Sep 15 2020


We are posting this article by Sarah Glynn from bella caledonia highlighting the plight of Kurdish migrant workers  in Turkey and East European migrant workers in Scotland


and the capitalist node of production



Last week, a brief news story told of a violent racist attack on a family of hazelnut pickers in north west Turkey. 70% of the world’s hazelnuts are grown in the hills near Turkey’s Black Sea coast, and Turkey’s hazelnut production is estimated to employ some four million people. Picking the nuts is hard work and poorly paid. Like most of the pickers, this family was Kurdish, and had travelled hundreds of miles from the other end of the country for the harvest. The hazelnut trees grow on steep slopes, making the work dangerous and uncomfortable. For a month, pickers work up to eleven hours a day, every day of the week, for subsistence wages. The middlemen who recruit the labour take a cut of the money, which is generally not paid out until the end of the season. The meagre wages mean that all members of the family must work, and, regardless of the law, children are not exempt from the long hours or from carrying heavy loads. Only people who had no other choice would take this work – such as the Kurds, and also some Syrian refugees. Continue reading “FROM BLAIRGOWRIE TO THE BLACK SEA – STRAWBERRIES AND NUTELLA”

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Jun 11 2020


Mike Macnair makes the case for seeing current political developments in the world as a move from neo-liberalism proper to nationalist rivalry. This is similar to the case Allan Armstrong has made on this blog about the switch from neo–liberal hegemony to Right populist ascendancy.




Here’s my boy – America First, Britain Second!

What we are seeing today is a situation where the United States is lashing out towards Iran and in the Middle East more generally, as well as China and Russia. Continue reading “CRISIS AND THE NEED FOR CONFLICT”

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Mar 08 2020


We are posting this article from Socialist Democracy (Ireland) about the proposed Trump/Netanyahu Deal to finally end ant prospects of a Palestinian nation state. The article shows that far from being an alternative to the proposed two-nations Camp David accord, this latest deal is the logical outcome of what was always a one-state plan – that state being Israel with or without Palestinian reservations.



When Donald Trump, standing beside Benjamin Netanyahu, announced the “Deal of the Century,” which he claimed was a “peace” plan, it was widely dismissed. Some reporters suggested that it should be referred to the comic section of papers rather than reported as news. Continue reading “TRUMP NETANYAHU ‘DEAL OF THE CENTURY’”

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Feb 08 2018


If ever the Kurdish saying “No friends but the mountains” applied it is in the situation the People’s Defence Force/Womens’s Defence Force  now confront in Afrin on the Turkish Syrian border. In the Byzantine politics for which this region is infamous, for a brief period the interests of the US government and the Kurds in northern Syria coincided. The US, having created the Islamic fundamentalist forces which have ravaged this region, faced blowback, after ISIS took  over large areas of Iraq and Syria. The most effective forces confronting ISIS in the region are the Kurdish Left YPG/YPJ, so they received some short-term cynical and limited backing from the US State Department. With ISIS in retreat, it is back to supporting other Islamic fundamentalist forces, particularly the al-Qaeda linked Al-Nusra Front, and trying to win Turkey back from the Russian Federation to the US side. This article, written by Martin Suchanek,  first appeared in Neue Internationale no. 226, and addresses the complex situation in Afrin.


Turkish airforce and artillery strike at Kurdish YPG/YPJ held town of Afrin


“Operation Olive Branch”, the Turkish incursion into the Kurdish held territory of Afrin, has been running since January 20th. Last weekend alone, the Turkish army flew over a hundred bombing missions. Already days before, heavy artillery had fired at the positions of the Kurdish self-defence forces YPG/YPJ (People’s Defence Force / Women’s Defence Units). Since Sunday, 21 January, tanks and infantry, often deployed by puppet troops of the Turkish-led FSA (Free Syrian Army), including numerous Islamist ultra-reactionaries, have penetrated into the Kurdish territory around Afrin. Continue reading “HANDS OFF AFRIN! SOLIDARITY WITH THE KURDS”

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Apr 25 2017


This article by Even Uslu, a Turkish communist, exposes the fraud  involved in Recep Erdogan’s recent referendum designed to concentrate power in the Turkish Presidency.



Celebrating amid the fraud

The shambles that followed the April 16 referendum to amend the constitution confirmed the widely held expectations of the left: president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) failed to gain sufficient support for the amendments giving the president huge powers, and have resorted to wide-scale voting fraud. Continue reading “TURKEY – IT’S NOT OVER YET”

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Dec 03 2015


We are posting three pieces dealing with the situation in Syria. The first is the emergency motion passed overwhelmingly at the RISE National Conference in Glasgow on December 5th. The second was written by the World to Win Editorial Board just after the vote at Westminster to openly extend UK state involvement in the war in Iraq to Syria. The third by Allan Armstrong (RCN and RISE) was written just prior to the Westminster vote, and was included in the E&L special bulletin for the RISE conference.




Continue reading “THE WAR IN SYRIA”

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Oct 06 2015


We have  been covering the detention of Steve Kaczynski in Turkey since he was arrested on April 1st. We have been part of the campaign to get his release ( Steve was freed  on September 18th. This article has been written by Steve and describes his experience and the current political situation in Turkey.



