures who support Julian and WikiLeaks, regardless of their political views or party affiliation. Putting aside our personal politics in order to create a diverse line-up of advocates who support our message will give us the ability to reach the largest audience possible.”
This is not mere rhetoric. Whilst many of the participants in the vigils have been principled, progressive opponents of the attacks on Julian Assange’s democratic rights – numerous, high profile, far-right, fascistic figures have also appeared – including, but not limited to:
Lee Stranahan: Former Breitbart News contributor and now pro-Trump reporter for Sputnik News.
Cassandra Fairbanks: Pro-Trump Youtuber and writer for far-right website, The Gateway Pundit.
H.A. Goodman: Who uses his Twitter profile to attack leftists and campaigns vociferously for Trump.
Jack Posibiec: An alt-right troll who works for the pro-Trump channel: One America News Network.
Ross Cameron: Far-right, ex-Australian Government politician and now Islamophobic, pro-Trump Murdoch journalist.
The inclusion of these forces has been justified by the self-proclaimed leader of #Unity4J, Suzie Dawson, who has repeatedly stated that the group’s ‘no politics’ line is explicitly being modelled on the global Occupy movement of 2011, of which she was a part in New Zealand.
As the ICFI has explained many times, this perspective is advanced by petit-bourgeois, upper middle-class layers in a conscious effort to prevent Marxist and independent, working-class, orientated movements from developing.
Nor is it a surprise that a ‘movement’ funded and launched by Kim Dotcom is hostile to working-class politics.
“The WSWS denounced the illegal campaign against Dotcom and the GCSB’s operations as deeply anti-democratic. But that does not in any way signify support for Dotcom’s politics, which are oriented toward the same big business and political establishment that is responsible for mass spying and many other abuses of democratic rights.
Dotcom has previously donated money to the far-right ACT Party, which is part of the governing coalition and supports lower taxes for the wealthy and sweeping measures to dismantle welfare. He recently sought political advice from Don Brash, a former leader of both National and ACT. Dotcom has criticised the GCSB and New Zealand’s alliance with the US, but not the National-ACT policies of austerity, privatisation and attacks on wages and working conditions.”
Dotcom’s Internet Party also went into an electoral alliance in 2014 in New Zealand with the chauvinist, Maori, anti-Chinese Mana Party and its pseudo-left allies who threw their lot in with Mana at the time. This development has also been extensively covered by the ICFI.
The ICFI has so far omitted any discussion of the origin and nature of the class forces involved in the current Julian Assange campaign. We believe this omission can best be highlighted by examining two relevant documents of the ICFI.
“The persecution of Assange and Internet censorship has been directly facilitated by the self-styled ‘liberal’ parties and media, the trade unions and the pseudo-left organisations around the world. The representatives of the privileged, upper middle-class, these tendencies have aligned with the ruling-class and the descent toward dictatorship and war. In the process, they have repudiated any defence of fundamental democratic rights. They have either joined the vilification of Assange or maintain a complicit silence”. (emphasis added)
Whilst, it is true that the representatives of the privileged, upper middle-classes have almost entirely betrayed Julian Assange, it must be said – that by stating that ALL their representatives have abandoned the campaign, the ICFI is unable to describe or even label the upper middle-class interests which remain in the campaign. These are, as we have argued – the leadership of the #Unity4J campaign.
In the Occupy movement in 2011, the ‘no politics’ line was used by pseudo-left forces to channel energy behind the Democratic Party. However, this is not possible under current political circumstances due to the open hostility of the CIA Democrats towards Assange.
Instead, the ‘no politics/Unity’ line is being exploited to channel the energy of the campaign behind a different faction of the bourgeois in the form of fascistic, U.S. President Donald Trump and the Republican Party.This follows from allowing far-right Trump supporters to fraudulently masquerade as defenders of democratic principles whilst simultaneously suppressing any criticism of Trump and promoting criticism of the Democrats within the campaign.
It shouldn’t be necessary to explain to ICFI members how dangerous giving political cover to fascistic forces is in the current global climate. The dynamic within #Unity4J reflects the international trend of pseudo-left forces aligning with the far-right as in Britain during Brexit, Syriza in Greece and the Maidan protests in Ukraine.
