Thursday, 20 June 2013
This weekend sees the people’s assembly’s national centre piece in Westminster hall. While all forms of getting together of anti austerity advocates is to be welcome I am left wondering about this mass gathering of the great and the good. I think we should be rightly wary of such an event and should not be afraid to raise our criticisms already. We may be told oh well it hasn’t happened yet don’t write it off just yet well I’m sorry we on the left have history with those who are involved and are backing this latest campaign. The Socialist Party's standpoint on fighting the cuts has been well received by many rank and file trade unionists, anti-cuts campaigners and others. Among its key elements are the need to oppose all cuts, call on anti-cuts councillors to refuse to vote for cuts, for trade unions to disaffiliate from the Labour Party; and especially for immediate preparation for coordinated national trade union action - in particular the naming of a date for a one-day general strike. The People's Assembly (PA) has received considerable funding from major trade unions, including Unite, and has attracted an audience to its regional launch meetings. The Socialist Party welcomes any forum of workers and anti-cuts activists that gives an opportunity for debate on how to take the struggle forward, so we participate in the PAs. However, they will only play a useful role if they allow democratic debate, and crucially, add their voice to those who want the trade unions to lead a serious struggle against austerity. Otherwise the PA rallies will be used as a fig-leaf by some trade union leaders to avoid their responsibility to name the day for a 24-hour general strike against the cuts. The NSSN has asked if it can have a speaker at the 22 June PA in London - to raise the campaign for a 24-hour general strike - and has offered the PA a speaker at the NSSN 29 June conference, but has not yet had a response. Nor should the genuine desire for unity among anti-cuts activists be used as an excuse to uncritically welcome people who vote for cuts onto PA platforms. Unfortunately, it's not unusual at these events for councillors who have imposed cuts at local level to be given an uncriticised platform. For example a platform speaker, Jack Scott, who was welcomed to a People's Assembly in Sheffield by its organisers last month, was the Labour council cabinet member responsible for waste management who oversaw cuts and even a strike-breaking operation against the city's recycling workers last year. Around 30 GMB members took 30 days of strike action against council cuts and a privatised waste management service that was drastically reducing their working hours and therefore their pay. Labour, Green and other councillors who pass on the Con-Dem cuts argue that it's not 'realistic' to refuse to implement every cut. Not only is it realistic - the money exists in society and more can be raised - but it's very divisive to accept some cuts, however reluctantly, and not others. Among those who put this position are defenders of the idea that after the next general election a Labour government can be pushed by its trade union affiliates to use a lighter hand with the cuts axe. Yet not only should no cuts be made, but the Labour leaders have asserted that they will uphold and continue with the present torrent of them. Those who fail to warn that Labour will be little different to the Tories are dangerously playing into the hands of Ukip. Instead of lessening Labour's cuts, right-wing union leaders of Labour affiliates such as Paul Kenny of the GMB and Dave Prentis of Unison are complicit in Labour's attacks on the working class. Demonstrations and rallies The big turnouts at some of the PA and other anti-cuts rallies and demonstrations reflect a growing desire of many people to hear an alternative to austerity and to combat it, as markedly did the massive - over half a million - 26 March 2011 TUC demonstration against spending cuts. Large events can give participants a boost by their size, but this will be combined with disappointment if the proposals from the platforms fall short of what's needed to mobilise a mass anti-austerity 'army' with a programme and strength that can decisively defeat the government's attacks. The actions being put to the 22 June assembly are: A day of civil disobedience and direct action, a day of coordinated local demonstrations, and an autumn union-backed national demonstration. These can be useful steps in contributing to the building of the anti-cuts movement but are not enough in themselves to turn the government back. Strike against cuts! The 2002-3 anti-war movement organised local actions, big