“We must keep hold of the strike weapon:” Sudanese court workers and bank workers demand dignity

Source: MENA Solidarity Network

January 8 2022

Mass meeting of striking court workers – picture via SWAFRTU on Facebook

Huge protests are continuing to shake Sudan through the mass movement demanding civilian rule and democracy led by the Resistance Committees. Despite increasing repression and the regular killing of protesters by the security forces, tens of thousands are still joining demonstrations opposing the military coup. Alongside the protests in the streets, important struggles have developed in some workplaces, and activists are starting to make links between the fight for economic dignity and the battle for democracy and political freedom. 

The court workers’ movement is nationwide – picket line in North Darfur. Picture via SWARFTU on Facebook

Justice workers’ walkouts shut down courts across Sudan

Thousands of court workers took part in strikes between 2-6 January to demand a rise in their bonuses in order to meet the spiralling cost of living. Workers in the Judicial Authority organised national action coordinated by strike committees in every province, which reported up to 100 percent participation in some areas, according to the Sudanese Workers Association for the Restoration of Trade Unions (SWAFRTU). Khartoum, Omdurman, Port Sudan, Gedaref, North Darfur and West Kordofan were among the provinces where the whole workforce walked out. 

“We must keep hold of the strike weapon – it is the strongest to achieve our just demands,” wrote court worker and trade unionist Mohammed Abd-al-Majid on the SWARFTU page. “Workers and employees used every legal and legitimate means to obtain their rights, including negotiations and follow-up meetings, but when all doors were shut in their faces as a result of the dissolution of trade unions by the coup leader, they resorted to strikes.” 

Mass sackings at Bank of Khartoum as workers challenge corrupt bosses 

Over 200 workers at the Bank of Khartoum have been dismissed, and over 500 more face the sack as management clamps down after months of mobilisations demanding improved conditions at work and opposing the military coup. The bank was privatised in 2010, when the government sold most of its shares to the private sector, with the Bank of Abu Dhabi buying 70 percent. Businessmen close to the old regime also made a fortune out of the bank’s privatisation. Fadl Mohamed Khair, who was arrested in a crackdown on corruption in the dying days of the Bashir regime is reported to have pocketed over 1.9 billion Sudanese pounds from the Bank during 2018 alone. 

Since the beginning of the revolution in December 2018, Bank of Khartoum workers have begun to fight back. They are demanding a pay rise to match the spiralling cost of living and campaigning to get rid of managers who are pushing through job cuts to maximise profits for the bank’s foreign and local bosses.  

Some Resistance Committees are mobilising solidarity for the sacked bank workers – picture via SWARFTU on Facebook

Solidarity grows

The battles in the courts and at the Bank of Khartoum have begun to spark solidarity campaigns and efforts to bring together striking workers and activists from the Resistance Committees. Zakaria Yunis Musa, a court worker in West Darfur called for solidarity with the bank workers in an open letter published on the SWAFRTU Facebook page. “The court workers and Bank of Khartoum workers must coordinate and stand in solidarity with each other,” he said, “in order to expose the feudalists and capitalists. Workers and wage earners are most able to feel each other’s pain and through solidarity and unity they will succeed in winning their human, material, economic, social, cultural and political rights.” 

Some Resistance Committees have put out statements in solidarity with the court workers, bank workers and other strikers. The December Revolution Coordination in Ombada, a district on the Western edge of Omdurman, urged activists to mobilise in support in a statement on 5 January. 

“Let us stand in solidarity with the workers at the Bank of Khartoum, the judicial institution, and Centroid Company in order to restore their rights. We must root the principle of mutual solidarity among all the forces of resistance in order to bring about a revolution in the institutions and housing. This will lead to the overthrow of a regime which established economic policies based on sacking workers and denying them their rights. We need to build a national economic system based on nationalising all the public properties and institutions which have been privatised through the same reactionary policies.” 

What you can do

Destabilizing actions denounced after protests in Kazakhstan

Nursultan, Jan 7 (Prensa Latina) The president of Kazakhstan, Kasim-Zhomart Tokayev, said today that behind the recent riots in the country one can see the hand of professionals of ideological subversion, skilled in the handling of disinformation and fake news

Source: Prensa Latina

January 7, 2022

  • In a speech broadcast on the Khabar 24 television channel, the President said that “preparations for terrorist attacks by underground sleeping cells went unspotted by the state”.

According to the Head of State, the National Security Committee and the General Prosecutor’s Office are already investigating the existence of a command post which was preparing and guiding in the actions all those involved in the events which caused deaths, numerous wounded and considerable material damage.

Related:  President appeals to protesters amid mass unrest in Kazakhstan

He indicated that around 20 thousand extremists were involved in the violent disturbances that took place in recent days in the city of Almaty, the former capital of the country.

Tokayev informed that an interdepartmental group was created to find and apprehend criminals and terrorists. “I promise the public that all these people will be subjected to the most rigorous criminal sanctions,” he emphasized.

The situation in Kazakhstan destabilized on January 2 with the outbreak of protests over rising liquefied petroleum gas prices in the southwest of the country.

A government commission decided two days later to lower fuel prices, but protests continued and spread to other areas, especially in Almaty, the country’s largest city.

On January 5, the president accepted the resignation of the full government and took over as head of the National Security Council, headed until then by former president Nursultan Nazarbayev.

According to official reports cited by the Sputnik news agency, 18 security officers were killed and 748 were injured in the unrest.

The Interior Ministry reported that 26 armed individuals were killed, 18 others were wounded, while more than three thousand people were arrested in the last few days.

