Saudi Autocracy Apparently Murders Pro-Democracy Intellectual: We Demand #JusticeForJamal Khashoggi!

By Javier Sethness, for the Coalition for Peace, Revolution, and Social Justice

Jamal

Last Tuesday, October 2, 2018, the Saudi critic and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, 59 years of age, disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. To date, while no definitive evidence of his fate has been presented to public light, it is presumed that Khashoggi was assassinated in the consulate that same afternoon, shortly after arriving. While Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is certainly no friend of a free press, given that his State imprisons about one-third of all journalists incarcerated globally, it appears that he may have initially been seeking to play a delicate balancing act in treating Khashoggi’s disappearance as a murder case while simultaneously seeking not to antagonize Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who appears to have ordered the assassination, a move that could jeopardize Turkey’s mutually profitable relations with the Saudi kingdom. The evidence of Khashoggi’s grim fate seems clear, since camera footage shows him entering, but the journalist was never seen to have left the consulate that day.

In fact, a consular source said to have been present that day has reported to have heard sounds of struggle, screams, and subsequent silence that afternoon, consistent with the journalist’s torture and possible murder. The Washington Post investigation triggered by Khashoggi’s disappearance has revealed that two private Saudi planes arrived in Istanbul on October 2, and since then, the Turkish government has published the list of the names of the 15 Saudi operatives reportedly involved in the operation, including an Air Force lieutenant and an autopsy expert. This same team fled the country just hours after their crime, while it is understood that the second Saudi plane included a forensics team to “clean up” the murder site. Though the Saudis officially deny these lurid charges, The Onion’s satirical approach appears to be more honest: “Saudis Insist Missing Journalist Was Already Dismembered Before He Left Consulate.” Turkish sources have indicated they have video recording of Khashoggi’s murder.

If it is true that this journalist was in fact assassinated at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the question that logically follows is, “Why?” Mehdi Hasan insists that Khashoggi was not a “dissident,” and that he supported the Saudi monarchy, but that he disagreed with the ascendant 33-year old bin Salman’s highly authoritarian approach. His friend Dr. Daud Abdullah, who dined with him just days before his disappearance, notes how Khashoggi had expressed concern over certain of his compatriots chastising his opposition to the “Saudi-led blockade of Qatar; [the kingdom’s] support for Egypt’s military rulers; and its incarceration of hundreds of religious scholars, university lecturers, journalists and human rights activists.” Indeed, Khashoggi’s last Washington Post column calls on bin Salman to declare an immediate cease-fire in the Yemen war to stop the “loss of innocent life” and express support for the “value of human life,” thus representing restoration of the “ethics [and dignity] of Islam” in its historical birthplace. Khashoggi even compared bin Salman to Bashar al-Assad in this column. While accurate, when considering the vast extent of human suffering in Yemen, and Assad’s targeting of journalists, such a charge, taken together with the implications the journalist makes regarding the Crown Prince’s defilement of Islam and the Ummah, or global Muslim community, must certainly have offended bin Salman’s vanity, and may partly explain the abduction and suspected assassination.

Continue reading “Saudi Autocracy Apparently Murders Pro-Democracy Intellectual: We Demand #JusticeForJamal Khashoggi!”

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A “Hands Off Syria Forum”… at the Harriet Tubman Center for Social Justice?

by Javier Sethness, for the Coalition for Peace, Revolution, and Social Justice (CPRSJ)

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First of all, it is extremely unlikely that Harriet Tubman, the abolitionist leader of the Underground Railroad and anti-Confederate fighter during the U.S. Civil War, would ever countenance a “forum” uncritical of a fascist dictatorship engaged in a genocidal counter-revolution taking place anywhere bearing her name!

The International Action Center’s (IAC) announcement for an event that took place on Saturday, September 22nd, declares its opposition to the supposed U.S. war “against the people of Syria!” Certainly, the more than 15,000 airstrikes launched by the U.S. since 2014, mostly against supposed Islamic State targets, have involved many atrocities, including the destruction of Raqqa. Yet the announcement is silent about the origins of the Syrian uprising as class struggle against despotism and the clear counter-insurgent war waged by Bashar al-Assad alongside his reactionary allies: Putin’s Russia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Lebanese Hezbollah, Liwa Fatemiyoun from Afghanistan, and other affiliated paramilitary groups from Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

Instead, the announcement parrots pro-Putin and pro-Assad propaganda, claiming that the regime is about to “liberate” Idlib from “Western-backed terrorist groups.” Such framing silences the estimated 100,000 detainees who have been killed by torture in Assad’s prisons since 2011, and seeks to downplay the horror that the conquest of Idlib would entail, echoing the fate of Darayya, Homs, Eastern Aleppo, Ghouta, and Der’aa. Besides, the rebel groups in Idlib are closer to Turkey than the West. To claim these to be “contra armies,” as the IAC does, is to present an extremely misleading and false equivalence between the Sandinista Revolution and the Assad Regime.

Continue reading “A “Hands Off Syria Forum”… at the Harriet Tubman Center for Social Justice?”

