Category Archives: anti imperialism

Protest the Dublin ‘Israel at 60’ event on Wed 7th May

THE ETHNIC CLEANSING OF PALESTINE: NOTHING TO CELEBRATE! ON WEDNESDAY 7th MAY PROTEST THE ‘ISRAEL AT 60’ CELEBRATIONS Assemble 6pm @ Ballsbridge Court Hotel, Dublin 4 – Wear black clothing

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Attending the celebrations on the anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel is to celebrate a process of brutal ethnic cleansing and colonisation.

On Wednesday 7th May the Israeli Embassy in Ireland is hosting an event at the Ballsbridge Court Hotel in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel.

There will be a peaceful and lawful protest outside this event saying shame upon those who choose to attend. Those attending are asked to wear black clothing or armbands to mourn the people of Palestine, then and now.

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Gaza – End the bloodshed

 

Judy Beishon 

The opening trigger for this latest bloodshed was the Israeli assassination of five leading Hamas fighters, which was followed by over 40 Qassam rockets being fired by Palestinians on the Israeli town of Sderot, one of which killed an Israeli man. The subsequent Israeli onslaught on Gaza was coldly described by Israeli politicians as a “limited” operation, well short of the full scale invasion being considered.

The conflict then continued with an East Jerusalem Palestinian man shooting dead eight Jewish religious students in Jerusalem in the deadliest attack in Israel for over a year, and the first in Jerusalem for four years. The gunman’s family said he was reacting to the events in Gaza.

Conditions for the Palestinians in both parts of the occupied territories are now the worst in the entire 40 year occupation. In the “open air prison” of the Gaza strip, they are catastrophic, with a majority of people unemployed and suffering from malnutrition and a shortage of necessities. The Israeli government has restricted the power supply to the strip, causing power cuts for up to 12 hours a day, including to hospitals. The Israeli regime removed the Jewish settlements from the strip in 2005, but maintained complete control of the borders, sea and air space, and has let in few goods since Hamas – the Islamic Resistance Movement – was elected to government by Palestinians in 2006. Brutal Israeli army actions have regularly been carried out, using tanks, bulldozers and helicopters, including in the summer of 2006 when 400 Palestinians were killed.

At best, the western imperialist powers tend to describe the slaughter by the Israeli army as “excessive and disproportionate force”, whereas Palestinian violence is described by many of them as terrorism. The term “disproportionate” is a sickening understatement. Palestinian rockets have killed 14 Israelis since they were first fired in 2001. But last year alone, 379 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces. Last year’s ratio of Palestinian to Israeli deaths in the conflict was 40:1. This year, over 200 Palestinians have been killed in the first 10 weeks alone.

As Seumas Milne pointed out in The Guardian, there are no Palestinian rockets being fired from the West Bank, nevertheless there have been 480 Israeli military attacks there in the last three months with 26 Palestinians killed. Socialists are necessarily critical of right wing Palestinian parties and those that act against workers’ interests, including Hamas and Fatah and their militias. But the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) has always defended the Palestinians’ right to armed resistance against the brutal occupation. However, this vitally necessary resistance, together with offensive campaigns against the occupation, should be democratically organised and controlled, involving the widest possible number of people. And it should be of a mass character, rather than being carried out by the various small, competing, secretive militias.

It also needs to be recognised that attacks on Israeli civilians in Israel are counter-productive. Enraged at the killings and repression, Palestinian militias want to imitate Hezbollah in Lebanon and inflict damage on the Israeli regime. But as well as bringing more repression down on the Palestinians, increasing their suffering and making struggle more difficult, the rocket fire is pushing Israeli workers away from sympathising with the Palestinians’ plight and closer to the war aims and other positions of the Israeli capitalist class. The recent escalation in rocket firings has strengthened the Israeli far right and increased the number of Israelis who favour violent retribution. The situation could escalate further at any moment, and the danger of a wider war drawing in surrounding states is ever present. Right wing Jewish settlers have threatened revenge attacks, particularly as five of the eight men killed this month in Jerusalem were from religious Jewish settlements.

