National News

No cuts to public services. Tax the rich.

LONDON’S traditional May Day march this year set off from Clerkenwell Green as usual led by TUC and trade union banners and well supported by colourful Turkish, Kurdish and Iranian community groups and other progressive organisations.

There was an important contingent from the Remploy factories — Government owned factories designed to provide employment opportunities for disabled people — which are being closed by Government cuts.

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EDL thugs attack OAPs in Lewisham

by New Worker correspondent

A GROUP of thugs whose faces have been seen on many marches organised by the Islamophobic English Defence League last Saturday violently assaulted members of the Socialist Workers’ Party and other activists in Lewisham.

Earlier that morning the same group had attacked a press photographer who recognised them from the “March for England” event in Brighton the previous Sunday.

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Benefit cuts biting hard

SOME OF the worst aspects of the Welfare Reform Act, passed earlier this year, came into effect on Monday when a limit of 365 days entitlement to contributory Employment Support Allowance came into force.

This means that many long-term sick and disabled people who received benefits on the basis of their National Insurance contributions made before they became too ill to work will be limited to just one year’s support.

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Workers’ Memorial Day

“REMEMBER the dead; fight for the living” is the motto of Worker’s Memorial Day, which was marked by trade unionists and others all around Britain — and all around the world — on 28th of April with marches, vigils, ceremonies and all kinds of events.

Globally two million men and women die every year as a result of work-related accidents and diseases. In Britain over 20,000 people die prematurely every year as a result of injuries or accidents caused by their work.

Last weekend, in towns and cities across the country, people gathered to remember the many victims. As well as remembering the dead, the day also serves as a reminder that workplace-related deaths are not inevitable and can be prevented.

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Venture capitalists buy Four Seasons care homes

GUY HANDS, a venture capitalist and tax exile famous for his disastrous, debt-fuelled takeover of EMI, last week used one of his Terra Firma funds to take over 500 Four Seasons Healthcare — a chain of residential care homes that was saved from bankruptcy by the state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland in a £825 million rescue package.

GMB, the union for staff at Four Seasons, is seeking urgent meetings with Government Ministers and Terra Firma.

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Private water companies responsible for drought

THE GENERAL union GMB last week accused the private water companies of responsibility for the current drought in the south and east of England through the closure of reservoirs and the failure to divert water from the Severn.

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Greenpeace protesters occupy Centrica HQ

FIFTY Greenpeace volunteers last Monday closed the head office of British Gas owners Centrica using the world’s biggest energy bill.

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International News

May Day celebrated around the World

by Ed Newman

CUBAN President Raul Castro presided over the main popular parade celebrating the International Workers’ Day held in Havana’s landmark Revolution Square.

The opening address was delivered by the secretary general of the Workers’ Central Union of Cuba, Salvador Valdes Mesa, who called on all Cuban unionists to work with discipline and get past yesterday’s mistakes.

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No such thing as ‘state capitalism’ in China

by Zhong Sheng

CERTAIN Western officials and scholars have repeatedly criticised China for implementing “state capitalism,” claiming that China encourages its state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to monopolise resources and stifle the growth of foreign investment. Based on what they believe to be unfair competition practices, they have called for restrictions on overseas investment by Chinese SOEs. However their claim is totally untenable.

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Argentina nationalises Spanish oil company

by Gene Clancy

WHEN ARGENTINE President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner abruptly left the Summit of the Americas (Cuba was pointedly excluded), it was reportedly to protest at lack of unanimous support for her country’s claim to the British-controlled Malvinas Islands.

On 16th April President Kirchner revealed another reason she returned to Buenos Aires: to announce the nationalisation of the Argentine oil and gas company, YPF, whose majority stakeholder is the Spanish-based energy monopoly, Repsol.

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But still, China remains Chinese

by Luis Melián

THE OPENING of a country to trade, reforms and globalisation may seem able to sweep away centuries of history or traditions. But in China, these processes only show how strong its traditions are, fortunately for their culture and for culture in general.

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Agent Orange and its effects on Vietnam

by Len Aldis and Yvette Giap

AUGUST 2012 will see the 51st year since the herbicide Agent Orange was first used on Southern Vietnam — 10th August 1961. The spraying of Agent Orange — a total of 80 million litres — was to continue for 10 years over forests, crops, hamlets and people.

Its use was to expose the Vietnamese opposed to the American forces and its allies. The results were soon to be seen with the destruction of Vietnam’s magnificent forests and the animals within. Its use on crops was to deny food to the people who it was thought — sometimes rightly — were supporting forces opposed to the US. Hamlets of the people were also sprayed in some instances twice, three times.

Not surprisingly Agent Orange entered into the food chain and thus into the bodies of the people themselves. Tragically this resulted in many hundreds, later to be thousands of abnormal births. In the Peace Village at Tu Du Hospital can be seen today some of these and clearly not a pleasant sight to witness.

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Australia: the ‘Toyota way’!

by Anna Pha

ON MONDAY 16th April Toyota began one of the most callous and insensitive “releasings” of 350 of its workforce at its assembly plant in Altona, Victoria in Australia. One by one the targeted workers were tapped on the shoulder, escorted off the job by security guards and taken in a mini-van to a nearby reception centre to be told they were sacked.

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100 years of struggle for Chilean Communists

by Joaquín Rivery Tur

THE COMMUNIST Party of Chile (PCCh), over the course of its 100 years of existence has found ways to translate into action its desire for liberty and social justice in this South American country. Its significant prestige was evident during the massive student demonstrations last year, which challenged President Sebastián Piñera’s right-wing government. In the vanguard of the movement were Karol Cariola, secretary general of the Young Communists and Camila Vallejo, a member of its executive and currently vice president of the nation’s Student Federation. Thousands of students demanded a free, quality education and did not retreat despite brutal repression. Communists also supported the demands of workers and the massive protests against the government’s neo-liberal policies, as well as calls to reform the Constitution.

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The ‘tiger hunt’ mindset and shoot-to-kill

by Gerry Adams

NEW MATERIAL has become available under what it called “Operation Banner”. In June 1989 Lieutenant-General Sir John Waters, who was then the General Officer Commanding (GOC) in the North, wrote a lengthy and detailed proposal to the Officer Commanding Armoured Infantry Training and Advisory Team about the preparation work that new British Army units about to be deployed in the North needed to undertake.

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