NEARLY a decade has passed since the catastrophic counter-revolution in the former Soviet Union and eastern Europe. And with the restraining influence of Soviet power out of the way, the major capitalist powers, led by the United States, can energetically build capitalism's new world order.
US imperialism feels it can at last achieve its longstanding strategic aim of seizing economic, military and political domination of the world. And the other leading capitalist states need a piece of the action too in order to preserve their existing positions relative to both the US and the rest of the world.
Already the imperialist camp has succeeded in sucking former socialist countries from eastern Europe into Nato -- the military arm of imperialism. The Soviet Union is now broken up and the majority of its people impoverished. Western capital has penetrated all of these once socialist economies and their natural wealth is being plundered.
Countries and governments that in any way resist the new world order or who are deemed to represent some future challenge to its sway, are threatened, embargoed and eventually attacked.
The War against Iraq was the first major assault by imperialism since the balance of forces changed in the world. Yugoslavia is the latest victim. Neither of these wars would have been unleashed if the United States had the might of the Soviet Union to worry about.
It goes without saying that the existing socialist countries are also under attack. They are reviled, lied about, and often threatened. A typical example of this is the recent sale of US weapons to Taiwan which is intended to be a calculated affront to China. The large arsenal of US nuclear weapons in south Korea is a clear threat to Democratic Korea. And Vietnam and Laos suffered years of cruel imperialist war against their countries.
Socialist Cuba has endured an outrageous US trade embargo for 40 years as well as being subject to a barrage of hostile propaganda, attempts to undermine the country -- including an unsuccessful invasion.
In addition to the military threats of the new world order, the imperialist powers are seeking to dictate to the whole world their own terms of trade and production through international agencies like the World Trade Organisation, G7 and latterly through MAI. These terms are designed to suck more and more wealth into the United States and the other leading capitalist states at the expense of the poorest people and poorest countries.
Yet because the capitalist world has chosen to rule its own heartlands through the system of bourgeoise democracy -- a veneer of democracy, a pretence of public control, it has to try and hide the ruthless and oppressive nature of its policies.
And so the world is presented to us standing on its head. The lies abound. Imperialist aggression is portrayed as "humanitarian intervention" -- the leaders of the weaker states being attacked are always said to be "evil", "maverick" or "insane". Often situations are carefully and deliberately set up to create the pretext for imperialist war propaganda.
The wars are fought by well-protected air crews against unarmed civilians in the hope that when the suffering of the people is bad enough they will sack their "mad or bad" leaders and embrace the very people who have been bombing and shelling them.
The War against Yugoslavia shows the technique used. Here, separatist elements in Kosovo, an integral part of Yugoslavia, took up arms against the federal government. The arms supplied covertly from Western sources.
The Yugoslav govemment sent troops and police to the area in order to defend the sovereignty and integrity of its country -- as any government would have done.
Inevitably the fighting caused casualties of troops and civilians. Villages suffered in the crossfire of the fighting and the western media had photo opportunities for a propaganda campaign against the Yugoslav leaders.
So-called "peace talks" were held to give the Yugoslav government an ultimatum -- surrender Kosovo as a Nato protectorate or we bomb!
The bombs fell, people fled -- adding to the media photo files -- and so the war escalated. But it is we are assured, like the War against Iraq, a "humanitarian" mission to save the people! Save which people from whom?
It is Nato that must be stopped. Stop the war! Stop the bombing !
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YUGOSLAVIA suffered its worst week of bombing with Nato hitting civilian targets again and again in relentless blows designed to break the will of the people to resist.
Blair orders more troops to the Balkans and Nato generals talk-up rumours of an imminent invasion. But while the peace movement spreads across Europe and the United States, diplomatic efforts to end the fighting have intensified.
On Tuesday Yugoslavia reported a dramatic increase in civilian casualties in the wake of recent Nato air-raids. Over 50 people were killed and a hundred wounded in the 48 hours before, adding to the thousands killed or maimed by the imperialist butchers.
"In certain cities and towns, the clearing of debris is still under way, so that it is feared that the number of casualties could increase," Belgrade announced.
China and Russia demand
People's China and Russia have again strongly urged the US-led Nato armed forces to immediately stop the fighting. This was stressed following a meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov his Chinese counter-part, Tang Jiaxuan, in crisis talks in Beijing.
They condemned "US-led Nato's wanton and indiscriminate bombing of Yugoslavia. They said a cease-fire was an "imperative pre-condition" for a proper solution to the Kosovo issue. They both stressed that the views of Yugoslavia should be fully heard in any plans to resolve the crisis.
The Chinese Foreign Minister added that both China and Russia had agreed to further consultations and co-ordination on international issues, including Kosovo, and they would work together to safeguard world peace and oppose power politics in the future.