The latest slaughter in Gaza inflamed Palestinians in the West Bank and inside Israel; demonstrations broke out, with some participants resorting to stone throwing and petrol bombs. Demonstrations also took place in other countries of the region, including Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt. Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert has declared that:  “everything is on the table – ground operations, air [strikes] and special operations”. The deputy defence minister, Matan Vilnai, threatened a “holocaust” on the Palestinians.

But the Israeli government is caught in a major dilemma between conflicting pressures. Some politicians, particularly on the right and far right, advocate a full invasion of Gaza, while others warn of the dangers of this, and 64% of the population – according to a recent poll – favour government negotiations with Hamas (the party that heads the Palestinian Authority in Gaza).  A choice of a full invasion, which would mean deaths of Israeli soldiers as well as a great number of Palestinians, or the humiliation of negotiating with Hamas, is seen as a choice between “the plague and cholera”, in the words of a leading Israeli journalist. Olmert fears that if the Israeli army goes in, it will not easily get out again. When it went into Lebanon in 1982, it was there for 18 years.

The US Bush regime – which massively finances the Israeli military – is vehemently opposed to any negotiations with Hamas, which it calls a “terrorist” organisation, part of an anti-US “axis of evil” alongside Hezbollah and the Iranian regime. This is despite the fact that Hamas has said it would like to negotiate a long term truce. Hamas was elected to government in January 2006, with 43% of the vote, and quickly faced Israeli and international sanctions. The sanctions created a financial crisis which led to the non-payment of public sector workers’ wages. Clashes broke out between Fatah and Hamas’ security forces and individual supporters, because of Fatah supporters’ frustration at Fatah losing its privileges associated with its long time in power, and at the unpaid wages. The clashes were deliberately encouraged by Bush’s US regime, which was funding Fatah forces in order to try to destroy Hamas’ rule.

In an attempt in the occupied territories to cut across the division and end sanctions, a “unity” government involving both Hamas and Fatah was formed in March 2007 (negotiated in Mecca), but neither the US or Israel accepted this government, because of the leading role in it of Hamas, and they set out to destroy it. The UN Middle East envoy Alvaro de Soto spelt this out in a leaked report when he said that: “the US clearly pushed for a confrontation between Fatah and Hamas”. The US increased its funding of Abbas’ forces after the unity government was agreed, with the stated aim of giving Abbas the military power to be able to dismiss the unity cabinet.

Around 700 Palestinians died in six months of clashes, which culminated in June 2007 with Hamas ousting Fatah security forces in Gaza in a complete “takeover” of the strip, and Abbas then declaring a new government – which has only been able to operate on the West Bank. Far from weakening the Hamas leaders as the Israeli regime wants, the use of Israeli military force is strengthening them, as Palestinians see them as under attack by the population’s oppressors. Hamas also increased its standing, which had previously dipped, when it temporarily broke through the Gaza-Egypt border in January, allowing hundreds of thousands of Gazans to cross into Egypt to buy goods.

Instead of harming Hamas, the attacks on Gaza have weakened Israel’s present chosen “talks” partner, Palestinian president Mahmood Abbas, whose dwindling Fatah power base is confined to the West Bank. Faced with outrage from Palestinians, Abbas briefly suspended negotiations with Israel, only then to agree to resume them without even the precondition that Israeli attacks on Gaza should stop. And the use of Israeli military might is not stopping Palestinian rocket fire on Israeli towns, but rather is increasing it. In a new departure, a number of Grad rockets have hit Ashkelon, an Israeli city of over 100,000 people, 20 kilometres north of Gaza.

The Israeli regime has no coherent strategy at present. Not long ago, Olmert declared that Israel will have to accept a Palestinian state to avoid the prospect of Palestinians becoming a majority of the population within the area controlled by Israel. But as Financial Times writer Philip Stephens commented: “Analysis is one thing. The will to change course is another. Mr Olmert anyway lacks political authority. His coalition could collapse at any moment”. Olmert is certainly weak and detested, falling to 3% in opinion polls at one stage. But he remains in power because there is no obvious replacement; all the representatives of Israeli capitalism are highly discredited.