Due to the speed with which the demonstrations spread and the magnitude they reached in a few days, political analysts consider that the actions are not spontaneous and respond to an attempt to apply in the country the format of the so-called color revolutions, organized from abroad.

Sudanese Masses Pressure Military Regime to Relinquish Power

Source: borkena.com

December 29 2021

Sudan People demonstrate for democratic rule. December 25,2021 ( Photo : AA)

Since the October 25 coup by the military in the oil-rich state of Sudan, the democratic movement has held protests almost on a daily basis.

Interim Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, a technocrat with extensive ties to international finance capital, was overthrown during the late October putsch only to be reinstalled in a secret agreement with the Transitional Military Council (TMC) led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan which excluded the main opposition parties and mass formations which have guided the revolutionary movement since December of 2018.

Over the last three years, former longtime President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, was overthrown in an April 2019 coup led by the TMC which was designed to thwart a people’s takeover which would have inevitably involved a vanguard role for the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC). The FFC grew out of an alliance with the Sudanese Professional Association (SPA), the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors, along with dozens of other opposition forces from various political spectrums including the Communist Party (SCP). 

However, the massacre of demonstrators during June 2019 prompted a more engaged intervention by the African Union (AU) based in neighboring Ethiopia, where Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sought to mediate the conflict. In several months the Sovereign Council was created ostensibly designed as a transitional body that within three years would result in a multi-party election creating a parliament and presidency through direct selection by the electorate.

However, the entire process has been derailed largely at the aegis of imperialist forces seeking to dominate the current and future situation inside the country. Under the previous administration of President Donald J. Trump, Prime Minister Hamdok was compelled to acknowledge the so-called “Abraham Accord” which is designed to expand the diplomatic recognition of the state of Israel in Africa and West Asia while undermining international solidarity with the Palestinian people. This measure has not been fully implemented diplomatically although there are reports of at least two exchanges of delegations between Khartoum and Tel Aviv.

These maneuvers by Washington and its allies have not pacified the FFC and other popular forces who have remained in the streets. Even the armed opposition groupings from the Darfur region of Sudan and the border areas of the now partitioned Republic of South Sudan, who signed on to the November 21 post-coup arrangements, are still within a highly precarious situation in their relationship with the military leadership. 

The latest round of demonstrations could only be suppressed by the deployment of the police, paramilitary units and the army. At a December 24 public rally called by the FFC, unnamed individuals set off teargas in the crowd in the effort to disrupt the meeting.

December 25 was marked by renewed mass demonstrations demanding the immediate resignation of Hamdok and the military from the reigns of state power. Actions were held in the three major cities surrounding the capital of Khartoum, Khartoum North and the twin-city of Omdurman. Additional protests extended to the east of the country around Port Sudan where organizations have put forward their own unique set of demands for the military regime.

Sudan Tribune reported on the level of repression carried out by the security forces saying: “The Sudanese government closed main streets leading to the Republican Place in Khartoum, shut down internet services, and deployed troops on the bridges linking the three towns of the capital Khartoum, Khartoum North and Omdurman. Five days after the last protests of December 19, the demonstrators again made their target the presidential palace which is the premises of the military-dominated Sovereign Council. In spite of the massive deployment of joint security forces including the police, the army and the Rapid Support Forces, the protesters marched towards the Palace chanting slogans to denounce the coup d’etat of Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.” (https://sudantribune.com/article253411/)

What has been notable in the demonstrations for democratic transformation since 2018 is the high level of participation of women in the revolutionary movement. Many have moved to the front of the actions challenging the discrimination and marginalization prevalent in Sudanese society. These women have been met with harsh repression where sexual assault has been utilized has a means to driving women off the streets. These attempts to suppress women through brutal attacks have not worked and instead has prompted manifestations by women exposing the crimes being committed by the military and the entire security apparatus.

The same above-mentioned report by Sudan Tribune emphasizes: “[W]omen participated in Saturday’s (Dec. 25) protest to show they were not intimated by the sexual violence and rape by the security forces on 19 December. The police used live ammunition and tear gas to disperse the protests in the streets near the Republican Palace. Nonetheless, they failed to stop the demonstrators. The security authorities in Khartoum on Friday (Dec. 24) announced the closure of the bridges and streets leading to the sovereign and strategic sites…. ‘The people are stronger, and it is impossible to go back,’ they also chanted to voice their determination to continue the protests that started immediately after the first hours of the coup on October 25.”

Sudan and Regional Stability in the Horn of Africa

Meanwhile in neighboring Ethiopia, the U.S. is attempting to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The State Department and corporate media outlets based in the West have sought to create an atmosphere where the administration in Addis Ababa is considered brutal and illegitimate. 

In line with this approach by Washington, the Sudanese military junta has sided with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) rebels fighting the elected government in Addis Ababa and other centers of authority throughout the Horn of Africa state. With the TPLF rebels in retreat, returning to their bases in the Tigray province by clearing out areas within the Afar and Amhara regions of the country, the Sudanese military regime is being placed in an even more unstable position. 

Funding from the U.S., the Gulf Monarchies of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates along with Tel Aviv is contingent upon Gen. al-Burhan’s compliance with the imperatives of western imperialism. The mass democratic movement in Sudan, if it is to seize power, will inevitably be forced to shift the overall foreign policy of the country. Absent of fundamental changes in domestic and foreign policies, the nation of Sudan will remain subject to the manipulation by the capitalist centers of the West and their surrogates throughout Africa and West Asia.

