Tag Archive: israel


March 1st

Civilian Death Toll In Iraq And Afghanistan

We at The Voice of Anti-Capitalism in Guildford were reading the Stop The War Coalition newsletter and wondering, what is the true civilian death toll in the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan.

By death toll we don’t just mean direct violent deaths. But all deaths, through disease and loss of infrastructure for example.  All ‘extra deaths’ over and above what the levels would have been, had there not been an invasion.  This is the true cost of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We found no reliable data or studies into civilian deaths caused by the war in Afghanistan.

Regarding Iraq however, we found several surveys and estimates. These ranged from 1.2million deaths to 1.6million deaths. The pre war population of Iraq was 22.5million people. Amazingly then, using the most conservative figure, the  British and American governments have so far caused the deaths of between 1 /19 & 1/18 of the entire population.  Now that’s a sobering thought.

Click on the link below for tables and sources.
Civilian Deaths In Iraq

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STOP THE WAR COALITION
NEWSLETTER No. 1144
04 March 2010

IN THIS NEWSLETTER:
1) WHAT GORDON BROWN COULD HAVE DONE WITH £8.5BN
2) INTERNATIONAL PROTESTS IN SUPPORT OF JOE GLENTON
3) BRITISH SOLDIERS GONE AWOL 17,000 TIMES SINCE 2003
4) MICHAEL FOOT 23 JULY 1913 – 3 MARCH 2010

1) WHAT GORDON BROWN COULD HAVE DONE WITH £8.5BN
Gordon Brown happily signed the cheques for the Iraq war. In 2005 he said, “I would have behaved exactly like Tony over the war.” This is why Stop the War will be protesting outside the Iraq Inquiry on Friday 5 March, when protestors will try to deliver Brown a giant cheque for £8.5 billion, the total spent by Britain on the illegal war in Iraq. As Chancellor of the Exchequer, Brown was the paymaster general for the Iraq war. Instead of spending £8.5 billion on mass slaughter of Iraqis, Brown could have funded:
* The recruitment and retention of over 25,000 new teachers for ten years.
* All NHS maternity care for four years.
* All NHS Accident and Emergency provision for four and a half years.
* All government spending on the railways for five years. http://bit.ly/avwT4v
But not content with this astronomical waste, Brown is now spending sums on the war in Afghanistan which at £12 billion and rising fast, dwarf his Iraq spending. (SEE http://bit.ly/4bRSM)
PROTEST FRIDAY 5 MARCH: BLOOD ON GORDON BROWN’S HANDS
@ THE IRAQ INQUIRY. ASSEMBLE 8.30AM, 
QUEEN ELIZABETH CONFERENCE CENTRE, BROAD SANCTUARY , WESTMINSTER SW1
(Nearest tubes St James’s Park or Westminster)

2) INTERNATIONAL PROTESTS IN SUPPORT OF JOE GLENTON
On 4-5 March, there are international protests in eight countries- Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Russia, Turkey, USA and the UK are demanding that the Ministry of Defence drop the charges against Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, who refuses to return to fight in Afghanistan. (SEE http://bit.ly/bveMzx). If convicted, Joe could be jailed for two years. Stop the War has called a picket of the court in Colchester at which Joe is due to be sentenced on Friday 5 March. He faces up to two year imprisonment. If you would like to join the picket and want information about transport, please contact the national Stop the War office: Call 020 7801 2768. Email office@stopwar.org.uk

3) BRITISH SOLDIERS GONE AWOL 17,000 TIMES SINCE 2003
Joe Glenton is by no means alone. Official figures from the Ministry of Defence show that there were more than 2,000 cases of soldiers going absent without leave last year, with 17,470 incidents recorded since the Iraq invasion in 2003. (SEE http://bit.ly/dCNvRu )

4) MICHAEL FOOT 23 JULY 1913 – 3 MARCH 2010
Former Labour Party leader Michael Foot has died, aged 96. In February 2003, he threatened to lead a mass trespass of Hyde Park when Tony Blair’s government tried to ban its use for the Stop the War demonstration. The government capitulated and February 15 saw the biggest political demonstration in British history. Michael Foot was one of the speakers in the Hyde Park rally at the end of that memorable day, when two million people gathered on London’s streets to say “not in my name”.

This is the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts statement of intent, passed at the National Convention on 6th February.