Not surprisingly, media commentators are saying that the “peace process”, that started in Annapolis last November, is in crisis. But it never was a remotely viable peace process, given the present stance of the Israeli ruling class. Even a Financial Times editorial (6.3.08) felt driven to say: “Israel, arguably, has never pursued a realistic peace settlement”. In the last week alone, the Israeli leadership has authorised the building of 400 more homes in a Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem and 750 in a West Bank settlement near Jerusalem, both of them Palestinian areas occupied by Israel since 1967. Now, fuelling continued pessimism by commentators, while the US demands a return to talks, it is not even calling for a ceasefire in Gaza by Israel.

The Israeli economy is in its fifth year of growth, yet there is a rapidly widening class divide, with the rich getting richer and a third of children now living in poverty. There have been waves of attacks on the welfare state and on secure jobs, by successive governments in pursuit of a neo-liberal agenda. Tremendous anger towards the government has built up, on economic issues and over deteriorating security. Israeli Jews will never be free of the constant cycles of violence as long as they are led by capitalist politicians who regularly have an interest in resorting to national conflict. On the contrary, the prospect of worse bloodshed is becoming greater. The Israeli working class, however, rather than being a future obstacle to a genuine Palestinian state (as some left organisations internationally believe), can develop into a powerful and decisive force against the Israeli ruling class, that must be defeated to solve both Israeli workers’ aspirations and those of the Palestinians.

Ordinary Palestinians have repeatedly shown a willingness to struggle, not just against the occupation but also against their own completely inadequate “leaders”, as recent workers’ strikes in the West Bank have shown. They do not want their “government” to be divided between Fatah and Hamas; there have been calls for “national unity” at the many funerals and polls show that this is presently seen as the most important issue. However, neither the politics of Hamas, nor the pro-western imperialism Fatah, can show a way forward. A capitalist Palestinian state, whether Islamic or secular, would not solve the Palestinians’ economic problems. The Hamas leaders have rejected the overt corruption of Fatah and have condemned the actions of US imperialism, but when in power, whether in councils or government, they have turned to passing the burden of economic crisis onto the shoulders of workers through job cuts and privatisation, as has Fatah.

Neither does either party have a strategy that can deliver a Palestinian state against the massively armed opposition of the Israeli ruling class. The development of new mass workers’ parties in both the Palestinian territories and in Israel is urgently needed. It is essential that socialist ideas are developed in these parties. A poverty-free Palestinian state will not be achieved on the basis of capitalism. And in Israel, with its far more developed economy, capitalism is unable to provide acceptable living standards for a vast layer of ordinary people.

Faced with the existence of the new “security” wall that has been built by Israel, eating significantly into Palestinian land; also with the expansion of Jewish settlements and atomisation of Palestinian areas; some on the left internationally call for a single, secular, democratic state of Palestinians and Jews. But this idea raises enormous fear in the region – especially among Israeli Jews, who fear becoming a discriminated-against minority in such a state, as the Palestinian birth rate is out-stripping that of Jews. Jewish workers will not be won over to seriously challenge their own ruling class and embrace socialist ideas, faced with such a goal.  Only on the basis of a socialist Israel alongside a socialist Palestine can there be a rise in living standards for ordinary people on both sides of the divide, and the necessary democracy and links to ensure the building of trust and communication across the national divide, and an end to the bloodshed for ever.

We demand

– For the immediate withdrawal of the Israeli army from the Occupied Territories!

– For an end to the Israeli blockade of Palestinian towns and villages.

– For the establishment in the occupied territories of grass-roots committees, to provide the basis for genuine and democratic workers’ leadership. For the right of these committees to be armed for the purposes of defence.

– For a mass struggle of the Palestinians, under their democratic control, to raise their standard of living and to fight for genuine national liberation.

– For an end to the use of Israeli soldiers as cannon fodder by the Israeli ruling class and army generals. n For a struggle by Israeli Palestinians against institutionalised racism and their treatment as second class citizens.

For an end to unemployment and poverty in Israel. For a struggle of the Israeli working class – both Jewish and Palestinian – to end capitalism.

– For a socialist Palestine alongside a socialist Israel as part of a voluntary socialist confederation of the Middle East, with guaranteed democratic rights for all national minorities.

Troops out of Iraq now!

Paddy Meehan

In just five years, the seemingly invincible super-power of the US and its ‘Coalition of the Willing’ has been brought to its knees in a war they thought would last a few weeks. Instead, there is no end in sight to the disaster they have created, not only for themselves, but for the people of Iraq.

