Rent strike poster website launched in build up to May Day global rent strike.
A website entitled “Global Rent Strike Posters” has been created dedicated to building working class solidarity across the world to demand a global end to rent payments, and the socialization of all rental housing stock. It provides posters and links from rent strikes in New Zealand (Aotearoa), Australia, United States (Boston, Columbus, North Carolina), Canada (Toronto, Montreal). The website has been launched in the build up to the May 1st (May Day) call out for a global rent strike.
In the space of a single month, the COVID19 pandemic has exposed the complete failure of global capitalism to provide basic human needs, including healthcare, employment, and housing.
The ruling class of the world, the capitalists, rapidly coordinated a series of responses to the pandemic, with the object of securing the capitalist system – not providing for basic human needs.
We can see this global coordination in the approach to rental housing – state funds are being directed towards corporate landlords, not to tenants, in many of the advanced capitalist countries such as Canada, the USA and Australia.
But before we can coordinate, we have to know each other. This is why the Global Rent Strike Poster website to sharing Rent Strike posters and art from around the world was created. It is so that working people who are engaging in what can seem to be very localized struggles, in a single building, with a single landlord, or in a single neighbourhood, can know that they are not alone, and can have the strength to fight back not as individuals, but as a social class, with its own independent social interests.
Where possible, we have provided a link to the organization which created the poster or leaflet, or else the rent strike group in that local area.
Julian’s voice MUST be heard: letters from Belmarsh
by Davey Heller, 27th August 2019
The US ruling class and their imperialist allies are trying to extinguish the voice of Julian Assange as punishment for his exposure of their crimes and deter anyone else considering to follow his example.
Since being dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy, Julian has become a virtual modern-day “Man in the Iron Mask”. He is imprisoned in isolation at the Belmarsh “Supermax” in the UK and suffers fading physical and mental health. Julian, however, refuses to be silenced and his voice has been heard faintly, yet powerfully, through the uncoordinated publication on social media of a handful of letters he has sent to individual supporters. No equivalent messages have been released through the ‘official’ elements of Assange’s campaign, support network, PR or legal team. This stands in stark contrast to other comparable political prisoners, including Chelsea Manning, who regularly have their statements from prison communicated directly to the public. Julian’s letters in this context are currently his only voice and the only direct way he has to share his political perspective and personal plight to supporters and the broader public. These important letters should therefore be amplified and shared as widely as possible.
Julian has never kept his political perspective to himself. Demonstrably, through his work with Wikileaks, countless interviews and by maintaining a lively social-media presence on Twitter, Julian communicated directly with tens-of-millions of people around the world. All of this changed in June 2018, when Ecuador, acting on behalf of the US, cut off his internet, phone and most visitors. The UK has now worsened Assange’s isolation in Belmarsh.
Despite this, Julian continues to grasp whatever slivers of opportunity present themselves to speak directly to his supporters. On April 11th, he exploited the few precious seconds available as he was being bundled into a police van to yell out: “You can resist, you must resist!” and “The UK must resist this attempt by the Trump administration”. A few weeks later, during the first stage of the US extradition hearings, Assange stated to the court: “I do not wish to surrender myself for extradition for doing journalism that has won many awards and protected many people”.
The only other way that Julian has found to break out of the gag placed upon him is via handwritten replies he has mailed to supporters who have written to him in Belmarsh. The first letter to emerge was shared publiclyby independent online UK journalist Gordon Dimmack on May 24th. In that letter Julian spoke of his terrible prison conditions and made the poignant plea “I am unbroken, albeit literally surrounded by murderers, but the days when I could read and speak and organize to defend myself, my ideals, and my people are over until I am free! Everyone else must take my place.” Assange finished with the powerful words “Truth, ultimately, is all we have.”
News soon emerged that Julian’s health was failing and he had to be moved to the hospital wing of Belmarsh prison. No new letters emerged for almost three months until Aryiana Love, an Assange campaigner based in Finland, put her letter out on Twitter on August 15th. Julian thanked Aryiana and stated defiantly: “It is people like you, great and small, fighting to save my life that keeps me going. We can win this!”
Almost immediately, another letter was publishedon Twitter by Isabelle Viktor which had been passed on to her by another supporter called Linda. Dated May 21st, in the letter that istranscribed below, Julian gives very specific advice on the choice of locations and targets for protest to his supporters, ending with the words: “I am very isolated and not sure of the state of play, but you get the idea, push on that which will move, not simply that which opposes. Said another way, find the weak links in the chain that bind me”.
