National News

Fracking fight continues

AROUND 200 residents of Balcombe in West Sussex marched, with their children, to the camp of anti-fracking protesters to show their support for the activists and to refute claims in the media that the protesters are “outsiders” who do not have the support of local people in their fight to stop the drilling.

They sang their own version of Jerusalem as they walked down to the protest site. A village spokesperson thanked the campers for their stand against the drilling company Cuadrilla and announced that a poll of local residents has shown 85 per cent opposed to fracking, with nine per cent undecided and just six per cent in favour.

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Be afraid, be very afraid

WORKERS should be “very afraid” of Conservative employment law plans, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady warned last week.

She was responding to comments made by Conservative Party Chair Grants Shapps last Wednesday, who said that a future Conservative government would make it easier for employers to sack staff.

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Londoners mark Al-Quds Day

HUNDREDS of protesters gathered in Portland Place last Friday to mark Al-Quds Day in London to support Palestinian resistance against Zionist oppression.

The theme of this year’s Al- Quds march was the liberation of Palestine.

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Unions welcome Lewisham Hospital ruling

HEALTH unions and other campaigners have welcomed the ruling that the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt had acted unlawfully by ordering the closure of the Accident and Emergency and maternity wards at Lewisham Hospital in south London.

It follows an eight-month campaign which also saw the biggest public protest of its kind in that part of the capital.

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Election result overturned

from New Worker correspondent IN MAY 2012 Liberal Democrat Mohammed Bashir was declared the winner of Maybury and Sheerwater seat in the Surrey borough of Woking, defeating his Labour counterpart, Mohammad Ali, by just 16 votes.

But last Friday the election commissioner Richard Mawrey QC ruled that corruption and illegal practices were “widespread” in the ward and there was “overwhelming” evidence that Bashir and his team had been responsible.

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Zero hours turn workers into slaves

YOUNG workers took to the streets of central London last Saturday to demand an end to zero hours work contracts. The protest coincided with the shock news that over a million workers in Britain are now on zero hours contracts. These are contracts where the workers have no fixed hours of work — or pay.

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Neighbours defend bedroom tax victim

FRIENDS and neighbours formed a ring around the home of Irene Lockett, who could not pay the extra £23.24 per week in rent after her housing benefit was cut, and faced eviction from her home in Kirkby, Merseyside.

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Have you got the bottle for an 8-day strike?

MEMBERS of the GMB and Unite unions employed at one of Britain’s largest glass bottle manufacturers, Ardagh Glass, are to begin an eight-day series of strikes over pay.

The two unions have repeated a call for the company, which registered pretax profits worth £65m in Britain last year, to begin talks in an effort to prevent strike action.

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CWU to ballot on strike to defend Royal Mail

REPRESENTATIVES of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) from across Britain have voted unanimously to hold a national strike ballot of Royal Mail workers unless protections for jobs and services can be secured.

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Eyewitness Korea

by New Worker correspondent

THE KOREAN people marked the 60th anniversary of the defeat of US imperialism and its lackeys with a great parade through Pyongyang last month. And last Saturday friends and comrades gathered in central London to hear an eye-witness account of the commemorations and peace marches held in the DPR Korea to mark the end of the Korean War.

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Remembering Hiroshima

PEACE lovers all around the world marked 6th August, the anniversary of the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima in Japan at the end of the Second World War, which caused a holocaust of devastation and the loss of 300,000 lives at the time and subsequently through radiation sickness.

London Region CND held its annual midday event in Tavistock Square, with speakers Jeremy Corbyn MP, veteran peace campaigner Bruce Kent, CND vice-president Natalie Bennett, the leader of the Green Party Nobu Ono and Linda Perks representing the London region of the union Unison.

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Revolutionary Democracy

Reviewed by Ray Jones

Revolutionary Democracy Vol XIX No 1 April 2013. £4.50 plus 50p from NCP Lit, PO Box 73, London SW11 2PQ.

THIS issue of Revolutionary Democracy includes the usual in depth articles on Indian politics as well as a wide range of material from around the world and historical documents.

There are two interviews with Aleksandra Kollontai, a leading woman Bolshevik in the 1930’s, on the situation of women in the Soviet Union.

There’s also two interesting records of meetings between Stalin and Mao — in which Kim Ill Sung gets a mention. These give an insight into the early relationship between the Soviet Union and revolutionary China.

