Croydon Communist Party Launches Campaign for May 2014 Local Elections

Media Release

Croydon’s Communist Party announced today that it will be fielding three candidates in the May 2014 local elections.

Launching the campaign, Ben Stevenson, Communist Party National Secretary and prospective local election candidate for Bensham Manor, said, “Croydon residents need a genuine alternative to the relentless austerity, public service cuts and total lack of accountability offered by the Tories. They also need more than the platitudes presented by Labour about more transparency in council meetings, more effective working with the voluntary sector and cleaner streets in Croydon. Frankly, the blather expressed recently by Tony Newman about these issues is a smokescreen. Of course, we support giving back as much influence as possible to local people and communities. But Labour in Croydon are offering the same cuts in services as the Tories, with a bit of window dressing to obscure their impact. For a start, if they were serious about restoring democracy in Croydon Council they would abolish cabinet government, which is anything but democratic, and re-empower councillors. And they would fight for properly funded public services provided directly by the council.”

Labour’s talk of ‘difficult choices’, ‘priorities’ and providing public services ‘differently’ misses the point. The dangers of going down the ‘cooperative council’ route pursued by Lambeth and other councils are well known. Residents are faced with an impossible choice. Either support the provision of vital local services such as children’s and youth facilities and libraries by volunteers, with all the impact that has on the quality of service delivery and the jobs of the staff themselves, or see them disappear.

Ben Stevenson said, “Croydon clearly needs decent local services which reflect local needs. We mustn’t fall into the trap of thinking we need offer a balanced budget within centrally determined funding constraints. The Con-Dem Government has made a political decision to use a crisis of capitalism as cover for permanent austerity and a wide-range assault on the welfare state and all the social gains made since 1945. Local government as we know it is set to disappear as totally unnecessary funding cuts result in the termination of discretionary services and even statutory services face a ‘death of the thousand cuts’. Why not consider the positive role of a ‘needs budget’ to resist Tory austerity politics. And simply say ‘no’ to the forced implementation of the cuts?”

John Eden, prospective local election candidate for Selhurst said, “Croydon Labour Party’s manifesto for the May 2014 elections provides a clear illustration of their failure to offer a vision for Croydon which presents a genuine alternative to endless austerity. Our community faces job losses, inadequate housing and all-out assault on local services. I look forward to the challenge presented by this election, taking the fight to the Tories and explaining to local people that there’s a future worth fighting for based on a socialist political and economic strategy.”

Notes to editors:
1. For enquiries phone 0208 686 1659 or e-mail croydon@communist-party.org.uk
2. Ben Stevenson is 29 years old and National Secretary of the Communist Party. Since moving to Croydon from his native Birmingham in 2005, he has been heavily involved in local labour movement politics through the Croydon Save Our Schools Campaign, the campaign against the Beddington Lane Incinerator and the Croydon Trades Union Council’s Executive Committee. He stood as a Communist Party candidate in the 2012 Croydon North by-election.
3. John Eden is 64 years old and a carpenter and joiner. He is a member of Croydon Trades Union Council’s Executive Committee and has lived in Selhurst for 27 years.
4. Dr Peter Latham is the prospective candidate for Broad Green. A former lecturer, he has lived in the area for many years. He is the author of ‘The State and Local Government: Towards a new basis for local democracy and the defeat of big business control’ and a longstanding member of Croydon Trades Union Council’s Executive Committee.
5. Croydon Communists recently published a well-received pamphlet on housing issues in the borough, ‘Decent Homes for All – End Croydon’s Housing Crisis Now’, which is available on the website or by contacting us direct.
6. The Communist Party was founded in 1920 and is part of an international movement involving millions of people in more than 100 countries across the globe.

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“Anti- Semitism” in Kiev

John Eden 1st March,
The below is from BBC website and is from an Israeli newspaper “Haaretz” Whatever the political line of this paper it shows that some Ukrainian Jews were fighting to overthrow the corrupt regime of Yanukovyich.
The ex-Israeli soldier who led a Kiev fighting unit

‘Delta’ has headed ‘the Blue Helmets of Maidan’ of 40 men and women – including several IDF veterans – in violent clashes with government forces.

