∙ If you are not in a Labor Union, organize your fellow employees to join a General Strike. Such organizing may be best done outside of work premises. Many workplaces disallow any organizing onsite.
Mobilise your political party!
∙If you are a member of an organized political party, find out how they plan to react to an unfair, irreconcilable and illegitimate election. If they have no plans for response, organize one.
Mobilise your social justice group!
∙If you are a member of an organization that fights for justice find out how they plan to react to an irreconcilable and illegitimate election. If they do not have a plan, organize one.∙If you are aware of another organization who is currently fighting the austerity and the fallout from the pandemic, such as Tenants Unions, try to organize a General Strike within these organizations.
Organise your neighbourhood.
∙Talk to your friends and neighbourhoods about the looming dangers. Do not allow people to call you an alarmist; arm yourself with data that shows that it is already happening. In the event of a widespread strike, neighbourhood committees and organizing will be important in sustaining strike activity.
Protests versus General Strike
∙A General Strike is more than a protest, it is when workers across all industries refuse to go to work eg withdrawal their labor. By grinding the economy and therefore profits to a halt, the working class can assert its demands! A General strike is the working class intervening directly into this struggle.
∙Protests in contrast are where people assemble to make a demand. They are important and will be needed alongside a strike however protests alone will not be enough to stop a fascist coup in the US.
Learn the difference between a General Strike and a Protest.∙
Learn about the definition of a United Front. A United Front does not require an ideological agreement on all matters, only an agreement on a specific action, in this case a general strike to stop slow motion fascist coup.∙
Use the opportunity of building the strike to teach people who are amenable to learning about the class struggle and socialism. Whatever occurs in the next few weeks – the class struggle will only intensify under conditions of capitalist crisis around the world.Plan ahead∙If you have sick leave or vacation time sign up to take it now. Take off as many days as possible from the election forward, no one knows how long this will take.
∙Stock up on supplies. Think about how you, your friends and co-workers can support each other if supplies and transport etc are shut down in ongoing general strike.
No more appeals to the fascist Trump! The Assange campaign must turn to the working class!
by Davey Heller 19th September 2020
As the outrageous show trial of Julian Assange continued at London’s Old Bailey several developments highlighted the political crossroads facing the Assange campaign. Will elements of the campaign continue to foster the dangerous and self-defeating illusion that Assange can be saved by appeals to Trump, the fascist political thug responsible for his persecution? This reactionary dead end was personified by Glen Greenwald’s recent interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News. Or will the campaign turn to the only social force that can free Assange, the international working class?
The harsh truth is that the middle class forces dominating the Assange campaign continue to believe that only appeals to one faction or another of the ruling class can save Julian. In the US context this has been disastrous. Due to the almost universal hostility of the Democrat/liberal faction wing of the US ruling class to Assange, illusions were developed that Trumps MAGA movement could be a counter balance to this and his supporters could be a tool to lobby Trump for a pardon.
Perhaps the most high profile, recent example of this trend comes from Brazil-based US journalist Glen Greenwald, who writes for the Intercept. He appeared on Rupert Murdoch’s Fox news on September 10thon The Tucker Carlson Show. Carlson uses his platform on Fox to support Trump’s fascist agenda. Carlson recently justified the murder of two anti police violence protestors by a fascist gunmen with the statement, “How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?” Greenwald appeared on this far right demagogue’s platform to make the following direct appeal to Trump, who watches Fox News religiously:
“Obviously this isn’t coming from President Trump! He praised WikiLeaks in 2016 for informing the public. He knows, firsthand, how these spying systems that Edward Snowden exposed can be abused and were abused in 2016. This is coming from people who work in the CIA, who work in the Pentagon, who insist on endless war, and who believe that they’re a government unto themselves, more powerful than the President. I posted this weekend that there’s a speech from Dwight Eisenhower warning that this military industrial complex — what we now call the Deep State — is becoming more powerful than the President. Chuck Schumer warned right before President Obama — President Trump — took office that President Trump challenging the CIA was foolish because they have many ways to get back at anybody who impedes them. That’s what these cases are about Tucker, they’re punishing Julian Assange and trying to punish Edward Snowden for informing the public about things that they have the right to know about the Obama Administration. They’re basically saying to President Trump, “You don’t run the country even though you were elected. We do!” And they’re daring him to use his pardon power to put an end to these very abusive prosecutions.”
