National News

Tolpuddle martyrs still inspire

by Alex Kempshall

THOUSANDS of trade union and labour movement activists marched through the small Dorset village of Tolpuddle last weekend behind the banners of the Tolpuddle agricultural branch.

Among them were 150 GMB members who were on strike for the day; this was their 21st one-day strike action against the bullying, harassment and discrimination of their employer Carillion at the Public Private Partnership Great Western Hospital in Swindon.

The keynote speeches were delivered by Brendan Barber, TUC general secretary, Maria Eagle MP Shadow Minister for Transport and Tony Benn.

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Lib-Dem obstructions to Irish reconciliation

by Theo Russell

ALL FIVE Sinn Féin MPs were in London on 28th June at a summer reception which also marked the resignation of Martin McGuinness as MP, after the party’s decision to end dual mandates for its elected representatives.

McGuinness delivered a keynote address which touched on a number of current problems, which he placed at the door of the Lib-Dem coalition.

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Bristol turns out to reject EDL

by New Worker correspondent

THE PEOPLE of Bristol last Saturday turned out in their thousands to let the visiting Islamophobic thugs of the English Defence League know they were not wanted in this city.

They came out for a demonstration and flash protests across the city in a brilliant show of unity, in defiance of attempts by the local council and police to prevent a mass counter demonstration.

Anti-fascists greeted the fascists as they arrived at the railway station, while others briefly occupied the site where the EDL were to rally.

At the same time nearly 1,000 trade unionists gathered at the We Are Bristol rally at The Fountains in the city centre — this was despite a police diktat banning anti-racists from gathering.

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Unison opposes Community Payback sell-off

THE PUBLIC sector union Unison, which represents 5,000 staff working in the Probation Service, last week hit back at the Ministry of Justice’s decision to sell off Community Payback in London to Serco. The private company is set to take over the running of this vital service by October this year.

Community Payback is the scheme whereby minor offenders are made to do useful work in the community as recompense for their crime.

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O'Grady to be TUC leader

FRANCES O’Grady is to become the first woman general secretary of the Trade Union Congress when Brendan Barber retires from the post at the end of the year.

O’Grady has worked for the TUC for nearly 20 years and is well known and highly regarded in trade union circles.

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Greenpeace closes Shell petrol stations

ACTIVISTS from the environmental campaigning group Greenpeace last Monday closed 74 Shell petrol stations in London and Edinburgh in protest against the company's plans to drill for oil in the Arctic, leading to 24 arrests.

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LGBT Pride returns to its roots?

by Anton Johnson

THE OCCASION of the 40th anniversary of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) Pride in London was to host the jewel of World Pride; what should have been a large scale celebration was beset with financial woes and in the end at the 11th hour the event had to be greatly reduced with the planned Soho side being cancelled.

Though out of this debacle there has been a positive. First of all the march through central London without the floats had a more political feel to it and the trade union section was the best it has been for many years.

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128th Durham Miners’ Gala

by New Worker Correspondent

IT WAS hard to move in the streets of Durham last Saturday as the streets filled with local people and visitors from far and wide who had come to witness and take part in the 128th Durham Miners’ Gala — and also to hear Labour leader Ed Miliband, the first Labour leader in 23 years to attend this major event in the labour movement calendar.

But there was a long list of very good speakers before Miliband stood up to speak. And they laid some serious demands and challenges before him.

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International Brigaders remembered

by New Worker correspondent

OVER 100 people gathered in Jubilee Gardens on London’s South Bank on Saturday 7th July at the memorial to the International Brigaders to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the start of the Spanish war against fascism.

Among them was David Solomon, London’s last surviving member of the International Brigades — the army of volunteers who went to Spain between 1936 and 39 to help the people of Spain defend their elected Republican government against the fascist revolt led by General Francisco Franco and his army recruited in Morocco, which was backed by Hitler and Mussolini.

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International News

Paraguay: in the footsteps of dictatorship

Radio Havana Cuba

THE CURRENT situation in Paraguay following the ousting of the constitutional president Fernando Lugo is reminiscent of the old dictatorship of General Alfredo Stroessner.

The coup leaders, headed by the rightist Federico Franco, who previously served as vice president, are eagerly following in the footsteps of the former dictator.

The repression against leftists and advocates of democracy has just begun. Hundreds of workers have been sacked for being members of Guasú Front, a coalition of democratic forces or for being progressive and supporters of President Lugo.

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Fragile peace barely holds in tense Kashmir

by Paul Cochrane

ALL IT took was an electrical short circuit that reduced a mosque to ashes to make Indian-controlled Kashmir resemble the bad days of 2010. Late last month, the over 200-year-old Sufi shrine of Peer Dastageer Sahib in the capital Srinagar was set ablaze in what officials said was a wiring issue.

But this was considered suspicious by most Kashmiris, distrustful of the Indian state and convinced it was an act of arson, given there was a power cut at the time and that when the fire brigade eventually showed up, most trucks had no water onboard.

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Venezuelan government empowers women

by Damy Vales in Caracas

THE GOVERNMENT of President Hugo Chávez is ensuring a more active role for women by implementing policies to strengthen gender equality through by fostering women’s economic, social, and political empowerment.

This is, according to Judith López vice-president of the Women’s Institute (INAMUJER), because his campaign platform has included advocating the need to achieve gender equality as an essential component of a just society.

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Kick out racism!

by Daphne Liddle

THE FIGHT against racism in sport has come a long way since the launch of the “Let’s kick racism out of football” campaign in 1993 and there have been many advances and achievements since then. But it would be a serious mistake to imagine that the problem is solved and that racism in sport has been defeated.

This was the message of a symposium organised in London on 4th July by lawyer and poet Dave Neita and independent development consultant Michelle Moore. It brought together Professor Ben Carrington, an internationally respected authority on the intersections of race, gender, class and nation within sport and a panel of experienced experts in the field to debate the issue: “Does sport promote or challenge racism?” in front of a large audience of people, most with experience and concern about sport and combating racism.

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