                        Delta, the nom de guerre of the Jewish commander of a Ukrainian street-fighting unit, is pictured in Kiev earlier this month.Photo by Courtesy

He calls his troops “the Blue Helmets of Maidan,” but brown is the color of the headgear worn by Delta — the nom de guerre of the commander of a Jewish-led militia force that participated in the Ukrainian revolution. Under his helmet, he also wears a kippah.

Delta, a Ukraine-born former soldier in the Israel Defense Forces, spoke to JTA Thursday on condition of anonymity. He explained how he came to use combat skills he acquired in the Shu’alei Shimshon reconnaissance battalion of the Givati infantry brigade to rise through the ranks of Kiev’s street fighters. He has headed a force of 40 men and women — including several fellow IDF veterans — in violent clashes with government forces.

Several Ukrainian Jews, including Rabbi Moshe Azman, one of the country’s claimants to the title of chief rabbi, confirmed Delta’s identity and role in the still-unfinished revolution.

The “Blue Helmets” nickname, a reference to the UN peacekeeping force, stuck after Delta’s unit last month prevented a mob from torching a building occupied by Ukrainian police, he said. “There were dozens of officers inside, surrounded by 1,200 demonstrators who wanted to burn them alive,” he recalled. “We intervened and negotiated their safe passage.”

The problem, he said, was that the officers would not leave without their guns, citing orders. Delta told JTA his unit reasoned with the mob to allow the officers to leave with their guns. “It would have been a massacre, and that was not an option,” he said.

The Blue Helmets comprise 35 men and women who are not Jewish, and who are led by five ex-IDF soldiers, says Delta, an Orthodox Jew in his late 30s who regularly prays at Azman’s Brodsky Synagogue. He declined to speak about his private life.

Delta, who immigrated to Israel in the 1990s, moved back to Ukraine several years ago and has worked as a businessman. He says he joined the protest movement as a volunteer on November 30, after witnessing violence by government forces against student protesters

“I saw unarmed civilians with no military background being ground by a well-oiled military machine, and it made my blood boil,” Delta told JTA in Hebrew laced with military jargon. “I joined them then and there, and I started fighting back the way I learned how, through urban warfare maneuvers. People followed, and I found myself heading a platoon of young men. Kids, really.”

The other ex-IDF infantrymen joined the Blue Helmets later after hearing it was led by a fellow vet, Delta said.

As platoon leader, Delta says he takes orders from activists connected to Svoboda, an ultra-nationalist party that has been frequently accused of anti-Semitism and whose members have been said to have had key positions in organizing the opposition protests.

“I don’t belong [to Svoboda], but I take orders from their team. They know I’m Israeli, Jewish and an ex-IDF soldier. They call me ‘brother,’” he said. “What they’re saying about Svoboda is exaggerated, I know this for a fact. I don’t like them because they’re inconsistent, not because of [any] anti-Semitism issue.”

The commanding position of Svoboda in the revolution is no secret, according to Ariel Cohen, a senior research fellow at the Washington D.C.-based Heritage Foundation think tank.

“The driving force among the so-called white sector in the Maidan are the nationalists, who went against the SWAT teams and snipers who were shooting at them,” Cohen told JTA.

Volodymyr Groysman, a former mayor of the city of Vinnytsia and the newly appointed deputy prime minister for regional policy, is a Jew, Rabbi Azman said.

“There are no signs for concern yet,” said Cohen, “but the West needs to make it clear to Ukraine that how it is seen depends on how minorities are treated.”

On Wednesday, Russian State Duma Chairman Sergey Naryshkin said Moscow was concerned about anti-Semitic declarations by radical groups in Ukraine.

But Delta says the Kremlin is using the anti-Semitism card falsely to delegitimize the Ukrainian revolution, which is distancing Ukraine from Russia’s sphere of influence.

“It’s bullshit. I never saw any expression of anti-Semitism during the protests, and the claims to the contrary were part of the reason I joined the movement. We’re trying to show that Jews care,” he said.