rallies and a two million-strong demonstration, but those events were not enough to stop the war on Iraq, as the Socialist Party warned at the time. We argued that only through the millions in the trade unions threatening and seriously preparing for industrial action, could Blair's war plan be stopped. Many speakers at the PAs express support for strikes that have taken place and for the idea of more, which is welcome, but unfortunately it is usually without emphasising the immediate necessity of rapid preparation for national coordinated action across the public and private sector. This isn't surprising when, for example, among the leading supporters of the PA is the same right-wing Unison leadership that poured cold water on the idea of Unison members striking against a derisory 1% pay increase. The issue of democracy is crucial in the anti-cuts movement if it is to be able to challenge and overcome obstacles and arrive at unity in its direction and action. Yet in advance of the 22 June PA there is no invitation for anyone to stand for election to its leadership and the proposals being put forward can't be amended until next year. At a number of the regional PAs, supporters of the Socialist Party's ideas have been undemocratically denied a chance to speak. During PA and other anti-cuts events the Socialist Party will continue to support the right of all organisations to express their views and distribute their material. But we also call for the maximum possible unity around a clear programme of refusing to accept any cuts, of councillors refusing to implement them, and of building the momentum for determined industrial action, as the central planks of defeating austerity. We urge all those who want to build unity on this basis to attend the NSSN conference taking place at the Camden Centre in London on 29 June National Shop Stewards Network conference 29 June, 11am to 5pm Camden Centre, Judd St, London WC1H 9JE www.shopstewards.net Socialist Party news and analysis Cuts can be bea Extracts from this week’s main article in this week’s socialist http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/770/16906/19-06-2013/cuts-can-be-beaten
Tuesday, 18 June 2013
This is not a copy of Paul Mason’s excellent book but it is seemingly kicking off in a lot of places right now. Just overnight I was reading reports from Brazil where huge protests were taking place including an invasion of the parliament. Seemingly coming out of nowhere we know as Marxists this is not true many social explosions are often waiting to burst out under the surface but need that spark often called the straw that broke the camels back in popular society yet this is a dialectical term is where quantity turns in to quality and vice versa it’s the breaking of the log jam and huge movements can break out. We saw it in London and the UK two years ago with the riots huge anger had been built up over a long while and found its expression in riots in the end. Not something we as socialists could condone but we could at the same time fully understand the anger of the young people out on the streets. Now it would seem following hot on the heels of the protests and mass movements in Turkey I’ve covered a little on my blog Brazil seems to be feeling an upsurge in struggle and this comes as no surprise. A country facing huge gulfs in wealth between the rich and the poor many are feeling alienated from the country’s levels of growth of late with Brazil’s economy receiving a boost from exports to China and feeling the effects of a growing Chinese economy. Well they have been up till now. The global economic crisis is not hiding away from China and now its export lead sub economies like Brazil now is feeling the wind. Mass demonstrations against the increase of bus fares in all major cities has sparked a wider outpouring of anger this was at we’d say the straw that broke the camel’s back here. Was that trigger that has set off much bigger protests and movements finding all sorts of expressions? André Ferrari LSR (CWI in Brazil) In São Paulo, on the night of 13 June, the military police cowardly attacked a peaceful demonstration of about 15 thousand people in the city centre. Police arrested in a totally arbitrary way 235 people, many just for being near the site of the demonstration. Some were arrested just for appearing to be a student or for carrying vinegar in their backpacks to mitigate the effects of tear gas. Riot police fired rubber bullets and bombs indiscriminately. In addition to protesters, many journalists, photographers and cameramen were injured. Even those who tried to medically assist the injured were arrested and their first aid kits were