Statement of Intent
Fees, debt and marketisation are increasingly turning education from a right for all into a privilege for the wealthy. The NCAFC opposes all proposed and existing fees, course cuts, staff redundancies or reductions in education spending. Cuts are compounding 30 years of neo-liberal reforms which are turning our universities and colleges into businesses organised to produce profit and a pliant workforce, not critically thinking people and a better society.
Education can and should be funded not by student fees and taxes on the poor, but by progressive taxation. It should be an emancipator right, free and available to all.

We will fight for:
– A halt to all education cuts, the abolition of all fees and a living grant for every student, in FE and HE. Tax the rich to fund education
– Education not profit: business out of our schools, colleges and universities.
– A mass movement of students, including occupations, direct action and walk-outs from FE and 6th form colleges and schools, against fees and cuts. Solidarity with our lecturers, teachers and workers.
– Fees, cuts and marketisation are affecting all areas of education; schools, FE colleges, adult and part-time education institutions are being hit and must work together in the response. Regional meetings much be concerned with issues affecting all students in different types of education.
– This campaign also recognises that oppressed groups are being scapegoated due to the crisis, and that cuts will affect them the most. This campaign therefore commits itself to opposing all forms of racism including Islamophobia
– We are committed to solidarity and co-operation with Liberation organisations that share these values (including, but not limited to, the autonomous NUS liberation campaigns, all of which have free education policy), and condemn all forms of discrimination. Black, Disabled, LGBT and women students are systematically disadvantaged and discriminated by society and are disproportionately affected by fees and cuts.
– We are an internationalist campaign. We are for solidarity with students and workers across the world in our common struggle against exploitation and oppression. We are opposed to the victimisation of students and education workers over immigration status, as well as all deportations and immigration controls. We are opposed to all imperialist wars, sanctions and occupations: UK troops out of Afghanistan now.
– We will compile a national education activists’ contact database for co-ordinating activites
– We agree to initiate a national boycott of the National Student Survery (NSS) to oppose marketisation of education
– To send representatives to the Bologna process counter-conference on March 11th
– To support the call for a national demonstration outside the Autumn conference of whichever party wins the General Election.
– To support the teach-in at King’s College London on 27th February called by KCL UCU, No Cuts @ King’s and the London Education Activist Network
– Where possible ‘cultural evenings’ will be put on in student unions nationwide with poetry, theatre, music exhibitions and other artictic forms, with guest speakers and performers invited, in opposition to fees and cuts.
– To convene a meeting dedicated to the discussion of a united left slate in the NUS elections. All groups, networks, student unions and individual activists should be able to attend and participate.
– To change our name to the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts
– That a national convener be elected from each region (North, South, London, East Anglia) to convene a regular open national steering committee with the regional conveners. This national organising meeting be open to all education activists.

N.B. The grammar of the statement is not perfect, as it is based on the original script from the conference; this will be addressed at the next national meeting. Please send corrections to ucl.free.education@gmail.com or againstfeesandcuts@gmail.com

 Join the National Campaign Against Fees & Cuts F/b group: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/group.php?gid=108319208229

 NCAFC London Area: http://ncafclondon.wordpress.com/ 

27th February, 2010

Palestinian Cooperative To Attend Fairtrade Fortnight 2010.
Zaytoun is a pioneering Fair Trade initiative selling Palestinian products in the UK and Ireland. We are a cooperative Community Interest Company and an World Fair Trade Association member. Zaytoun was established to support marginalized farming communities in Palestine. As a purpose beyond-profit company our primary objectives lie with the welfare of the producing communities. We invest in empowering farming communities and developing the agricultural infrastructure in Palestine. Since it inception in 2004 Zaytoun has imported more than 170, 000 litres of Palestinian olive oil into the UK which translates to more than £1.5 million reaching farmer cooperatives.

 We have worked closely with the Fairtrade Foundation since 2004 with the aim of certifying Palestinian Olive Oil. We are proud to announce that the first ever Fairtrade Certified product from Palestine was launched during Fairtrade Fortnight 2009.  Zaytoun’s range of Organic and Fairtrade Certified Olive Oil’s and Olives are the first Fairtrade Marked products in this category; this is a very exciting time for Zaytoun and the Palestinian farmer co-operatives that have been working to achieve Fairtrade status for 5 years.

We have invited Taysir Arabasi to the UK during Fairtrade Fortnight 2010. Taysir is Zaytoun’s Director in Palestine. He lives in Salfeet district which is an area highly dependent on olive cultivation and one which has seen much of its rich agricultural resources stolen through the construction of the illegal settlements. He has been working with community agricultural projects for the last ten years and has been instrumental in the grass roots campaigning against the building of the illegal annexation wall in the West Bank. Taysir is a passionate speaker about the rights of the small farmer and of the Palestinian people and an advocate of the power of fair trade.