During mid-to-late December, numerous news articles have appeared suggesting that the reinstalled interim Prime Minister Hamdok is threatening to resign from his tenuous post as head of the second iteration of the Sovereign Council. If Hamdok leaves, which the U.S., UN and the Gulf Monarchies do not want to happen, the military will be weakened even further politically. The lack of a political underpinning for the TMC is causing the armed forces to utilize heightened levels of repression against the democratic movement.

Sudan and the International Situation

With the ascendancy of the current U.S. President Joe Biden in January 2021, the foreign policy of the State Department and the Pentagon has not shifted in its substance towards the African continent. The Trump administration sought to prop up the military regime in Sudan and the same approach continues under Biden.

As Trump was hostile towards the present government in Ethiopia, so is the Biden administration. The U.S. fears a genuinely revolutionary democratic Africa where the foreign policy of the post-independence states is based upon the interests of the majority of workers, farmers, youth and other popular strata within these developing countries. 

After two decades of direct occupation of Afghanistan, the U.S. was forced to leave in humiliating defeat during August 2021. The military adventures in the West Asian and African states of Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen are facing a similar fate as to the outcome of Afghanistan in Central Asia. Trillions in U.S. currency has been spent on these occupations and proxy wars while the national infrastructure of the urban, suburban and rural areas is in rapid decline.

Of course, the failure of imperialist war is paid for by the workers and oppressed in the U.S. struggling against rising impoverishment, racist bigotry, national oppression, gender discrimination, environmental degradation, among other social ills. Consequently, the antiwar and anti-imperialist struggle is essential in the efforts to overturn capitalist exploitation and national oppression.   

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Sudan: Prime Minister’s reinstatement is a sham – keep up the fight!

by Joe Attard

November 22 2021

Source: In Defence of Marxism

The Sudanese Revolution has taken a new turn. 28 days after the coup that removed him from power, Abdalla Hamdok was reinstated as Prime Minister by the military junta. The streets, which have fought and shed blood for a month to win civilian rule, have met this news, not with jubilation – but rage.

In a televised address alongside representatives of the military, Hamdok said that a new deal had been struck that he hoped would “end the bloodshed” – which is ironic, given that the generals, whom he will now serve in his new position, continue to claim they have killed nobody since the coup.

Under the newly inked deal, Hamdok will lead a “technocratic” government, with the goal of establishing a constitutional conference and holding elections by June 2023, to complete “the transition to democracy and its related obligations”.

Anticipating how this announcement would be received, Hamdok said: “I have made up my mind and signed this political agreement, although I know that many may disagree, object, or reject it simply because the people’s ambitions and aspirations were much higher.”

Shotgun marriage

The transitional government will be ‘supervised’ by a new Sovereign Council, with the two main leaders of the counter-revolution, General Burhan and General Hemeti, occupying the top spots and selecting its membership. The only real role of the new transitional government will be to rubberstamp the decisions of the generals.

This is a return to military dictatorship in all but name, with Hemeti taking to Twitter to “congratulate the people of Sudan on today’s historic event. An agreement has been signed ensuring that Sudan continues on the path of democracy and the people’s will.” The approval of this mass murderer is all that needs to be said of the new arrangement.

Nobody believes the generals’ assurances that they will allow elections to a civilian government in the future. Indeed, repression was still going on even while this new “compromise” was being announced, claiming another victim in the form of 16-year-old Yousif Abdelhamid, who was shot in the head yesterday.

Other promises have been made, which the masses have no confidence will be honoured. For example, the party of the old Bashir dictatorship (National Congress Party) is expressly banned from taking part in the new transitional government. But Burhan has spent the last few weeks hiring Bashir loyalists to important positions in the state, which makes the pledge dubious.

It was announced that all political prisoners are to be released, although so far only a handful have been set free; and an “independent probe” into violence during the past month has been promised, though this is a laughable notion when the butchers themselves are in charge.

Finally, the anti-corruption committee set up by the last transitional government to investigate embezzlement, shut down by the coup plotters – who have spent decades looting the wealth and resources of Sudan – will be revived and “restructured”, which we can read as: “rendered impotent.”

A cover for the rule of the counter-revolutionary junta

It is clear to anyone with eyes that Hamdok’s reinstatement to the head of a so-called transitional government, under the supervision of the armed forces, is nothing but a cover for the rule of the counter-revolutionary junta.

Yesterday saw a fourth national demonstration, shortly after the bloodiest day of the coup so far last Thursday, in which 15 protestors were killed by the security forces. The total number of confirmed deaths is 41, and hundreds lie injured or dying in Sudan’s overcrowded hospitals, which have repeatedly come under attack from the counter-revolution.

Far from being cowed, the turnout yesterday was even bigger than last time: with at least 19 cities and towns taking part, and at least a million people on the streets (the exact figures are hard to come by). In part, this was because (for unclear reasons) the military finally lifted the nationwide communications blackout on Friday. Aside from making it easier to mobilise the demonstration, it meant people all over the country could finally see the full extent of the military’s brutality pouring out of social media.

The images and videos of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF – the tribal paramilitaries under Hemeti’s command) and police firing live ammunition at crowds of unarmed protestors, and bodies riddled with intentional kill shots to the head and torso, enraged the masses even further.

Revolution refuses to back down

The junta remains isolated, basing itself on the most reactionary elements of the security forces. It lacks any organic base of support in society.

While the junta has not spared the whip of repression, unleashing brutal violence against the revolution, every time the masses have come back with hardened resolve.

