National News

Tolpuddle: still fighting low pay

THE TOLPUDDLE Martyrs’ Festival, which took place last weekend, was focussed on the fight against low pay — the same cause for which the original Tolpuddle Martyrs fought when they formed a union 179 years ago to combat wage cuts for farm workers.

The martyrs were arrested, tried for swearing illegal oaths (forming a union) and transported to Australia — to discourage others. But the idea of trade unions caught on anyway and after a long public battle they were brought back from exile and unions were legalised.

Today unions are again fighting falling wages, while the cost of living rises steadily leaving many workers, fulltime and part-time, dependent on tax credits and/or food parcels for the basic essentials of life.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Grass fires stretch fire service

MATT WRACK, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, last week responded to increasing reports of grass fires triggered by the extreme hot weather, saying: “The heat this summer seems to have caused a worrying increase in grassfires and, as global temperatures increase as a result of climate change, this trend is likely to continue in the future.

“The growing risk of grassfires represents another strain on the dwindling-resources of fire and rescue services currently experiencing severe cuts across the country.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Liverpool Larkin parade and rally success

by John Hedges

LIVERPOOL’S James Larkin Society march and rally on Saturday to remember the 100th anniversary of the 1913 Dublin Lockout passed off peacefully with up to 500 people taking part as plans by neo-Nazi hate groups and hard-line unionists to attack the event in a repeat of last year fell apart.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Woman dead three weeks after being told by Atos to find a job

ELENORE Tatton from Dedridge in Livingstone died aged 39 from a brain tumour just three weeks after being told by the agency Atos that she was fit and should look for work. She was the mother of three children.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Former MI6 head’s version on Iraq War

SIR RICHARD Dearlove, the former head of MI6, is considering releasing his own version of events in 2002 and 2003 in the run-up to the US and British attack on Iraq in March 2003, if the Chilcot Inquiry does not reveal the lies Tony Blair used to take Britain into the illegal Iraq war.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Privatised work programme failing

THE CIVIL service union PCS last week attacked the Government’s wholly privatised work programme, which they say is failing as the latest figures show long term unemployment is rising.

Official statistics released last Wednesday show there are now 915,000 people who have been unemployed for 12 months or more, 36.5 per cent of all those who are out of work.

This is up on the previous quarter (35.8 per cent) and this time last year (34.3 per cent).

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Call for max temperature limits at work

THE PUBLIC sector union Unison last week called for an absolute legal maximum for temperatures at work as temperatures soared across Britain.

The union is warning that working in high temperatures can have a detrimental effect on people’s health, so is calling for the legal limit to be set at 30 degrees, or 27 degrees for strenuous work.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Pay cut for Orkney ferry workers

THE TRANSPORT union RMT has rejected as “derisory” the latest pay offer in the long-running dispute on Orkney Ferries.

Officials have warned that an “arrogant and bullying attitude” by the employers could force an escalation of the current action which could threaten summer sailings which are vital for the islands’ tourism industry.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Unions demand Crossrail inquiry RMT calls

CAMPAIGNERS against the blacklisting of trade union activists among construction companies are concerned that Business Secretary Vince Cable appears to have “kicked into the long grass” any prospect of a full inquiry into blacklisting on the £16 million Crossrail project in London.

MPs had called on the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills [BIS] to investigate “clear proof” that the illegal practice still continues at Crossrail.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

RMT calls for police investigation

THE RMT transport union last week demanded an urgent police investigation into employment practices by contractors hired by First Great Western after reports that 15 rail workers were arrested in London.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Farewell to Dolly Shaer

by New Worker correspondent

FRIENDS and comrades paid their last respects to veteran communist Dolly Shaer at her funeral in Guildford last week. NCP leaders Andy Brooks, Alex Kempshall , Daphne Liddle and Dolly’s partner Ken Ruddock, joined Dolly’s extended family, friends and former colleagues in a celebration of her long and active life that was dedicated to the struggle for peace and socialism from beginning to end.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

International News

Free the Korean freighter and crew!

by Cheryl LaBash

WHEN poor Somalis seize ships off the coast of their country, they are called pirates. But when Panama does the bidding of the Americans and seizes a freighter from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, it is hailed by the US State Department and lauded by the big business media.