confiscated. The police crackdown comes amid a spate of attacks on social movements and the poor in general. Brazil is experiencing a new era marked by the more evident signs of crisis and the resurgence of struggles by workers and youth. The year 2012 had the highest number of strikes for the previous 16 years. Public sector workers are resisting cuts and withdrawal of rights. Also private sector workers are demanding their share in the vaunted economic growth. The political effects of these struggles were limited by the fragmentation of the movement, the character of the ruling bureaucratic union leaders as well as the weaknesses of the left opposition to the government of Dilma Rousseff of the Workers Party (PT). However, 2013, has shown ongoing erosion of the political support for the government and the emergence of a new consciousness among broad sectors of youth and workers. The image of Brazil as a country moving towards the “1st world” is heavily eroded by a situation of very low growth (less than 1% in 2012) along with high inflation, which mainly affects the poor. At the same moment that the federal government has taken a shift to the right in economic policy (increase in interest rates, privatization of ports, airports, oil fields, etc.) its support in the polls dropped 8% since March (65% to 57%). Transport fare increase triggers struggles in big cities In recent weeks, we have been seeing an explosion of popular struggles, led by the youth ignited by increases in public transport fares. In many state capitals and major cities, the demonstrations have assumed a qualitatively and quantitatively higher dimension than in previous movements. In many of them, such as Porto Alegre, Goiânia, Teresina and Natal, the increase in fares was reversed following protests. At this time, the main stage of the struggle is the city of São Paulo. With four different demonstrations since June 6, the movement is growing every day. The immediate demand is to reduce the bus and subway fares from 3.20 to 3,00 reals, but the movement also questions the logic of the transport system in the city, dedicated exclusively to the profits of a handful of employers. Expensive fares, overcrowding and poor conditions represent a daily nightmare for workers and students who have to travel every day in a giant metropolis. In Brazil, it is estimated that 37 million people are excluded from public transport because of high prices. Tens of millions more spend much of their income to travel to work and study amid a chaotic transport of poor quality. One of the demands raised by the movement is a zero-tariff for transport in São Paulo. The idea is that companies and the richer layers of the population should pay the biggest share the costs of transport and not the workers and students. The PT defended the zero-rate project in the 1980s, when the party was still on the left and was based on social movements. The current PT government in the city, headed by mayor, Fernando Haddad, rejects this project today, refuses to reverse the privatizations in the transport system and operates with a canine fidelity towards transport businessmen. The state government of São Paulo, headed by Geraldo Alckmin of the PSDB, the main right wing opposition party to the federal government of the PT, and responsible for the São Paulo subway, also refuses to discuss these demands. Alckmin promotes a process of privatization of new subway lines and is responsible for the brutal repressive response by the Military Police of São Paulo during the demonstrations. Many young workers who voted for Haddad and the PT in municipal elections in October last year to avoid a new victory of the traditional right, at that time headed by PSDB candidate José Serra, today are deeply disappointed with the PT. The unity of PT with the PSDB against the demands of the movement and the policy of repression of demonstrations is alienating large sectors of their social and electoral base. World Cup Crimes The big events to be held in the country in the coming years (World Cup in 2014 and Olympics in Rio 2016) are serving as a pretext for a real urban counter-reform in the big cities. The construction projects related to the World Cup are causing the removal of thousands of families from their homes to make way for real estate speculation. Instead of serving the people, cities are increasingly shaped to serve capital. The space of the city is for sale and any obstacle in the way of profit must be eliminated. All this is under a façade of modernization and social peace. Stadiums are privatized, corruption runs rampant in the construction projects of the Cup, overexploitation of construction workers have caused