Another reply from Assange was published on Twitteron August 22nd stating: “Thank you! The suffering here is profound, but we can win this! Knowing you have my back is what gets me through! – JPA”. The reply was written on the inside of the return envelope. To think that one of the greatest political voices in the world has been reduced to scrawled messages from maximum security on the inside of an envelope is extraordinarily disturbing.
Others have shared short letters from Julian which simply say “Thanks!”.
What can be surmised from these few letters that have been shared publicly from Julian? They reveal that Julian is feeling extremely isolated and is suffering greatly. They reveal that he is very grateful for the ongoing public support he is receiving and that he understands that it is this social force that ultimately has the power to save him. It also reveals that he not only wants to communicate these facts to his supporters directly – but in addition – wishes to still give very specific advice to his supporters on how to best protest on his behalf.
Given these conclusions, how can the lack of conveyed direct messages from Julian, from his visitors, lawyers or even Wikileaks itself be explained? I do not offer or have any proven theories to explain the contradiction between the clear desire of Julian to use whatever means available to him to share his political perspective and plight – with the complete lack of direct statements from him emanating from the ‘official’ channels of the campaign.
This stands in stark contrast to Chelsea Manning who has been jailed since March for refusing to cooperate in the legal witch hunt of Assange in the form of testifying before a Grand Jury. Via her Twitter account, Chelsea is able to communicate a combination of personal and political messages. Presumably, these are relayed to her support team to be tweeted out. She has even been able to release a statementthat was read out by supporters at Pride Marches to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Her lawyers have also used the court proceedings to allow Chelsea to make an in-depth political case as to why she believes the entire process she is being subjected to is illegitimate, when they submitted and released her explanation for why she will never agree to testify to a grand jury.
*Ola Bini, the Swedish programmer that the Moreno Government is attempting to frame up as a “Wikileaks hacker” also hadletters published by his solidarity campaign whilst he was in detention.
*Anarchist prisoner Jeremey Hammon imprisoned in the US for hacking the Stratfor emails releases statements via his supporters from jail, one as recently as June.
*Even the fascist Tommy Robinson who is also imprisoned in Belmarsh recently managed to get along letterout to his brown-shirt supporters.
Magnifying the voice of a political prisoner wherever possible has always been a central focus in solidarity campaigns. One only has to think of the long-term political prisoners Mumia Abdul Jammal or Leonard Peltierin the US who have released numerous statements and writings over decades of imprisonment in the US.
Which brings us back to the strange case of Julian Assange, who as noted has been reduced to writing messages on the back of envelopes in the hope that they may make it to his supporters more generally.
The only statement that I am aware of, facilitated by his legal team and made by Julian since his arrest was the futile, humiliating and politically questionable ‘apology’ he submitted to the court when he was given fifty weeks in jail for breach of bail on May 1st.
It must also be conceded that this lack of direct ‘official’ statements from Julian seems to have been an issue ever since his internet was cut off in the Ecudorean Embassy in March 2018.
As stated, I have no idea why Julian’s clear desire to communicate with his supporters is not being facilitated more through ‘official’ elements of his campaign, support network, PR and legal team. The high-profile supporters, friends and family who have visited Julian in jail under traumatic circumstances clearly only have Julian’s best interest at heart. Likewise his legal team are fighting a David vs Goliath multi-pronged defence of Assange and Wikileaks across three jurisdictions (UK, Sweden and the US) involving both civil and criminal matters. Wikileaks itself, must be one of the most targeted and harassed organisations in political and publishing history.
However, it is not necessary to make accusations of maliciousness against any of these parties, nor should it be taken as such when drawing attention to the political problems that are blocking Assange from getting his voice out in an organised way from Belmarsh.
It is also no secret that Wikileaks and Julian Assange have also commissioned professional PR teams to help win over public opinion. I can only say that whatever PR strategy this team may be pursuing, it is the wrong one if it does not feature Julian’s own voice as the major component of its campaign.
If the central political aim of the persecution of Assange is to silence his voice, then surely a central political aim of his defence should be to amplify his voice whenever and wherever possible. Not only will this help fight the obvious psychological toll that this repression is taking on Julian but the powerful words of Julian (defiantly defending his journalism and condemning his treatment) communicated directly to the global youth and working class would help rouse the only social force that can ultimately free him.
