Oct 02 2020

JULIAN ASSANGE – TRIAL OF THE CENTURY

We are posting this appeal on behalf of Julian Assange, which was first sent out by Diem25.

(https://diem25.org/julian-assanges-trial-part-increasing-encroachment-democracy/)

JULIAN ASSANGE – TRIAL OF THE CENTURY

 

 

“A murderous system is being created before our very eyes” – Nils Melzer, UN Special Reporter on Torture

The trial of Julian Assange taking place right now at the Old Bailey cannot and must not be seen in isolation to the criminal actions of the US government and military globally, no less to the political instrumentalisation of judicial process within its client-states and the incremental incursions upon press freedom and democratic expression. If we lose Assange, the very right to resist such a paradigm can only wither – we stand to lose the best part of ourselves. Continue reading “JULIAN ASSANGE – TRIAL OF THE CENTURY”

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May 11 2015

‘NONE OF THE ABOVE’ AND ‘ABANDON THE MIND-FORG’D MANACLES’

Jim Slaven of the James Connolly Society in None of the Above calls upon socialists and republicans to have a closer look at the nature and record of the SNP. This was first posted at:- http://107cowgate.com/2015/05/05/none-of-the-above/

Murdo Ritchie (RCN ) in his Abandon the Mind-forg’d Manacles offers an alternative analysis of the rise of the SNP.

 

1. NONE OF THE ABOVE

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None of the above? This is the question I’ve been asking myself for the last few weeks. Or perhaps more accurately for the last few years. Having never been a member of a political party, I’m what pollsters call a floating voter. Granted, as someone who has been a political activist for nearly 30 years, I might not be the stereotypical floating voter but nonetheless I have no tribal loyalty to any political party.
Continue reading “‘NONE OF THE ABOVE’ AND ‘ABANDON THE MIND-FORG’D MANACLES’”

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Apr 03 2015

THE TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP – THE TTIP OF THE PACIFIC

Cynthia Phinney of Labor Notes (USA) writes on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which she dubs the “NAFTA of the Pacific”. However, we in Europe will also be able to recognise it as the ‘TTIP of the Pacific’.

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SHOWDOWN NEARS ON FAST TRACKING OF THE BIGGEST FREE TRADE DEAL YET 

This spring the battle is coming to a head over several threatened trade deals, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a “NAFTA of the Pacific.”

President Obama announced in this year’s State of the Union address that he would ask Congress to grant him fast-track authority for trade agreements with Asia and Europe. The announcement unleashed a torrent of lobbying in favor of Obama’s request, and galvanized fair trade activists against it.

Continue reading “THE TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP – THE TTIP OF THE PACIFIC”

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Nov 25 2014

Emancipation & Liberation, Issue 22, 2013

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We are posting a new link to an electronic version of the special issue of Emancipation & Liberation, issue no 22, the RCN produced for the second Radical Independence Campaign conference, held in the Marriott Hotel in Glasgow on November 23rd, 2013.

http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2013/11/24/emancipation-liberation-issue-22-winter-2013/

This will provide some basis for assessing the changes, which have occurred in the political situation in Scotland over the last year, and how RIC has met the new challenges.

In addition there is a link to the RCN initiated, Edinburgh RIC sponsored session at this conference, After the UK: the future of 4 nations’:-

http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2013/11/25/2nd-ric-conference-after-the-uk-the-future-of-4-nations/

There is also a link to the electronic version of the special issue of Emancipation & Liberation, issue no 21, the RCN produced for the first Radical Independence Conference at:-

http://republicancommunist.org/blog/category/publications/emancipation-liberation/issue-21/page/2/

Our political assessment of this conference held can be found at:-

http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2012/12/20/radisson-blu-or-post-radisson-red/

Since the last conference, RIC has also had a number of National Forums. The special Emancipation & Liberation bulletins, the RCN has produced for these can be found at:-

 October, 2014 

http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2014/11/02/emancipation-liberation-ric-special-bulletin-october-2014/ 

August, 2014

http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2014/08/07/7315/

May, 2014

http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2014/05/01/the-republican-communist-network-and-the-radical-independence-campaign/

March, 2014

http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2014/04/01/lets-all-end-our-abusive-relationship-with-the-uk-state/

The RCN will be producing another special issue of Emancipation & Liberation for this year’s conference. Get your copy at the second Radical Independence Conference being held in the Clydeside Auditorium in Glasgow on November 22nd.

