Friday, 26 June 2015

SSP Dundee Branch Calls on Dundee City Council to Support BDS

As internationalists it is our duty to ensure that the rights and freedoms we cherish for our own society is prevalent around the world. The ongoing conflict in the Middle East highlights the need for our support, continued activism and education on the matter. The solution to the continual struggle in Palestine will only be completely resolved when an open and transparent dialogue takes place between the two states. However that will only occur when both nations are recognised by each other and the international community.

This recognition is unlikely to occur anytime soon with the re-election of the Lukid Party giving the incumbent Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu his fourth term. Throughout his tenure Netanyahu has presided over a regime of oppression and open hostility to the people of Palestine, ensuring that any hopes of a peaceful solution in the short term have all but evaporated.

Since August of last year there has been at least 2100 Palestinian citizens killed of which over 1500 have been civilians. It is not solely through armed force that the Palestinians are being persecuted. Theft of Palestinian land for Israeli only roads and houses supported by Israeli courts . The lands natural resources and energy are also being held hostage, with blackouts and sanitary water in short supply in some parts of Gaza and the West Bank.

Thanks to an ever globalised media we have seen human tragedy and unspeakable acts of terror. Yet the sounds of Israelis cheering as missiles reigned down on the Gaza strip will live long in the memory of those with any semblance of a conscience. This reflection of the Israeli public feeling towards Palestine is indicative of a right wing reactionary government backed by one of the most technologically advanced forces in the world. The Israeli Defence Force.

Perhaps it is due to the persecution of the practitioners of the Jewish faith in history that makes this more shocking than it would in other conflicts. As a religion or indeed as they define themselves, a race; the genocide of Jews in Nazi Germany and Occupied Lands will forever be a scar in our human psyche. Yet the actions of the Israeli Government, condoned and backed by the United States and other Western countries towards Palestinians are tantamount to the persecution and destruction the forefathers of the Israeli state once endured.
Palestinian families facing constant fear and oppression

Thankfully we are now beginning to see a sense of action within the international community.  Sweden has became the first EU country to recognise the state of Palestine. Many political parties, communities and campaigns are now calling for, and implementing a ‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).’ motion in an attempt to combat the oppression of the Palestinian people in a language the Neo-Liberal Israeli Government will understand. The desire not to associate with the actions of the Israeli Government is growing and will continue to do so unless there is an extreme U-turn in Israeli Policy.

Netanyahu’s response to this campaign has been predictable aligning any criticism of his government as an Anti-Semitic attack. The reality of the situation is that the Israeli Government imposes sanctions on the Palestinian Authority by refusing to hand over tax revenue that belongs to them and supports any US led legislation that encourages divestment from any nation which recognises the rights of Palestinian people. Yet when BDS is applied to them, Netanyahu cries foul, claims Anti-Semitism and ‘hopelessly biased.’ This is not the case at all. Instead it should be clear to everyone that BDS is a profoundly moral response to the behaviour of Israel in oppressing the state of Palestine and it’s citizens.    

Already in Scotland the councils of Clackmannanshire and West Dunbartonshire have adopted motions to boycott the purchase of Israeli goods and divestment from affiliated companies. The latter was thanks to the hard work of SSP councillor Jim Bollan. Dundee has always prided itself on its links with the Palestinian people, twinned already with the city of Nablus. It seems an obvious decision that the council should take in adopting BDS of Israeli goods and links. The Scottish Socialist Party Dundee Branch have put forward a motion supporting this to the council. We will work with councillors and the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign to ensure that Dundee City Council reflect the public support and pass the SSP’s motion to boycott Israeli goods.

The people of Palestine face daily life each day uncertain if it will be their last, Living in constant fear, that their homes may be taken away. The Scottish Socialist Party stands shoulder to shoulder with them in solidarity. We urge Dundee City Council to do the same and support the motion presented.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Standing United Against Tory Rule.

On July 8th, George Osbourne will outline how the Conservatives will slash the public purse strings by a further £12 billion in social security cuts. This will lead to further hardship of those who badly need support and protection from a system which was created as a safety net for those who needed it. On the 8th of July Osbourne will take sharp shears to that net ripping it to pieces.

How did we get to this position? I watched like many did with a macabre sense of enjoyment as Labour were routed in Scotland. Yet as the trend continued throughout the UK it led to many awakening to the realisation of 5 more years of the Tories. How much better off we would be with a Labour government remains in doubt, certainly the lack of a real Labour message meant the abandonment of many from the party not just here in Scotland. Now we must all wake up to the reality of what lies in front of us.

Chomsky once wrote that “The more you can increase fear of drugs and crime, welfare mothers, immigrants and aliens, the more you control all the people.”

In essence these last 5 years the Conservatives have set out to do just that... Rule by fear. They, with major corporations and mainstream media in lock step have perpetuated the lie that there is no other way than austerity. That the only way to cure an economic crisis is for economic cruelty for the masses. That public services must be cut so that private investment (and private profit) can flourish.

The next five years will be critical for the future of our public services. Crucially the outcome of the next 5 years will greatly depend how we as a society begin to come together. Individually, against the state there is little we can do, united we can take on the tallest, largest, most daunting of challenges. United we can defeat the Tories and stop them in their tracks. Stop the politics of fear and austerity ruling and destroying the very fabric of our society.

The Scottish Socialist Party have already begun the campaign. Last month we took part in a nationwide day of protest defying the Tories. The event spanned the length of the country from Arbroath to Ayrshire. We will continue to be the party which is the vanguard against the oppression the working class in Scotland face. We need to become an avenue of protest on the street. We will play a leading force in the fight against austerity continuing in George Square on the 20th June. We must be the party which works within the local communities to ensure help and support is there for those who need it. More than that, we must become the voice of those who once relied on the Labour Party to speak for them. This voice will shout loud and clear from every working class area in Scotland and will ensure that we, the masses are never left behind.

On a national level, we need to not only be the voice but an avenue for the many within this country who are not represented by the pro neo-liberal agenda of the Westminster Parties, including the SNP. This next year will be a big year for us as a party. Whether we will be campaigning as the SSP or as part of a wider left alliance, the need for a strong socialist party has never been more essential to make Scotland a fairer, more equal and just society.

This means that as well as opposing Tory cuts, we need to get our message that a vote for the SSP is a vote for real change. In order to do this we cannot just focus on what we are against. We need to get our values, our policy which will change our society for the better. We cannot become bogged down in fighting for the scraps on the political fringes, nor should we abandon our principles. We can appeal to real Labour voters, who have always been socialists, to vote for a political party that supports job creation in industry and energy, that backs free public transport, that creates a fairer service tax to replace the outdated council tax. We are a party that is for people not profit, which is why we support a £10 an hour living wage. We are a party that has a plan for the next twenty years to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, creating jobs, trade and ending fuel poverty. These are the values we stand for, we should never hide away from that.

Another 5 years of Tory rule is not something that is new for most of us. We know from history what will happen if we do not stand firm against it. We study history in order to intervene in the course of history. Now is our opportunity to intervene, to end the diabolical regime of austerity. The mainstream media will continue to promote that this is the only way. That’s okay, we will ensure our voice is heard. This revolution will not be televised... But then it doesn’t need to be.