National News

Bloody Sunday relatives demand: ‘Set the Truth Free’

by Theo Russell

RELATIVES of the Bloody Sunday massacre victims paid a flying visit to London last Wednesday to lobby for the immediate publication of the Saville Report, due to be handed to the British government next week after an inquiry lasting six years.

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In your own time and at your own expense!

THE GMB general union is fighting on behalf of ambulance drivers and paramedics employed by the Yorkshire Ambulance Service Trust (YAS).

Its a dispute over whose responsibility it is to ensure staff are adequately trained to deal with terrorist emergencies and pre-hospital care and whether YAS are properly prepared to deal with such an incident.

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Get off your bed and on your bike!

CHARITIES last week called for a review of sickness benefit assessment procedures after high numbers of very sick and disabled people — even some terminally ill people — are being told they are fit to look for work.

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BA reels under strike effects

STRIKING British Airways cabin crews last weekend inflicted serious punishment on the company that refused to negotiate with their union, Unite, and is still trying to impose job cuts along with cuts in wages and conditions.

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PCS out on budget day

HUNDREDS of thousands of civil and public servants from all over Britain staged a one-day strike last Wednesday, Budget Day — the second national strike this month in a dispute over cuts to redundancy pay.

The stoppage, called by PCS, followed a strongly supported two-day strike earlier in March which saw up to 200,000 civil and public servants stay away from work over changes to the civil service compensation scheme.

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Hope not Hate day of action

THE ANTI-FASCIST organisation Hope Not Hate is planning a massive day of Action on Saturday 27th March with activities in every locality aimed to counter the attempts of the fascist British National Party to gain further council seats — and maybe even a seat in Parliament.

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Boris calls for Tube strike ban

TORY London Mayor Boris Johnson said last week he wants a Tory government to deliver a strike ban on London Underground rather than seek an agreement with the unions, as he had previously undertaken.

Keith Norman, general secretary of the train drivers’ union Aslef says the move is an attack on basic civil liberties. “A ban on the right to strike is a feature of the most extreme authoritarian regimes.

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Web pages for all — or a new ID database?

PRIME MINISTER Gordon Brown last week announced Labour’s plans to bring fast broadband to all homes in Britain and to supply everyone with their own web page.

But civil liberties campaigners have sounded a note of caution. The web page for all, containing personal information, would in effect create a vast Government database on every citizen in Britain — the main purpose behind the identity card scheme, which has now virtually been abandoned on grounds of cost and unpopularity.

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Anti-fascist clash with EDL in Bolton

POLICE in Bolton last Saturday battled with members of the English Defence League — a lose organisation of fascist thugs, football hooligans and ex squaddies united only by rabid Islamophobia — and a counter demonstration organised by Unite Against Fascism.

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RMT signal workers vote for strike

RAIL UNION RMT announced last Friday that a ballot for action of signalling and supervisory staff has returned a vote of 54 per cent for strike action and a vote of 77 per cent for action short of a strike on a turnout of 71 per cent in a dispute over safety and the imposition of new working conditions.

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British Gas workers vote for action

MEMBERS of the GMB union employed by British Gas last week voted to strike after alleged bullying by management, and over changes to staff terms and conditions.

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International News

Britain kicks out Israeli diplomat

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

AN ISRAELI diplomat has been expelled from Britain over the use of fake British passports by the Mossad hit-squad that killed a leading member of the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood in Dubai earlier this year.

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French poll defeat rings alarms the right

by Zhang Xin in Paris

FRANCE’S run-off regional elections ended Sunday night. The ruling conservative UMP party lost all but one of 22 regions to the left in metropolitan France in a result that is widely seen as a massive public rejection of the current government of President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The Socialist-led left hailed the victory as “unprecedented,” but it is still hard to tell to what extent the united left can use this strong regional base to produce a credible candidate to challenge Sarkozy in the 2012 presidential vote.

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Fourth general strike in Greece

by Kris Hamel

WITHIN a week after the 5th March mass demonstrations and general strike, tens of thousands of angry Greek workers marched through Athens to protest at austerity measures enacted to reduce Greece’s debt. Riot police fired tear-gas as demonstrators threw rocks and firebombs outside the Parliament building on 11th March.

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Obama wins healthcare vote

IN A MAJOR victory for US President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats, the House of Representatives has approved a landmark measure that would expand healthcare to over 30 million uninsured Americans, while forcing millions to purchase health insurance.

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Communists in today’s world
The revolutionary party, bourgeois elections and social democracy

by Neil Harris

We support Labour in elections because it still has a mass membership of working class trade unionists, affiliated through their unions. This mass membership and the votes the party receives as a result are what make it a class-based party in spite of its opportunist, petty-bourgeois leadership.

Workers vote Labour because they are still social democratic in outlook themselves, not out of misguided belief that the Labour Party is socialist. It is social democratic ideas that must be fought, not the institutions of the working class.

[The revolutionary party, bourgeois elections and social democracy]

Western wrongs and human rights

by M D Nalapat

Professor of geopolitics at Manipal University, India.

IT IS A FACT that Western countries today are far more technologically advanced than their Asian counterparts and their citizens live a “better life”. But that does not mean human rights are better protected in the West.

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Can sport foster development?

by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

THE UNITED Nations has launched an awareness campaign regarding the infringements of human rights caused by major sports events. If soccer is the opium of the people, could these mega-events not go one step further and support global causes?

The UN calls them “mega-events”, referring to major sports venues such as the Olympic Games and the World Cup where the eyes of half the world are glued to the TV screen.

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