accidents and deaths, contractors in collusion with governments are profiting exorbitantly while the rights of residents of big cities are trampled on. Today, June 14, begins a campaign of national struggles of popular movements for housing, the Urban Resistance Front, along with the World Cup Popular Committees, to denounce the World Cup crimes. Repression and criminalization of social movements Faced with the rise of struggles and the need to block the demonstrations on the eve of the Confederations Cup (which starts on June 15), the police crackdown on the protests has intensified dramatically. Occupying the streets, a basic democratic right, is prohibited. In many cities, the police crackdown on demonstrations reminds us of the military dictatorship. Judicial decisions prohibiting demonstrations, along with police bullets and bombs against demonstrators, shows that we live in a moment of serious attacks on the basic democratic rights of the people. After a strong media campaign saying that the protesters against the increase in transport fares were vandals and hooligans and thus justifying and supporting police repression, the intense repression of the demonstration on June 13 caused a great commotion and even media itself had to change its tone. In São Paulo, on the night of June 13, the military police cowardly attacked a peaceful and organized demonstration of about 15 thousand people in the city centre. Police arrested in a totally arbitrary way 235 people. Riot police fired rubber bullets and bombs indiscriminately. In addition to protesters, many journalists, photographers and cameramen were injured. The police crackdown comes amid a spate of attacks on social movements and the poor in general. In big cities like Sao Paulo and Rio, black youth in the suburbs live a real situation of slaughter. Rapesin Rio de Janeiro has greatly increased in the last period. The racist police violence, impunity of action by death squads, violence against women, the criminalization of poverty and repression on the right of popular organizations, are a reality in the suburbs. Landless rural leaders have been murdered in a systematic way and recently two indigenous leaders (the ethnic Terena and Guarani-Kaiwoas) fighting against agro-business and the government for the demarcation of their land were also killed. The struggle in defence of democratic rights acquires a central importance in the context of the World Cup, with the attempt to create a real state of emergency in the country, banning demonstrations and free expression. The city for the workers, the youth and people! These struggles for public transport, housing and the democratic right to occupy the streets should be unified into a great national movement for the right of the workers, youth and people to own and control their own cities. As a result of this fight it would be possible to reconstruct the basis for unification and reorganization of fighting workers’, popular and student movements, independent of governments and employers. A national meeting of workers and youth to carry out a plan of struggle could be built and advanced in the direction of building new united tool of struggle. That’s what LSR (CWI in Brazil) advocates in the social movements we take part in and inside PSOL (Party of Socialism and Freedom). We stand for : • Immediate reduction of transport fares! Fight for zero tariffs – make the employers pay for public transport! Nationalization of public transport under democratic workers’ and users’ control! Non-payment of the debt to the bankers and speculators and massive investment in public transport! • End the removals of residents! No to sexual exploitation! Fight against rape and violence against women! • Ensure the rights of construction workers on World Cup projects! No to privatization of Maracanã and corruption in the building sites of the World Cup! Demarcation of indigenous lands! No to emergency laws imposed by FIFA - the right to organization, expression and manifestation! • No to the repression of demonstrations of youth and workers! No to criminalization and increased use of the judicial system against social struggle. Immediate freedom for all political prisoners in the fight against rising public transport fares and other movements. No to the slaughter of black youth in the suburbs! • For a national day of united struggle around the demands for public transport, affordable housing, against the crimes of the World Cup and in defence of the right to protest and against the criminalization and repression of the social movements. • For a national meeting of workers and youth to build a plan of action and a united nation forum of struggles.