On 10th July the Chong chon gang freighter, on its return home after loading cargo at Cuban ports, was violently commandeered by Panamanian forces as it approached the Panama Canal. The 35-person crew reportedly fought back, refused to lift the anchor and disabled the ship’s cranes. The captured crew and captain are reported to now be imprisoned at Fort Sherman, a former US base in Panama.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Israel smarting over tough new EU stance on settlements

by Mark Moloney

THE STATE of Israel is fuming after a surprise European Union decision sees it take a firmer stance against Israeli settlements by blocking all future financial assistance to Israeli settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. These settlements are considered illegal under international law.

The new EU rules will prohibit the issuing of grants, funding, prizes or scholarships unless a settlement exclusion clause is included. This means that any Israeli institutions or bodies located outside the country’s pre-1967 borders will be ineligible for any EU funding whatsoever.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Indian media hype about China-India border benefits no-one

by Wang Bowen

THE INDIAN media, which have traditionally focused heavily on the border disputes between New Delhi and Beijing, are now asserting again that Chinese troops have crossed the “border” between the two countries.

This came just a few months after similar reports soured to some extent the atmosphere of a visit by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to India.

Fortunately Beijing and New Delhi, with political wisdom, made joint efforts to defuse the tensions quickly, and the visit, part of Li’s maiden overseas tour since assuming premiership in March, turned out a big success.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Syria opposition continues to fragment

by David Sole

ONE THE 8th July the selfstyled “National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces” met once again under US direction in neighbouring Turkey. But instead of it bringing greater unity, “Prime Minister” in exile Ghassan Hitto resigned his position. Hitto is a US citizen.

Political disunity has escalated to armed confrontation among these reactionary rebels. This is acknowledged even by the corporate media that have anointed them at various times with phrases like the “democratic opposition”. The New York Times wrote on 13th July: “Competing rebel factions in Syria are increasingly attacking each other in a series of killings, kidnappings and beheadings, undermining the already struggling effort to topple President Bashar al-Assad.”

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Henri Alleg

1921-2013

by Miguel Urbano Rodrigues

former editor of Avante, the newspaper of the Portuguese Communist Party.

Henri Alleg (July 1921—July 2013), born Harry Salem to Polish-Jewish parents in London, who soon moved to Paris, was a French communist who, living in Algeria, became editor of the pro-liberation Alger Republicain in 1951. He is best known internationally for his pamphlet, La Question, which describes his month of torture — a torture practised systematically against Algerian patriots — after being arrested by the French forces occupying Algeria.

I HAD been awaiting the news of Henri Alleg’s death.

He died last week on Wednesday 17th July, but to all intents and purposes had stopped living last year when, on holiday on a Greek island, he suffered a stroke. His brain was so damaged that recovery was impossible.

[ Henri Alleg ]

Features

Vigilantes Rule, OK?

by Rob Gowland

Only in America does your local neighbourhood watch go armed. Only in America can an adult white male accost a black teenager on his way home from the shops and demand to know the teenager’s business, threaten him and when the teenager objects shoot him dead — and then successfully plead self-defence!

Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager in Florida, was black and wearing a hoodie, and that was apparently all that was needed to decide that the lad was acting suspiciously.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

The Chernyaev Diaries

Part 1

by Neil Harris

ANATOLY Chernyaev, as deputy head of the International Department of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and a candidate member of the Central Committee, was close to the centre of power for over two decades. During the last two years of the Soviet Union he became Mikhail Gorbachev’s foreign policy advisor.

The diaries he kept, peppered with an insider’s gossip, have been donated to the George Washington University where they are slowly being translated and put on the web as part of their “National Security Archive”.

These diaries not only paint a picture of the Soviet Union, as seen through the eyes of a self-styled revisionist, they also shed new light on those from the “fraternal parties” and their discussions with the International department in Moscow. Some of those it exposes destroyed the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) from within, one example being John Gollan, general secretary of the British party from 1956 to 1976, who appears in an entry for 17th May 1973:

[Read the complete story in the print edition]