In the meantime, it is clear that Julian deeply appreciates and needs as many letters as possible whilst he is in Belmarsh. Please read thefollowing link or other similar sites to find out how to write to Julian. If you are outside the UK, be aware that only commemorative stamps can be bought online and sent overseas. Please attach sufficient stamps to a blank envelope and include some lined blank paper so Julian can write back to you if he wishes. If he does send a message that would be appropriate to share with his supporters publicly, please do so. We must do everything in our power to let the voice of Julian Assange ring out from behind the vicious prison walls that currently imprison him. And as Julian wrote to Gordo Dimmack, “Truth is ultimately all we have.”
Note: Please also consider writing to Chelsea Manning who also needs ongoing messages from supporters. Details on how to do so can be found here.
Important update about how to write a letter to Julian Assange
You must include his prison number A9379AY when addressing letter, not just D.O.B. (3/7/1971). Confirmed Ruptly interview by Julian’s dad John Shipton 2/10 -Belmarsh “throwing letter in rubbish” without prison number
Belmarsh Prison rules clearly state: use prison number when sending letters. D.O.B. is only if you don’t have prison number. We have Julian Assange’s number. – A9379AY. To maximise chance of letter getting to Julian use number & don’t give them excuse to block his mail which is his lifeline! See Belmarsh website for prison rules on letter writing.
How to Address Mail : HMP Belmarsh, Western Way, London SE28 OEB, UK, Mr Julian Assange, A9379AY,
Share Julian’s words from his letters from Belmarsh on social media!
World Press Freedom Day 2019 : Australia’s imprisonment of journalist Behrouz Boochani
by Davey Heller, April 8th 2019
World Press Freedom Day on May 3rd is an opportunity to highlight the plight of Australia’s most well known targeted journalist Julian Assange but it is also a day to consider the plight of other journalists and whistleblowers in Australia. Classconscious.org intends to publish a series of article on some of these cases in Australia in the lead up to May 3rd.
Behrouz Boochani – Iranian Kurdish journalist and refugee imprisoned by Australia for six years in Papua New Guinea
Behrouz Boochani is an Iranian-Kurdish journalist and refugee who has been imprisoned indefinitely on Manus Island prison by Australian authorities since 2013. Boochani fled Iran where his work as a Kurdish journalist led him to fall foul of the Iranian regime.
He has been held in appalling conditions as part of the punitive “off-shore detention” policy, supported by both major parties in Australia (Labor and Liberal), along with almost 600 other men on Manus. This policy is designed to punish asylum seekers in the camps in an effort to deter other potential asylum seekers from trying to seek asylum in Australia. However the real purpose of this policy is to whip up xenophobia in Australia, not just for electoral gain but ultimately to divide and disorientate the working class. The Australian ruling class was at the forefront of the international moves by the capitalist ruling class to criminalise and demonise asylum seekers for political ends.
Trapped on the island, held in a privately run prison, Behrouz has witnessed violent attacks on inmates from guards and police including the murder of his fellow Iranian friend Reza Berati. He was himself targeted by PNG police and arrested whilst reporting on unrest in the centre in 2017.
Despite suffering the deprivations of incarceration on Manus, Behrouz has courageously continued his brave work as a journalist. He most recently published No friend but the mountains, a memoir he laboriously typed out in Farsi on his mobile phone in short Whats App sections. The book is a first hand account of his journey to seek asylum and his time in the Manus prison. It won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award Victorian Prize for Literature 2019. Boochani is also co-director (with Arash Kamali Sarvestani) of the 2017 feature-length film Chauka, Please Tell Us the Time; in which he filmed life on Manus Island secretly on his mobile phone. He is also collaborator on Nazanin Sahamizadeh’s play Manus.
Behrouz Boochani’s Twitter account has been a key ongoing way that the voice of the asylum seekers trapped on Manus and Nauru has been communicated to the world. Behrouz has also been published extensively in major Australian and international newspapers. A recent documentaryon Behrouz was shown on ABC television.
The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (M.E.A.A.) Campaign for Behrouz Boochani – in stark contrast to silence on Julian Assange.