Monday, 17 June 2013
www.socialistworld.net, 17/06/2013 website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI End the rule of big business, poverty and war Article courtesy of comrade Niall Mulholland, CWI The leaders of the most powerful nations in the world will soon descend on Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, for the 17-18 June G8 Summit. We can expect much empty rhetoric from David Cameron, Barack Obama and other world leaders about how Northern Ireland is a model for ’peace, stability and growing prosperity’, which the G8 wishes to emulate on an international level. Nothing could be further from the truth. Northern Ireland has some of the highest rates of poverty and joblessness on these islands and society remains divided along sectarian lines. The huge security operation surrounding the summit is like the worst of the ’Troubles’. Thousands of armed police and military equipment will flood Fermanagh. These repressive measures are an attempt to intimidate workers and young people from protesting against the G8’s policies. And there is a lot to protest! The G8 heads of state lead the way in making the working class pay for the crisis of their capitalist system. Austerity policies have caused Depression-era conditions in Greece, which will soon be repeated in Cyprus. Mass unemployment stalks the EU, officially at nearly 20%. Youth joblessness in Spain is over 60% and around 80% in Greece. The G8’s austerity policies are not working. Most of Europe is in deep recession or facing economic stagnation. The US has feeble growth but also falling wages and rising social inequality. The G8 represents the opposite of ’prosperity, peace and stability’. Under the capitalist profit system, almost half of the world’s population struggles to live on less than $2.5 a day. The G8 represents the super-rich 1%. The ’great philanthropist’ Bill Gates, of Microsoft, has total wealth estimated at $66 billion, which is enough to end world poverty and still leave him with change. One of the G8’s stated purposes is to "save" African people from starvation - by corporate land grabs and control of the continent’s markets! The G8 also represents a system that causes war and environmental destruction. Since the economic crisis began, a staggering $1.75 trillion was spent by world powers on the highly lucrative arms industry. Working class The current Turkish uprising, which started in Taksim Square, is encouraging anti-G8 protesters in Belfast and Fermanagh, despite the security clampdown. The magnificent movement in Turkey has the potential to bring together working people across ethnic and national divisions, linking up with the organised working class, to become an unstoppable force to change society. The ’G8 Not Welcome’ campaign, initiated by the Socialist Party in Northern Ireland, will hold a demonstration in Enniskillen on 17 June, the first day of the Summit. This protest, with trade union backing, will bring together Catholic and Protestant youth, socialists, trade unionists and others. But marching together is not enough. A workers’ alternative to the G8 and pro-big business parties is needed in Northern Ireland, Britain and everywhere. The Socialist Party in Northern Ireland, like the Socialist Party in England and Wales, is an affiliate to the CWI. It calls for mass opposition to G8 policies and the local sectarian-based parties and their cuts. The CWI campaigns for jobs, homes, a living wage and decent benefits. It fights for socialism - democratic public ownership and planning of the major industries and banks which would unleash colossal wealth and resources for the benefit of the ’99%’ - to end the rule of big business, poverty and war.
I’ve noticed a trend of late that we’re seeing a separation more and more of exchange value and use value two separate parts which make up a commodity according to Karl Marx. A commodity has a use-value and an exchange value. Marx held that these two things implied a third thing, value, and that there was a fundamental antagonism inside this relation between use-value and exchange value. This contradiction pops up again and again in his writing on capitalism. Let’s see what he was talking about. A commodity has a use. This is its use-value. What does use-value tell us? It tells us how a commodity satisfies a social need. If we want to feed everybody we need a certain quantity of food. If we want to build everyone a house we need a certain quantity of wood and nails. Some use-values require no effort to attain: air, sun, gravity, etc. Others require effort to attain. There is a finite limit to the amount of labor that can be devoted to the production of use-values. Society must apportion this labor between the production of different use-values in some way. As technology changes the amount of labor required to produce some use-values decreases thus signaling a change in the apportioning of labor. As technology evolves to reshape what human labor is capable of producing so do our needs and desires evolve. In different societies this labor is apportioned by different methods. In a market society it is the buying and selling of the products of labor in the marketplace that serves the purpose of allocating labor between the production of this use-value or that use-value. This creates a second type of value, unique to market societies: exchange-value. Exchange value is the ratio in which one good exchanges for another. Perhaps