United States neonazi violence and warfare

This 20 November 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

New American Nazis: Inside the White Supremacist Movement That Fueled Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

Neo-Nazis are on the rise in America. Nearly a month after a gunman killed eleven Jewish worshipers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, we look at the violent hate groups that helped fuel the massacre.

On the same day that shooter Robert Bowers opened fire in the synagogue, a neo-Nazi named Edward Clark that Bowers had been communicating with online took his own life in Washington, D.C. The man’s brother, Jeffrey Clark, has since been arrested on weapons charges. The brothers were both linked to the violent white supremacist group Atomwaffen.

We speak with A.C. Thompson, correspondent for FRONTLINE PBS and reporter for ProPublica. His investigation “Documenting Hate: New American Nazis” premieres tonight on PBS stations and online.

This 20 November 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

America’s perpetual warfare abroad has led to an increase in white supremacist violence at home. That’s one of the key findings in Frontline PBS and ProPublica reporter A.C. Thompson’s new investigation, “Documenting Hate: New American Nazis”, which premieres Tuesday evening on PBS.

The documentary reveals the deep ties between the military and white supremacy, as Thompson examines the Pittsburgh shooting and the rise of violent hate groups such as Atomwaffen.

Thompson interviews historian Kathleen Belew, who says there has always been a correlation in the U.S. between the aftermath of war and the rise of white supremacist violence.

“If you look for instance at the surges in Ku Klux Klan membership, they align more consistently with the return of veterans from combat and the aftermath of war than they do with anti-immigration, populism, economic hardship or any of the other factors that historians have typically used to explain them”, she notes.

We speak with A.C. Thompson in Boston. His investigation premieres Tuesday on PBS stations and online.


British Conservatives whitewash murderous Saudi crown prince

This 21 November 2018 video says about itself:

Yemen: 85,000 children under five may have died of starvation, international aid group says

Save the Children says up yo 85,000 children under five may have died of hunger in Yemen since the outbreak of the war in 2015.

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thornberry grills Hunt: Did you bow down to Saudi Arabia over Yemen?

EMILY THORNBERRY called on Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt today to clarify whether Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had persuaded Britain to soften its draft resolution on the Yemen war.

Mr Hunt’s Labour shadow asked the urgent question in the Commons after charity Save the Children warned that 85,000 Yemeni youngsters under the age of five have died from hunger and disease since the Saudi-led assault began three years ago.

Ms Thornberry asked why Britain’s current United Nations security council draft resolution does not call for the investigation of alleged war crimes, as did its previous draft from 2016.

Mr Hunt met the crown prince in the Saudi capital Riyadh last week.

Ms Thornberry called on him to say whether the recent draft that Prince Mohammed was presented with had included the demand for an investigation into alleged war crimes, suggesting that the prince had demanded its removal.

Mr Hunt didn’t answer her question about the exclusion of an investigation from the recent draft, despite agreeing that there “absolutely” has to be a “full investigation”.

He also said: “The important thing about the resolution that we are proposing is not that this is the end of the story in terms of international efforts to broker a ceasefire. This is a step in the road.

“We want a ceasefire that will hold and we know the risk that, if you go for too much too early in these resolutions, that they end up getting ignored.

“And so this is a carefully brokered form of words, designed to get a consensus from both sides that allow talks to start before the end of this month in Stockholm. That’s the objective of this resolution.

“If the talks are successful, we will be able to have a much stronger resolution to follow.”

Ms Thornberry also pointed out that the recent draft does not stipulate sanctions for parties that breach a ceasefire, asking which body would monitor the compliance.

Macron’s compulsory military service in France

This video says about itself:

‘It’s Macron‘s fault’: parts of France in gridlock as thousands protest fuel tax hikes

17 November 2018

A female protester has died after being hit by a motorist as demonstrators angry at fuel tax hikes gridlocked parts of France on Saturday. Police said 47 other protesters had also been injured, three critically, as France’s newest people’s movement, the “gilets jaunes” (yellow vests), staged a day of action.