Back in Europe Russian envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin and Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, representing the European Union, have arrived in Belgrade to meet Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevich.
The Russian and Finn flew from Bonn, where they had been closeted in talks with US deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott and German leaders.
What they've got to offer no-one really knows apart from the leaks from the Nato propaganda machine. We're told the plan provides for the division of Kosovo into two zones. The northern, mainly Serb-populated part, would be policed by a largely Russian non-Nato contingent and Nato forces would move into a much larger southern sector.
Yugoslav army and police units would have to withdraw apart from token units to protect Serb cultural centres in the province and the refugees would return to their homes.
Belgrade has accepted a role for an international force in Kosovo but the Yugoslavs have said that American and British troops are unacceptable.
stop the war
The war is now into its 11th week. Men, women and children are being slaughtered day and night by the bombs ofBritish and American imperialism. These crimes are being done in our name. Blair and Clinton think they can murder people with impunity. Prove them wrong! Support the peace demonstrations on 5 June!
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by Caroline Colebrook
THE GIANT Ford Motor Company last week followed the example set by BMW last year and demanded millions of pounds of state aid -- or it may close the engine plant at Bridgend, South Wales at a cost of 1,400 jobs.
The Welsh Office is now faced with raising £30 million towards the £250 million Ford says is needed to develop and build a new range of engines.
The new 14/15 engines are to replace the current Zetec range used to drive the Mondeo, Focus and Cougar models.
Two other Ford plants, one in Cologne in Germany and one in Valencia in Spain, are also hoping to win this development project.
Ford is playing off the respective governments against each other to see which will put up the most state aid.
Senior Ford executives have been engaged in talks with government ministers, bargaining over how much aid the wealthy transnational company is to get from taxpayers.
Last year the company's net income was $22,071 billion -- compared to $2,529 in 1993.
It owns a one third share in the Japanese company Mazda and an 81 per cent share of the car rental firm Hertz.
Its subsidiary, Ford Motor Credit, is a leading provider of finance for car buyers.
Last year, BMW executives extracted £150 million towards a redevelopment of BMW's Rover plant at Longbridge -- the price of keeping the plant open. BMW rejected an initial £118 million offer.
One union official said: "Companies have seen how BMW got more cash out of this government and are queuing up at the door of 10 Downing Street to demand the same treatment."
Welsh Secretary Alun Michael has been to Ford headquarters in Detroit to plead for Bridgend to get the investment -- it is already the largest Ford engine plant in Europe.
It opened in 1980 and employs 1,400 workers. Last year it produced 442,000 engines, including Jaguar's core V8 range.
If the contract is lost, the plant will not close immediately as the Zetec engines made there will be phased out gradually over three of four years.
The unions at Bndgend are anxious that the government should agree the state aid package.
AEEU engineering union leader Ken Jackson said: "Bridgend has been a very productive plant with a motivated workforce. There's no reason why it cannot be a star in Ford's plans for Europe."
But despite their massive profits, car manufacturers like Ford and BMW ate feeling the pinch from a shrinking global market. Worldwide people are buying fewer cars. This is because of the global crisis of capitalism which is causing markets to become saturated with more goods than people can afford to buy.
A capitalist economy is hostage to the repeated cycles of boom and slump. Only a socialist planned economy can put an end to these problems.
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by Simon Watson in Cologne
OVER 30,000 demonstrators packed the streets of Cologne last Saturday to demand that the European Union address the chronic problem of unemployment, job insecurity and social exclusion.
The protest was the start of a week of action in the run-up to the Inter-Governmental Conference (IGC) at the end of this week. It was also the climax of the "Euro-marches" which have walked from all over the EU to bring issues faced by ordinary people to the doorsteps of their governments.
The "Euro-march" tradition started two years ago at the IGC in Amsterdam, and was continued last year in Cardiff. This year, there was a strong anti war feeling on the march, with dozens of banners calling for an end to Nato's illegal aggression.
Big contingents of trade unionists from France, Spain and Greece joined the marchers near the front of the demonstration as it left Rudolfplatz and hammer and sickle flags fluttered high over communists from Yugoslavia, Greece, Germany, Denmark and other countries. Four coaches came from Britain, bringing trade unionists, unemployed activists and students.
The iron fist of the capitalist state, in the form of thousands of police with riot shields and pepper spray, lined the sides of the march all the way along. The 2,000-strong anti-fascist contingent, drawn across Europe, was singled out and attacked by baton-wielding police on three occasions. This has become all too common for demonstrators and we linked arms for our own protection.
Not everyone was able to reach the march, and a train from Utrecht in Holland was stopped on the border and riot police with dogs dragged protesters off and attacked them on the platform.