one baseball exchanges for a loaf of bread. Or a new car exchanges for a thousand bottles of whiskey. These ratios are all exchange values. In a developed market society one commodity eventually emerges as the primary commodity in which all other commodities express their exchange value. This is what money is. For most of the history of capitalism this commodity has been gold. By comparing the ratio of apples or cars or Cricket bats to gold all commodities measured their exchange value in ratios to gold. These two sides of the commodity, its use-value and exchange value, form two opposing, contradictory poles. They may not seem very contradictory right now, but over the course of Das Kapital Marx shows us just how much of the social antagonisms of capitalism are rooted in this tension between use-value And use value. The two are constantly in dialectic to each other mixing and merging blurring the lines as a commodity is formed. Yet today we are finding that as capitalism is struggling in a fundamental crisis it’s struggling to find more and more exchange values. There are plenty of use values but not enough exchange values as I see it. Use-value only exists for a person using a commodity. If I am selling a Apple or a Football this commodity has no use-value at all for me. Its use-value only exists as a social use-value for a society that has demanded its production. But I, the seller, have no use for it at all. I am only interested in the exchange-value, how much money I can get for it. Once the commodity has been consumed it looses exchange value. So a comodity is only able to deal with exchange value for as long as it serves a socail want or a sale as such once that sale has been made it goes back to its use value. This contradiction between use-value and exchange-value becomes more and more significant, becomes more and more antagonistic the more we examine all of the ways that it plays out in a capitalist society. We can’t really talk about them here until we work out the concepts of capital, profit, etc. But a simple example might suffice for now: One example maybe he fact that we have many run down and derilict homes in the UK a estimated 1 million that could be renevated and brought back into use value these properties are not used to satisfy this social need. Why not? Because the owners of these commodities are not interested in their use. They are interested in their exchange-value, the rent they receive from the property. For decades they collected rent while the use-value of the house deteriorated. And now, to the landlords, these houses that blight the neighborhood are just assets waiting for the right investment opportunity. References http://kapitalism101.wordpress.com/2010/01/12/law-of-value-4-use-value-exchange-value-and-value-draft/"
Capitalism wasn’t always like this it did play a progressive role for a time. Yet today it is hard to imagine a progressive era for this parasitical system which is more and more becoming a drag on society and our development as a human race. Corruption is everywhere we look in society now. Any falsehood of democracy is quickly fading away as bourgeois democracy crashes from crisis to crisis. In the last decade we had the expenses scandal which rocked trust in MP’s to their very foundation. The lies and deceit publically displayed by all politicians be them Labour, Tory Lib dem and now Greens who tried to pose as anti cuts and radical only to push through the cuts in Brighton City Council this year shamefully. From all parts of the establishment there is distrust and often contempt from the media to the police to our parliament and undemocratic House’s of Parliament including the unelected lords. It is no wonder society is divided with an establishment which is tearing itself apart too. With a ruling class split as explained in a previous blog post is causing a huge discourse in society where many are dies interested in politics and have good reason to be. Many think politics is not for them and it’s something that those in suits do. This is not true politics is everything and for everyone. A new workers party will have huge challenges to deal with most notably apathy and dies trust of all parties telling them they can help them. I think the point is to agree with people who tell us they hate all politicians. We do too and we are on their side one of you ordinary workers wanting to change society. Capitalism while in one of its biggest downturns possibly ever is finding it difficult to remain true to democracy. Democracy is a means to a end not a end in itself and for the ruling class is something they can do away with if need be but it is the cheapest form of control on the mass’s as the illusions of democracy hold some back from drawing the conclusions for a time. Capitalism is rooted in corruption from the labour theory of value onwards its the suction of surplus value from wage labourers that starts it all off. Corruption has grown to huge huge levels from that stage. Its time it all ends. Everywhere we look the dangers of a breakup in society is clear corruption whilst built in to the capitalist system can seep through into the labour movement and certainly this has been true in parts of the tops of the trade unions. Change needs to happen from the bottom up. Starting with the fight for the highest form of democracy at all levels starting at the bottom sweeping aside the rotten paracitical capitalist system as we go.
