Yemen Parliamentary Briefing

Tues 25 June | 17:00
Grimond Room
Portcullis House
Westminster
SW1A 2LW

The main speaker will be Ahmed Alshami, Executive Director of Arabian Rights Watch Association (ARWA) – an organisation engaged in human rights advocacy and peace building initiatives. He participated with the Sana’a government delegation in the Stockholm peace negotiations and the recent negotiations regarding the economy that took place in Ammon. He is also a member of the Economic Committee set up by the UN Envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths.

This will be a very informative event. It is free and open to the public. Please allow time for security checks.

Stop the War AGM: Resisting War in the 21st Century

Sat 07 June | 09:30-17:00
Bloomsbury Baptist Church

235 Shaftesbury Ave
London
WC2H 8EP
Book Your Place Here!

Join Stop the War along with experts and activists from the anti-war movement to discuss the next steps in our campaigning.

New World Disorder will be a chance for members and delegates to assess the risks of war, have their say on Stop the War’s strategy, and put forward ideas on how to build the movement in the universities, amongst activists and the left and in local communities.  

As the prospect of conflict with Iran mounts, we will discuss how best to resist the drift towards a new war which would bring untold destruction to the Middle East.

The conference will also be a crucial launchpad for protests and a countersummit when NATO comes to London in December. The NATO summit will see western leaders discussing plans for expansion, preparation for a possible new war in the Middle East, potential conflict with China and the new cyber arms race. It will also bring President Trump back onto British soil.

Activists plan day of action for Louisa Hanoune and political prisoners in Algeria on 20 June

Trade unionists and activists are mobilising for an international day of action on 20 June in solidarity with Louisa Hanoune, General Secretary of the radical left Workers’ Party who was detained by a military court in Algeria on 9 May. Louisa is one of increasing numbers of activists to face detention and jail in recent weeks, as the Algerian regime has attempted to use repression against organisers and supporters of the mass popular protests and strikes which have gripped the country since February this year.

In a statement the organisers of the Free Louisa Hanoune campaign said:

Louisa Hanoune has been known in the world and for years for her stance and her uncompromising fight in defence of democracy, freedoms, women’s rights and always on the side of the people and the oppressed”

Louisa is well-known for her campaigns against the Family Code, which discriminates against Algerian women, treating them essentially as minors, and for equal recognition of the Berber language alongside Arabic. In the leadership of the Workers Party, she has been active for many years supporting striking workers and fighting for social justice.

A statement in solidarity with Louisa has been launched by the international campaign and is gathering support among trade union activists in the UK, with endorsements from leading activists in UCU, the bakers’ union BFAWU, NEU, Unite and PCS.

What you can do:

  • Join the protest at the Algerian embassy in London on 20 June – check the campaign Facebook page for details
  • Sign the statement in solidarity with Louisa here and download a list of some of the initial signatories here Louise Hanoune PDF
  • Use the hashtag #freelouisahanoune on social and media and follow the campaign here
  • Download Louisa’s biography here Louisa Hanoune short biography
  • Pass a resolution in your trade union branch calling for the release of Louisa and all other political prisoners in Algeria

The US Just Threatened to Move Against Corbyn: Where Is the Outrage?

Stop the War Vice Chair, Chris Nineham, on Mike Pompeo’s leaked comments about the potential election of Jeremy Corbyn:

“The Secretary of State of the world’s most powerful nation has promised to ‘push back’ against the possibility of the leader of the Labour Party in Britain getting elected. He suggests US agencies will try and intervene to stop that eventuality because “it’s too risky and too important and too hard once it’s already happened”.

We live in a liberal democracy at a time when there are widespread elite fears of foreign interference in politics, particularly by Russia. Cue outrage from the government and across media platforms surely? Err…well no actually. I haven’t found a single record of complaint from the government, the story hasn’t got near the top headlines in the national press, and as I write the BBC website is not featuring the story at all.
 

This is extraordinary. Trump’s endorsement of Johnson and Farage during his visit was bad enough. But here we have an unambiguous statement by the most powerful foreign policy official in the US administration bar the President suggesting a move against a democratically elected leader in Britain. And it is not big news.”

Read the full article here.