Macron government propaganda says the fuel tax hikes are supposedly pro-environment. That is a lie.

Recently, Macron’s environment minister Nicolas Hulot resigned in protest against the anti-environment policies of the rest of the government.

This video is about godwits. The Macron government wants to make it legal for hunters to kill these beautiful threatened birds, and also beautiful, threatened curlews.

Already when he was a minister in the previous Hollande administration, Macron clashed repeatedly with his Environment colleague, Ms Ségolène Royal, because of his anti-environment pro-fossil fuel corporations plans.

Already before becoming president, Macron planned environmentally destructive gold mining next to a national park in the colony French Guiana.

If the Macron government would really care about the environment, then they would not raise fuel taxes for the common people, but, eg, lower or abolish taxes for electric cars and public transport; raise taxes for Big Oil fat cats and other super rich persons; stop promoting nuclear energy; etc. Their aim with the fuel tax is to take money from common people to give yet more to rich people.

“Macron is the president of the rich”: “Yellow Vest” protesters speak out: here.

By Alex Lantier in France:

Amid mass protests, France announces return to universal military service

20 November 2018

Yesterday, after hundreds of thousands of people across France donned yellow vests and blockaded roads and intersections to oppose President Emmanuel Macron’s fuel tax hike and his social attacks on working people, the French government announced the return to universal military service. In an interview yesterday with Le Parisien, Junior Minister for Youth Gabriel Attal, who is presenting the bill, said: “My objective is to have the first draftees as early as June” of 2019.

The timing of this announcement underscored the close link between the ruling elite’s attempts to put entire generations of youth under military discipline, and its attempts to suppress social anger that is erupting among youth and workers in France and across Europe.

As it announced the return to the draft, the government was threatening a new, violent police crackdown against continuing “Yellow Vest” protesters’ blockades Monday. Some 27,000 protesters were involved, blockading highways in the northeast and near the western coast of France, as well as strategic Total oil refineries in the south.

With 183 protesters still in preventive detention after a heavy police crackdown on the weekend’s protests, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner threatened that Yellow Vest protesters would be “thrown out systematically, methodically” from their blockades during the week.

“Deblockading operations will continue in the coming hours”, he announced last night, adding that he had asked police authorities to be ready to “liberate fuel depots and other sensitive sites.” …

With calls spreading on social media for a march on the Elysée presidential palace and for renewed mass blockading actions this coming weekend, the government is clearly planning for a major police crackdown against growing social opposition.

The Macron government’s return to the draft, after France abolished it in 1997, is part of a broad move across Europe to incite militarism and prepare for war. In 2017, Sweden re-established the draft as part of preparations for war with Russia, citing “Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the conflict in Ukraine and the increased military activity in our neighborhood” as pretexts for the move. In 2016, German authorities announced that they were also considering reinstating the draft.

In France, Macron pledged to bring back the draft in a 2017 presidential campaign speech in which he declared: “We have entered an epoch in international relations where war is again a possible outcome of politics.” Beyond building infrastructure for a return to the draft if and when it is needed, however, its central purpose is to stoke nationalism and militarism, and shift the political atmosphere to the right.

Now, Attal declared in a long set of feature articles about the draft published by Le Parisien, France will draft “several hundred or even several thousand people” next year, as a prelude to a program where men and women would be recruited before their final year in high school to do a month of military service. Attal said a possible target date is “2026, but we are studying faster possibilities.” He added, “Universal national service must reinforce the links between the army and the nation.”

The paper explained, “Every year, around 800,000 boys and girls of the same age will be called up for a month, including 15 days when they will live collectively.” They will then have the option of signing up for three more months of military service, and then possible recruitment into the armed forces.

The government’s attempts to give a fraudulent democratic gloss to its plans, and to deny their link to plans for military action or domestic repression, are shot through with crying contradictions. Attal claimed that “France no longer needs to have an entire generation trained to handle weapons.” He claimed the draft would allow for “mixing social classes on the basis of the values of our Republic”—echoing, oddly, the purpose assigned by the state to the public school system.

