National News

Peers halt plans to axe Agricultural Wages Board

THE HOUSE of Lords last week put a brake on the government’s plans to abolish the Agricultural Wages Board (AWB) which would hit the incomes of 150,000 agricultural workers in England and Wales.

The giant union Unite welcomed the moves by those peers that showed “dissent” at the committee stage last Wednesday to the Government’s amendment to scrap the AWB.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Anti-fascists protest at Greek embassy

by New Worker correspondent

AROUND 1,000 antifascists gathered outside the Greek embassy in London’s Holland Park last Saturday in freezing weather to show their support for anti-fascists in Greece facing terror attacks from the Nazi Golden Dawn movement.

They were part of a worldwide demonstration involving tens of thousands of around the world expressing solidarity with Greek antifascists.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

MPs to grill McAlpine on blacklisting

CULLUM McAlpine, representing the giant construction company Sir Robert McAlpine is faced questioning from MPs on Tuesday on the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee over the role of his company in using illegal blacklists to exclude certain workers from employment.

Those blacklisted were active trade unionists, health and safety officers or indeed any worker who asked awkward questions about safety on construction sites.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Housing costs cause stress and depression

A NEW YouGov survey from the housing charity Shelter has revealed the emotional strain faced by millions of families as they struggle to meet their housing costs.

According to the research:
  • Almost one in three adults (equivalent to 15 million people) say housing costs are causing stress and depression in their family;
  • One in four (equivalent to 12.2 million people) are kept awake at night by the stress of paying their rent or mortgage;
  • One in four says housing costs are causing arguments with their partner and other family members.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

RMT drive for rail renationalisation

TWENTY years after legislation paving the way for the privatisation of Britain’s railways was passed by John Major’s Tory Government on the 19th January 1993, rail union RMT has set out the case for public ownership with a pledge to step up the campaign for renationalisation:

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Police fight compensation to autistic boy

THE FATHER of an autistic boy last week expressed anger at the Metropolitan Police when the force decided to appeal against a Court ruling awarding the boy compensation for an assault by police officers at a swimming pool.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Rising suicide rate

THE RATE of suicides in Britain rose significantly in 2011, according to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics. Some 6,045 people killed themselves in 2011, an increase of 437 since 2010.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

A great KKE New Year

by New Worker correspondent

COMRADES and friends gathered for a New Year party organised by the British branch of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) in London’s historic Marx Memorial Library last Sunday.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

A Feminist dialogue

reviewed by New Worker correspondent

FEMINIST artists have been around for a long time but is there really such a thing as feminist art? Well we may find the answer to this at an exhibition of the works of four major women artists currently showing at the Ben Uri art museum in north London....

The Ben Uri Gallery is at 108A Boundary Road, London NW8 0RH and the exhibition runs until 10th March. Admission is £5 and it is open Monday 1pm — 4pm, Tuesday to Friday 10am — 5.30pm and Sunday 12pm — a 4pm.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

International News

Correa calls on America to end double-standards

Prensa Latina

ECUADORAN PRESIDENT Rafael Correa has called on the United States to end the double standards it applies towards Latin America.

Correa said he wished Barack Obama well in his second term, and for the greatest possible success in his government. But speaking as the former president of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) he also said the United States had scarcely changed its foreign policy toward the region.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Turks replace ‘zero problems’ with Nato missiles

by Faridun Usmonov

SHIPMENTS of Patriot missiles from Germany and the Netherlands have arrived in Turkey and the missile system may be operational by the end of the month. Nato repeatedly claims that the Atlantic Alliance is sending the Patriots at Turkey’s request to provide a shield against an alleged missile threat from Syria. Many experts inside and outside Turkey seriously doubt that reasoning.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Venezuela: the armed forces of Simón Bolivar

Granma

THE VENEZUELAN Armed Forces no longer belong to the bourgeoisie.