It was not just a European march. People came from all over the world including members of the Brazilian grass-roots peasant movement. Indian workers who had travelled thousands of kilometres across land, came to protest against the oppressive terms of trade imposed on developing countries by multi-national corporations and the governments who back them.
They are staying in Cologne for the Group of Eight (G8) imperialist summit on 18 June where they will be joined by thousands more to call for the cancellation of debt which is strangling many poorer countries.
And in London on that day protesters will be trying to form a human chain around the City. (Assemble Liverpool St station, 12 noon).
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by Steve Lawton
NEVER has sport been so political. Quite by chance, enthusiasts of the Ipswich-based amateur football club -- Red Star RMA FC -- found themselves part of a much bigger and more deadly game than they could ever have expected.
"Red Star," Alun Williams, the club's secretary, told the New Worker, "is modelled on our famous counterparts in Belgrade, and we were looking forward to developing contact when we sorted out an official kit for our club.
"We're only a small team, so we were really pleased that they showed an interest in us. We thought that would be the start of a relationship -- but we could never have guessed the way it would turn out."
Red Star Belgrade is internationally famous and many of its stars who have been playing for top teams in Nato countries have refused to go on playing until the bombing of Yugoslavia stops. Many have been active on anti-Nato demonstrations.
For the Ipswich club, it all began with a very straightforward request to buy the distinctive Belgrade strip which took some weeks of phone calls in March to set up. A series of e-mail exchanges followed with "Friends of Red Star Belgrade", and a visit to Belgrade was planned for 22 April.
On 21 March, "Friends" responded to Alun and said they were very glad they had made contact. They would consider a discount -- just what a hard-up club wanted to hear.
Three days later, the mood was sombre. "Friends" were ready to proceed, but said the situation was grave. Any moment, literally as they sent their e-mail, Nato bombs were expected to rain down on Belgrade.
At 6pm local time, they waited. They hoped the next communication would be a happier one. A couple of further exchanges in the next half hour. Hours later, one horrified member of the Ipswich club saw the TV pictures of the first Nato bomb strike and contacted "Friends" again fearing the worst.
They were OK and only too pleased to be able to reply to a friendly voice in what they thought was a distinctly unfriendly country.
Ata grave and sad time in their history, Red Star Ipswich replied, it was good to hear from the "Friends". The local Suffolk team sent solidarity messages condemning the criminal bombing and offered to help in any way possible.
Wearing their present version of the Red Star strip has given a new meaning to the local club matches that take place up and down the country -- worn with pride, they say.
On 30 March one of the "Friends" responded again. He had to move away from the bombing quickly with his family to what he thought was a safer part of Belgrade because there were no military targets. But civilians were being killed, he knew.
By 3 April the Nato aggressors he said hit the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and 30 metres away is the biggest maternity hospital and clinic in Belgrade, he said. At that moment of the strike 70 newborns were in the hospital. A future of trauma for them?
His home was barely a few miles away. It was a terrible explosion, he apologised for the bad news, he had to talk. Would Easter mean a peace deal? A local club member replies in sorrow. Novi Sad bridge, a heating plant, and a tobacco factory blown up?
The same day, 6 April, "Friends" speak of the absolute support for Milosovich -- including so many previously opposed. They are defending their country, their lives and their heritage.
They point out: President Clinton doesn't understand European culture -- it's not Mickey Mouse and American football. And the cigarette plant? That's America's contribution to the 'No Smoking' campaign.
There are crimes being committed here by Nato. A Nato missile "missed" its target landing in the middle of Aleksinac, one of the poorest towns in Yugoslavia, "Friends" said. Hundreds were killed and wounded.
Two weeks later, "Friends" reaffirm that Serbians are resolute, stronger with every attack. By 22 April telephone lines were in a dire state, giving limited time for contact. TV 4 and radio station 5, business centres, and firms all bombed. Civilian infrastructure is the target.
Alun replied the next day, noting that President Milosovich's residence was bombed. "Friends" reply: This is an ugly period in European history. Milosovich's house was an architectural landmark from the 1920s and built by the famous Serbian architect Acovich.
But they have a sense of gallows humour: an anonymous tourist "advert" has been produced as a satire on Nato's annihilation of Yugoslavia, putting Nato civilians and government in the place of Serbians to see how it would look then.
Time passes, more bombing. 20 May. "Friends" said situation appalling. Electric power mostly fails. No time but to survive. Red Star Ipswich keep up the barrage of solidarity messages.''Friends" are overwhelmingly grateful and defiant. Bombing ends yet another communication, for the moment.
Alun Williams believes this tragic situation has strengthened their ties. "Our 'democracy' is shown for what it really is now," he said, "Nato are worse than animals; the criminal bombing must end. And, trivial as it may seem, we want to get together to play football."