Solidaridad con el Pueblo Nicaragüense en su Lucha contra el Régimen Ortegüense

Por Rocio López, en nombre de la Coalición hacia la Paz, Revolución, y Justicia Social (CPRSJ, por sus siglas en inglés)

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Protestas en Masaya, Nicaragua. Courtesía EFE

Nosotros, militantes de la izquierda anticapitalista internacionalista, expresamos nuestra solidaridad con el pueblo nicaragüense en esta época de represión tras su sublevación en contra de la austeridad y la injusticia. Les han asesinado a más de 300 personas desde que empezó el movimiento de protesta en abril del 2018. Los francotiradores les han disparado a los manifestantes estudiantiles mientras que ocupaban las universidades, y les mataron a 15 personas que estaban llorando a sus hijos asesinados por el Estado. Les quemaron vivos a los integrantes de una familia entera que les habían denegado la entrada a un grupo de francotiradores que se querían instalar para disparar en contra de los manifestantes. Se les han despedido a varios médicos en los hospitales públicos tras haberles dado tratamiento a los disidentes heridos. De manera paralela, las autoridades les han coaccionado a algunas familias, exigiéndoles que firmen en contra de su derecho a quejarse para recibir los cadáveres de sus seres queridos. Las violaciones de derechos humanos en esta época tan brutal sí se han documentado bien a través de los grupos locales e internacionales.

El ex-presidente izquierdista de Uruguay, José Mujica, igual ha comentado que Ortega tiene la responsabilidad por la violencia, mientras que hasta el hermano propio de Ortega, el ex-dirigente del ejército nicaragüense, le ha exigido que disuelva los grupos paramilitares que están asaltándoles a los manifestantes, y que se responsabilice por la violencia estatal.

Hay que aclarar que Ortega volvió al poder en 2006 a través de una plataforma anti-mujer en alianza con los conservadores de la Iglesia Católica hacia mantener la prohibición total en contra del aborto. Nicaragua sigue siendo uno de los últimos países del mundo en cual todavía se prohíbe el aborto en caso de que el embarazo amenace la vida de la madre. En 2016 el gobierno ortegüense clausuró las estaciones especiales de policías administradas por mujeres que cubrían casos de la violencia en contra de las mujeres. Zoilamerica Ortega Murillo, la hijastra de Ortega, quien vive ahora en Costa Rica por su seguridad, le ha acusado por varios años a Ortega por haberla violado sexualmente cuando era niña, así que no es sorprendente considerar que Ortega permitiera más impunidad en cuanto a la violencia feminicida.

Les apoyamos a las numerosas revolucionarias sandinistas que han resistido al régimen oportunista de Ortega, y a los 70 por ciento de los nicaragüenses que quieren que renuncie. Ellos siguen la gran tradición nicaragüense de la lucha masiva en contra del despotismo.

Si desea Ud. respaldar este comunicado, osea al nivel individual o colectivo, favor de dejar su información en la sección de comentarios abajo, o escriba a cprsj@protonmail.com o @PaxRevSocJust en Tuiter.

Solidarity with the Nicaraguan People Against the Ortega Regime

by Rocio Lopez, for the CPRSJ

Protestas-en-Masaya-Nicaragua.-EFE
Protests in Masaya, Nicaragua. Courtesy EFE

We, members of the internationalist anticapitalist Left, stand in solidarity with the Nicaraguan people during this time of repression following their uprising against austerity and injustice.

More than 300 people have been killed since a protest movement began in April 2018. Snipers have attacked student protesters occupying universities—and killed 15 people attending a march led by mothers mourning children killed by the state; members of a family were burned alive when they refused to let snipers use their home to shoot protesters. Doctors at public hospitals who have treated wounded protesters have also been fired, while families have been forced to sign away their right to file complaints against police to get their loved ones’ bodies back. The human rights violations in this period of brutality have been well-documented by local and international groups.

Former leftist president of Uruguay, José Mujica, has also noted that Ortega is responsible for this violence, while Ortega’s own brother, the former head of the Nicaraguan military, has called for him to disband the paramilitary forces attacking protesters and to take responsibility for the state-sponsored killings.

It is worth noting that Ortega came back to power in 2006 on an anti-woman platform in alliance with conservatives in the Catholic church to maintain a complete ban on abortion. Nicaragua is one of the few places in the world where abortion is still banned in cases of danger to the mother’s life. In 2016 Ortega’s government closed down special police stations run by women that handled cases of violence against women. Zoilamerica Ortega Murillo, Ortega’s stepdaughter, who now lives in Costa Rica for her safety, has long accused Ortega of molesting her when she was a child and so it is of little surprise that Ortega would allow impunity for violence against women.

We stand with the great many famous Sandinista revolutionaries who have stood up against Ortega’s opportunistic regime and with the 70 percent of Nicaraguans who want him to resign. They continue Nicaragua’s great tradition of mass struggle against dictatorship.

If you wish to endorse this statement either on an individual or collective level, please leave your information in the comments section or write to cprsj@protonmail.com or @PaxRevSocJust on Twitter.