The MEAA recently launched a#FreeBehrouzcampaign mobilising Australian journalists and writers to sign an open letter demanding the Australian Government bring Behrouz to Australia. Whilst we welcome this campaign, and support for Behrouz more generally, it stands in stark contrast to the silence of the MEAA since 2011 on Julian Assange who is a lifetime member of the union and is also a journalist who has been forced to seek political asylum but is instead detained or imprisoned indefinitely.
That is why classconscious.org is working with others to promote anopen letterto the MEAA demanding they speak out in defence of Julian Assange.
Several Australian, U.S. and other international journalists, academics, cartoonists and documentary makers have so far signed the letter which will be presented to the MEAA offices in Melbourne on May 3rd, World Press Freedom Day.
The letter is asking that the MEAA make essentially the same demands for Julian that it is making for Behrouz from the Australian Government; that is that both media workers require protection and passage to Australia. Neither men has broken any law and merely seek legal and justified asylum.
The M.E.A.A focus, solidarity and representation for Behrouz starkly highlights their complete silence and passivity on the persecution of Julian in the world’s foremost battle for free speech, journalism, whistleblowing and right to know the truth of our capitalist, imperialist masters.
Global emergency actions at U.S. Embassies to protest Assange arrest – Sunday 14th April
This website has put the call out for Emergency mobilisations to occur globally outside U.S. Embassies and Consulates (USA actions will be at US Political Buildings/Offices.) on the following Sunday of an eviction of Julian Assange from the Ecuadorean Embassy. (Suggested time 12PM)
If there are no US Embassies or Consulates in your city you can choose another appropriate venue such as a Federal Senator or Rep, US Federal Buildings some other US government or quasi-official US organisation offices.
Protests have been confirmed so far in the following cities:
Australia Melbourne: 12 PM U.S. Consulate, 553 St Kilda Rd Sydney: 12.30 PM
U.S. Consulate, Martin Place
Ireland Dublin: 12 PM, U.S. Embassy, Elgin Rd, Dublin
Canada Toronto: 12 PM, U.S. Embassy, 360 University Avenue.
United States Wisconsin: 12 PM Capital Square, around the corner from Wisconsin State Capital.
New Zealand Auckland:12 PM U.S. Consulate 23 CustomSt East Wellington: 12 PM U.S. Embassy 29 Fitzherbert Terrace, Thorndon
Taipei: AIT Building
Only a massive and ongoing mobilisation of the youth and international working-class will generate the political force to prevent him disappearing into an American prison for life or worse. In many ways his extradition signals the real start of this struggle. Protests have already been organised by other organisations since Julian’s arrest in Washington DC, Sydney, Melbourne, San Francisco and elsewhere.
The fight for Julian’s freedom is inseparable from the fight to defend a free press, democratic rights and the fight against censorship and against imperialist war.
If you want to find other people to organise with in your city or country, put a call out on the Free Julian Assange Events Facebook Page, or one of the Action 4 Assange country specific pages listed further down this article.
Create a Facebook event (or twitter post) or simply post the details of your event eg place and time and invite people to join you.
After your event please publicise your action on Facebook, Twitter or send details to ClassConscious@protonmail.com for us to distribute.
Here is link to higher resolution poster pdf files for professional printing: Paper, t-shirts, stickers, etc for those who wish to print of material for their protest.
WHY THIS IS A REVISED CALL OUT This is a revised call out from the one classconscious.org issued in August 2018. At the time we were advertising protests in specific cities but we have lost contact since then with some organisers, therefore it is now more practical for people in each city to take on advertising their own protests rather than centrally advertising them on this site.
Free Julian Assange! Journalism is not a Crime! #Free Press #Workersoftheworldunite
Mobilising journalists and media workers to demand the Australian Media Union speak out in defence of Julian Assange
Classconscious.org are working with U.S. researcher and writer jimmysllama to mobilise media workers and journalists internationally to come out and publicly pressure the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) to act and speak out in defence of Julian Assange. The MEAA is the Australian trade union representing media workers and journalists. We are supporting efforts to raise this demand publicly on May 3rd, 2019 – World Press Freedom Day. In particular, we are asking journalists and media workers to sign a statement that can be read here at the World Press Freedom Day website, which is promoting this letter and protests endorsed by labor organisations to defend whistleblowers and journalists.