In the last few weeks, Iraq has been invaded yet again, this time by the Turkish military in their own local ‘War on Terror’. This incursion was only supported by the US on the basis that it would be short. The fear of US imperialism is that yet another insurgency could develop in what has been up to now supposedly the most stable region of Iraq.

Pressure is continually mounting in the US for withdrawal of troops. Both Clinton and Obama have been forced to deal with the issue of Iraq in their primary campaigns but neither can give a definite date for withdrawal. As 62% of Americans believe the war was a mistake, both candidates are desperate to outdo each other by appearing to call for withdrawal. However, both had their chance in the Senate to block funding for the war and ensure an end of the occupation, but chose not to.

The need to secure Iraq’s oil resources and US imperialism’s interests in the region will be the priority for the next President. Deploying divide-and-rule tactics, the US has leaned on different tribal and religious militias to pit them against each other. This has involved arming and integrating into the army and police the Sunni Awakening Councils, supposedly as a reward for their fight against Al-Qaeda. Instead, this has resulted in the army and police being split along sectarian lines.

Any talk of withdrawal of the US-led occupation is set in the distant future and only on the criteria that a divided Iraq can be controlled from the outside. The prospect of ethnic cleansing and a sectarian war is an afterthought in their thirst to secure the country’s oil resources.

The occupation of Iraq can only deliver more bloodshed, sectarian division and dire poverty. It has been a disaster for the people of Iraq and also threatens to destabilise the entire region. Only the Iraqi people themselves should decide their own destiny. The corrupt warlords and religious fundamentalists who effectively control large parts of Iraq rely on sectarian division and offer no way out of the barbaric conditions most Iraqis have to endure. Capitalism offers no solution for the people of Iraq.

Socialists support all attempts by Iraqi workers, youth and poor to build a movement which fights against the barbaric conditions of poverty, sectarian conflict and the occupation. Such a movement should also fight for a socialist alternative where the resources of Iraq are publicly owned and democratically run to meet peoples’ needs.

Thousands endorse Socialist Youth anti-war campaign

Socialist Youth ran a very successful campaign across Northern Ireland against the occupation of Iraq in the run-up to the 5th anniversary of the invasion. Thousands of signatures were collected from school students calling for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Dozens of stalls with anti-war leaflets and information about the occupation were held outside many schools in Belfast, such as St. Joseph’s College on the Ravenhill Rd, Ashfield Boys and Girls School in East Belfast and St Malachy’s Grammar on the Antrim Rd.

Hatred for George W Bush has definitely not disappeared amongst young people as was evidenced by our anti-Bush badges being sold out on many stalls. As well as campaigning in schools, Socialist Youth members also organised activity in Belfast Metropolitan College, Queen’s University and University of Ulster Coleraine where we received an attentive responsive from students.

As a result of this campaigning work, the profile of Socialist Youth has leaped and socialist ideas have been introduced to thousands of young people.

Iraq five years on: End the Occupation – Fight for a socialist solution

By Paddy Meehan, Socialist Youth Regional Organiser

In 2003 Bush’s top commanders met to discuss the invasion and occupation of Iraq. They concluded then it would take four years to “normalise” the country. Yet from this March, US and British troops will have been in Iraq for five years with no end in sight to the conflict.

Bush’s intention is to dump the mess of Iraq onto his successor. It is estimated that the war and occupation of Iraq has claimed the lives of  over one million Iraqis and 4,000 US troops. No US presidential candidate has committed themselves to a complete withdrawal from Iraq. Both Republicans and Democrats represent the interests of companies like Haliburton and Blackwater who have made billions of dollars from the suffering and destruction in Iraq.

The US mission to ‘stabilise’ Iraq has failed miserably as 70% of Iraqi’s are without access to adequate water supplies and in total 4.6 million people have been forced to leave their homes. Living standards in Iraq are getting worse despite contracts of over $20 billion being paid to companies to rebuild Iraq. The US Congressional hearings in February 2007 stated that $10 billion was either “wasted or mismanaged” in Iraq. Along with this hardship, Iraq is descending into sectarian war. US forces lean on different ethnic and religious groups attempting to keep their control of the country. The Sunni Awakening Councils are being recruited extensively into the police and army. This is an attempt to challenge the control of Shia militias such as the Mehdi army by backing sections of the Sunni forces. But the real outcome is a fracturing of the police and army along religious lines, which can increase the likelihood of civil war.

