Archive for marxist

Legendary Lawyer Doris Brin Walker Dies; Represented Angela Davis, Smith Act Defendants

Posted in Communist Movement, International Affairs, Law with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2009 by Umer

by Marjorie Cohn
From the MRZine

Doris “Dobby” Brin Walker, the first woman president of the National Lawyers Guild, died on August 13 at the age of 90. Doris was a brilliant lawyer and a tenacious defender of human rights. The only woman in her University of California Berkeley law school class, Doris defied the odds throughout her life, achieving significant victories for labor, and political activists.

Doris’ legal and political activism spanned several decades and some of the most turbulent but significant periods in US history. She organized workers, fought against Jim Crow and McCarthyism, was active in the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements, and vigorously opposed the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

At UCLA, Doris became a Marxist. After she was sworn in as a member of the California State Bar, Doris joined the Communist Party USA, remaining a member until her death. Upon graduation from law school, Doris began practicing labor law; but a few years later, she went to work in California canneries as a labor organizer. When Cutter Labs fired Doris in 1956, the case was appealed all the way to the Supreme Court. Although the Court refused to hear the case, Justice Douglas, joined in dissent by Chief Justice Warren and Justice Black, wrote:

The blunt truth is that Doris Walker is not discharged for misconduct but either because of her legitimate labor union activities or because of her political ideology or belief. Belief cannot be penalized consistently with the First Amendment. . . . The Court today allows belief, not conduct, to be regulated. We sanction a flagrant violation of the First Amendment when we allow California, acting through her highest court, to sustain Mrs. Walker’s discharge because of her belief.

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Comrade Iqbal Bali: A Tribute

Posted in Communist Movement, Pakistan with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2009 by Umer

by Dr. Faheem Hussain

My dear friend and a great revolutionary, Mohammed Iqbal, affectionately know by all his friends and admirers as Bali, died on 19 June in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, following complications after major heart surgery.

Comrade Iqbal Bali

Comrade Iqbal Bali

How does one talk of this man so full of energy? For me it is impossible to imagine Rawalpindi without him. For the last forty years he was the moving force in all the demonstrations and meetings held in Rawalpindi to promote democracy in Pakistan. In this article I will talk about how I knew him and about some of his political ideas. The activities that I will highlight pertain basically to the period from 1969 to 1989 when I worked closely with him. I left Pakistan in 1989 and withdrew from taking active part in the democratic movement because of personal reasons and because of the collapse of the left and the trade union movement.

Bali’s political activism goes back to the days in the sixties when he was a radar technician in the Pakistan Air Force. He got into a lot of scrapes while in the air force as he stood up to officers who mistreated ordinary airmen and fought for the rights of the latter. Several times he was punished for this.

He moved to Rawalpindi in the late sixties when he was immediately involved in the 1968-69 student movement against the Ayub Khan dictatorship. At this time there was a rebirth throughout Pakistan of socialist and Marxist ideas inspired by the great Vietnamese resistance and the student movements in Europe and America against the war and for greater democracy. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was also riding this wave with his slogans of “roti, kapra, aur makan” (food, clothe and shelter). In Rawalpindi too there were many people discussing the concept of reviving a communist movement. Bali was part of a group of young idealistic people wanting to overthrow the oppressive capital social order in Pakistan. There were such groups consisting of intellectuals, students and workers springing up in all the major cities.

He worked with the People’s Labour Front (PLF), newly founded in Rawalpindi by Riffat Hussain Baba (now at PILER in Karachi) and Nazir Masih (Secretary-General of the Municipal Worker’s Union of Rawalpindi). (Sadly Nazir Masih, another great figure in the workers’ movement in Pindi, died many years ago). In its heyday the PLF was the main trade union federation for the major industries of Pindi and Islamabad, including the large Kohinoor Textiles Mills on Peshawar Road. The PLF played a leading role in negotiations for workers rights. There was many a heroic battle that should be recounted by others. During his PLF years Bali ran study circles with workers and wrote pamphlets and helped to distribute them and to paste them on walls around the city. He was always an activist who did not like long theoretical discussions and he wanted to immediately get into action.