Steve Kaczynski (second from left) arriving back at Heathrow Airport

Steve Kaczynski (second from left) arriving back at Heathrow Airport

I was in Istanbul, Turkey to help prepare an international symposium against imperialism due to take place in the middle of April. At the end of February I had travelled to Beirut, Lebanon where a similar symposium had been held.
Continue reading “MY IMPRISONMENT IN TURKEY – Steve Kaczynski”

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Mar 20 2009

Inside Ulster Loyalism

Category: Emancipation & Liberation,Issue 17RCN @ 2:24 pm

by Ed Walsh – Irish Socialist Network (first published in Resistance no. 8)

UVF: The Endgame (Poolbeg, 2008) by Jim Cusack & Henry McDonald

Jim Cusack and Henry McDonald are well placed to tell the story of the UVF, having spent decades building up contacts inside the loyalist scene. If you want to know what happened over the last forty years in the North, this is a very useful book. If you want to know why it happened you may need to take the authors’ political analysis with a pinch of salt.

The two writers are keen to downplay evidence of collusion between the British state and loyalist paramilitaries. While they acknowledge that members of the RUC and UDR gave assistance to the loyalist groups, the authors deny that collusion was systematic. Cusack and McDonald give us a stark choice – either the loyalist paramilitaries were sock-puppets of the British state, or else they must have been completely autonomous. But there’s another way of looking at things which is far more convincing: the UVF and the UDA may have a life of their own, but their effectiveness during the Troubles would have been limited if the state forces had dealt with them as they dealt with the Provos. The spectrum of collusion could range from active support (of which there was plenty) to helpful neglect.

The authors also stress their view that loyalist opposition to a united Ireland would have been strong enough to block its realisation, even if the London authorities had been keen to withdraw. There is no way of proving this claim right or wrong, since London never had any intention of withdrawing and was prepared to commit vast resources to contain and defeat the IRA. Again, Cusack and McDonald are trying to lead us back to the false notion that Britain was a neutral player in the conflict. That said there can be no question that the strength of unionist belief in the North (often intensified by IRA attacks on Protestant civilians) is the most important prop for what remains of British rule in Ireland.

At one point the authors accuse Sinn Fein of taking a Jesuitical approach to the consent principle. But you need a bit of mental gymnastics to pick your way around the issue of partition. In principle, it’s wrong to suggest that partition of Ireland has a democratic basis (it was imposed by the crudest form of military aggression and based on sectarian gerrymandering – the Northern state has a unionist majority because it was designed that way, just like the Serb Republic in Bosnia or the Turkish enclave in northern Cyprus). In practice, however, its hard to imagine an end to partition before a large number of Ulster Protestants are convinced they have nothing to fear if British rule ends.

Some left-wingers would rather kick the national question into touch and concentrate on other matters. The experience of the UVF itself suggests why this approach is likely to founder. Cusack and McDonald describe the post-ceasefire attempt to build a working-class unionist force with a progressive line on social and economic issues that was spearheaded by David Ervine and Gusty Spence. They don’t spend much time, however, asking why that attempt failed. The majority of working-class Protestants have continued to vote for the DUP, despite its right-wing economic policies, while the Progressive Unionist Party {linked to the UVF} has failed.

The authors note that Ervine, Spence and Billy Hutchison never convinced the UVF rank-and-file to adopt their left-of-centre agenda. But talk of socialism and class politics was hardly going to blend with loyalty to a capitalist, imperialist state and its institutions. The British Labour Party has always been crippled by its submission to a political order shaped by ruling class interests. The PUP’s support for British nationalism is an even greater hindrance to any progressive ideas its leaders may have wanted to advance. You can cheer the troops returning home from the colonial occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, as so many Protestant workers did before Christmas – but ultimately you are cheering a system that inflicts 40% unemployment on the people of West Belfast, regardless of their communal identity

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Mar 23 2002

War against terrorism and the threat to freedom of expression

Category: Emancipation & Liberation,Issue 01RCN @ 7:40 pm

Steve Kaczynski highlights the Blair government’s further attacks on our civil liberties

Since September 11, 2001, the bourgeois democratic mask of respecting rights has been slipping. In December, a car bringing the left-wing Turkish language weekly magazine Yasadigimiz Vatan (The homeland we live in) was stopped by British police at Dover, and two issues of the magazine impounded under the Terrorism Act.

The magazine has been transported into Britain regularly in this way for some time. The British, and sometimes the French police or customs, frequently stopped the car bringing the magazines in, holding it up for varying lengths of time and questioning the driver before allowing him and the vehicle to proceed.

Continue reading “War against terrorism and the threat to freedom of expression”

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Mar 23 2002

Why Emancipation And Liberation

Category: Emancipation & Liberation,Issue 01RCN @ 7:12 pm

Emancipation and Liberation are heady words. Yet it is vital that we give serious consideration to what we stand for – not merely what we are against.

The left is best known for being anti – anti-cuts, anti-poll tax, anti-Nazi, anti-fascist, anti-war, anti-imperialist, anti-globalisation or anti-capitalist. Some will argue that as long as we stand as socialists or communists then it will be clear that we also offer a positive alternative. Unfortunately both words have become tarnished. Socialism has been used to describe a variety of states from National Socialist Germany to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; a whole host of authoritarian populist regimes in Africa, Asia and Latin America; and the now much diminished and compromised forces of social democracy. Communism became synonymous in many people’s minds with such brutal tyrannies as those led by Stalin, Hoxha, Kim Il-Sung and Pol Pot or the dull grey bureaucracies led by Honecker in East Germany and Husak in Czechoslovakia.

Since September 11th, Bush and Blair have raised the political stakes considerably by invoking the defence of civilisation and enduring freedom. Without offering this positive vision, these politicians would find it far harder to legitimise their new-found crusade – the Coalition Against Terror. If they confined themselves to being merely against terrorism, it certainly wouldn’t take long to expose their hypocrisy. It is indeed a strange Coalition Against Terror which includes the USA, Russia, China, Israel, Turkey, Pakistan and the Northern Alliance!

Continue reading “Why Emancipation And Liberation”

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