This was the point stressed by Venezuelan Vice President Nicolás Maduro during a visit to the Fort Tiuna Military Academy in Caracas last week.

Venezuela’s deputy leader was meeting senior officers who were tabling the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) proposals for the 2013-2019 Plan Patria (Homeland Plan). Maduro said that the FANB symbolised the great concept of the “new homeland”.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Dublin Sinn Féin appoints new LGBT officer

DUBLIN SINN FéIN is starting the New Year by appointing an LGBT officer to form a group of activists to develop policy, campaign and raise awareness of issues affecting the lives of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people and their families.

LGBT activist Chris Curran, who was appointed to the position at a meeting of Dublin Sinn Féin in December, said he “looks forward to bringing our politics into a new arena and a new arena into our politics”.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Lunacy in Algeria?

by Timothy Bancroft- Hinchey

FIFTY-FIVE people are dead after four days of total lunacy in the Algerian desert. Fifty-five families mourn for the same reason yet brought about by different circumstances.

We all celebrated 2000 as the year that would herald a change. Since then the behaviour of certain western countries has provided a backdrop for this sort of incident.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Features

What is to be done?

By Eric Trevett

Theory without practice is sterile; practice without theory is blind.

THE DEEPENING capitalist crisis arises from the over-production of goods that the market is incapable of absorbing. The proof is plentiful to show that capitalism is in ever deeper political and economic crisis. But this has not put the capitalist class on the defensive.

All capitalist countries are engaged in swingeing attacks on the working class, and to a degree the middle strata, from democratic rights to economic and living standards.

Recent price hikes in transport and fuel costs have provoked further indignation and the repercussions include many individuals and families joining those already in poverty conditions. The wages movement to offset the worst effects has been lagging. Some workers have endured a three-year pay freeze. The scourge of unemployment is a huge problem and the official figures cover up the reality. In some countries, like Spain, the figure is 40 per cent.

What is to be done?

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

From the NCP 17th National Congress

For a democratic Labour Party

THE NEW Communist Party was founded in 1977 to build the communist movement around the revolutionary principles of Marxism-Leninism. Since then we have campaigned for the maximum working class unity against the ruling class, while campaigning to build the revolutionary party.

Working people can never achieve state power through bourgeois elections. Bourgeois elections are democratic only for the ruling class and their instruments, a tool to mask their real dictatorship. All bourgeois elections are the manipulation of the largest number of votes by the smallest number of people.

We reject the “parliamentary road” and electoral politics. The old Communist Party of Great Britain abandoned the revolutionary road when it adopted the British Road to Socialism. Its successors in the Communist Party of Britain and the Communist Party of Scotland continue this essentially social-democratic and revisionist policy today. Other left electoral platforms like the Socialist Labour Party, Respect and No2EU all express essentially the same theory.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Martin Luther King’s legacy and the US labour movement

by Abayomi Azikiwe

THE REVEREND Dr Martin Luther King Junior would have been 84 years old this 15th January. His legacy today is as important as it was during the struggle for civil rights and peace during the mid- and late-20th century.

From the early campaigns of the Montgomery Improvement Association, which led the bus boycott of 1955-56, to the massive marches on Detroit and Washington in the summer of 1963, to King’s last efforts aimed at winning recognition for the Memphis sanitation workers during early 1968, an alliance between labour and the African-American community was essential in winning victories against racism and national oppression.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

The mass media — not your best career choice

by Rob Gowland

THE CAPITALIST mass media must be a hellish milieu in which to work, mustn’t it? After all, most of the men and women journalists who work for the mass media are normal people: they are not a collection of unprincipled fools and scoundrels — although when you look at what they produce you could be readily forgiven for thinking so.

We must bear in mind however the limited opportunities for employment in their chosen field and the necessity to keep on the right side of the boss unless one wants to return to the ranks of the unemployed.

And who determines editorial policy anyway? Not the lowly journo, but executive editors who know what alienates advertising revenue and what does not.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]