Victory to the International Brigades!

You know, I bet there were a few of those men and women in the 1930s who’s families said they were crazy. I bet there were people who laughed at them, or stared confused at their intention. I bet there were people who ridiculed and mocked, and told them it was pointless. 

I bet a lot of people didn’t really understand what it was all about, and what’s Spain got to do with us anyway? I bet it was hard leaving their children and families behind. I bet it was difficult to explain to them what was going on, and why they had to go. 

Because they did, have to go. It was not an option. The ugly head of fascism was reared in Spain and the call was sent out. These men and women understood that the struggle was international. That there must be international solidarity and action if it was to be defeated. The courage of their convictions was born, and from it came a most beautiful thing. 

They understood that win or lose, to fight and die was better than to lie down and allow the wheels of such a monster to smother them in the dirt. They knew that if they did not go to Spain and slam the door in its face it would be on their doorstep next. 

“They went because their open eyes could see no other way.” And there was no other way, than to put their lives on the front line in solidarity with the people of Spain and to declare, loudly, for the world to hear – NO PASARAN! 

They were heroes, and we remember them – in our hearts, on our memorials, in our songs and in our stories. They are a part of this struggle which can never be erased or sullied. They gave the ultimate sacrifice for the greatest cause ever known – the freedom of mankind.

The Spanish Civil War ended in 1939 – but the war against fascism rages on, and is perhaps now more terrifying than ever before. In Syria and Iraq, the fascist hordes of ISIS have amassed to pour their boiling poison into the world. 

Who stands in the face of such terror? Who holds back the night from our doorstep? Who stands, boldly, their very life in hand, ready to give it gladly in this war against evil? Who are the men and women who have already given so much, sacrificed all, for the greatest cause ever known? 

The brave heroes of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the International Freedom Battalion (IFB). Men and women who are not conscripts, who have no duty in this fight other than that which blooms inside of them. The burning passion to eradicate this blackness from the earth, and replace it with the liberation of all humanity. 

They pound that pavement to glory that the earlier brigadiers paved for them. They fight, as they did in Spain in the 1930s, because they know there is no other way. They are the sword in the darkness, they are the beacon light in a world black as pitch. They too, have left behind families, children, spouses, whole lives to offer up their entire existence to the cause of socialism.

British and Irish Men of the Bob Crow Brigade, IFB – we salute you, and send to you our deepest love and solidarity. You are an inspiration to us all, you are the bedtime story I tell my son. You are the hope of a generation. 

As James Connolly spoke to his daughter Nora for the last time ahead of his execution – she said to him, “daddy – do we really have to fight?”

He said to Nora, “If we don’t fight, we can only hope for a great earthquake to come and swallow us and our shame.”

This is true now, as it was then, for all who would consider themselves socialist. We are bound by our morals, by the debt owed to those brigadiers in Spain, and by the blood of the martyrs which soaks every Corner of the red flag we hold so proudly aloft. 

Fascism runs rampant on the global stage. 

The international brigades burn brightly, a beacon of hope for all the world to see. 

The call is in all of us, and we must answer. We must.

Comrade.

This is a letter I wrote to one of my closest and dearest friends when he made the decision to travel Syria to make his contribution to the Rojava Revolution. The link below it is his story.

Comrade, 
As the day marches toward us I feel it important, essential, to remind you of who you are to me and the immense and unique impact you have had on my life. I had not thought this would be as difficult and emotional to write as it was, but then I had not envisioned so soon such a necessity to do so. 

When first we met I was Tank Girl, lemming. No hair and less sense, with a whole host of “I’ve nevers” that you were thrilled to challenge, like a little Anarcho-Doolittle you loved to teach me from the start – cider, pop punk and life lessons filled the summer. Squatting evolved from cold floors and tinned soup to Neverland with the lost boys. We did what the fuck we wanted in Aden & Caspian House. You taught me to cook, or dared me to try. You taught me to look after myself in a lot of ways. I was so sheltered as a child, I had no idea this was to be such a momentous time in my life. 