Classconscious.org, however, are not alone in raising concerns. The tensions over the involvement of the far-right in solidarity work for Julian has been ongoing at the highest levels of this campaign. Classconscious.org has subsequently received both public and private support for our stand against the inclusion of the far-right.
On August 13th, the Director of the Courage Foundation, Naomi Colvin, resigned her position over a directive from the Courage Foundation Board to remove whistleblower and journalist, Barrett Brown, as a beneficiary from the Foundation due to his criticismof Wikileaks and Julian Assange.
She stated, “I remain absolutely, unambiguously opposed to the withdrawal of Julian Assange’s asylum and the prospect of his extradition to the United States. I do, however, have acute concerns about the way advocacy on this issue is developing. This is reflected, obviously, in the circumstances that have led to me resigning from Courage, but also in recent comments made by Jesselyn Radack, Bailey Lamon and Davey Heller (I agree with them).”
This article covered the second #Unity4J online vigil that occurred on July 7th-8th and is the sole article published by the ICFI on the organisation – #Unity4J. The article adopts an entirely uncritical attitude to #Unity4J, neglecting to mention it’s ‘no politics’ perspective.
The WSWS article highlights the statements of Daniel Ellsberg, Chris Hedges, Cian Westmoreland, Ray McGovern and William Binney who are correctly described as “individuals who have been persecuted by governments for taking a courageous stand against war and authoritarianism”.
Other #Unity4J vigil participants, who previously have been excoriated by the ICFI in WSWS articles as pseudo-left or even “openly right-wing” are benignly described as follows: “Other prominent speakers included philosopher and author Slavoj Zizek and British politician George Galloway, who was expelled from the Labour Party for his opposition to the invasion of Iraq.” (Hyperlinks to relevant WSWS articles added above).
Most strikingly though, all other vigil speakers are simply covered by the vague statement “A range of other independent journalists and commentators also spoke.”
This catch-all statement papers over the involvement of the far-right speakers including: Lee Stranahan, Ross Cameron, H.A. Goodman and Cassandra Fairbanks. Fairbanks not only spoke but actually conducted interviews with other panelists.
The statement also papers over the involvement of speakers who whilst not being explicitly far-right, possess extremely questionable politics including Kim Dotcom and Vivian Kubrick, daughter of Stanley Kubrick, who expresses sympathy for Trump and has appeared on Alex Jones’s show ‘Infowars‘.
The silence of the ICFI on these forces’ involvement in #Unity4J, within it’s own published documents, is made even more inexplicable in the light of Mike Head’s (senior member of the Australian SEP and senior writer for the WSWS) very public intervention and criticisms on this exact matter.
On August 9th, during a live-streamed ‘Politics in the Pub‘ event in Sydney, entitled “The Gagging of Julian Assange”, a highly significant exchange occurred between Mike Head, and Suzie Dawson.
During the exchange, Mike Head delivers a devastating critique of the ‘no politics’ line of #Unity4J and how it represents a dead end for the Julian Assange campaign and more broadly the working-class itself. Classconscious.org fully endorses Mike Head’s perspective and believes it should be shared as widely as possible. That is why we have published in full here – with a complete video and transcript of both Mike Head’s comments and Suzie Dawson’s response.
One short section is reproduced below, where Mike Head responds to Suzie Dawson’s explanation that the ‘no politics’ line of #Unity4J is based on the claimed “success” of the Occupy Movement.
Mike Head: Yeah, but look, seven years on from Occupy, Wall Street is in control far more than ever before, inequality is just staggering…you know Occupy completely failed. In fact, it derailed the whole movement behind Obama and the only reason Trump and the alt-right can get a voice, is because of the betrayals of Obama, Clinton and the Democrats and Bernie Sanders too, who delivered… who tried to get people to vote for Hillary Clinton. These are political questions, you can’t avoid them. You can have all the unity you claim to have, and at the end you’re cosying up to extreme right-wing forces who are pro-capitalist forces, like Kim Dotcom by the way, you know, multi-millionaires. They have no common interests with the working-class. I’m sorry, these are very basic questions.
We believe that the ICFI should have shared this video widely and followed it up with an in print, political intervention. We communicated with the ICFI via email and social media to encourage this path but no such action was taken.