SOAS UNISON – Deportations 10th Anniversary Commemoration Events

Wednesday 12 June 2019 marks the 10th anniversary of the arrest and subsequent deportation SOAS cleaners (and UNISON members).

The cleaners, working at the time for the outsourced company ISS, were called in for an early morning staff meeting in the G2 Lecture Theatre (now the DLT).

The meeting was actually a cover for a UK Border Agency raid. 

9 SOAS cleaners were handcuffed in the lecture theatre and subsequently deported by UKBA.

The deportation of the SOAS 9 by the UK state was done at the behest of the private company with the full knowledge and complicity of the SOAS Management.

The real reason these workers were targeted like this was that they stood up and had begun to organise to improve their working lives.

Please join us in attending the annual commemoration events below on what will be the 10th anniversary of this crime and please take a few minutes to watch the attached trailer for the ‘Limpiadores’ documentary (the full film will be shown as part of the commemorative events organised by the SOAS Justice for Workers campaign)

Trump’s State Visit – Just 2 Weeks Away!

Having withdrawn from the hard-won nuclear deal with Iran over a year ago, the US has tightened already punitive sanctions, moved an aircraft carrier, B-52 bombers, and extra missiles to the Gulf region and held top level discussions about deploying as many as 120,000 troops to the area.

Any military action against Iran would lead to a devastating war that would draw in the whole of the Middle East and has the potential to escalate into a global conflict.

The Together Against Trump Protest against his State Visit on June 4th is the perfect opportunity to demand an end to his terrifying brinkmanship with Iran. Join us on the anti-war and peace bloc in two weeks time!

Military and militias threaten Sudan sit-ins as civil disobedience escalates

A day after announcing agreement on key elements of a deal to hand power over to a civilian government led by the opposition Freedom and Change Forces, Sudan’s Transitional Military Council abruptly suspended negotiations and sent soldiers to clear barricades in the capital by force. According to international news agencies, military units used gunfire “extensively” on Wednesday 15 May as they attempted to clear protesters from the streets around the major sit-in outside the army’s General Command.

Wednesday’s attack by the army followed a major assault on the sit-in on Monday 13 May which Sudan Doctors’ Union representatives say was led by militias connected with the El-Bashir regime’s supporters in the People’s Congress Party and the National Intelligence and Security Service, Sudan’s feared and brual political police. According to information received by Middle East Solidarity from the Sudan Doctors’ Union, the attackers used live ammunition from guns, rifles and machine guns, tear gas and metal bars. At least 6 people were killed, including an army officer, and the ‘field hospitals’ in the sit-in were quickly overwhelmed by injured protesters.

The Army leadership eventually sent paratroopers to defend the sit-in on Monday. But the deployment of troops on Wednesday to clear barricades outside an agreed protest zone, along with previous attacks on sit-ins in Darfur, sends an ominous message about the continued power of Sudan’s numerous military and security forces and their capacity for violence against unarmed protesters.

Despite the threat, thousands of protesters were reported to have joined the sit-ins overnight, as opposition groups and the Sudanese Professionals Association rejected the military’s demand to remove barricades. Meanwhile, sit-ins, strikes and civil disobedience continue to multiply. Workers at the Bank of Khartoum were one group which answered the SPA’s call to escalate collective action, shutting down the bank in a strike which shut down 30 branches, according to reports on social media. Workers at ten other banks took part in demonstrations in solidarity with uprising and threatened to escalate to strike action. Sudanese activists told Middle East Solidarity strikes and sit ins were spreading to government ministries, such as the ministry of health.

What you can do:

  • Rush messages of support for the uprising’s demands for civilian rule, real democracy and social justice to info@sudaneseprofessionals.org
  • Pass a resolution in your trade union branch
  • Demand your government breaks all links with the Sudanese military, security forces and individuals and groups involved with attacks on protesters and human rights violations.

