A day of discussion on the migrant/refugee crisis.

Morning session:

Economic migrants and war refugees in the history of capitalism

Afternoon session:

Populism, national borders:  the real interests of the working class

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Imperialism and Social Decomposition

The whole range of imperialist war and conflict in the Middle East, despite various truces, talks and cease-fires, continues to deepen and spread. In these circumstances it is useful to look into the root of these developments within the framework of the decadence of capitalism – the context of imperialist domination and its connection to the formation the nation state in the area of the Middle East; in particular, we want to concentrate on the “Islamic Republic” of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, whose rivalries are becoming increasingly significant within the overall pattern of conflicts.

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Refugees and the National Question

In the first article in this series, we gave a brief overview of the origins and function of migration in the capitalist system and how this has changed as that same system began its remorseless historical decline in the early 20th century. In part two, we examined the culmination of those trends in the horror of the Holocaust. But the defeat of the Nazi terror did not mean an end to the suffering and trauma of displaced people around the globe. As Nazi terror was replaced by the terror unleashed by the Stalinist and democratic powers, millions of displaced Jews, fresh from the horror of the concentration camps, became pawns in the imperialist struggle in the Middle East around the formation of the Israeli state. As the Cold War confrontation widened, millions more around the globe fled wars and massacres, victims of murderous rivalry between the global super-powers and their equally murderous local client states.

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Capitalism's contempt for life

This article was written by our section in France as a response to cases of cruelty against animals exposed in French slaughter-houses. But the same horrors have also come to light in British abattoirs, for example in 2015 following the secret filming of what goes on behind closed doors at a slaughter-house in Butterton, Staffs. As the article explains, cruelty to animals is inseparable from cruelty to human beings, and both are inseparable from the capitalist mode of production, where everything is subordinated to the drive for profit.

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Class struggle in France

Gatherings every evening of several thousand people, especially at the Place de la République in Paris: the Nuit Debout movement has been in the headlines since 31 March. These are meetings of people from different horizons – high school pupils and university students, workers and the precariously employed, unemployed and pensioners, all sharing a desire to get together, to discuss, to close ranks against the adversities of this system. The sincerity of many of the participants is undeniable; they are indignant about all kinds of injustice and at root they aspire to a different world, a more human world founded on solidarity. However, Nuit Debout is not developing their fight or their consciousness. On the contrary, this movement is leading them into a dead end and strengthening the most conformist outlooks. Worse than that, Nuit Debout is a vehicle for the most nauseating ideas, like the personalisation of the evils of society, blaming them on a few representatives like bankers and oligarchs. In this way Nuit Debout is not only misleading all those who are taking part for honest reasons, but is already a blow by the bourgeoisie against the consciousness of the whole working class.

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Conference report 2016

The current situation in Germany is in a sense, a concentrate of a whole series of issues of major importance in the present situation: Germany is at the heart of the refugee crisis, the rise in populism and the threat this poses to political stability, the imperialist confrontations with Russia, to name but a few. This report, adopted by the February 2016 joint conference of the ICC sections in Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland, does not claim to be complete but rather to open up a reflection on these difficult questions.

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Antisemitism

The co-chairman of the Oxford University Labour club resigns after claiming “a large proportion of both OULC and the student left in Oxford more generally have some kind of problem with Jews."; two Labour councillors suspended for antisemitic posts on social media: one of them, Salim Mulla, the mayor of Blackburn, tweeted that Israel was behind recent Islamic State atrocities in Europe; further up in the party hierarchy,  Labour MP Naz Shah has to apologise in the House of Commons for suggesting on Facebook that the solution to the Israel-Palestine problem is to transport the entire population of Israel to the USA; and to top it all, Ken Livingstone, the former mayor of London, denies that Naz Shah has said anything antisemitic and refuses to apologise for claiming that “Hitler supported Zionism in 1932 before going mad and killing six million Jews”. Under pressure from the press and parts of his own party, Jeremy Corbyn announces the formation of a commission of inquiry into antisemitism in the party, headed by civil liberties campaigner Shami Chakrabarti.

So, do Labour and the left have a “Jewish problem”?

Leaving aside the way Labour’s scandals have been used to the hilt by the Tories, the right wing press, and parts of the Labour party itself, to discredit the Corbyn leadership; leaving aside the habitual refrain of the right wing Zionists that any criticism of the Israeli state is by definition antisemitic – the answer is still yes.

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EU Referendum

The arguments by both sides in the UK’s Referendum on membership of the European Unions are limited. They make outlandish claims on the benefits of Leaving or Remaining while warning of the dangers of their opponent’s policy in a perpetual pantomime of “Oh no it isn’t! Oh, yes it is!”

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EU Referendum

The arguments by both sides in the UK’s Referendum on membership of the European Unions are limited. They make outlandish claims on the benefits of Leaving or Remaining while warning of the dangers of their opponent’s policy in a perpetual pantomime of “Oh no it isn’t! Oh, yes it is!”

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History of the class struggle

It is 40 years since the events that took place in the city of Vitoria, where, in 1976, in the context of falling wages due to the economic crisis there were important workers’ movements throughout the country, and in Vitoria there were increasingly massive General Assemblies which elected a committee of revocable delegates. It was when a General Assembly was taking place in the Church of San Francisco that police unleashed repression against the workers gathered there. The then government minister, Señor Fraga Iribarne, founder and president of the Partido Popular (the People’s Party) until his death, and honoured ‘democrat’, ordered the police to fire upon the workers, causing five deaths with many injured.

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