We did receive one related reply from the ICFI on Twitter.
“It is a hashtag that is commonly used among supporters of Assange and WikiLeaks. I’m sure you know that the use of a particular hashtag does not imply agreement with it, or with everyone who uses it.”
Given the close correlation of the #Unity4J hashtag with the politics and identity of the #Unity4J movement we found this to be a politically, questionable position.
The comment section was active when the article was printed and became a forum for discussing the ICFI’s position on #Unity4J. It included exchanges whereby assorted WSWS readers questioned the seeming endorsement of #Unity4J speaker, Slavoj Zizek within the article – given his previous exposure as “openly right-wing” by the ICFI.
The comment section also included an debate between myself and commenter, Oliver C, after I expressed that it was politically remiss of the article to omit any reference to the ‘no politics’ perspective of #Unity4J.
At some point after this exchange was published, the comment section was removed from the article. However it was still accessible via the disqus platform which hosts the comment section of the wsws.org. We have reproduced the comment section in full in the following articlethrough compiling a number of screenshots.
A possible pattern is emerging of suppressing discussion of this campaign via the comment section of the wsws.org. The WSWS articleAustralian vigils held in defence of Julian Assange which covered the vigils and protests coordinated by the classconscious.org website on June 19th appeared with no comment section attached.
It is our observation that it is highly unusual for any article on wsws.org to be published without a comment section.
We are not making any accusations regarding the motivations of the ICFI – in relation to either their omissions on discussing the upper middle-class interests and their far-right allies within the Julian Assange campaign or in relation to the removal of the comment section of the wsws article on #Unity4J.
However, we do believe that they raise serious political questions for the ICFI. We are writing this appeal to urge the members and supporters of the ICFI to ask these questions within and without the party and to debate these issues.
These questions must be resolved. The dynamics that have allowed the co-option of the campaign to defend Julian Assange by the far-right will reoccur, and pose a danger to the building of an international movement of the youth and working-class against war and to defend democratic rights more broadly.
Contributors to classconscious.org are not members of the ICFI so we cannot raise these issues directly within the party ourselves. We have attempted to communicate with the ICFI via email and social media but have been met largely with a wall of silence.
We are also Australian based, so much of our communication has been with the Australian SEP. We now reach out to members and supporters around the world in the spirit of internationalism and as comrades.
The contributors to classconscious.org share the revolutionary, socialist perspective of the ICFI and believe that the ICFI has a historic mission in mobilising the international working-class.
It is only because we recognise the vital role of the ICFI in leading the struggles of the working-class, that we are concerned that they have a clear and consistent pubic position on the issues raised in this article.
This article is not an attack on the ICFI but a plea for discussion and debate from an ally in the class struggle.The tradition of the Marxist movement, is one where public debate has allowed for the clarification of positions on important political questions.
At this time of increasing class conflict and pressures, such debates are not only necessary but healthy. It is in this spirit of solidarity that we make our heartfelt appeal to ICFI members and supporters.
Davey Heller – classconscious.org
Note: If anyone would like to contact us directly to discuss the issues raised in this article or ask for clarification on our perspective more generally we welcome discussion. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
The article adopts an entirely uncritical attitude towards #Unity4J without mentioning its ‘no politics’ perspective. The ICFI article highlights the statements of Daniel Ellsberg, Chris Hedges, Cian Westmoreland, Ray McGovern and William Binney who are correctly described as “individuals who have been persecuted by governments for taking a courageous stand against war and authoritarianism”.
Several speakers who previously have been excoriated by the ICFI as pseudo-lefts or even “openly right-wing” are benignly described as follows: “Other prominent speakers included philosopher and author Slavoj Zizek and British politicianGeorge Galloway, who was expelled from the Labour Party for his opposition to the invasion of Iraq.”
Most strikingly though, all other speakers are simply covered by the vague statement “a range of other independent journalists and commentators also spoke.”
This catch-all statement papers over the involvement of the far-right speakers including:
Lee Stranahan: Former Breitbart News contributor and now pro-Trump reporter for Sputnik News.
Cassandra Fairbanks: Pro-Trump Youtuber and writer for far-right website, The Gateway Pundit.