Yesterday Turkey's security forces launched a large-scale brutal attack, using tear gas, water cannon, plastic bullets and beatings, on a peaceful concert and protesters in Istanbul's Gezi park and Taksim square. As reported in today's Observer: "NUT executive member Martin Powell-Davies was part of a British trade union delegation that had approached the fringes of the square as police moved in. Protestors gather outside Gezi park - Frame grab from video sent to the Socialist Party by Martin Powell-Davies (Click to enlarge) "He said: 'There was a concert by a well-known musician with hundreds of people and families in a festival atmosphere in the square and then suddenly from all sides the police came with water cannons and teargas.' "He struggled to speak as he choked on teargas and protesters regrouped to chant anti-government slogans. "He said: 'There are hundreds of Istanbul residents who have come out on to the streets to show their opposition. They are banging the shutters in protest at the sides of the streets.' " The full article in the Observer can be read by clicking: Turkish police storm protest camp Martin send the Socialist Party a video clip of the protest outside Taksim square. Oktay Sahbaz from London's Daymer centre has urged Socialist Party members, supporters and others to send protests to Turkey. He said yesterday evening: "Police have attacked people in Taksim square and Gezi park when they were having a concert. Hundreds of people have been injured by extensive use of tear gas, water cannon and plastic bullets. A delegation of trade unionists from Germany, Britain, Holland and Switzerland were at Taksim square when police attacked. Some are thought to be injured and tear gassed. Thousands of people from all over Istanbul are marching towards Taksim square. In all, in 81 cities in Turkey, protests and demonstrations have started. Children who were in Gezi park at the time of the attack have also been attacked and tear gassed. Early reports are suggesting that a nine year old child is fighting for his life after been tear gassed. Water cannon vehicles have been driven on top of people hitting and injuring people as they were trapped under the vehicle. We need your help! Please send protests to the below government organisations to demand a stop." Oktay interviewed Martin Powell-Davies over the phone. Click here for interview. Please phone or send your protest to the following numbers/addresses: The Turkish Republic, Prime Ministry Tel: +90 312 422 10 00 E-mail: email@example.com Fax: +90 312 422 18 99 Mayor of Istanbul Tel: +90 212 204555953 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org The Turkish Republic Ministry of Internal Affairs E-mail: email@example.com Fax: +90 312 418 12 60 Turkish Embassy in Britain Tel: 020 7393 0202 Fax: 020 7393 0066 Turkish Consulate in London Tel: 020 7591 6900 Fax 020 7591 6911 E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org
• ter Beaumont in Istanbul • The Observer, Su Thousands of people took to the streets of Istanbul overnight on Sunday, erecting barricades and starting bonfires, after riot police used teargas and water cannons to clear the protest camp at the centre of Turkey's anti-government unrest. In a night of chaotic violence large areas of the city around the now symbolic area of Gezi Park were engulfed in plumes of tear gas, while protesters opposed to the government of Turkey's prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan attempted to push back to the city's central Taksim Square. The continuing protest through the night, and calls for fresh demonstrations at 4pm on Sunday suggested that despite the clearing of the encampment in the park, Turkey's crisis was far from over. In the immediate aftermath of the police operation trade unionists called for a national strike on Monday. Which internationalists and socialists around the globe should support in anyway they can. Underlining how deeply personal the issue has become for Erdogan, a spokesman for his AKP party blamed the protesters for allegedly reneging on a deal with Erdogan thrashed out two nights before. "A country's prime minister meets you for 10 hours, you reach an agreement then say something else behind his back," Huseyin Çelik said in a TV interview defending the assault. "Wouldn't you feel cheated?" he told the private broadcaster Habertürk. The lightning evening assault on the park and nearby square followed a warning from Erdogan that protesters should quit Gezi Park or be removed by security forces ahead of a rally of his supporters in Istanbul on Sunday. Protesters took to the streets in several neighbourhoods across Istanbul following the raid on Gezi Park, ripping up metal fences, paving stones and advertising hoardings to build barricades and lighting bonfires of rubbish in the streets. During the raid police fired tear gas against the volunteer doctors manning a clinic in the park who have been working anonymously for fear of losing their jobs. In the early hours of the morning groups of demonstrators blocked a main