Academics interviewed by Le Parisien contested whether military service did this before its abolition in 1997. As youth entering the program were allowed to choose between various types of military and civil service, historian Bénédicte Chéron said, “Social mixing gradually ceased, and in 1997 you only had young men from the poorest social classes in the land army’s combat units.”

Plans to bring back the draft, Le Parisien admitted, are highly unpopular among the youth, who have a “confused and rather negative view” of Macron’s plans. This leads, the paper added, to “a feeling that the program is useless” that is widely held among French youth. It cynically recommended that Macron seek to market the draft by playing up claims that time spent in military service would help youth learn more about “reacting in crisis situations” and about “activities linked to the environment and sustainable development.”

In fact, the purpose of restoring the draft is not to protect capitalist democracy by allowing young workers, middle class youth and scions of the financial aristocracy to rub shoulders in the barracks. Its aim is to impose military discipline on the youth to forcibly suppress social conflict, so that Macron can continue imposing his unpopular wars and austerity policies. Macron’s return to the draft is a particularly striking illustration of how the bourgeoisie’s attempt to limit class conflict at home leads to militarism and the rise of the war danger internationally.

The ruling elite sees the suppression of class conflict among the youth as particularly critical after the European Union’s 2017 “Generation What” poll, which found that over half of European youth and nearly two-thirds of French youth want to join a “mass uprising” against the existing order.

Le Parisien all but admitted this in its editorial, titled “A moment to come together”, writing: “At a time when France is torn apart by divisions that threaten its unity, the idea of putting back in place a national service program seems to be a timely initiative.”

Macron underscored the militaristic character of this policy with his trip to Berlin this weekend during the Yellow Vest protests, during which he echoed his earlier calls to build a European army capable of confronting Russia, China and the United States. French officials at the Munich Security Conference earlier this year estimated that France would spend €300 billion by 2023 on the military buildup needed to realize Macron’s plans.

This weekend, Macron called for a “stronger and more sovereign Europe” that would not “become the plaything of other powers” and, referring to Franco-German collaboration on a European army, declared: “The new Franco-German responsibility consists of giving Europe the tools it needs to reach sovereignty.”

British suffragettes photo exhibition

Selling ‘The Woman’s Dreadnought’ newspaper. Melvina Walker (centre) and Nellie Cressall (on her right). Nora Smyth c.1914 Image with kind permission of Paul Isolani Smyth from the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam

This photo depicts selling of ‘The Woman’s Dreadnought’ newspaper, by Melvina Walker (centre) and Nellie Cressall (on her right). Photo by Nora Smyth c.1914. Image with kind permission of Paul Isolani Smyth from the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Saturday, 17 November 2018 East End Suffragettes – revealed for first time in 100 years

East End Suffragettes: the photographs of Norah Smyth
2 November-9 February 2019
Tues-Sat: 11.00-18.00 daily
Admission free

EAST End Suffragette photos from 100 years ago, are revealed, for the first time in Britain. The venue is the Four Corners Studio, 121 Roman Road, close to Bethnal Green tube station, East London. Exhibition opening is Tuesday to Saturday 11am to 6pm, until February 9. Pioneering campaign photos of the East London Federation of the Suffragettes (ELFS) from 1914 to 1916, are being shown. They have been loaned by the Institute of Social History in Amsterdam.

The photos are the work of Norah Smyth, used to illustrate workers’ conditions in the East End of London and the activities of the ELFS in its weekly paper.

Norah was originally inspired by the suffrage campaign of The Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) led by Emmeline Pankhurst and daughter Chrystabel Pankhurst in 1911.

She soon met the other Pankhurst sister, Sylvia, and in 1912 they joined supporters and formed a branch of the WSPU in East London. They were moved by the terrible poverty of the working class in that area, and inspired by the history of trade union struggles such as the match girls’ strike in 1888 and the socialist ideas of the Independent Labour Party. They opened a shop in Bow Road, with a head board ‘Votes for Women’. Norah came from a wealthy family and used her inheritance to support the struggle.