H.A. Goodman: Who uses his Twitter profile to attack immigrants, leftists and campaign for Trump.
Ross Cameron: Far-right, ex-Australian Government politician and now Islamophobic, pro-Trump Murdoch journalist.
Fairbanks not only spoke but actually conducted interviews with other panelists. It also papers over the involvement of speakers who whilst not being explicitly far-right – possess questionable politics – including Kim Dotcom and Vivian Kubrick, daughter of Stanley Kubrick, who expresses sympathy for Trump and endorses and has appeared on the fascistic Alex Jones show, Infowars.
The comment section under this particular WSWS article was active when the article was printed and became a forum for discussing the ICFI’s position on #Unity4J. It included exchanges whereby assorted WSWS readers questioned the seeming endorsement of Slavoj Zizek within the article – given his previous exposure as “openly right-wing“ by the ICFI.
The comment section also included an exchange between myself and “Oliver C.”after I expressed that it was politically remiss of the article to omit any reference to the ‘no politics’ perspective of #Unity4J.
At some point after this exchange was published, the comment section was removed from the article. However, it was still accessible via the disqus platform which hosts the comment section of the wsws.org. We have reproduced the comment section in full below this article – through compiling a number of screenshots.
We are not making any accusations against the ICFI in regards to the motivation of the removal of the comment section of the article on #Unity4J. However, we do believe this raises serious political questions for the ICFI.
We did contact the ICFI directly via a number of avenues to ask why the comment section was taken down but have as yet received no reply.
Again we ask, why has the comment section disappeared from beneath the aforementioned article?
And how did this occur?
We respectfully ask the ICFI and the WSWS to investigate this issue and reinstate the comment section so that others may benefit from reading the insightful comments and discussion therein and/or contribute to the important discussion themselves.
We have also observed that the removal of this comment section is part of a possible pattern of suppressing discussion of this campaign via the comment section of the wsws.org.
The WSWS articleAustralian vigils held in defence of Julian Assange which covered the vigils and protests coordinated by the classconscious.org website on June 19th appeared with no comment section attached. It is our observation that it is highly unusual for any article on wsws.org to be published without a comment section.
The Islamist is the story of a young man’s journey in and outside of radical fundamentalist Islamic groups in Britain in the 90s and early 2000s. In this memoir he writes of his youth, college and university years, his time as a graduate working at HSBC, and travels abroad to as a TESOL teacher in Syria and Saudi Arabia before returning to the UK. In The Islamist he provides and insightful, reasoned critique of the political philosophy of radical Islam.
Although his family followed a spiritual form of Islam, Husain was later recruited by a school friend and took on the radical invective of political Islam through associations formed in the notorious East London Mosque, becoming a member of the Young Muslim Organisation UK – The youth movement of the Islamic foundation of the UK, supporters of Jamat-e-Islami, openly calling for the creation of an Islamic state.
Through college, Husain was a leading member of the YMO, campaigning aggressively to build the Islamist group in opposition to the Socialist Workers Party on campus, Husain was central to their undertaking a number of controversial media stunts to build support and media attention.
Later during the Bosnian war, part the partition of the former Yugoslavia, the students on campus railed against the atrocities therin and sought to stop the genocidal war. Against the parochial outlook of the YMO, in it’s exclusive focus over the Indian subcontinent, and its inability or unwillingness to send speakers for students events on these questions, the students began to invite speakers from Hizb-ut-Tahir and other Wahabi groups to the campus. The world view and system of thought in the Hizb were seen to be more comprehensive and wide ranging than the YMO, which led to support for literalist interpretations of the Koran on campus.
Husain being one of those students, he soon changed his organisational commitment, attending private study, building and attending events and canvassing for Hizb.
Through his dedication Husain was soon seen as an active leading member, until a terrible episode of intramural violence on campus led him to reconsider. Combined with rampant organisational hypocrisy, thus began his gradual period of turning away from fanaticism.
“Establishing the Islamic state was more important than minor matters such as praying, reciting the Koran, giving to charity, or being kind to parents or fellow muslims.. .. My life was consumed with fury, inner confusion, a desire to dominate everything, and my abject failure to be a good Muslim. I had started out on this journey ‘wanting more Islam’ and ended up losing its essence.” (148)
Though this is not all, his story is unique. What makes this book special is as a former insider and social sciences student, he was able to study and work through the Hizb’s writings and internal documents, thus in the process of overcoming them he critiqued the political philosophy of the Islamists of its founder, Nabhani. In its ‘original pure Muslim doctrine’ he found it constituted an immense intellectual fraud, and in some cases outright plagiarism.