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International News

Turkish generals and secularists get life

Xinhua news agency

A TURKISH court has passed judgments on nearly 300 suspects accused of plotting to topple the ruling government in a battleground case as a part of the decade-long conflict between Islamist Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and Turkey’s secularists. Journalist Tuncay Ozkan and retired general Veli Kucuk were sentenced to life sentences while Workers’ Party leader Dogu Perincek was given a 117-year term in prison.

Retired colonel Arif Doğan was also sentenced to 47 years. Both Kucuk and Doğan were accused of founding and leading a terrorist organisation and trying to overthrow the government.

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The age of nuclear terrorism

by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

THE SIXTH of August marked the 68th anniversary of the atomic terrorist strike against unarmed civilians by the United States of America in the city of Hiroshima, Japan, which along with the atomic strike against Nagasaki days later, was the most blatant violation of the basic principles of conduct during armed conflict.

Sixth August 1945. The world’s first atomic terrorist strike against a city full of unarmed civilians — the US Air Force dropped a bomb equivalent to 20,000 tonnes of TNT, nicknamed “Little Boy” from a B-29 Superfortress bomber, nicknamed “Enola Gay”, after the pilot’s mother.

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Germany ends Anglo-American spy pact

by Ed Newman

GERMANY has cancelled a Cold War-era pact with the US and Britain in response to revelations about electronic surveillance operations. Details of snooping programmes involving the transatlantic allies have been leaked to the media by former US intelligence analyst Edward Snowden.

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Nuclear missiles heading for Belfast Lough?

by Phil Mac Giolla Bháin

DO THE Six Counties still have some residual strategic value to the Westminster state? After the mayhem and the policing bill of the weekend of “The Twelfth” [Orangemen’s Day] then the answer might be a confident “no”.

But there is one scenario where the chaps in Whitehall may find a use for the territory they currently control on the northeast of this island. One of the key statements at the start of the Irish Peace Process was on 9th November 1990 when British ecretary of State Sir Peter Brooke said that Britain had no “selfish strategic or economic interest” in the North of Ireland.

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Preserving Cuba’s African Heritage

by Wilfredo Alayón

THE MUSEUM of the Slave Route, housed in the Castillo de San Severino, an 18th century fortress in this western province, is devoted to the preservation of Cuba’s African heritage.

San Severino, an example of Renaissance-style military architecture that is typical of other installations built by the Spanish during that period, was declared a national monument in 1978. It stands in Punta La Gorda, on the western edge of Matanzas Bay, 100 km east of Havana. The city itself will turn 320 years old in October.

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Features

Mass protests follow political assassination in Tunisia

by Abayomi Azikiwe

TUNISIAN workers and youth shut down the North African country on 26th July, when the largest trade union federation and other political organisations held a general strike. The actions were in response to the 25th July assassination of Popular Front leftist politician, Mohamed Brahmi, 58, who was shot 14 times outside his home near the capital of Tunis.

Brahmi, a member of the legislative, 217-member National Constituent Assembly (NCA), is the second Left political figure to be assassinated. In February Chokri Belaid was murdered, also outside his home. Tunisian Minister of the Interior Lotfi Ben Jeddou reported that both leaders were killed with the same weapon.

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‘Middle class revolution’: a new end of history?

by Zoltan Zigedy

THE UNITED States is notoriously unkind to “intellectuals”. Popular culture portrays intellectuals as absent-minded, divorced from the everyday world, and obsessed with spinning useless, but harmless abstractions. They are good to keep contained in universities where they can give future cogs in the capitalist machine a taste, but not a passion for, impractical thought. Regrettably, those posing as intellectuals have gone far to earn contempt, favouring arcane, specialised languages and scholastic debates.

That’s not to say that there is no room for thinkers in the US, but they are dubbed “pundits,” “experts,” “researchers” or “consultants,” words that ring with practicality and single-mindedness; they are purveyors of small, easily digested ideas and not the “big” ideas associated with intellectuals.

In the US we are taught to distrust big ideas unless they are linked to religions. But then religion has been compartmentalised, shunted off to Sunday mornings or weddings and funerals. All the big ideas we need were decided with the ratification of the US Constitution. We can thank corporate marketers and their masters for our continuing alienation from big ideas and taste for small ones. They prefer ideas that are easily and flashily packaged, readily digested, and quickly obsolesced.

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