We believe this is an important step in the campaign to defend Assange for the following reasons:
1) It correctly puts the focus on Julian as a persecuted publisher and journalist himself and counters the false narrative that he is a hacker, whistleblower or even a spy. In reality, Wikileaks is a brave publishing house that has published classified information in the public interest. Until recently, Julian was working as the editor of Wikileaks until the conditions of his asylum were too onerous and forced him to step down from the role.
If Julian can be extradited to the U.S. on espionage charges for publishing classified U.S. documents, the same fate could await any journalist or media outlet globally who takes these steps. This is an incredibly, serious attack on the right of journalists to perform their job of keeping the public informed.
2) It is crucial to Julian’s legal defence. The Trump administration is determined to deny that Wikileaks is a media publisher. In 2017, U.S. Secretary of State – Mike Pompeo – labelled Wikileaks a “hostile non-state intelligence agency” in order to justify using the Espionage Act against Assange and to circumvent the First Amendment rights of the U.S. Constitution. This tactic also explains the determination of the Trump administration in the re-jailing of Chelsea Manning in an effort to coerce her into giving false testimony that Wikileaks actively helped her to obtain the classified military documents.
That Julian’s persecution is a clear-cut case of a publisher facing persecution for doing their job has become even more clear as the slanders cast against him have fallen away. In 2017, the politicised Swedish sexual-assault investigation was closed with no charges being laid. We also know that the Grand Jury related to Wikileaks is pursuing charges related to the releases of 2010 and has nothing to do with the bogus allegations of “Russian collusion” in relation to the 2016 election of Donald Trump.
3) It will fight back against the reactionary role that some elements of the media have played. Unfortunately, except for honorable exceptions – since Julian sought asylum in the London Ecuadorian Embassy in 2012, there has been conspicuous silence from many professional journalists. Worse still, some outlets, most notably the Guardian newspaper, have consistently attempted to smear Julian. We feel it is important that as many fellow journalists as possible speak out in a coordinated fashion to change this dynamic.
4) Only a powerful, broad-based campaign will bring enough pressure on both the Australian Labor and Liberal major parliamentary parties – who have wholeheartedly supported the persecution of Julian because of their commitment to the U.S. alliance to advance the interests of the Australian ruling class – to compel them to use their diplomatic and legal powers to bring Julian safely home, as they would any other citizen.
The international working class and youth is the central force that this campaign will be built on. An important step in building this movement in the working class involves mobilising media workers and journalists. As part of this process we are asking Australian and international journalists and media workers to demand that the MEAA (the Australian media union) speak out in defence of Julian Assange.
A concerted and sustained effort however will need to be made to mobilise media workers on this issue in the face of the (Australian Labor Party-aligned) MEAA’s current betrayal of Julian.
The MEAA have abandoned their vocal supporting of Julian from 2010 when they gave him a life-time membership as recognition of his contributions to the media. Since welcoming Wikileaks winning the Walkley Award for “Most outstanding contribution to the media” in 2011 the MEAA has not uttered any public support for Julian Assange and Wikileaks.
In 2017, the MEAA launched a campaign to defend Press Freedom stating: “Campaigning for press freedom, for the right of journalists to go about their business without harassment, persecution or censorship, is at the very core of the work of MEAA.” – however, the campaign made no mention of Julian Assange or Wikileaks.
On February 11th, in an important development in building the campaign to Free Julian Assange in the international working class, the San Francisco Labor Council passed a “Resolution in Support of the Defense of Whistleblower & Journalist Julian Assange”. The San Francisco Labor Council is affiliated with the AFL-CIO and represents over one hundred thousand workers in over 150 Unions. A new motion by the MEAA would add to the momentum to spread this development further. We encourage all media workers to not only organise around World Press Freedom Day to highlight the defence of Assange but also to pass motions in their sub-branch meetings and worplaces in defence of Assange and Press Freedom.
THE POLITICAL CONTEXT OF THE FIGHT TO DEFEND ASSANGE
THE DEEPENING CRISIS OF CAPITALISM
The defence of Julian Assange occurs within a broader political and class context. His persecution is part of the increasing use of the espionage act to silence dissent in the U.S. which began under the Obama Presidency but has intensified and broadened with the growing attacks and atmosphere of hostility to the press led by Trump who has labelled the media – “enemies of the people”. However, attacks on freedom of the press in the name of ‘national security’ are also occurring in Australia and many other countries around the world.