The aim of the junta throughout this period has been to wear the masses down through bloodshed. This has been aided by a lack of any clear plans or objectives from the leaders of the revolution, with the aim of bringing the struggle to its logical conclusions.

Heroic masses force military to change its tactics

Despite relentless attacks, the masses have heroically persevered after a month of deadlock. The generals were not expecting the process to last this long. Therefore, they have been forced to change tactics. They hope that ‘restoring’ Hamdok as a civilian front for their rule will throw dust in the masses’ eyes, and cut across the revolution.

They have been assisted in this end by leaders of the so-called international community, particularly the imperialist representatives of the US and UN, who have been endeavouring behind the scenes to stitch up a new arrangement between the army, Hamdok and the remnants of the civilian wing of the old transitional government.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US is “encouraged” by the new deal, while the UN released a statement welcoming Hamdok and Burhan’s “consensus on resolving the constitutional and political crisis that was threatening the stability of the country.”

Stability is the watchword here. The imperialists are keen to avoid the military being overthrown by the revolutionary struggle of the masses, which would likely inspire revolutionary movements in other countries in the region. They hope that the military and transitional government can now ‘work together’ in their new shotgun wedding, and restore stability by pacifying the streets.

But the masses see right through this. It is a positive development that the counter-revolutionary role of the so-called international community has been laid bare: they are not allies but enemies of the Sudanese people.

After the bitter struggle, death and hardship they have gone through for democratic rights and civilian rule, the masses are furious at being returned to a position that is a significant step back from where they started.

When the announcement of the new government came, the streets boiled with fury towards Hamdok in particular. As we previously reported, the liberal prime minister, a former UN economist, was not especially popular with the masses before the coup.

Aside from entering into a disgraceful power share with the same murderous generals who drowned the revolutionary sit-ins of 2019 in blood, Hamdok oversaw a brutal austerity programme at the behest of imperialist bodies like the IMF and World Bank, who provided aid to Sudan with the expectation of “structural adjustments” (i.e. cuts).

In fact, the coup was preceded by a cut to fuel subsidies, which provoked anti-government, pro-military sit-ins in Khartoum. These were relatively small, made up of more backward layers of society, egged along by the military, and met with far-larger pro-democracy demonstrations. Still, the fact remains that Hamdok’s reactionary policies meant he enjoyed limited support from the Sudanese people.

On top of that, he turned a blind eye to continuing abuses by the RSF and police against the people after 2019, particularly targeting prominent members of the resistance committees.

Illusions in Hamdok shattered

However, when Burhan launched his coup, removed Hamdok and dissolved the Sovereign Council, the masses rallied to defend the gains of the 2019 revolution. In the process, certain illusions developed among some layers of the Sudanese (and especially the ex-pat community) in Hamdok, as the country’s ‘legitimate’ civilian political leader.

Those illusions have been shattered by yesterday’s developments, with the streets uniformly rejecting the new deal and naming Hamdok a traitor to the revolution.

All the leading bodies of the revolution, including the Sudanese Professionals Association, the Neighbourhood Resistance Committees, and even the more conservative Forces for Freedom and Change, have rejected the new transitional government as a sham. The former has reiterated the three main slogans of the revolution: no dialogue, no compromise and no partnerships with the military.

During the protests yesterday, the resistance committees made their feelings known, with the crowds in Khartoum declaring:

“To whomever believed in Hamdok, Hamdok is dead; and to whomever believed in the streets, the streets are chanting and will never die.”

A protestor from Omdurman, interviewed in the Guardian on Sunday, said: “I am just so disappointed by this deal. What about those who have been killed?” Another protester added: “I will keep going to the streets because the military doesn’t give any guarantees that they will stick by their deals. They always cheat.”

The revolutionary masses have vowed to remain on the streets, and a fifth national demonstration has been called for Thursday. If the intention of this ‘concession’ was to cut across the revolution, it appears to have had the opposite effect.

The rejection of Hamdok is a step forward. It shows the masses are learning from the harsh school of revolution. One important lesson is that liberals cannot be trusted. Their class interests and loyalty to capitalism means they are incapable of fulfilling the aspirations of the Sudanese people for genuine democracy and a decent existence.

Liberals leaders will always seek compromise, no matter the depths of vicious depravity to which the junta sink, rather than support the masses in the revolutionary conquest of power. Ultimately, both Burhan and Hamdok support the continuation of capitalism, which is the source of the poverty and backwardness which haunts Sudanese society.

How to smash the junta?

The masses fully understand the need to smash the junta, but the burning question as ever is – how? The SPA talks about arresting the generals and transitioning immediately to a fully civilian administration, but the generals have weapons, and are willing to use them in defence of their power and privileges, and the revolution does not!

As we have said many times, the major weakness of the Sudanese Revolution is the unwillingness of its leadership to meet the junta with arms in hand. Instead, it simply reinforces the masses’ anxieties with an insistence on peaceful methods, without explaining how these methods could ever convince the counter-revolution to vacate power.

The SPA warns that there will be a bloody civil war if the masses take up arms, but isn’t that precisely what there is now? A one-sided civil war, with the forces of counter-revolution slaughtering men women and children every day!

And wasn’t life under the rule of the junta in past years precisely a never-ending nightmare of poverty and misery? What this revolution has shown time and time again is that the masses are ready to make the ultimate sacrifices in order to change society. The ones who are afraid and vacillate are the liberal so-called leaders, who ceaselessly hold back the revolution from removing the junta, arresting the generals and placing a new civilian government in power – all of which require armed bodies of men loyal to the revolution!