 

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Apr 14 2014

SCOTLAND: WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM VENEZUELA

 Ewan Robertson, an RCN member and a Scots born journalist living in Venezuela, is touring Scotland.  He will be addressing the following meetings:-

  • Monday April 14, STUC: Joint Scottish Venezuela Solidarity Campaign & others lunchtime Latin America fringe meeting for delegates with speakers including Ewan Robertson, 12.30-1.45pm, Caird Hall, Dundee.
  • Tuesday April 15, Aberdeen: Public Meeting with Ewan Robertson, 6.00pm, Unite Offices, 44 King Street, Aberdeen, AB24 5TJ
  • Thursday April 17, Glasgow: Ewan Roberston to speak at 7pm showing of the film Revolutionary Doctors, organised by the Scottish Cuba Solidarity Campaign  & supported by SVSC at the STUC, 333 Woodlands Road Glasgow G3 6NG.
  • Thursday April 24, Edinburgh: Open eyewitness meeting with Ewan Roberston, 7.30pm, Augustine Church, 42 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, Midlothian, EH1 1EL.

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In the article below Ewan contrasts the experience of the Bolivarian revolution with the aspirations of the people of Scotland in relation to the question of Self Determination.

 

Continue reading “SCOTLAND: WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM VENEZUELA”

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Nov 22 2013

2nd RADICAL INDEPENDENCE CONFERENCE ‘EMANCIPATION & LIBERATION’ SPECIAL

 

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Our Emancipation & Liberation Radical Independence Conference Special will be available at the conference on Saturday, November 23rd.

 

 

CONTENTS

 

Editorial (also posted below)

Scottish Self-Determination: For a Scottish Wannabe Ruling Class or for Scotland’s People? – RCN

Why is Venezuela relevant to Scotland’s Radical Independence Movement? – Ewan Robertson

Women and Independence – Alice Bowman

Why we won’t wear a poppy – Jim Slaven

The Scottish Republic and the Commonwealth of England – Steve Freeman

Republican Socialist Platform

The Republican Communist Network (Scotland) – What We Stand For – From Theory to Practice

Seamus Heaney (1939-2013) a commemoration – Mary McGregor

Bernadette: Notes on a Political Journey, a film review – Zofia Walczak

Freedom Come All Ye, Hamish Henderson

Continue reading “2nd RADICAL INDEPENDENCE CONFERENCE ‘EMANCIPATION & LIBERATION’ SPECIAL”

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Nov 19 2012

RADICAL INDEPENDENCE CONFERENCE

The Radical Independence Conference (http://radicalindependence.org/), being held this Saturday, 24th November in Glasgow, is likely to be the biggest gathering of the Left in Scotland for many years. The RCN has been covering this event since the first open organising meeting in June. We have produced a special issue of our magazine, Emancipation & Liberation, no, 21, for this conference. Anyone attending, who would like a free copy, just collect it from our stall.

Below, can be found the list of the magazine’s contents and the Editorial which outlines our hopes for this Conference.

Image from front cover of Emancipation & Liberation, no. 21

Editorial

For An Independent Scottish Socialist Republic

The Declaration of Calton Hill

For a Socialist and Feminist Republican Scotland: Gender Equality and Beyond – Susan Dorazio

Imagining Radical Independence; Learning from the Venezuelan Experience – Ewan Robertson

The Slippery Slope – Murdo Ritchie

Ireland and the broader consequences of the 2014 Scottish Referendum – Jim Slaven

What is happening in Greece and why – Lina Christou

Republican Communist Network: What We Stand For – From Theory to Practice

Michael Marra – A Tribute – Mary McGregor

The front cover montage has been made by Patricia Kirk and John Lanigan

Continue reading “RADICAL INDEPENDENCE CONFERENCE”

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Nov 11 2012

Imagining Radical Independence: Learning from the Venezuelan Experience

Ewan Robertson, who currently lives in Venezuela, writing for Venezuela Analysis, asks us to imagine what radical independence could look like.

With two years to go until the SNP puts an independence referendum to the Scottish people, the likelihood appears that the form of independence on offer will look more like devolution-max; ditching any policy that would either prove unacceptable to ruling elites across the UK and further afield, or would bring meaningful sovereignty and political participation to an independent Scotland.

In this context, it is worth considering what examples of radical independence exist in the world today, and how much it’s possible to achieve given the right conditions and political will. In this article, I invite you to imagine what a radical independent Scotland would look like if took some influence from Venezuela’s ‘Bolivarian revolution’, and to consider just how meek is the proposal for independence we currently have on the table compared to the Venezuelan experience.
Continue reading “Imagining Radical Independence: Learning from the Venezuelan Experience”

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Oct 02 2012

VENEZUELA – THE DANGERS OF A REVOLUTION AGAINST A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO ABORTION

“I can and must decide about my body, health and life. For our right to decide – safe abortion. 28 September campaign for the legalisation of abortion in Latin America and the Caribbean” (Arana Feminista)

By Tamara Pearson for Venezuelanalysis.com

Continue reading “VENEZUELA – THE DANGERS OF A REVOLUTION AGAINST A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO ABORTION”

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Jun 06 2012

EVEN THE RAIN

Paul Laverty’s Even the Rain is a very powerful film that works on several levels. As a piece of drama, with a compelling musical soundtrack, it captures and holds your attention. You would not have to be politically engaged to enjoy this film. However, for anybody at all concerned about the present state of the world, and the inspiring growth of challenges to the global corporate order in South America, this is a must-see film.