This, is because in the context of a deepening capitalist crisis, under conditions of ever-increasing social inequality, continuing capitalist rule is no longer consistent with a free press and freedom of speech. Wikileaks in its exposure highlights the broader trend, that the working class can no longer be allowed to learn about the crimes of governments for fear of the social revolution that this will ferment. The Trump administration is an extreme manifestation of this lurch towards authoritarianism and fascism and his government’s war on the press and Wikileaks must be seen in this context.
A UNITED FRONT TO DEFEND ASSANGE
As the attacks on Wikileaks, Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning are being driven by the crisis of capitalism, classconscious.org believes that the only force that can counter this process is an independent movement of the working class and youth – fighting for socialism. It is only this force that can lead the struggle to defend democratic and social rights.
However, classconscious.org is also aware that not everyone who wishes to fight for Julian is a socialist. We are prepared to work with principled non-socialist individuals and groups who wish to join this vital fight to defend the democratic and social rights of the international working class. It is important to note that this United Front however does not include every individual who claims to support Julian Assange. Classconscious.org has been critical of the inclusion of far right, pro-Trump ‘independent journalists’ within specific platforms within the Defend Assange Campaign such as the #Unity4J vigils. We maintain that their inclusion is inappropriate as it divorces the fight to defend Julian from the broader fight against authoritarianism and fascism. We are not prepared to work with such forces who on the one hand claim to defend Julian but then use their media platforms to promote the fascist agenda of the Trump Administration.
San Francisco Labor Council passes motion in defence of Julian Assange
by Davey Heller, February 26th 2019
On February 11th, in an important development in building the campaign to Free Julian Assange in the international working class, the San Francisco Labor Council passed a “Resolution in Support of the Defense of Whistleblower & Journalist Julian Assange”. The San Francisco Labor Council is affiliated with the AFL-CIO and represents over one hundred thousand workers in over 150 Unions.
The motion, which can be read in full below, stated that “Julian Assange has helped expose the role of the US and other governments of war crimes and violations of international law” and “shown the collusion between government officials, politicians and corrupt billionaires and corporate owners”.
It highlighted that the “U.S. government along with the UK government are seeking to push Julian Assange out of the London Ecuadorian consulate and for his arrest by the May UK government and his deportation to the United States for criminal prosecution”.
The motion placed this persecution in the context of broader efforts by the U.S. government to target and harass Whistleblowers and journalists. It contrasted the “US politicians who have called for the murder and torture of Julian Assange to silence him” with the support he has received from figures such as Oliver Stone and Daniel Ellsberg and the Pacifica Radio Network.
Classconscious.org unequivocally welcomes the support given to Julian Assange by the delegates of the SLFC who moved and supported this motion. Mobilising workers and trade unionists is an important element in building this campaign.
It is also important to acknowledge the challenges and political obstacles that stand in the way of such a mobilisation. These are pointed to by a number of facts surrounding this motion. Firstly, the motion refers to the support given to Julian Assange by the Media Arts and Entertainment Alliance (MEAA: which represents journalists industrially in Australia), in 2010 when they made him a life member. The fact is that the MEAA has not made a public statement in support of Julian since 2011. This is indicative of the near silence from the trade unions and their political masters in the Australian Labor Party over the last nine years. This represents the way the Labor Party, like the Liberal Party has failed to stand up for Julian Assange in deference to ongoing unanimous support in the Australian ruling class for the U.S. Alliance. Defending Assange means cutting across the interests of this alliance.
The AFL-CIO, like it’s offshoot, the ACTU in Australia – is politically subordinate to the ruling class and particular the Democrat Party, which shares a bipartisan hatred of Assange with the Republicans. This was evident in both the resistance to the motion from sections of the unions present and the fact that as yet no mention of the motion has been posted on the SFLC Facebook page and the only mention on the SFLC website is in its resolution section.
None of this however, undermines the importance of the motion passed in San Francisco on February 11th. In some degrees it only serves to magnify the motion’s importance as it shows that the support for Julian Assange within the working class can, and must find expression within the union movement as the working class of every country is forced to raise political demands to defend, and advance their living standards against a global onslaught against wages and working conditions.
This episode should be a clarion call for workers around the world to raise the plight of Julian Assange in their workplaces and union meetings and have similar motions passed.