URGENT call for protest in solidarity with imprisoned academics: Solidarity with the People of Turkey

“Turkey is incarcerating its academics!” This is what Tuna Altinel (University of Lyon 1, France) wrote to the European solidarity networks last Wednesday (8th of May 2019), as Füsun Üstel stepped into the women’s prison in Eskişehir. A retired political science professor from Galatasaray University, Füsun Üstel is one of the 2237 signatories of the peace petition published in January 2016, that denounced the Turkish state’s violation of civilians’ basic rights in the Kurdish cities of Turkey. Since then, more than a third of the Academics for Peace have been prosecuted, on the grounds of “terrorist propaganda”. The outcome of the trials has invariably been a jail sentence. However, until recently, the indicted academics were sentenced to a maximum of two years in prison with a suspension provision, provided they refrained from committing further “crimes” over the following five years.

Füsun Üstel refused this provision because she did not want to be condemned to silence. That is the reason why she is now behind bars. Other academics are likely to face a similar treatment soon: nine of them followed her example and are awaiting their judgment on appeal. But there is more: in December 2018, Gencay Gürsoy was sentenced to 27-month imprisonment. Gürsoy is the former president of the Turkish Medical Association and a well-known activist of the fight for human rights in Turkey. As such, he was not judged for terrorist propaganda but for “insulting the Turkish people, the Republic of Turkey, the state institutions and the government”. Since then, several dozen academics have like him been sentenced to more than 24 months in jail, which means that the suspension provision is no longer an option. Furthermore, eleven members of the steering committee of the Union of Turkish Physicians have just been sentenced to 20 month-imprisonment for declaring, when Afrin was invaded in January 2018, that “war is a public health issue”

The last episode in the relentless expansion of arbitrary practices and crushing repression took place this Saturday, 11th of May, when Tuna Altinel, a mathematician who has been an associate professor at the Claude BernardUniversity of Lyon 1 and a French resident since 1996, was put in jail.  Tuna is Turkish and has a Turkish passport which was confiscated at Istanbul airport last month, when he travelled to Turkey to visit his family over the Easter break. During his trial as an academic for peace, Tuna had refused to disavow the peace petition. Indeed, when asked whether he agreed with its content, he had responded that he had arrived at the same assessments as those contained in the declaration during his stays in the region, and that he actually had had a lived experience in Nusaybin and Cizre of what the declaration describes as if he was the author.

The official grounds provided for his incarceration today are that he took part in an event organised in Lyon on the 21stof February 2019 by an association of solidarity with Kurdish people, which an MP in exile, from opposition party HDP and from the city of Cizre, was also attending. During that event, a documentary was shown with scenes of the massacres committed by the Turkish security forces in Cizre after the electoral defeat of the ruling party AKP on the 7th of June 2015, i.e. the very massacres that motivated the peace petition.

Of course, academics are not the only ones under attack in Turkey: journalists, lawyers, civil servants are also targeted. But, through Füsun Üstel’s and Tuna Altinel’s incarceration, the Turkish state is punishing the refusal to bend to its arbitrary pronouncements and to submit to its parody of justice. We declare our solidarity with Füsun Üstel and Tuna Altinel, and with all the signatories of the peace petition who currently live under threat, and we call on all Universities in the UK and the EU and their federations, as well as on the EU institutions, to intervene and demand the immediate release of our incarcerated colleagues, as well as the end of state repression in Turkey.

source

Irish History Month – Centenary of the Limerick Soviet and its aftermath

At 6 pm on Thursday, 30th May, we will be hosting our third Irish History Month in TUC Congress House. The event is taking place in Room Invision 1. It would be ideal to arrive at 5.30 pm in order to ensure that we can start, promptly. This year will be the Centenary of the Limerick Soviet and the War of Irish Independence of which many Irish migrant labourers in Britain supported. The Limerick Soviet was when Limerick Trades Union Council, in the enclosed photograph, established a Soviet (Workers Council) in order to administer the Strike against the imposition of British Tanks and soldiers in Limerick City! These topics will be covered by two of the guest speakers. We have a woman guest speaker who will provide us on her practical experience of “The Troubles.”

I enclose the guest speakers as follows:
(1) Alan Heaney: “A child of the Troubles.”
(2) Austin Harney: “The Limerick Soviet and its aftermath.”
(3) Geoff Bell: “British Labour and the War of Irish Independence.”

Please register: 020 7467 1220 / lese@tuc.org.uk
This event is hosted by the TUC LESE Race Relations Committee

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