Here we see yet another so called “progressive” element of the Assange campaign regurgitating the ludicrous idea that it’s not Trump but “Deep State” actors opposed to him, who are responsible for the prosecution of Assange! For starters this completely contradicts the main tenet of Assange’s legal defence, that the prosecution of Assange is being directed by the highly politicized U.S. Department of Justice, which under Trump, essentially takes it’s orders from the President.
Max Blumenthal has revealed evidence of how the biggest single donor to Trump’s election campaign in 2016, Sheldon Adelson acted as a conduit between the company who spied on Assange in the Ecuadorean Embassy and the CIA. Testimony from alt-right fascist Cassandra Fairbanks in the extradition hearing further proves the orders for the arrest of Assange came straight from Trump.
The “Trump versus the Deep State” narrative also somehow posits a billionaire developer from New York, whose cabinet is full of billionaires and the former head of the CIA is somehow an “outsider” fighting and taking on the “establishment’! This is the narrative that underpins the MAGA movement and the Q Anon conspiracy theory.
In reality, the US ruling class is currently locked in vicious internecine warfare between the liberal faction working through the Democrats, and the fascist wing working through the far right Republicans/Trump. Whilst both wings of the ruling class are reactionary servants of Wall St, they rest for their support on different social forces, backed by different elements of the military-industrial-complex, and different networks of billionaires. They represent different strategic approaches of the ruling class as to how to best divide and suppress the working class at home, while pursuing imperialism’s interests abroad under conditions of deepening social crisis. For Greenwald, however, to appeal to the fascist wing to pardon Assange is not only deluded, but dangerous. This appeal occurs in a context where Trump is openly planning to steal the election and crush resistance on the street with military force!
However It is not too late for the Assange campaign, despite Julian’s dire situation. Julian himself has called from his prison cell for workers to organise themselves in his defence. In a letter from Belmarsh in late 2019 he wrote to a supporter
“Dear Anne-Marie, You ask what you can do to fight for my freedom? Use your strongest skills, friends, resources and associations. If you are a nurse, gather nurses, create a bloc in the nurses union, etc! http://defend.wikileaks.org JPA”
Julian Assange’s letter written on an envelope from Belmarsh Prison
This reflects the fact that despite signs of some disorientation prior to his arrest in appealing to, and attempting to maneuver between different factions of the ruling class, Julian too has now turned politically to the working class.
This approach took a step forward with two recent developments. Firstly, South Africa’s largest trade union federation (COSATU) issued a joint statementwith the influential South African Communist Party (SACP) calling for an end to the US persecution of Assange..
COSATU is a Federation of over 30 unions, representing 1.6 million workers. Along with the Communist Party of South Africa which has over 200,000 members, they form the tripartite political alliance with the ANC that has dominated South African politics since the fall of Apartheid. The joint statement issued on September 15th stated:
“Assange has become a target because he did what journalists are supposed to do—expose the truth. The WikiLeaks publisher exposed the crimes that emerged out of wars launched based on lies, which have led to the deaths of more than one million people.
We stand firm on the belief that it is the working class, the broad mass of the population, that must be mobilised to defend Julian Assange, and all class war prisoners. The demand for their freedom must be a rallying cry for the global working class. We therefore call on all workers and young people, and all those who uphold democratic rights, to come forward.” (The full joint statement is reproduced below the article.)
Since the end of apartheid rule both the Communist Party (SACP) and COSATU have worked tirelessly to suppress the growth of a revolutionary socialist movement in South Africa. The SACP is a Stalinist party that embraces the political perspective of the “two stage theory” of revolution. The “two stage” theory demands that the class interests and struggle of the workers must be subordinated to the so called “progressive” wing of the bourgeoisie, in this case the ANC. Rather than fight independently for the overturn of capitalist property relations, the workers movement is forced into the dead end of giving parliamentary support to the ruling bourgeois nationalist ANC, thus propping up South African capitalism and the domestic ruling class. The Stalinist “two stage” theory has led to repeated disasters in country after country in the 20th century. From Spain and China to Indonesia and Chile, untold thousands of revolutionary workers and leftist militants have gone to their graves in the name of the Stalinist two-stage theory.
However, this political perspective does not change the significance of this development. Such a call-out is a crucial break in the chain of betrayal by all the reformist, social democratic organisations around the world. It is a statement made in the name of the political forces which help run a country of almost 60 million people. In contrast, the Australian union movement in Julian Assange’s home country has remained virtually silent as his extradition hearing kicks off again. One can hardly imagine such a statement coming from any of the political groupings associated with the Democrat Party in the US! It should be welcomed by the broader Assange campaign, but as yet it has received very little promotion within the campaign, and no news coverage outside it.