We both had such energy, and that’s what drew us together from the start, but you saw something more – you sat their reading the school reports I had from when I was 15 that I’d been carrying indignantly to prove I wasn’t think, and your eyes twinkled. In a mixture of debate, mockery, and of course books you began to demand more of me than a the simplistic drop-out rebellion around us in the squats. You saw a kindred spirit. 

Of all the books you gave me, The Communist Manifesto was to be the next almighty earthquake. I didn’t understand what it was at the time, you gave me a lot of books I thought I couldn’t read. I remember trying and getting no further than the first page, but I kept it, and now it sits on my shelf full of memories and promises and solid gold truth. I read it, and it changed my life all over again. You have a talent for total disruption, for revolution. 

The most important thing you gave me was the passion. The combination of love and rage that fills us and makes us what we are. Passion drives your politics, a desire to simplify the problems of the world so that the sides are obvious, and then build up our side with your ardent belief – you take a hackneyed song lyric and ask why it can’t be a political slogan; you take a working class single mum and ask why she can’t be a revolutionary icon. “There is a light and it never goes out”, and it bursts from you chest making everyone around you burn with the same intensity. 

You took my anger and passion and you taught me to direct it, at myself, to believe in my capabilities, and at the real enemies. You were my compass, an essential aid in navigating the politics of London, of the world, my own mind. I trusted you implicitly, from the start, and I still do. You have never steered me far wrong, always reliable, always true. 

You are often misunderstood, always locked someone or another’s set of sights, and I think I partly know why; not everyone can live up to your expectations, and even if you don’t ask them to, some people feel small and ashamed just to see your example. I want to tell you never to doubt that for every person who falls into this trap, you create five more who are inspired. 

As we move out of realm of lifestyle leftists, who feel so threatened in their tiny kingdoms, you will find more and more people like me, who respond like me, and see you as I do. I see is a man who has always loved passionately – his friends, his partners, his cause. Desperate for justice and understanding, desperate to find those people, places and moments that makes sense of a person like you. All your emotions you use as fuel, from love, to anger, to fear. 32 dead is 32 more reasons to go. 

You are the reason that Cherry Red exists, the reason I am a communist. The reason I am who I am today. My first source of inspiration, my constant companion in this struggle. I am so blessed and proud to call you brother, friend, comrade. You are the very definition of the word. Wherever you go, the world will surely be a better place for it. Nowhere could ever be the same. You will not falter. You will not fall. It is not in you. You will march ever forward, pushing on to victory, with the flag, dyed in the blood of the martyrs held high. I am so proud of you, and I will tell your story always and everywhere. 

Please make it home. 

You have so much more to do. 

In deepest Love & Solidarity, 
Your Comrade

CR

REVOLUTION IN THE MOUNTAINS:

 http://littleatoms.com/revolution-mountains-syria-kurdistan

#Dontbombsyria

It’s hard to believe that we’ve learned no lessons from Libya. It’s hard to belive that even after all the loss of life, babies drowning at sea and peaceful protests bombed in Ankara, that Cameron believes that the indiscriminate bombing of civilians in Syria will stop this madness. How can you bomb an idea that has permeated every corner of the globe?

As he pushes hard for a yes vote today, it will be equally hard to believe that this is the man elected to represent us. If the papers were anything to go by you could believe that Corbyn was the mastermind behind this heinous plan.

Cameron has failed to justify his campaign, that much has been said already, and as much as people would like to make this about this Labour Party and what will happen to it as a result of the vote, it’s important to remember that we are not talking about the internal politics of the U.K. 

We are talking about once again marauding into the Middle East and destroying innocent people’s homes and lives for the sake of the ‘war on terror.’ We know this method is ineffective. We know this only begets more violence, more bombs, more civilian casualties. This is less about justice for Paris and more about Cameron’s  bloodlust.

The wish to bomb Syria is nothing new. This is not a plan hastily pulled together in the wake of the Paris attack, this is a plan for which the Paris attack is a convenient trigger. Where was Cameron’s white-knighting after Ankara, after Beiruit?