During 1913, Sylvia was arrested and started hunger and thirst strikes until she was released to get better, ten times, under the ‘Cat and Mouse Act’. The branch was very active and supported strikes at local factories. Their orientation towards working class struggle was too much for the leaders of the WSPU, who focused on getting the vote for property owning middle class women.

By January 1914, Chrystabel demanded that the ELFS separate from the WSPU. This it did, becoming more socialist, adding the colour red to the traditional suffragette colours of white, green and purple.

The ELFS organised Women’s May Day parades from the East India Dock Gates to Victoria Park, six mile marches to Holloway prison to show solidarity with suffragette prisoners, and held open air meetings all over the East End from Canning Town to Hackney and Stepney. Every week they had a stall in Roman Road market.

Many men took part in the events and the police regularly used force against them.

For a short time in 1913 the ELFS set up a ‘Peoples Army’ modelled on James Connolly’s Irish Citizen Army and began drilling, to defend workers’ demonstrations and form protection for Sylvia against re-arrest. In March 1914, they set up a weekly paper called ‘The Woman’s Dreadnought’ as the ‘only suffrage paper in the country which makes a distinct appeal to working people’.

Articles covered workers housing and work conditions and struggles and their own campaigns. Here Norah Smyth’s photographs played a key role. In May, the ELFS opened their own HQ in 400 Old Ford Rd, which included two large halls, where meetings and clubs were held.

When World War 1 broke out in August 1914, Emmeline and Chrystabel Pankhurst immediately capitulated to the patriotic propaganda and dropped the suffrage campaign, whereas the ELFS became more resolute. They became pacifists and redoubled their support for working class families through welfare schemes in which local woman participated.

Unemployment rose as factories closed. Then conscription of the men left the women trying to care for the children on belated payments. Woman ended up working in munitions and clothing factories on sweated labour conditions. When the ELFS opened some food distribution centres (milk, eggs and barley) for starving woman and children, and communal canteens, hundreds turned up. They organised free nurseries and set up a shoe and toy factory to employ women.

The Dreadnought called for equal pay and working conditions, and rights for soldiers’ and sailors’ wives and ‘Down with sweating’. By 1915, when compulsory conscription was brought in, they campaigned against compulsion. State repression against these rallies increased.

One million working class soldiers were conscripted but many had no vote. The new Franchise Bill excluded poorer men, conscientious objectors, women under 30, and poor and widowed women from the vote. In March 1916, the ELFS changed its name to ‘Workers Suffrage Federation’ (WSF) and demanded universal suffrage for everyone over the age of 21 years. This was not achieved until 10 years later.

The two revolutions in Russia in 1917 inspired the WSL tremendously and they became revolutionary socialists. The new workers’ soviets in Russia seemed to them to parallel their community organisations. The Woman’s Dreadnoaught changed its name to ‘Workers’ Dreadnought’ and stood for ‘household soviets and international socialism’. In summer 1917, it campaigned for ‘a paralysis of military force’.

The WSF set up peace pickets outside parliament with slogans ‘War is murder’, ‘Soldiers in the trenches long for peace’, and ‘Bring back our Brothers’, and ‘Stop this Capitalists’ War’. In 1918, the organisation became the ‘Workers’ Socialist Federation’ and affiliated to the Communist International. Norah and Sylvia attended conferences in Russia and Amsterdam and Sylvia attended the second congress of the Third International in 1920, where the setting up of a British communist Party was debated. There were differences with Lenin.

They supported the ‘Hands off Russia’ campaign, and lobbied the east end dockers not to load munitions for the imperialist armies being used against the Bolsheviks.

The WSF fought to build a communist-type organisation until 1924, when the Dreadnought was ended. The 100 photographs in this exhibition reveal a huge empathy and respect for working woman and their families in the East End of London and a determination to fight for the vote and socialism in conflict with the capitalist state. It is not to be missed. N.B. Most of the information in this article came from the exhibition notices and an accompanying booklet.