The only way to avoid bloodshed and chaos is precisely by the most forceful armed intervention of the masses against the counter-revolution and its shock troops on the streets. The more the leaders hesitate, the more they vacillate without showing any way forward, the more it will embolden the counter-revolution and demoralise parts of the masses opening the way for more chaos and more bloodshed.

The leaders of the revolution should therefore explain the need for armed struggle, and organise disciplined self-defence via the resistance committees, combined with making a general appeal to the rank-and-file of the armed forces to mutiny and join their class brothers and sisters against Burhan and Hemeti.

No compromise, talks or partnerships: complete the revolution!

The experience of the Sudanese Revolution is a living demonstration of the need for a clear-sighted revolutionary party. Even a small such party, had it existed from the start, could have connected with the aspirations of the masses, and transformed the situation.

This party could have pointed the way forward with a clear programme of organising armed defence committees throughout the country connected on a local and national level, a general appeal to the rank and file soldiers to join the revolution, as well as an all-out general strike leading towards an insurrection to take power and arrest the leaders of the counter-revolution and disarm its forces.

This would be connected to the need to unify and build up the resistance committees into a national body of workers’ power, and convene a constituent assembly so the masses can elect their own representatives.

In the conditions that have emerged since the October coup, such a programme would resonate with millions of people and open a new stage in the revolution. In the absence of such a force, the revolution is forced to go through many bitter lessons.

This is the only way to guarantee the victory of the Sudanese Revolution, which continues to inspire the world with its incredible resilience.

The people have spoken: down with the coup! No deals or partnerships! The fight for democratic rights and dignified existence in Sudan goes on! In the last analysis, the objectives of the revolution can only be assured and sustained through the building of socialism in Sudan, which will be a beacon to all exploited and oppressed people throughout Africa, the Arab world and beyond!

Britain: Tories forced to u-turn after wave of student protests

Source: Marxist.com
August 18 2020

by Jack Tye Wilson

After a weekend of militant protests and online campaigning against the A-level results fiasco, the government has backed down, scrapping the infamous ‘algorithm grades’ for both A-Level and GCSE students. This represents a victory for young people. But their anger will not subside so easily.

In the immediate aftermath of the exams fiasco – which saw close to 40% of A-level grades in England downgraded from their teachers’ predictions – Tory education secretary Gavin Williamson dug his heels in.

Williamson’s immediate response was to defend the grading system as the “fairest possible way” to assess students. Later, on Saturday, he stubbornly declared that there would be “no U-turn” and “no change”.

Backed into a corner

As students gathered in their thousands in a number of cities over the weekend, the cracks began to show in the ranks of the Conservative Party. Over 20 Tory MPs raised concerns about the grading system, and Tory MP Simon Hoare said that the situation was “beyond a joke” and “smacks of naive incompetence”.

Even members of Ofqual – England’s exams regulator – were denouncing their own algorithm! Sources from the exam ‘watchdog’ rightly pointed out that their grading system had led to a “hemorrhaging of public trust”. They urged Downing Street to follow Scotland’s lead and scrap the calculated grades altogether.

Boris Johnson responded to the situation in his typical fumbling manner. The Prime Minister declared that both Ofqual and Williamson had his full support – despite each being at loggerheads with the other!

Under fire from all sides, the government had no choice but to back down. This U-turn serves to show the immense power that young people have when they organise, take to the street, and make their voices heard.

The chair of Ofqual, Roger Taylor, even admitted as much in his grovelling apology on BBC News. “What changed was seeing young peoples’ distress and anxiety” Taylor stated. “Seeing this we realised we had taken the wrong road.”

Militancy pays!

It should come as no surprise that the systematic downgrading of students led to unfathomable levels of anxiety and distress. But far from this cowering students, these anxieties about the future – and an already seething resentment towards the Tories – exploded into hardened struggle.

Despite protests being called at the last minute, thousands gathered outside of the Department of Education HQ in Whitehall over the weekend. Chants of “justice for the working class” and “fuck the system” filled the streets. Student networks coordinating protests have since mushroomed.

This display of anger shows that young people see straight through the claims that this was simply a ‘mistake’ or a problem with this or that grading system. The class nature of this latest injustice is plain for all to see. This debacle is the product of a deeply classist education system, which is set up to fail working-class youth

Inequalities in education

The education system ultimately reflects the needs of the capitalist system. Private schools simply would not exist if they did not confer an advantage onto those that come from more affluent backgrounds.

Similarly, those students that are set up to fail – year in year out – are what is required to keep the so-called ‘unskilled’ workforce in precarious, poorly-paid employment.

This reversal does nothing to address the deep-seated inequality in Britain’s classrooms. Indeed, this Tory U-turn itself reveals the problems at the heart of the education system, as BTECs and other vocational qualifications are not included in the government’s latest decision.

We must demand that no student is left behind. The fact that the grading algorithm had to factor in attainment gaps between schools in the first place is a damning indictment of a broken system.

The truth is that the class divide begins at birth – and widens with every hurdle that the working class faces in order to achieve the same opportunities as those born into wealth.

After years of cuts, severe underfunding, and ever-inflating classroom sizes in state schools, the Tories would be mistaken to think they can wash their hands clean with one rushed policy change and a hollow apology.

And let us not forget that Centre Assessed Grades are far from immune to the biases that were present in the algorithm grades. Teachers from state schools are often pressured into not predicting grades that are ‘too high’ for their students. As a result, classism will inevitably remain present, even with the grades that students will now receive.

There is still much to be done to uproot the class divide in our schools. Ultimately, under capitalism, working-class students will always be at a disadvantage.