Still, Delta’s reasons for not revealing his name betray his sense of feeling like an outsider. “If I were Ukrainian, I would have been a hero. But for me it’s better to not reveal my name if I want to keep living here in peace and quiet,” he said.

Fellow Jews have criticized him for working with Svoboda. “Some asked me if instead of ‘Shalom’ they should now greet me with a ‘Sieg heil.’ I simply find it laughable,” he said. But he does have frustrations related to being an outsider. “Sometimes I tell myself, ‘What are you doing? This is not your army. This isn’t even your country.’”

He recalls feeling this way during one of the fiercest battles he experienced, which took place last week at Institutskaya Street and left 12 protesters dead. “The snipers began firing rubber bullets at us. I fired back from my rubber-bullet rifle,” Delta said.

“Then they opened live rounds, and my friend caught a bullet in his leg. They shot at us like at a firing range. I wasn’t ready for a last stand. I carried my friend and ordered my troops to fall back. They’re scared kids. I gave them some cash for phone calls and told them to take off their uniform and run away until further instructions. I didn’t want to see anyone else die that day.”

Currently, the Blue Helmets are carrying out police work that include patrols and preventing looting and vandalism in a city of 3 million struggling to climb out of the chaos that engulfed it for the past three months.

But Delta has another, more ambitious, project: He and Azman are organizing the airborne evacuation of seriously wounded protesters — none of them Jewish — for critical operations in Israel. One of the patients, a 19-year-old woman, was wounded at Institutskaya by a bullet that penetrated her eye and is lodged inside her brain, according to Delta. Azman says he hopes the plane of 17 patients will take off next week, with funding from private donors and with help from Ukraine’s ambassador to Israel.

“The doctor told me that another millimeter to either direction and she would be dead,” Delta said. “And I told him it was the work of Hakadosh Baruch Hu

Anti-Semitic Card being played in Ukraine.

John Eden. 1st March 2014.

Below is an article from Ukraine. In my opinion they are correct in what they say, but I leave it up to you the reader.

Права Людини в Україні
Інформаційний портал Харківської правозахисної групи

Anti-Semitic card and other provocation in time of siege

                       

Yanukovych spoke of “self-defence units”. Most observers call them Russian tanks

Clear attempts over the last two days to provoke violent confrontation in the Crimea, as well as the worst act of anti-Semitic vandalism in 20 years seem to confirm the warnings from authoritative Russian analyst Andrei Illarionov that Putin wants to provoke civil war in Ukraine

Gross anti-Semitic graffiti has appeared in Simferopol on the second day of the effective siege of the city by armed Russian-speakers in uniforms without any identifying marks.

The Ner Tamid Synagogue belonging to the Progressive Judaism Community had a foul piece of graffiti daubed on its outer wall. The words “Death to Jews”, with an offensive word used; are surrounded by a swastika, Celtic wolf’s hook and Wolfsangel.

The Euro-Asian Jewish Congress points out that the Wolfsangel painted is, in fact, a back-to-front image of the symbol normally used by Ukrainian radical nationalists.

Viacheslav Likhachev, an analyst who has long monitored anti-Semitism and xenophobia in Ukraine notes drily that this vandalism has suddenly appeared in a city under the control of unidentified pro-Russian separatists. He cannot recall anything of the kind during the three months of EuroMaidan protests in Lviv, Chernivtsi or Kyiv under Maidan Self-Defence units.

As reported, both the Yanukovych regime and Russian propaganda have tried very hard to present the Maidan movement as “fascist”, “anti-Semitic”, xenophobic and anti-Russian. They have run up against a number of major difficulties, not least the active involvement in the Maidan protests of people who would logically have most to fear if the propaganda hype were true. This includes Jewish people, Crimean Tatars, people from other ethnic minorities. Two of the people who died defending Maidan – Serhiy Nihoyan and Georgy Aratunyan – were of Armenian origin.

This line was attempted by Viktor Yanukovych at a press conference given to Russian journalists in Rostov on the Don on Feb 28. He claimed that “Crimeans don’t want to obey nationalists and Bandera-supporters. This is the wish of simple people, Crimeans to self-organization, creation of self-defence units which are currently being formed in the Crimea.” Yanukovych did not explain how these “self-defence units” have come by large amounts of Russian tanks and other military equipment, not to mention huge amounts of arms.