highway to Ataturk airport on the western edge of the city, while to the east, police fired tear gas to block protesters attempting to cross the main bridge crossing the Bosphorus waterway towards Taksim. Thousands more rallied in the working-class Gazi neighbourhood, which saw heavy clashes with police in the 1990s, while protesters also gathered in Ankara around the central Kugulu Park, including opposition MPs who sat in the streets in an effort to prevent the police firing teargas. In the last 18 days Gezi Park, with its tented encampment occupied by an umbrella of groups including football fans, nationalists, environmental campaigners, Kurds and young Turks from many walks of lives, had come to represent a new spirit of social resistance to what many fear is the increasingly authoritarian style of Erdogan and his moderate Islamist AKP. Erdogan had delivered his warning at a rally of tens of thousands of AKP supporters in Ankara, the national capital, promising that Taksim Square would be cleared by Sunday in time for a second rally there. "We have our Istanbul rally tomorrow," Erdogan warned. "I say it clearly: Taksim Square must be evacuated, otherwise this country's security forces know how to evacuate it." Barely two hours later white-helmeted riot police assaulted Gezi Park shortly after a concert attended by protesters and tourists drew to a close. Protesters had vowed earlier to continue with their occupation, although they had promised to remove barricades and reduce the number of tents in the park. Police had given 15 minutes' notice to clear the park and the adjoining Taksim Square before storming the protest camp. Police warned protesters: "This is an illegal act, this is our last warning to you – evacuate." The speed of the move to seize the square and park caught protesters by surprise. They were quickly scattered by teargas canisters and rubber bullets. Within 20 minutes a bulldozer had moved in to demolish structures and tents that had been used by the anti-government movement. A little later police and municipal workers could be seen tearing down fences around the park and removing tents. Children and tourists were among those caught up in the assault, amid reports of many injuries. But despite quickly taking control of the park, running battles between police and thousands of protesters, driven back into the warren of side streets beside the square, carried on for hours afterwards. At one stage a bearded middle-aged man draped himself over the plough of one of the water cannons to try to prevent it moving forwards before he was beaten back by batons and gas. Protesters sought refuge in hotels and cafes, including hundreds in the Divan hotel, which was stormed by police. Later police stormed the hotel beating protesters, while a later assault left the lobby of the luxury hotel thick with gas. The Guardian saw two elderly women who had passed out being carried out on stretchers to an ambulance. Earlier riot police had stormed into the lobby, beating those inside. Many had been expecting a final move to clear the park after Erdogan's speech. But none had anticipated the action would begin so quickly. Tayfun Kahraman, a member of Taksim Solidarity, an umbrella group of protest movements, said an unknown number of people in the park had been injured, some by rubber bullets. A leading public-sector union alliance, KESK, said it would call a national strike for Monday. NUT executive and Socialist party member Martin Powell-Davies was part of a British trade union delegation that had approached the fringes of the square as police moved in. He said: "There was a concert by a well-known musician with hundreds of people and families in a festival atmosphere in the square and then suddenly from all sides the police came with water cannons and teargas." He struggled to speak as he choked on teargas and protesters regrouped to chant anti-government slogans. He said: "There are hundreds of Istanbul residents who have come out on to the streets to show their opposition. They are banging the shutters in protest at the sides of the streets." The assault followed Erdogan's defiant message delivered in a suburb of Ankara, depicting those on the streets as "traitors playing a game", "looters" or part of a conspiracy against the government. "Anyone who wants to hear the national will, should come and listen to [Ankara]," Erdogan said. "We are not like those who took molotov cocktails, or honked their car horns. I tell you it's a crime to violate order." He insisted, once again, that he and the AKP had a clear mandate to govern. Oguz Kaan Salici, Istanbul president of the main opposition People's Republican Party, said: "The police brutality aims at clearing the streets of Istanbul to make way for Erdogan's meeting tomorrow. Yet it will backfire. People feel betrayed." Solidarity with all there on the ground I’m following this very carefully indeed. References Sunday Observer http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/15/turkey-police-clear-gezi-park?guni=Keyword:news-grid