But this scandal has opened many people’s eyes to the fact that meritocracy is a myth – that hard work is not enough to overcome the systemic inequalities facing the working class.

Join the Marxists!

These latest events are another potent blow against this chaotic Tory government. And this, in turn, should give confidence to activists looking to fight back.

Young people – often a reliable barometer for the moods in society – have seen the power they possess by taking to the streets and demanding an end to injustice. This must now be a spark for a wider movement of workers and youth, against this rotten Tory government and their entire rigged system.

If this is what can be achieved with a weekend of hastily-arranged demonstrations, imagine what could be achieved if students joined up with the organised working class to create a mass fighting force.

We must continue the fightback against the ravaging cuts that have been carried out against our class. The first step must be to reach out to the teacher’s unions and labour movement at large. After all, teachers have already been on the frontline in the battle against Tory recklessness. And today’s students are tomorrow’s workers.

The measure of any decent society is the way it is able to nurture and prepare the next generation. A society that cannot offer young people a future is fundamentally flawed.

In the last instance, that is the lived and crushing experience of students and young workers today. With the recent NEU campaigning and UCU strike action as a backdrop, students are realising that organised, united, and militant struggle is our most powerful weapon.

The struggle for a free and fair education system – one that does away with classism and competition – is inextricably tied to the struggle for socialism. That is what the Marxist Student Federation is fighting for. Join us in the fightback!

Originally published 17 August at socialist.net |

Electoral judge cancels Rafael Correa’s party suspension

Source:  La Santa Mambisa
August 4 2000

rafael correa aug 2000

A judge of the Ecuador Contentious Electoral Tribunal (TCE) annulled the CNE resolution that had suspended the party of former President Rafael Correa.

After two weeks of harsh public convictions and just a week after the start of the primary elections, Fernando Muñoz, judge of the Ecuador Contentious Electoral Tribunal, reversed the decision of the National Electoral Council (CNE) to disable the force led by the exmandatario.

According to Muñoz, the CNE resolution was not “clear” or “legitimate” and “violates the rights” of Ecuadorians. The ruling, however, must be taken with caution since the National Electoral Council has 72 hours to appeal it.

Correa has reacted to the news through a message published on his account on the social network Twitter. ” There seems to be vestiges of decency in the ECT. So that they also annul the reform – with dedication – of the regulation that requires accepting the candidacies in a “very personal ” way, an absurdity that also harms tens of thousands of migrants and vulnerable people, “he said.

In his first three years in office, the Ecuadorian president, Lenín Moreno, has carried out a political and judicial persecution of the leaders of the movement led by Correa, his former ally. That persecution seems to escalate as the elections, scheduled for February 2021, approach.

Seven months after the elections, no formal candidacies for the presidency for the period 2021-2025 have yet been presented. Since the massive protests in October 2019 and especially after the mismanagement of the pandemic of the new coronavirus, causing COVID-19, which caused the sanitary collapse of the two main cities in Ecuador, the Moreno government has been greatly weakened in the next elections. On the other hand, Correísmo, despite legal obstacles, appears as its main rival.

A judge of the Ecuador Contentious Electoral Tribunal (TCE) annulled the CNE resolution that had suspended the party of former President Rafael Correa.

After two weeks of harsh public convictions and just a week after the start of the primary elections, Fernando Muñoz, judge of the Ecuador Contentious Electoral Tribunal, reversed the decision of the National Electoral Council (CNE) to disable the force led by the exmandatario.

According to Muñoz, the CNE resolution was not “clear” or “legitimate” and “violates the rights” of Ecuadorians. The ruling, however, must be taken with caution since the National Electoral Council has 72 hours to appeal it.

Correa has reacted to the news through a message published on his account on the social network Twitter. ” There seems to be vestiges of decency in the ECT. So that they also annul the reform – with dedication – of the regulation that requires accepting the candidacies in a “very personal ” way, an absurdity that also harms tens of thousands of migrants and vulnerable people, “he said.

In his first three years in office, the Ecuadorian president, Lenín Moreno, has carried out a political and judicial persecution of the leaders of the movement led by Correa, his former ally. That persecution seems to escalate as the elections, scheduled for February 2021, approach.

Seven months after the elections, no formal candidacies for the presidency for the period 2021-2025 have yet been presented. Since the massive protests in October 2019 and especially after the mismanagement of the pandemic of the new coronavirus, causing COVID-19, which caused the sanitary collapse of the two main cities in Ecuador, the Moreno government has been greatly weakened in the next elections. On the other hand, Correísmo, despite legal obstacles, appears as its main rival.

Hundreds of thousands join the New Poor People’s Campaign virtual March

Hundreds of thousands join the New Poor People’s Campaign virtual March

Demonstrators march outside the U.S. Capitol during the Poor People’s Campaign rally at the National Mall in Washington on Saturday, June 23, 2018. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Poor People’s Campaign events for June 21-22, 2020, were held online, part of a nationwide “Virtual March on Washington.” | Jose Luis Magana / AP

WASHINGTON—From eradication of poverty, an end to U.S. racism, to dismantling the war machine and creating a Green New Deal with thousands of well-paying jobs—especially union jobs—hundreds of thousands of people demanded a complete reversal and creation of a better society in three virtual mass marches on D.C. the weekend of June 20-21.

The point of those New Poor People’s Campaign events was to reiterate an interlocking list of demands for specific measures to end poverty and racism in the U.S. And to set the stage for the next part of the mass movement: Registration and voting.