The prescribed writings of Nabhani borrowed heavily from European political thought, based heavily on the thought of Hegel, Rosseau and Gramsci.
“My new readings of Nabhani’s writings suggested that his conceptual framework of a so called Islamic state was not the continuation of a political entity set up by the prophet, maintained by the caliphs down the ages (however debatable) but in fact Nabhani’s response to the circumstances he encountered: secular modernism” (161)
“Nabhani’s ideas were not innovatory Muslim thinking, but wholly derived from European political thought. In and of itself this was not a negative development. My objection, was and removing, the deception of the Hizb -ut-Tahir in claiming that it was ‘pure in thought’, not influenced by Kufr.” (162)
“Nabhani’s major mistake was to accept an emphasis on the state over other social structures, and then assume that the prophet Mohammed had struggled to establish a political entity. Rather than approach the life of the Prophet in its proper context of seventh-century pagan tribalism, which the Prophet marvellously reversed to the belief in the one god and Abraham. Nabhani saw only the political office of the prophet and have precedence over all else.
In my mind Nabhani had fallen from his pedestal. And with him, all of Hizb Ut-Tahir’s claims to political purity, intellectual superiority, deep thoughts and the dressing up in religious terms of a political agenda born in the 1950s. Islamism became an empty bankrupt ideology”. (164)
Husain then turned away from the Hizb, in what he calls an identity crisis he began a short association with the Islamic Society of Britain (ISB), which he found equally repugnant. In the closed Koran study sessions, it was more of the same.
“Among Islamists I was a ‘brother’. I was not to dispute our unquestioned perceptions: hatred of Jews, Hindus, Americans, Gays, the subordination of women” (171)
Though there was one upside to this brief association, through the ISB he discovered the spiritual Islam of Imam Hamza Yusuf Hanson by chance. A prominent islamic scholar advocating for the resurgence of the spiritual movement of Islam, he held a profound grasp of theological questions, finding support for his positions by quoting heavily from the poetry of the Koran.
This revelation preceded Husain’s return to the spiritual form of Islam, coming a full circle, to the form of Islam practiced in his youth at home. His views were later reinforced by observing devout Sufi Muslims while travelling in Turkey, learning Arabic, his time in the predominantly Muslim societies of Syria and Saudi Arabia as a TESOL teacher, and an avowal of non-violence after seeing violence on campus, 9/11 and the 2005 London Tube attacks.
As a short popular memoir he it could be said he necessarily glosses over some pressing questions of the day that deserve wider investigation and discussion i.e. the promotion of identity politics, the cultivation of nationalism and chauvinism, nor does he account for his personal support for war criminal Tony Blair and the Labour Party. Despite the obvious restrictions of its form it would appear at the time of its writing the Islamist has no answers for the aforementioned.
Despite this Husain achieves his objective and provides a well rounded, thorough critique of Islamism in the UK with references to his experiences as a young man through the 90s and early 2000s. This along with his vignettes of student politics, the inner life of various Islamist groups and his travels abroad, the book is worthy reading. The Islamist is its own small contribution to uniting the working class, overcoming xenophobia and nationalism in a common struggle across race, religion and nationality.
There is some promise in Husain, as he has since gone on to write a short history: ‘The house of Islam: A global history’ published in 2018. The blurb reads:
“Today, Islam is to many in the west an alien force with Muslims held in suspicion. Failure to grasp the inner working of religion and geopolitics has haunted American Foreign policy for decades and has been decisive in the new administration’s controversial orders. The intricacies and shadings must be understood by the West not only to build a stronger, more harmonious relationship between the two cultures, but also for greater accuracy in predictions as to how current crises, such as the growth of ISIS, will develop and from where the next might emerge.”
Perhaps this next instalment as it were will go some way to redressing the foibles and weakness of Husain’s first work?
The Islamist: Why I joined radical Islam in Britain, What i saw inside and why I left