US imperialism’s divide and rule strategy is directly contributing to the increasing sectarian divisions. Imperialism has no progressive role to play in the future of Iraq, and the longer the occupying armies remain the greater the chances of civil war and a break up of the country.   Socialist Youth and the Socialist Party believe that a united movement of working class Iraqis of all ethnic and religious backgrounds could drive out the occupying armies. A struggle by such a movement of the working class against imperialism and for a socialist solution is the only way to guarantee freedom, democracy and a decent life for all.

On 15 March thousands will protest around the world against the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the north Socialist Youth is aimimg to collect 5,000 signatures before the anniversary to show the opposition to the war. If you can help collect signatures or can build support for the protest please contact Socialist Youth at socialist.youth@btconnect.com or 02890232962.

In the south Socialist Youth will be participating in protests and also organising a series of “Resistance” meetings around the country at which young people can discuss political issues like the occupation of Iraq, climate change and socialism. You can find out more about Socialist Youth’s “Resistance” and anti-war activities by visiting socialistyouth.wordpress.com or phone us at 01 6772592.

Dublin: Join Socialist Youth on the anti-war demo on Saturday 15th March, 1pm Parnell Square, Dublin. more info – www.bebo.com/Socialist-Youth.

Belfast: Join the Socialist Youth contingent on the protest, Sat 15th March, 2pm Arts College, York St. (beside St Ann’s Cathedral)

Campaigning against the Occupation of Iraq

To mark the 5th anniversary of the occupation of Iraq, Socialist Youth is building for a protest on 15 March in Belfast. SY members have been energetically campaigning outside schools and on the streets with an aim of collecting 5,000 signatures of young people against the occupation of Iraq. The Socialist spoke to SY members Leontia Madden and Conor Barr about how their campaign is going so far.

“Over the past five years the arguments of the anti-war movement have been proved correct. Many young people today may not be too sure of all the facts and figures, but when we get talking to them they have strong feelings against the war” said Leontia. Conor added “The war for oil is a terrible example of capitalism’s constant drive for profits. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, all for natural resources.

“We get young people to sign our petition outside schools across Belfast to demonstrate the opposition which exists but also to raise awareness of what is going on in Iraq. We have received an excellent response with most people signing the petitions and buying our very popular anti-Bush badge. The important thing is we get to speak face to face with people on stalls to put forward a socialist solution.” said Conor, who has been organising very successful stalls at his technical college.

Leontia, a school student from North Belfast said “There is still a feeling of anger against Bush and Blair. But with the occupation lasting five years and no end to the conflict in sight people want to do something more than just sign a petition. We’re holding public meetings in the run-up to the anniversary to explain what is going on in Iraq now and how a socialist solution can be found. As well as this, we want to give an opportunity to people to show their opposition by protesting on 15 March.”

Public Meeting: End the Occupation of Iraq
4.30pm Wednesday 13th Feb. SY Offices, 13 Lombard Street, Belfast

PROTEST against the occupation
2pm Sat 15th March, Arts College, York St, Belfast

Solidarity Needed: US anti-war student suspended in attack on activism

By Angie Jobe Cuba (Foster Student Action) & Ramy Khalil (Youth Against War & Racism)

Overturn antiwar student’s unfair suspension!
Hold the Tukwila School Board accountable!
Keep the teachers hired next semester and next year!

Last Friday, December 7th one of the students at Foster High School in Tukwila, WA involved in Foster Student Action was given a 9 DAY suspension supposedly for “having an Ipod out in class.” However, the real reason she was suspended was because she and other Foster Student Action activists dared to collect petition signatures at lunch period the day before requesting that teachers who allowed the November 16th antiwar student walkout to happen get to keep their jobs.

Who ever heard of someone being suspended for 9 days for having an Ipod out in class? None of the consequences listed in the Foster Student Handbook for having electronics out in class even mentions suspension – only confiscation of the device (see here). And this is the first time this student Bailey Davidson has ever been punished for having electronics at school. So school administrators have blatantly violated their own school rules here.