Co-chair Rev. Liz Theoharis speaks during the virtual march on Washington. | Poor People’s Campaign (@UniteThePoor) via Twitter

“This isn’t about conservative versus liberal. That’s too puny,” said the Rev. William Barber II, the NPPC co-chair, with the Rev. Liz Theoharis. “It isn’t about right versus left. It’s about life versus death.”

To further their cause, the NPPC released a new and more comprehensive Moral Justice Jubilee Policy Platform available on its website.

Poverty alone may be approaching half the population, Barber said, due to the current depression, which has thrown at least 40 million people out of work, on top of the 140 million who were poor even before the crash hit.

The Moral Justice Jubilee Policy is a 14-page set of specific demands of ways to root out entrenched racism, dismantle the U.S. war machine and redirect military money, which totals $718 billion this year, towards education, health and social welfare, demilitarize the police and bring them under control and create a new and just economy that includes strong workers’ rights and millions of new well-paying jobs, especially union jobs, via the Green New Deal.

They demanded massive pro-green change to the economy, including an end to fracking and refinery and pipeline construction. One video speaker, former Vice President Al Gore, pushed that point, adding all problems they’re fighting against—poverty, exploitation, and climate destruction—are interwoven.

Related:  Poor People’s Campaign

 

“For far too long, the poor, the immigrants, the people of color have been blamed for society’s problems,” Theoharis said before quoting Biblical prophets Micah and Jeremiah and the gospel of Matthew, on social justice. “We’ve been fed the lies of scarcity in a society of abundance…We want to break through the lie that only small changes are possible, or the lie that the rich and powerful can save us.”

Political change, particularly curbing corporate interests and their power over the rest of us, was a strong theme, too. “Fearsome and illegitimate power and money are combining to destroy what remains of our democracy,” Barber declared. “Ignoring the poor and protecting the rich is evil,” Theoharis added.

Barber pointed out, however, that the NPPC does not endorse candidates, but mobilizes voters—notably poor voters whom politicians of both parties have ignored, and who are discouraged as a result.

But economist Julianne Malveaux took aim at GOP President Donald Trump, too, though not by name. Citing his “Make America great again” slogan, she scornfully asked: “Great for who?”

“Black Americans and poor Americans have always been in crisis. The way capitalism works is the poor at the bottom are being exploited so the others can make some money. It’s the function of a predatory capitalist economy.”

At least one rank-and-file speaker, a woman from Dallas, was even more pointed. “We are being attacked by the corporate KKK,” she said. “White supremacy used to be wrapped in a sheet. Now it’s in a corporate business suit.”

Barber and the NPPC platform didn’t spare right-wing preachers either. One plank in their platform demands combat against “the distorted narrative of religious nationalism.”

The hundreds of NPPC co-sponsors, including 12 unions, ranged from Advocates for Youth to the Zeta Phi Beta sorority. Many teamed up to broadcast the rallies on social media, accounting for the huge turnout: At least 150,000 attended the first 3-1/2-hour session that began at 10 a.m. June 20, and thousands more tuned into rebroadcasts that night and the following evening.

Union sponsors included the United Electrical Workers, the Auto Workers, the Communications Workers, the Association of Flight Attendants, the Government Employees, both big teachers unions, the Steelworkers, the Postal Workers, Fight For $15 And A Union, the Service Employees, the Painters and Unite Here.

The NPPC’s first session alone far outdrew right-wing President Trump’s campaign rally at an arena in Tulsa, Okla. Trump defied health warnings about large crowds spreading the coronavirus. As of 7:30 p.m. June 20, that pandemic has sickened 2.251 million people in the U.S., and killed 119,654 nationwide.

The high NPPC turnout was also driven by current events, including the economic depression, the pandemic, police murders of unarmed African Americans—with no justice in those cases—and subsequent daily mass marches nationwide demanding fundamental change to root out entrenched racism in police and society as a whole.

Other deep causes exist, Barber, Theoharis and other speakers said.

They include a government beholden to corporate interests, systemic poverty used as a method of repression, consistent high joblessness—ranging up to 75% at one Native American reservation—for people of color, and divide-and-conquer tactics of the elite used against people of color, poor whites, women and union workers.

“Less than 50% of Black adults have a job,” due to the depression, Unite Here Vice President Nia Winston noted. She was one of four union leaders to speak, along with Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten, AFA-CWA President Sara Nelson, and AFSCME President Lee Saunders.

The problems also include deep-seated police attitudes towards people of color, plus police militarization. “No police should be walking around with military equipment, with tear gas, with tanks,” said Claudia De La Cruz of the South Bronx. “It’s crazy.” One platform plank calls for an end to the Defense Department turnover of heavy military equipment to local police forces.

All this should lead to systemic societal change via systemic governmental change, Barber said—change achieved peacefully through the ballot box, he emphasized.

Co-chair Rev. William Barber speaks during the virtual march on Washington. | Poor People’s Campaign (@UniteThePoor) via Twitter

Quoting from the Declaration of Independence, Barber explained: “It is the right of the people to alter or abolish any form of government that becomes destructive of these ends (human rights) and to institute a new form of government.

“It is time to change this long train of abuses,” he added. Government “can be altered and a new and better government can be instituted.”

Other speakers took up other causes in the NPPC agenda.

“My co-workers and I started organizing a union,” at their Starbucks in Orlando, Fla., barista Olivia Williams said. “We were frustrated by management’s refusal to provide personal protective equipment” against the coronavirus. “We’re not afraid to fight.”