As always this will be about money, about profit, about what goodies we can bring home. Bombing Syria will not stop Daesh. Bombing Syria is exactly what they want, they want a war. And what will happen to the Kurds who have been fighting them on the front lines up to now? What will we do with them when our campaign is over, and their struggle for a free and fair society continues? Do you think Cameron will shake hands, thank them for their contribution and hand over the keys to Kobane with gratitude? 

Much more likely that they will become another reason to bomb the region.

We created this monster, our allies with our support created and funded Daesh and continue to buy their stolen oil. And then we say we want to crush them and run them out, well that’s well and good until the price of petrol goes up isn’t it. I doubt this is even nearly as black and white as it looks.

As Corbyn said to his MPs when he refused to impose the party whip and force a vote along the party line – vote with your conscience. Any decent human being can see what a terrible notion another war is. This must be stopped, and as they vote on the telly today and the result comes through – each of us must ask ourselves, what does this vote mean for us? And what am I going to do about it?

Refugee Crisis

There they are again. Every time I see them I feel sick to my stomach. I scroll past them as fast as I can, but its unavoidable, every day there are more. They are horrifying, they instill in me a feeling of dread. Of panic.

Photographs of dead migrants. Dead refugees. Dead people. Dead children. Tiny bodies, so like my own little boy who at this second is tucked up safe in his warm bed, that it makes my skin crawl to look at them.

My little boy has never known war. Never known true hunger. Never known what it feels to be cold, terrified, homeless. I hope to god he never does. As I look at these people I cant help think of him, and what I would do myself to save him from that horror.

These people are desperate, running from war and death that we as a nation have imposed upon them. As America and the UK trot hand in hand through the Middle East, ripping it apart through greed. As we force our imperialism around the globe, as we ravage and decimate countries for profit, we scatter these people to… where? Anywhere. Anywhere that’s safe. The desperation is etched into their faces. They will go anywhere. Anywhere they can protect and care for their children.

All our leaders care about is how much money they can make. They let their own people starve and die, they certainly are not going to be concerned about these foreigners. They are directly responsible. This crisis is a direct result of capitalism. Of the perverse obsession with profit. Born of the notion that people are only worth what they can produce, what they can be bought for. Or what can be taken from them.

And what do we do, as we watch them? 73 dead in the back of a lorry. Boats capsizing at sea, children’s bodies washed up on Turkish beaches. What do we do? We tell ourselves they are after our houses, our jobs and our benefits. What sort of logical human being can honestly believe, that people would risk the lives of their families for a measly £30 odd a week – not even enough to live on, if it were safe to stay where they were?

As people in countries like Germany and Iceland open up their homes to these refugees, victims of an evil imposed by our government on a daily basis, as they give aid and shelter to them in their thousands, we have so far allowed into Britain a pathetic 216.** 

Less than the number it takes to fill one tube train. 

As we profit from their oil, from waging illegal wars on their soil, we are displacing them from their own land and forcing them to seek refuge wherever it may be found. And we offer none.

This is the greatest humanitarian crisis since the second world war, and we as a nation are doing nothing. I am utterly embarrassed and ashamed to be English under this tyrannical government.

These pictures make me sick, and I dont want to see them. But wether I see them or not, they are there. The grim reality remains. And so they must be seen. 

So look at those pictures. Look at those dead children, and know that this IS your responsibility. It is mine, it is Britain’s. Look at these pictures and imagine an England blown to pieces, you and your children on a sinking boat in the middle of the ocean, and no help to be found. Look at these pictures and know that something must be done.

This system that ravages the poorest nations, that sends to their death thousands of families as the world watches on – this media machine that has instilled in us for years the fear of immigrants, coming here to steal our lives. This great evil lie that we have been sold, it must be stopped. We cannot afford to sit idly by while these people die at our borders, just because we were lucky enough to be born in the land of the warmongers. They are no different from us, we are no better, they are worth no less.

This entire corrupt and diseased system must be dismantled, brick by brick. We cannot continue to enslave the many for the good of the few. We cannot allow this terrorism to continue in our name.

Look at those pictures, and know that it can be done. There is a better way, a way which can afford each and every human being their human rights, safety and security. We cuddle our children close and think how awful it looks, while they can scarcely bury theirs.

Look at those pictures, and have a fucking heart.

**accurate at time of writing