This is positive story for change in Palestine with Fairtrade as the core message.
www.zaytoun.org contact@zaytoun.org  0845 345 4887
guildfordpeaceandjustice@talktalk.net

Lift Visa Ban On Palestinian Farmers

24th February, 2010
3 PALESTINIAN FARMERS DENIED VISAS BY THE UK GOVERNMENT FOR FAIRTRADE FORTNIGHT
These farmers, whose olive oil is the only one in the world to carry
the Fairtrade mark, have been invited by a UK social enterprise,
Zaytoun, and were to be accompanied by a leading British NGO.
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/fairtradefarmersfrompalestine/
www.1948.org.uk

From Guildford Peace & Justice Coalition guildfordpeaceandjustice@talktalk.net

STOP THE WAR COALITION NEWSLETTER
No. 1128 30 November 2009
Email office@stopwar.org.uk

IN THIS NEWSLETTER
1) THE ONLY SERIOUS EXIT STRATEGY FOR AFGHANISTAN
2) THE IRAQ INQUIRY CATCH PHRASE: “NOT ME, GUV'”
3) VIVA PALESTINA CONVOY TO GAZA: 5 DECEMBER
4) SUPPORT GROWING FOR MILITARY FAMILIES PROTEST
5) DON’T FORGET JOE GLENTON

1) THE ONLY SERIOUS EXIT STRATEGY FOR AFGHANISTAN
Inevitably the news of yet another British soldier dying in Afghanistan coincided with Gordon Brown’s announcement that he is sending 500 more British troops to fight in a war which in the latest poll 71 per cent of the British public opposes.

We are witnessing a very dangerous escalation of the war. With Barack Obama likely to announce a surge of around 30,000 troops, and other Nato allies adding a further five thousand, the total number of foreign troops occupying Afghanistan will equal that deployed by the Soviet Union in the 1979-89 Afghan war, which ended in its catastrophic defeat.

Gordon Brown’s troop surge is a response to failure after eight years of war. All the various war aims have been shown
to be false. The war has not made Britain safer from terrorism, but has made it more dangerous. The war is not being fought for democracy, but to protect one of the most corrupt governments in the world. The troops are not engaged
in a humanitarian mission, but in a war of occupation opposed by the majority of Afghans.

Brown and Obama both claim that this dramatic increase in the number of troops is the  beginning of an exit strategy. It is nothing of the sort. It is the signal that the major powers are planning to continue a war ,which after Vietnam is the second longest in American history for years to come.

Just as in Vietnam the US claimed that sending more troops was the key to bringing peace, Obama and Brown are proposing more war as necessary for their “exit strategy”. There is only one serious exit strategy: that is to recognise that Britain and the other Nato powers have no right to be in Afghanistan, and far from escalating the numbers Gordon
Brown should be withdrawing all British troops now.

2) THE IRAQ INQUIRY CATCH PHRASE: “NOT ME, GUV'”
The evidence given to the Iraq Inquiry in its first week saw a
series of establishment figures trying to absolve themselves of any blame for their part in the build up to war, implying
all responsibility lay with Tony Blair.

It appears that Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney General who
notoriously changed his advice about the legality of the war just days before the invasion, is getting his “not me, guv'”
in early even before he appears at the inquiry. The details of a letter he wrote to Blair eight months before the
invasion, in which he stated categorically that the war was illegal, were revealed over the weekend. You can read the
details here: http://bit.ly/6Tk6w7

Apparently Gordon Brown is worried that in the run up to the general election all these revelations about Iraq will remind people of why they opposed  the war in the first place. Stop the War is taking every opportunity to ensure that the issues remain in the public eye, not least the key question of holding the war criminals to account. Stop the War held a protest on the first day of the Chilcot inquiry, which received worldwide media coverage. (See http://bit.ly/5IYYCK). We will announce soon a major public meeting on the issue.
And we await with much anticipation the appearance of  Tony Blair before the Iraq Inquiry likely to be in January or
February, when we will organise a large scale protest to ensure he is warmly welcomed.