Putin’s silence which Yanukovych purportedly found baffling is nothing of the kind, of course, if one considers the clear synchronization of events. Within hours of these supposedly mysterious gunmen who do not seem to have recognized the Crimean prime minister, Anatoly Mohylyov, seizing the Crimean parliament, deputies were allowed in. The latter obligingly voted for a government under Russian Unity Party politician Sergei Aksyonov. His “election” more or less coincided with news that Viktor Yanukovych had emerged with a statement and promised press conference, Despite the former Ukrainian president having been in hiding since abandoning his residence and presidential administration on the evening of Feb 21, Yanukovych has claimed that he remains president and Asyonov that he answers to Yanukovych. Putin is keeping his distance but has refused to accept the new government in Kyiv, recognized by the West. Askyonov is now reported by the Russian Interfax agency as having appealed to Putin “for assistance”. Brotherly, of course…

None of this is presented to Russian television viewers who are constantly fed stories about how the Maidan movement and those now in government are “banderovtsi” [supporters of the controversial nationalist figure Stepan Bandera], fascists etc. This propaganda is widely spread in the Crimea as well. While there are serious grounds for believing Russia to be playing a direct role in the latest conflict, it is true that some ethnic Russian residents in the Crimea have been duped by an endless stream of horror stories about “fascists” and “extremists”. It must also be said that the new government could have been considerably more sensitive over the language issue, given the fact that most residents of the Crimea are Russian-speakers. Instead it immediately revoked the 2012 language law which heightened the role of the Russian language. The law was highly controversial and entirely unconstitutional, but the haste could only antagonize and worry people who were already anxious about the change in leadership.

Returning to the anti-Semitic vandalism, Anatoly Gendin, head of the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of the Crimea, called it the first such case in twenty years. He believes provocateurs are trying to set ordinary citizens against others, inciting them to look for scapegoats for the problems in the country.

The attempt on Thursday night to seize the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, and now this attack, seem very clearly aimed at provoking trouble.

For these and a number of other reasons, while Barak Obama’s clear statement on Friday night about the inadmissibility of military interference in Ukraine is welcome, one can only hope that the US president is being fully briefed on the assessment of important analysts. Once again it is well worth noting the comments of Russian economist and once presidential adviser, Andrei Illarionov. In a blog entitled “Putin’s terrible vengeance against Ukraine”, he writes:

Those who say that Putin wants to fight are not quite right

Putin doesn’t want to fight at the moment.

At the moment he wants fighting in Ukraine.

He wants Ukrainians, Russians and Crimean Tatars to fight

He wants a fully-fledged civil war in Ukraine.

He suggests that all the military maneuvers; seizure of government buildings and airports; the appointment of a new prime minister whose party gained all of 3% of the votes at the last elections; etc; as well as Russia’s protection of “criminal Yanukovych” and more are aimed at starting civil war in Ukraine.

Many of these acts of provocation deliberately and demonstrably insult the Ukrainian state, Ukrainian national symbols, Ukrainian national consciousness – aiming at the inevitable reaction. “

Illarionov warns that a “fifth column of provocateurs” have already become involved, demanding that the new government use force against “the bandits and terrorists”.

The new government must be forced to react, with the aim being any casualties, due to confrontations, and the authorities’ action. Casualties from all sides, all parts of the country; all faiths.

As always, it will be “very good” if there are attacks on Jews and synagogues

The aim is chaos, bloodshed, confirmation of Putin’s words back in April 2008, that Ukraine was not a fully-fledged country, and the bliss of seeing Ukrainians pleading on their knees for Russia to save the day, impose strict order.

This would be Vladimir Putin’s terrible vengeance “against free Ukrainians daring for the second time over the last decade to not only not heed the orders of the Kremlin boss, … but to begin showing the whole world both the riches they’ve plundered, and the tools, mechanisms and techniques for maintaining just such a criminal regime”.

For Ukrainians, he stresses, the main task now is to not let themselves be provoked “into mass suicide”.

The words are very strong but then the stakes could not be higher.