February 6, 2010
Ian Anderson The Spark February 2010
In a characteristically bold move, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez called for the formation of a “Fifth International” in November last year. The Latin American leftist leader made the call at the World Meeting of Left Parties, a conference held in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas.
For those not immersed in socialist lingo, an International is a forum for working-class organisations; a solid base for coordination and debate. The tradition began in 1864 with the International Workingmen’s Association, of which Karl Marx was a founding member. Uniting workers across borders, the International Workingmen’s Association admitted a range of leftists from the anarchist, socialist and trade union movements. This organisation lasted over a decade and provided a strong, diverse base for working-class organisation. However, due to a conflict between Karl Marx and anarchist Mikhael Bakunin, the First International dissolved in 1876.
While not officially forming a Fifth International, guests at the World Meeting of Left Parties signed a document intended to kick the process off – the “Caracas Commitment.” This is available in English, on the PSUV website: www.psuv.org.ve/files/tcdocumentos/commitment.caracas.pdf
The Caracas Commitment has a decidedly anti-imperialist bent, with a 6-point course of action summarised below:
- Mobilisation and condemnation of US military bases.
- Installation and development of a platform of joint action by left wing parties of the world.
- Organisation of a world movement of militants for a culture of peace.
- Artillery of international communication to emancipate revolutionary consciousness. [This refers to left-wing media.]
- Mobilize all popular organisations in unrestricted support for the people of Honduras.
- Solidarity with the peoples of the world. Read the rest of this entry »
February 5, 2010
The Workers Rights Campaign is holding a meeting this Monday (the 8th) to organise a picket of an MP’s office on Saturday the 13th as part of the nation wide day of action protesting the pitiful 25 cent increase in the minimum wage and demanding a living wage now! (see Facebook group)
At this meeting we will decide what office to picket, what time, and also organise a placard painting day later in the week as well as some signature collecting for the petition that can also be used to advertise the picket.
7:30pm, Monday the 8th
WEA, 59 Gloucester St (map)
February 4, 2010
John Edmundson The Spark February 2010
The recent devastating earthquake in Haiti has put a rarely noticed country back in the headlines. Suddenly, it is the focus of everyone’s attention, from world leaders to celebrities. And that is hardly surprising – with a body count of over 150,000 in Port au Prince, the nation’s capital alone, the death toll in this one tiny and desperately poor country may come close to exceeding that of the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004. The capital was almost completely destroyed and the poor infrastructure meant that it was difficult to get aid to the survivors, or to organise the relief operation. The Haitian government was almost completely unable to act and threw itself on the mercy of the United States and other First World countries. Images of the disaster have been touching and, in the main, sensitive, but underlying the coverage of the quake has been the same lack of curiosity about the cause of the tragedy that typifies media stories about the Third World. Read the rest of this entry »
February 3, 2010
1. We are revolutionary socialists
We all live in a capitalist society – which means that the working-class majority experience exploitation and poverty in order to guarantee profits and luxury for the ruling-class minority.
The capitalists have many weapons at their disposal – not just the army, police, courts and prisons, but a system of ideas, developed over centuries, that shape people’s beliefs about what is normal, natural, and possible. These prevailing ideas tell us that we can do no more than tinker with the current system. Read the rest of this entry »