3) VIVA PALESTINA THIS WEEKEND
On 27 December, the anniversary of Israel’s barbaric invasion at the turn of 2009, convoys from Britain, the United States and Turkey, packed with aid donated by the people of those countries, will converge on Gaza to break the inhuman siege which prevents essential resources reaching Palestinians in the world’s most densely populated area.
The British convoy leaves London this weekend. Details of the departure place and time will be available shortly on the Viva Palestina website: http://www.vivapalestina.org/

4) SUPPORT GROWING FOR MILITARY FAMILIES PROTEST
Support is continuing to build for the Military Families Against the War protest at Downing Street at 5pm on Monday 21 December. As well as many families who have lost loved ones in Iraq and Afghanistan, or have relatives serving in the Afghan war, there will be a number of former soldiers joining the protest, when the Bring the Troops Home petition will be handed in to Downing Street. The military families also plan to demand to see Gordon Brown.

All the local Stop the War groups across the country have been asked to sponsor military families in their area to come down to the Downing Street protest and to send delegations in support. The families are asking for the widest support possible. Please help publicise the event as widely as you can. For further information: http://bit.ly/4Z3eCR

5) THURSDAY 28 JANUARY: DATE FOR YOUR DIARY
Gordon Brown has announced that he is organising an international conference on Afghanistan in London on Thursday 28 January 2010. As well as organising a protest at Brown’s conference, Stop the War will in response hold its own alternative meetings and conference. Please note the date now. We will publicise further details soon.

6) DON’T FORGET JOE GLENTON
Send messages of support to Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, in prison for speaking out against the Afghan war and facing
court martial for refusing to return to Afghanistan. Email messages of support to: defendjoeglenton@gmail.com
Write letters, cards to:
Lance Corporal Joe Glenton
Military Corrective Training Centre
Berechurch Hall Camp
Colchester CO2 9NU

7) XMAS PARTY: FROM BLIAR TO STOP BUSH
If you live in London, Stop the War’s Xmas party on Friday 11 December is not to be missed. As well as food, drinks and music, the party takes place surrounded by a showcase of Stop the War’s history, drawn from our archive which is now housed at the Bishopsgate Institute.

The displays will include many of the posters and placards going back to our earliest demonstrations, including the now iconic designs by artist David Gentleman, leaflets, pamphlets, press cutting, photographs etc. Admission is free.

 Spotlight On Committees Of Action

As Labour and the Tories compete over who will deliver the most savage cuts, and the bosses and bankers demand the working class pay for their financial crisis, we need to think strategically about how we can organise the fightback. Joy Macready explains Marxist tactics

The mainstream parties’ assessment of the extent of the pubic sector cutbacks needed – an estimated 10-20% cuts in the health sector, £2bn cuts in education, 10 per cent savings across government departments – is staggering. Their representatives and their loyal friends in the media, however, never mention that it is caused by the gaping hole left in the public purse from the £1.3 trillion bailout of the banks.

Meanwhile, private sector bosses are using the recession to relocate production, sack workers, cut their wages and steal from their pensions. Share prices and profit margins may be recovering, but this is not enough for the greedy capitalists; they want to inflict further damage on working class families and communities.

Solidarity
But already we see the signs of a militant fightback. Occupations are leading the way: Visteon, Two Sisters, Prisme, Waterford, and Vestas, to name a few. Parents and teachers in Glasgow and Lewisham occupied their schools to prevent closure. Postal workers are balloting for a national strike against redundancies and reductions in hours and wages. Tower Hamlets College lecturers took all-out indefinite action for four weeks, while Leeds bin workers are still all out.

The list of struggles shows that it is not just the public sector that is under attack, but also the private sector; it is not just workers fighting back against service cuts, but the users of worsening services. Although the public sector is in the direct firing line of the government, all workers will be affected by cuts in housing, healthcare or education.

As Marxists, we do not just live in the realm of ideas and theory, but we put our theory into practice. The challenge is to find a way to link these struggles together, overcoming the division between public and private, between providers and users, and between the various unions. Those struggles listed above are inspiring but all are isolated to a degree.

Within the different struggles, Workers Power has argued for local committees of action to unite activists at a community level. The Vestas solidarity committees, which attracted workers from many different unions, community and green activists, and socialist organisations, were an encouraging step in this direction. But we need a more permanent form of organisation that goes beyond the limited scope of one struggle, one strike or one issue – committees of action that can be mobilised to fight on a number of fronts at the same time.

Such committees can react quickly to events, overcome divisions between workers in different unions, and also bring into struggle the unemployed who have been thrown out of work. They should also include users of public services; as the government and bosses try to lay the blame for deteriorating services at the feet of public sector workers, pubic opinion must be won to the struggle of these workers for quality services.