The statement also states “COSATU and the SACP call for an all-out campaign in South Africa, and internationally to defend Assange, oppose his extradition to the US, and secure his freedom, with guarantees against any future prosecution”. Currently there is no evidence beyond publishing this statement that the unions and the Communist Party are working to activate their membership on this campaign in a concrete way. Time will time whether this statement is left cover for the bureaucracy or a genuine statement of intent to organise for Assange. Once again though, the issuing of the statement has objective significance for the Assange campaign and should be utilised in efforts to build on the campaign amongst workers not just in South Africa but globally.
Another development occurred in London when a newly formed London Bus Drivers Rank and File Safety Committee, initiated by the Socialist Equality Party of Britain,passed a motion condemning the state frame up and persecution of Assange
The motion read:
“We call on all workers everywhere to come to Assange’s defence. At stake are basic democratic rights, including free speech and freedom of the press. The defence of Assange is the spearhead of the struggle against militarism and war abroad, and the mobilisation of the state against the working class at home”
The SEP is a Trotskyist socialist party. Trotsky, co-leader with Lenin of the Russian Revolution fought for decades against the degeneration of the USSR under Stalin.
The safety committee is one of several rank and file safety committees initiated by the Socialist Equality Party, who publish the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS). The motion should be welcomed as a reflection of the deep well of support and internationalism that exists within the working class. However it is worth noting that classconscious.org has a principled difference with the SEP in regards to only organising with workers on Assange outside the structure of unions by insisting workers must “break” with the unions altogether and form new worker committees. We believe this severely limits the capacity of united front work with the best layers of workers still trapped under the control of the reactionary trade union leadership. By working only outside the unions, promising developments such as the safety committees motion, risks withering on the vine as other committee initiatives of the SEP have done over recent years.
Classconscious.org has long argued that only a campaign that did not appeal to any faction of the ruling class but sought instead to independently mobilise the international working class. This is the only social force capable of forcing a backdown by US imperialism in its obsessive campaign to crush Assange as part of its efforts to stop ordinary people from learning about its crimes.
The Assange campaign must once and for all step back from the cliff. No faction of the ruling class will save Julian, not the liberal/social democratic, or the fascist wing. The British ruling class and its kangaroo court do the bidding of the war mongers in Washington. The working class is the only international force with the social power to free Julian. It is the working class that has the most to lose, because at its heart the prosecution of Assange by the Trump administration is designed to prevent ordinary people from learning about, and therefore, being able to intervene politically to stop imperialism’s war crimes.
Support the Leon Trotsky House Museum Appeal
8th September 2020
An appeal for funds has been made by Leon Trotsky’s grandson, Estaban Volkov, to support the Leon Trotsky House Museum. The Museum requires urgent funds because it has been closed to the public since March because of measures taken to limit the spread of Cov-19.
A significant part of the museum’s income (from ticket sales, the cafeteria and the giftshop) has dried up, putting a large strain on its ability to remain open.
Esteban in an audio message stated:
Comrades and friends, warm greetings from the Museums general director, Esteban Volkov. We’re going through difficult times with Covid-19, and we need the support of all our comrades and friends, to preserve this valuable historical site where 80 years ago the great Marxist Lev Davidovich Bronstein was struck down in the revolutionary struggle. Luckily, many comrades continue to carry forward his valuable teachings and ideas, which are today more alive than ever.
The Leon Trotsky House Museum is a unique institution dedicated to preserving the legacy of the great Russian revolutionary in the house where he lived and worked, with his wife Natalia and his grandson Esteban until his assassination in 1940.
The appeal is being conducted through the International Marxist Tendency (IMT) who launched the “Support the Trotsky House Museum!” appeal on August 21st on their “In Defence of Marxism” website. A week later they published an update “Great Success for the Trotsky Museum Appeal” stating over seven thousand euro’s had been raised but more funds were needed to ensure the ongoing survival of the museum.
Both Stalinist and capitalist forces have been united in their desire to obliterate Leon Trotsky’s ideas and political legacy from the consciousness of the working class, through a combination of slander and omission for almost a century. This appeal is part of the ongoing efforts of Marxists to ensure that not only is Trotsky’s Museum House preserved but that the living struggle of Trotskyism is maintained. Trotskyism is indeed the Marxism of the 21st Century! Classconscious.org is proud to do what we can to support this important appeal.
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.
It is only through and open and robust discussion scientific socialism, ie Marxism has developed. Classconscious.org would like to play its role in developing such a culture again. We are attempting to foster debate by publishing articles that may not fully align with the position of our editorial collective.
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!