Many students were using Ipods and cell phone text messaging in the class at the same time as Bailey because the class had a substitute teacher with no lesson plan and students were told simply to do their homework, but many had finished their homework. Yet none of the other students got in trouble. Only this student activist was singled out.

Not only does Vice Principal Wright’s 9-day suspension keep Bailey out of Foster until winter break, but school administrators are also trying to drive her out of the school altogether. They claim that, since she moved residences, she now lives “outside the school district.” However, she recently moved closer to school, not farther from school. She now walks only one mile to school every day. How could this be “outside the school district”? There are around 150 other students who live outside the school district, so why is the administration singling out this one student?

Seventy-one percent of Foster High School students are low-income and qualify for the free and reduced-cost lunch program, and it is a racially diverse school. Thirty percent speak English as a second language. Military recruiters target these students because they are ethnic minorities or come from working-class families with fewer college and career opportunities. Administrators have gotten used to bossing these students and teachers around, but this is the first time these working-class students and teachers have started to speak out against the war’s effects on their communities.

If the administrators get away with this abuse of power, there is nothing to stop them from targeting other students and teachers. This is not just an attack on one student or some teachers, but all of students and all workers — and our Constitutional right to petition local government officials.

Bailey has done better educationally and socially at Foster than at any other school, and she really wants to stay at Foster because Mr. Rogers and a few teachers here have really helped her focus on her studies.

The followinga re teh demands of the campaign:

1. Overturn Bailey’s suspension, and let her stay at Foster!

2. Keep the teachers who allowed or supported students in the walkout hired – not only next semester but also next year!

3. Drop the investigations against teachers now!

4. Remove military recruiters from our school or at least allow us to set up a literature table next to them when they are present!

PLEASE KEEP FLOODING THE SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS WITH CALLS AND EMAILS AND ASK THEM TO AGREE TO ALL OUR  DEMANDS!

And please forward this appeal widely!

Please send emails to Tukwila School Board members – (replace ‘[at]’ with @ – this is to prevent spamming). A model protest email can be found below:
mfertakis[at]comcast.net
pmaltsberger2000[at]yahoo.com
jasminkakujundzic[at]yahoo.com
wahlsea[at]yahoo.com

Please CC copies to:

Interim Superintendent, Ethelda Burke:
burkee[at]tukwila.wednet.edu

Foster High School Principal, George Ilgenfritz:
ilgenfritzg[at]tukwila.wednetedu

And tukwila.teachers.solidarity[at]hotmail.com so we can count how many protest emails have been sent in.

Thanks for your support,
Angie Jobe Cuba, Foster Student Action, Foster High School
Ramy Khalil, Youth Against War and Racism


Model E-mail of protest

Dear Tukwila School Administrator,

I am writing to demand that the Tukwila School District support the initiative and moral fortitude of students who took a stand against the effects of the Iraq war on their communities. The student march and rally on November 16th were student-generated and entirely peaceful.

With a “No Child Left Behind” Act of 2001 provision forcing principals to give up the private contact information of young people to military recruiters, students and teachers have the natural right to protest.

With a bloody and illegal war, where the soldiers that are killed and maimed are disproportionately minorities and victims of the “poverty draft,” students and teachers of Tukwila have the natural right to protest.

With more than $500 billion dollars and the lives of more than a million Iraqis having been utterly wasted on a failed war, with schools in marginalized areas falling apart, we should all be protesting with the slogan: “Money for Schools — Not For War!”

With 75% of the American people polling against the war according to the latest Washington Post poll, and a Democratic Congress still making excuses for why it can’t cut off funding to bring the troops home, we must support the young people who speak out against their future being bombed away.

These teachers only misconduct was making their lesson plans truly relevant to the lives of their students.

On the Tukwila School District’s website, the Interim Superintendent posted the following message:

“We believe in the historic mission of public education within our democracy… Our schools are expected to encourage and prepare students to be productive citizens. We believe the challenge is to transform every child – to give every student a chance to become an autonomous, thinking person and a self-governing citizen. We are all here to work together to provide the best education for the most prized commodity of our fine city – the students of the Tukwila School District.”