Unity from below
Britain has developed organs of class struggle like this in the past. During the 1926 General Strike, councils of action were built by the trades councils in each town and city – all working class political, industrial, co-operative and unemployed organisations were represented, and, importantly, women were also heavily involved. They counteracted the “poisonous and pernicious propaganda” of the government and the employers’ organisations and even took control of food supplies, organised defence corps against scabs and the police and army, and directly controlled the strike locally.

In 1984, during the Great Miners’ Strike, a network of Miners’ Support Committees criss-crossed the country, providing vital solidarity like food supplies, Christmas presents for the miners’ children, speakers to factories to explain why the miners’ needed support, campaigning against police harassment of strikers and mobilising support for the picket lines.

But, say the sceptics, Britain today is not at that level of class struggle – the working class does not have the “confidence” or the fighting spirit to create committees of action. This is a self-defeating argument. In every area where there is struggle, strikers can put out the call for committees of action and rally support from others. The committees will in turn help to boost confidence and raise fighting spirit.

Take the Vestas struggle, for example, where workers occupied a plant that made blades for wind power when bosses announced its closure. It was the solidarity movement – the climate camp and Campaign Against Climate Change – that encouraged the workers to occupy the plant. If solidarity committees could be built for Vestas, then why not for other struggles? By building committees of action in every town and city, more workers will feel able to take militant action and the general level of the class struggle will rise. But to do this, they must do more than simply raise donations, hold meetings and stand on picket lines, crucial though these acts are. They can start to become an alternative centre of power in society.

Alternative power
What do we mean by “an alternative centre of power”? Three things.

First, we know from bitter experience that the trade union leaders often sabotage our struggles, selling them short, calling off action, disuniting strikes. Committees of action can help thwart such treachery by building unity from below.

Second, committees of action can also lay the basis for a political alternative to Labour – a basis from which to build a new anti-capitalist party in Britain, one that will fight for the interests of the working class.

Committing to a new party is not a precondition to joining the local committees of action – many workers who still look to Labour or who are against all parties can be rallied to them. But, because these will be engaged in the local struggles, because they will be coming up against the government’s cuts and attacks, many will begin to realise that only a working class political party can secure general, society-wide victories for our class through fighting for the overthrow of the capitalist system and the formation of a workers’ government.

Finally, a government of the workers would be based not on an unelected civil service bureaucracy, unelected generals, unelected millionaires in the boardrooms, and 600-odd MPs who are elected every five years but are free to break their promises itself. It could be based on democratic organisations of working class delegates from below, workers’ councils with all delegates recallable by the workers who voted for them. The formation of committees for action is a step in that direction – a step towards an alternative centre of power for the whole of society.

Surrey United Anti-Capitalists Song

We want jobs, we want to live
This is something that war and unemployment cannot give
We will fight to take their power
We will strike their ivory tower
Revolution comes closer by the hour

We are marching through Europe together
Youth from all countries unite
We’ve a future to win and nothing to loose
Take the power, complete the final fight

We want jobs, we want to live
This is something that war and unemployment cannot give
We will fight to take their power
We will strike their ivory tower
Revolution comes closer by the hour

Labour and Tories want to smash us
They want to destroy the working class
There is no way that we can reform them
‘Cos their so called democracy’s a farce

We want jobs, we want to live
This is something that war and unemployment cannot give
We will fight to take their power
We will strike their ivory tower
Revolution comes closer by the hour

The army and police they want to kill us
With bombs and missiles by the score
So we’ll seize their armouries and take the power
And put an end to third world nuclear war

We want jobs, we want to live
This is something that war and unemployment cannot give
We will fight to take their power
We will strike their ivory tower
Revolution comes closer by the hour

 Demo Outside Sainsbury’s To “Bycot Israeli Goods” 

The Voice of Anti-Capitalism in Guildford got together with the Peace & Justice Movement and members of the community in Guildford to demonstrate opposition to Israeli goods. A vigil was held outside Sainsbury’s, Guildford High Street in support of the Palestinians. A dozen people stood outside Sainsbury’s, handed out leaflets and spoke to shoppers.

  Demo Outside Sainsbury's To "Bycot Israeli Goods""Boycot Israeli Goods" Demo outside Sainsbury's, Guildford High Street Surrey United Anti-Capitalist Society
Much of the food exported to britain is produced on occupied Palestinian land. Held against international law and in violation of United Nations resolutions. Boycot Israeli Goods!!

Botom-Of-Post - Protest