Full report on debate by Steve Zeltzer reproduced from KPFA WorkWeekRadio
By Steve Zelzter Member CWA PMWG
After a contentious debate, the San Francisco Labor Council voted to support journalist and whistleblower Julian Assange on February 11, 2019. Assange is being held a virtual prisoner at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and the US government wants to arrest him if he is forced out of the embassy.
In 2010, the Australian unions stood in defense of Assange against the campaign by the US and other governments to threaten his arrest and prosecution. These governments have been embarrassed and exposed by WikiLeaks and have been seeking to arrest him and remove him and Wikileaks from continuing their work.
Richard Stone, a delegate for the American Postal Workers in San Francisco introduced the resolution to support Assange at the December 2018 meeting of the Labor Council which represents over 100,000 workers in San Francisco. The resolution condemned the attacks on Julian Assange and threats to murder him. It supported Assange and WikiLeaks for helping to expose the Panama papers and the Podesta emails which the resolution said “have shown the collusion between government officials, politicians and corrupt billionaires and corporate owners”
It also challenged the “systemic effort by the US government to harass, repress and jail reporters and whistleblowers who exposed corruption and criminal activities by government officials”.
It ran into immediate opposition from some delegates. Alisa Messer, who is the former president of AFT 2121 and the political director of the SF Labor Council charged in the discussion that Assange had been investigated and charged with rape and this was a reason to amend the resolution.
This was challenged on the floor by SEIU 1021 delegate Alyssa James-Garner who reported that there had been an investigation but never any such charges. This was also supported by IATSE Local 16 delegate Michael Madden who said that there were no charges against Assange.
CWA Pacific Media Workers Guild delegate and VP of the Local Gloria LaRiva also supported the resolution to defend Julian Assange and pointed out that the attack on him was not isolated but that many journalists have been targeted for repression and murder.
San Francisco Labor Council Olga Miranda who is Secretary Treasurer and president of SEIU Local 87 argued that the issue needed more information and made a motion to table the resolution until February for more education. This passed and delegates from the Social And Economic Justice sub-committe had an educational meeting on the issue.
On Monday February 4, 2019 there was another discussion in the Executive Committee to amend the resolution to only defend Assange against any criminal charges for “whistleblowing” and not all criminal charges. The sealed secret indictment against Julian Assange if filed would have likely led to a to criminal charges of releasing secret government information under the Espionage Act.
One of the issues delegates pointed out who supported Julian Assange is that many other journalists have been prosecuted and the prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could lead to criminal charges against the Washington Post, New York Times and other publications that reported on the emails and other materials released by Wikileaks.
During the debate on the resolution at the February meeting, delegates spoke in favor of defending him and tied it to the secret role of the US government in Chile, Venezuela and many other countries to intervene to overthrow governments which the US government disagreed with. Delegates from SEIU 1021 including Martha Hawthorne said WikiLeaks played an important role in providing important information and she said she considered Assange a hero and was worried about his health.
Delegates prior to passing the resolution had also passed a resolution opposing the illegal US military and CIA plans to invade Venezuela and supported protests against these actions.
Despite the fact that there had been no charges of rape against Assange, some delegates continued to argue that this was not the case. AFT 2121 president Jenny Worley also had argued that there were criminal charges against him.
SFLC Secretary Treasurer Miranda also lambasted the delegates for wasting time on such issues and argued that they should be spending time talking about contracts and their local union issues. She also said that delegates from some unions were not attending meetings because of such issues being brought up in the council.
The members voted to support the amendment of the resolution by the SFLC and it becomes the first labor resolution in the United States supporting the freedom of Julian Assange and defending his rights as a journalist to get WikiLeaks information to people in the United States and around the world. US journalists are also being physically threatened by Trump who has called them scum and at a rally held on the same night that the resolution came up at the council, BBC cameraman Ron Skeans was violently pushed and shoved by a supporter of Trump after Trump pointed to the journalists and incited the frenzied crowd to attack them.
US politicians have also supported the murder of Assange as a way to silence him and other journalists who expose the activities of the US government and both Democrats and Republicans have supported the criminal prosecution of him.
Journalists and other trade unionists have joined two rallies in San Francisco at the British consulate to demand his freedom and the action by the San Francico Labor Council is a step forward in taking the defense campaign to other unions and working people in the United States.
KFPA WorkWeek Radio
WW 2-11-19 SFLC, Labor And Julian Assange: Trade Unionists Speak Out
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.