Yet when the students participate in an act of peaceful civil disobedience in the best traditions of Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement who challenged unjust segregation laws, now the school district is hypocritically trying to discourage students from being “self-governing citizens” and standing up for what is right?

You should immediately:

1.  Keep the teachers who allowed or supported the student walkout hired not only next semester but next year!

2.  Overturn Bailey Davidson’s suspension! Let her stay at Foster High School!

3.  Drop the investigations against teachers now!
4.   Remove military recruiters from Foster High School or at least allow students to set up a literature table next to them when they are present!

Please write me back saying that upon further investigation you realize that there is no need for disciplinary action against these students or teachers.

Sincerely,

Name
Organizational Affiliations (if any) 


News Reports & Background:

Great Free Speech Radio News report:
http://www.fsrn.org/content/public-opinion-favors-teachers-wa-disciplined-alleged-involvement-student-anti-war-walk-out

NYC Indymedia:
http://www.indypendent.org/2007/12/08/student-antiwar-walkouts-spark-small-town-backlash/

KIRO 7:
http://www.kirotv.com/education/14714796/detail.html
(Click where it says “video”)

NorthWest Cable News:
http://www.nwcn.com/video/news-index.html?nvid=196453

Seattle Times: “Protesting teacher back at Tukwila school” November 29th
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/education/2004041566_tukwila29m.html

Student-made Walkout Film:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGSDzDF7xoY

Great report on antiwar student walkouts:
http://yawr.org/nov16/seattle.html

Articles on Youth Against War and Racism student victories against military recruiters in schools:
http://yawr.org/victory/victory.htm#tacoma
http://yawr.org/victory/victory.htm#kennedy
http://www.socialistalternative.org/news/article13.php?id=611

Seattle Post-Intelligencer Nov. 16th Walkout Article:
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/340003_peace17.html

For more information go to www.socialistslternative.org or e-mail Foster Student Action at foster.action[at]gmail.com.

Iraq: One million dead, $1.5 trillion wasted – Now Turkey threatens to invade!

By Cillian Gillespie

The imperialist invasion and occupation of Iraq has had devastating consequences for the Iraqi people. Some estimates now put the number of casualties at 1 million dead since the war began in March 2003.

Hundreds of thousands have been displaced from their homes as a result of sectarian civil war – a war that is a by-product of imperialist intervention in the region. A recent investigation by the US Congress found that the total cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, when hidden costs such as the rise in the price of oil were included, came to $1.5 trillion. This waste of resources is almost as criminal as the obscene loss of life that Bush’s wars for power and oil have cost.

Now the conflict in the Middle East is set to intensify with Turkey threaatening to invade Northern Iraq, which has a mainly Kurdish population. Turkey, along with Iran, Syria and Iraq, has long suppressed the rights of the Kurdish people and denied their democratic right to self-determination. Kurds are the poorest and most discriminated section of Turkish society, often facing longterm unemployment and repression by the military.

In the past few weeks the Turkish government has placed an army of 100,000 soldiers on the Iraqi border, and has begun attacking Kurdish targets in northern Iraq with aircraft strikes. It wants to smash the resistance of the fighters of the Kurdish nationalist group, the PKK (Kurdish Workers Party). More generally, they fear that the emergence of an independent Kurdish state with oil wealth could be a catalyst to spark off a new wave of struggles by the Kurdish people across the Middle East for independence. The Kurdish “autonomous” region of northern Iraq encompasses Kirkuk, which has enormous oil reserves.

The action against the PKK by Turkey has received the full support of the current US administration. Turkey is a key ally of the US in the Middle East and is the only member of NATO in the region. The majority of US military supplies for its occupation of Iraq pass through Turkey. The Bush administration will do whatever it can to placate the Turkish regime, as it is dependent on its support to further its strategy of dominance over the oil rich Middle East and possible attacks against Iran. US Secretary of State, Condelezza Rice, has even suggested that the US would be prepared to take military action against the PKK.

The Socialist Party is completely opposed to the Turkish and US government’s threats against the Kurdish people. We stand for the immediate unconditional withdrawal of all US and foreign forces from Iraq and Afghanistan and oppose any attempt to attack Iran.

As this region faces further instability, war and chaos, the necessity of building a powerful movement that unites workers and poor people across national and sectarian divides and fights for a socialist alternative has never been greater.