“Where we try to fight, our ability to do so is taken from us by right-to-work” laws, said one coal miner from Southwest Virginia. “As long as we’re divided, they”—the corporate elite—“can conquer.”

“Black and brown students whose schools were denied half a trillion dollars are now being told by the Republicans in the Senate they should return to schools in the fall—schools with even less funding” than before the pandemic, added Weingarten.

The NPPC originally planned a mass physical march on Washington, but the coronavirus pandemic and the fear of infection in large crowds shelved that. The virtual march far outpaced the campaign’s first march on Washington, almost exactly two years ago, which drew 25,000 people, Barber said.

“America must hear herself and see herself,” he declared. “It’s time for transformation, reconstruction and a moral revival….Now is the time for eloquent rage.

“We came…to build a movement to rise up together and shift up the moral narrative. Somebody’s been beating our people and we won’t be silent anymore”—a common theme from speakers during the virtual event.

Community Control of the Police – and a Whole Lot More

Community Control of the Police – and a Whole Lot More
Community Control of the Police – and a Whole Lot More

Abolition of the police begins with community control, in which community representatives not only hire, fire and oversee the cops, but decide the nature of the policing that is necessary and acceptable.

“Movements are about amassing power to the people, not collecting promises from corporate flunkies.”

The wave of people’s protests across the nation, backed by solidarity actions in cities around the world, has caused the corporate oligarchy and its servants to make promises they can’t keep and give lip service to programs they have always resisted. The Congressional Black Caucus, the vast bulk of whose members backed militarization of local police and elevation of cops to the status of “protected” class, now claims to favor limits on police arsenals, less legal immunities for cops and a grab-bag of other reforms they previously dismissed out of hand. Mayors that know damn well they will have to cut spending across the board due to catastrophic loss of tax revenues during the current, Covid-induced Great Depression, now profess that they plan to withhold funds from cops in deference to the “defund the police” movement. They’re a bunch of Kente-clothed liars, of course, but movements are about amassing power to the people, not collecting promises from corporate flunkies. That means demanding community control of the police, and of those funds that local governments are supposedly diverting from the police to social programs.

If anything has been learned from the past half century of Black reliance on Democratic Party politicians, it is that no lasting victories can be achieved without the transfer of control of public resources directly to the people. That was the meaning of “All Power to the People” when the phrase was coined, and must remain the goal of the movement, today.

“No lasting victories can be achieved without the transfer of control of public resources directly to the people.”

Although there is no intrinsic contradiction between the three most-voiced demands of the current movement — community control of police, defunding the police, and abolition of policing as we know it – only proposals for community control of the police directly confront the issue of power in the here and now, and also address demands for direct democracy and Black self-determination. Community control of the police was essential to the formation of the Black Panther Party, and has been an active demand of Chicago organizers since 2012.  Support for a Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) has grown from only one of the 50-member city council (board of aldermen) to 19 co-sponsors  of the enabling legislation. Last fall, more than a thousand activists from across the country met in Chicago to endorse the concept of community control of police, and pledged to fight for its enactment in 22 cities – a list that has grown with the wave of George Floyd protests.

Although community control of the police is within reach of becoming law in Chicago, a majority Black and brown city with the second largest concentration of Blacks in the nation, the demand has gotten less traction in nationwide demonstrations than the call for defunding the cops, or eventual abolition. That’s undoubtedly because Black Lives Matter demands have been pervasive in the current demonstrations, and BLM supports defunding of police. However, Black Lives Matter is more a quilt than a monolith, and many Black Lives Matter chapters and individuals also support community control of the police, while CPAC activists also back defunding and abolition of the cops as a logical outcome of community control. The elements of Black Lives Matter that are resistant to community control of police are those under the influence of hashtag founder Alicia Garza, who is now a Democratic Party political player and go-to person for corporate philanthropy.

“Black Lives Matter is more a quilt than a monolith.”

A serious, methodical program of defunding the police requires a community control approach. Ninety percent of actual police duties do not involve making felony arrests, and there is a consensus that cops should not deal with domestic disputes, mentally disturbed people, or a host of social contradictions – and maybe not even traffic control, which long ago devolved into pretexts for criminal charges. Therefore, defunding of police leads directly to the funding of specific public services, some of them currently badly performed by cops and all of which should be overseen by the publics most directly affected. Absent community control, defunding of police will only result in a shrinkage of the domestic army of occupation, not a change in the lethally oppressive relationship, and any social services that receive new funding will be answerable only to the legislators that had previously starved the community of services.

Abolition of the police begins with community control, in which community representatives not only hire, fire and oversee the cops, but decide the nature of the policing that is necessary and acceptable. Community control is a prerequisite to communities policing themselves to the greatest degree possible.

Indeed, communities should control, not just the police, but much of the rest of their neighborhoods’ vital services and resources. The right to self-determination is not confined to the criminal justice system. Therefore, community control of police advocates would be in principled agreement with the Los Angeles Movement 4 Black Lives position : “The most impacted in our communities need to control the laws, institutions, and policies that are meant to serve us – from our schools to our local budgets, economies, and police department.”

Abolition of the police begins with community control.”

Community control is how we build socialism within the framework of people’s right to self-determination – the principles by which, along with solidarity, we de-colonize and dis-imperialize our world. ”Power to the People” means disempowering the capitalist and white supremacist. Everything else is a diversion, conjured up by the Kente cloth-soiling Black Misleadership Class in service to their bosses, the oligarchs. They have betrayed us repeatedly and laughed at our willingness to trust them yet again. In George Floyd’s name, let this be the end of it.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com .