The film begins with two Spanish film-makers, Sebastian and Costas, recruiting a cast from amongst the local Quechua Indians of Cochabamba in Bolivia to make their own film. This film-within-a-film is to be about Columbus’ conquest of the Tainos Indians in Hispaniola; and two Dominican friars, Antonio de Montesinos and Bartolome de Las Casas, who attempted to challenge the brutal behaviour of the Spanish conquistadores. This film’s director, Sebastian, has been greatly affected by his personal discovery of La Casas’ unsuccessful appeal to King Philip of Spain. In protest at the sheer brutality of the treatment of the Indians, Las Casas held to the view that, “All people of the world are humans.” Sebastian sees this as having a strong contemporary relevance.

However, the producer, Costas, has chosen Bolivia for the film-shoot, because it has the cheapest labour in South America. Furthermore, in order to make the film, it is the official Bolivian and Cochabamba authorities, still dominated by the descendents of the original conquistadores, who Costas and Sebastian deal with. Early on, whilst enjoying themselves, eating and drinking in conditions of some luxury, the principal Spanish actors in this film become engaged in arguments about the nature of the Conquest, and about Columbus, Montesinos and Las Casas. However, as the main film proceeds, the limitations of conservative versus liberal sentiments becomes very clear. By the end of the film, the original participants in these arguments adopt quite different positions.

For what makes the fortunes of this particular planned film different from other films, using ‘Third World’ settings and low-cost local casts, is the dramatic intrusion of external events. In 2000, a massive protest emerged in Cochabamba. This involved the local Quechua population struggling against the Bolivian government’s attempt to enforce water privatisation. A joint British, Italian, US and Spanish consortium, Aguas del Tunari, was given monopoly control of Cochabamba’s water supply under the World Bank’s Structural Adjustment Programme. The main film shows how the Bolivian state starts to enforce the company’s monopoly by getting the local police to padlock the people’s wells. Initially, only Maria, Sebastian’s assistant, understands the wider significance of these events, and wants to devote time to making a film about them.

Meanwhile, Sebastian and Costas have recruited Daniel, a local Quechua Indian, to play the role of Atuey, a key leader in the failed Tainos revolt against Columbus and Spanish rule. However, whilst impressed by Daniel’s forceful character, they do not initially realise that he is a prominent activist in the Cochabamba protests. Even the Rain is largely made in the Spanish language, although the sub-titles hardly detract from the unfolding drama. However, when Costas resorts to the English language so that Daniel won’t understand what he says, he reveals his own prejudices. Daniel has worked in the USA, and understands English – as well as speaking both Spanish and Quechua. From then on the central dramatic narrative of the film turns on Costas’ and Daniel’s changing personal relationship.

The Bolivian government’s clampdown on the massive protests in Cochabamba increasingly impinges on the making of Sebastian and Costas’ Columbus film. The completed scenes from this film are powerful in themselves. However, the Quechua women actors refuse to finish a scene which would involve them showing the drowning of their babies to avoid them being ripped to pieces by the conquistadores’ hunting dogs.  Meanwhile, Daniel’s daughter, Belen (who has been given an important role in the Columbus film as Panuca) and his wife, Teresa are shown actively involved in the water privatisation protests. Costas and Sebastian become more and more aware of the contradictions of trying to complete a film showing the historical inhumanity of the Spanish conquest, whilst Daniel and Belen, in particular, become subjected to the contemporary brutality of the Bolivian government and Cochacamba authorities.

The dramatic highpoint occurs when, during the making of the Columbus film, the conquistadores burn Atuey and other Tainos at the stake. Las Casas beseeches the conquistadores not to go on with the burning, because it will show the Catholic Church in a bad light, and make a martyr out of Atuey. This has no effect, highlighting the limitations of such liberal appeals. However, this is immediately followed by the direct action of the Quechua Indian actors, when they overturn the police car, sent to the film-set to arrest Daniel. Daniel is set free to continue the anti-water privatisation protest, which results in a notable victory.

The last scenes of the film concentrate on the relationship between Costas, Teresa, Belen, and Daniel. Indeed, it is the personal transformation in Costas, under their influence, which gives this film a wider appeal, as his own values are challenged and begin to change.

However, for socialists there is also the very strong political message in this film. There are no depths to which corporate capital and its imperial backers will not stoop. The film’s title, Even the Rain, makes this clear. They would even deny people access to life-giving water in order to make a profit. Nowadays, we are witnessing a massive extension and imposition of the Structural Adjustment Programmes, long practised in the ‘Third World’ – most obviously in Greece. However, this film shows a key turning point in the beginnings of the rise of continent wide protest against US imperialism and the activities of the global corporations, the IMF and World Bank. Hasta la Victoria Siempre!

 Allan Armstrong, 21.5.12

 

(An edited version of this review first appeared in Scottish Socialist Voice, issue 396.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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