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Remembering September 11 and President Allende

Posted in Communist Movement, International Affairs, Marxism with tags , , , , , , on September 11, 2008 by Umer

Thirty-five years ago today, on September 11, 1973, President Salvador Allende died while resisting a U.S. backed military coup in Chile against the democratically elected government headed by him. Salvador’s sacrifice is an emotive lesson of how a Marxist leader should face the military dictatorship. He sacrificed his life but stood by his principles and the people of Chile. He will be remembered as a great fighter, an honourable martyr, and a militant defender of the rights of the people and democracy.

In order to honour the memory of President Allende, I am posting his last address to the nation (or must I say to the people of the world). His speech was broad-casted on radio in the midst of a bloody fight that took place around noon on September 11th at the Presidential Palace between the U.S. backed Military Generals, supported by tanks and air forces, on one side and a handful of President’s security guards and cabinet ministers, led by their Marxist President and the ideals of justice, on the other.

We must remember Allende and his last message to the world.

 

My friends,

Surely this will be the last opportunity for me to address you. The Air Force has bombed the antennas of Radio Magallanes.

My words do not have bitterness but disappointment. May they be a moral punishment for those who have betrayed their oath: soldiers of Chile, titular commanders in chief, Admiral Merino, who has designated himself Commander of the Navy, and Mr. Mendoza, the despicable general who only yesterday pledged his fidelity and loyalty to the Government, and who also has appointed himself Chief of the Carabineros [paramilitary police].

Given these facts, the only thing left for me is to say to workers: I am not going to resign! Placed in a historic transition, I will pay for loyalty to the people with my life. And I say to them that I am certain that the seeds which we have planted in the good conscience of thousands and thousands of Chileans will not be shriveled forever.

They have force and will be able to dominate us, but social processes can be arrested by neither crime nor force. History is ours, and people make history.

Workers of my country: I want to thank you for the loyalty that you always had, the confidence that you deposited in a man who was only an interpreter of great yearnings for justice, who gave his word that he would respect the Constitution and the law and did just that. At this definitive moment, the last moment when I can address you, I wish you to take advantage of the lesson: foreign capital, imperialism, together with the reaction, created the climate in which the Armed Forces broke their tradition, the tradition taught by General Schneider and reaffirmed by Commander Araya, victims of the same social sector who today are hoping, with foreign assistance, to re-conquer the power to continue defending their profits and their privileges.

I address you, above all, the modest woman of our land, the campesina who believed in us, the mother who knew our concern for children. I address professionals of Chile, patriotic professionals who continued working against the sedition that was supported by professional associations, classist associations that also defended the advantages of capitalist society. I address the youth, those who sang and gave us their joy and their spirit of struggle. I address the man of Chile, the worker, the farmer, the intellectual, those who will be persecuted, because in our country fascism has been already present for many hours — in terrorist attacks, blowing up the bridges, cutting the railroad tracks, destroying the oil and gas pipelines, in the face of the silence of those who had the obligation to act. They were committed. History will judge them.

Surely Radio Magallanes will be silenced, and the calm metal instrument of my voice will no longer reach you. It does not matter. You will continue hearing it. I will always be next to you. At least my memory will be that of a man of dignity who was loyal to his country.

The people must defend themselves, but they must not sacrifice themselves. The people must not let themselves be destroyed or riddled with bullets, but they cannot be humiliated either.

Workers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this dark and bitter moment when treason seeks to prevail. Go forward knowing that, sooner rather than later, the great avenues will open again and free men will walk through them to construct a better society.

Long live Chile! Long live the people! Long live the workers!

These are my last words, and I am certain that my sacrifice will not be in vain, I am certain that, at the very least, it will be a moral lesson that will punish felony, cowardice, and treason.