Burn the Plantations: The 2018 National Prison Strike

by Zachary Medeiros, Socialist Party Los Angeles

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The plantations are stirring again. From August 21, the 47th anniversary of revolutionary George Jackson’s murder at the hands of prison guards, to September 9, the 47th anniversary of the Attica Uprising, incarcerated people across the United States have joined a nationwide prison revolt. As I write this, there are reports of work stoppages, hunger strikes, and other actions coming out of Washington, Florida, Georgia, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, and even Nova Scotia. Given the immense level of repression organizers and all other uncooperative prisoners and detainees face, these reports probably represent only a fraction of the resistance.

The strikers are answering a call put out in April by Jailhouse Lawyers Speak and other prisoner’s groups, which was sparked by the deadly riot at South Carolina’s Lee Correctional Institution. The strike demands, which cover a wide range of human rights issues, are worth reproducing here in full:

Immediate improvements to the conditions of prisons and prison policies that recognize the humanity of imprisoned men and women.

An immediate end to prison slavery. All persons imprisoned in any place of detention under United States jurisdiction must be paid the prevailing wage in their state or territory for their labor.

The Prison Litigation Reform Act must be rescinded, allowing imprisoned humans a proper channel to address grievances and violations of their rights.

The Truth in Sentencing Act and the Sentencing Reform Act must be rescinded so that imprisoned humans have a possibility of rehabilitation and parole. No human shall be sentenced to Death by Incarceration or serve any sentence without the possibility of parole.

An immediate end to the racial overcharging, over-sentencing, and parole denials of Black and brown humans. Black humans shall no longer be denied parole because the victim of the crime was white, which is a particular problem in southern states.

An immediate end to racist gang enhancement laws targeting Black and brown humans.

No imprisoned human shall be denied access to rehabilitation programs at their place of detention because of their label as a violent offender.

State prisons must be funded specifically to offer more rehabilitation services.

Pell grants must be reinstated in all US states and territories.

The voting rights of all confined citizens serving prison sentences, pretrial detainees, and so-called “ex-felons” must be counted. Representation is demanded. All voices count.

Continue reading “Burn the Plantations: The 2018 National Prison Strike”

Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism: What is Internationalist Socialist Solidarity? (video)

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Please find below video recordings of four of the speakers from the first panel hosted by the Coalition for Peace, Revolution, and Social Justice (CPRSJ), at Left Coast Forum at the Los Angeles Trade Tech College (LATTC) on Saturday, August 25th. The panel was entitled “Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism: What Is Internationalist Socialist Solidarity?”

Unfortunately, we do not have a recording of Sina’s comments, or of the second panel we hosted that day, “A New Kind of Anti-War Coalition.”

Javier Sethness, Black Rose/Rosa Negra (personal capacity)

Frieda Afary, Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists

John Reimann, Oakland Socialist

Alexander Reid Ross, Portland State University (website)

On Sunday, August 19th: “Double Crisis Over Iran: Trump’s Warmongering and Anti-Regime Struggles of Working People and Women”

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Ahwazi family (courtesy Wikipedia)

Sunday, August 19
6:30-8:30 PM
Westside Peace Center
3916 Sepulveda Blvd., near Venice Blvd. (free parking in rear)
Suite 101-102, press #22 at door to get into building
Culver City (LA area)

Speaker: Ali Kiani, longtime Iranian Marxist and translator

Trump’s bellicose threats against Iran reached new heights in recent weeks when he tweeted in all caps, “YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE,” an obvious reference to a US nuclear attack. These are no mere threats, as Trump has been working since his election to build up support for war with Iran, meeting with hostile regional powers like Saudi Arabia and Israel, supporting Saudi war crimes against Yemen, and stirring up a Republican “base” long itching for such a war.

At the same time, working people and women inside Iran have since last winter been engaged sustained unrest, whether the street uprisings of rural working people that chanted “Down with the Dictator,” the young women casting off their headscarves, or the most recent unrest in the South where Arab and Persian-speakers came together to protest economic conditions and dwindling water supplies brought about by regime policies that take no account of climate change.

How can we as progressives and revolutionaries oppose Trump’s imperialist warmongering while not falling into the trap of taking an uncritical stance toward the regime? How can we be antiwar and anti-imperialist while at the same time supporting our Iranian sisters and brothers as workers, women, and oppressed minorities?

We need to fight in the U.S. on immediate social justice issues like Black Lives Matter or immigrant rights at the same time as we oppose the entire system of racial capitalism. Similarly, we support all over the world those who struggle against class, ethnic, national, or gender oppression, even as we oppose global capitalism, war, and imperialism in all of their forms.

Sponsored by the West Coast Chapter, International Marxist-Humanist Organization

Co-sponsored by the Coalition for Peace, Revolution, and Social Justice

More information: <arise@internationalmarxisthumanist.org>
https://www.imhojournal.org
https://www.facebook.com/groups/imhorg/
https://www.facebook.com/LAMarxists/