National News

Firefighters ‘warning shot’ strike

FIREFIGHTERS in England and Wales last Wednesday took strike action for four hours as a “warning shot” to the Con-Dem Coalition that they are prepared to fight cuts to their pensions.

Fire-fighting is a strenuous and dangerous job that takes a toll on the health of firefighters physically and emotionally. Most are unable to keep fit enough to continue beyond their mid-50s and there are no administrative jobs in the service to move into because that part of the service has been privatised.

The Fire Brigades Union believes mass sackings of firefighters in their 50s would be “inevitable” if Government pension plans go ahead to raise the retirement age from 55 to 60.

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10,000 cuts and counting

DISABLED activists, their friends and supporters gathered in Parliament Square last Saturday for a ceremony of remembrance and solidarity for more than 10,000 disabled and long term sick claimants who died soon after facing the notorious Work Capability Assessment (WAC).

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Defend legal aid

CAMPAIGNERS organised by UK Uncut are planning to demonstrate outside courts throughout Britain this Saturday 5th October in protest at Government cuts to legal aid that will deny justice to all but the rich.

This will particularly affect those who wish to appeal against wrong decisions relating to benefits, housing and immigration and victims of domestic violence. UK Uncut is inviting people to join them to block roads outside the courts and stop the Government’s changes to Legal Aid!

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Fighting the menace of fascism

THE ANTI-FASCIST magazine Searchlight will mark its approaching 50th anniversary with a free conference in central London on Saturday 16th November entitled “Identifying and resisting the enemies of democracy in 2014”

. Searchlight will bring together many strands in the fight against fascism and racism as the enemy grows in influence and violence.

The conference will look at why London is hosting two major international conferences in October attended by leading Nazis, fascists and racists?

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Teachers striking over pay and pensions

MEMBERS of the two biggest teaching unions in Britain are engaged in a series of one-day regional strikes to culminate in a one-day national strike before Christmas in a dispute over pay, pensions ad workloads.

Last Tuesday 1st October NASUWT and NUT members in four regions: Eastern, West Midlands, East Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside regions took a day of strike action over adverse changes to teachers’ pay, pensions, working conditions and jobs.

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Free Ro Su Hui now!

by New Worker correspondent

LAST YEAR a veteran south Korean peace activist was jailed by the south Korean puppet regime after he returned from a visit to the north. Ro Su Hui was sentenced to four years in prison under south Korea’s draconian anti-communist “National Security Law” and last week pickets were again outside the south Korean embassy in London to demand his release.

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International News

Fascist leaders arrested in Greece

Voice of Russia

GREEK police have cracked down on the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, arresting its leader and four other MPs following the murder of a popular leftist musician by a party activist. In dawn raids on Saturday Greek anti-terror police arrested Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos along with party spokesperson and Ilias Kassidiairis MP and three other members of parliament. Fifteen other Golden Dawn officials have also been detained, including its deputy leader, who turned himself in on Sunday.

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America: government plunged into shutdown

by John Wojcik

THE REPUBLICAN- controlled House of Representatives pushed the United States over the cliff into a government shutdown at 12 am last Tuesday after the failure of their 45th attempt to destroy the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

The shutdown immediately forced some 800,000 workers off the job and suspended an array of critical federal programmes and services.

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UN condemns US blockade

by Juan Leandro

THE UNITED Nations General Assembly has begun its 68th session in New York, and the condemnation of the US blockade against Cuba has been a constant in the speeches of Heads of State and Government.

Latin America, Asia and Africa have again raised their voices to demand an end to a policy described as genocidal and anachronistic. Salvadoran President, Mauricio Funes, stressed the right of the Cuban people, as all peoples of the world, to seek their development and welfare through full integration.

For his part, the Bolivian President, Evo Morales, described as “the worst genocide” the economic, trade and financial sanctions imposed by the United States for more than half a century, while criticising the US government for ignoring UN General Assembly resolutions requesting the lifting of this criminal siege.

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Qatar human rights there is no difference between forced labour and slavery

by Anna Vergazova

NICHOLAS McGeehan, Gulf researcher at Human Rights Watch London, in interview with the Voice of Russia answers the question: how severe are the violations of human rights and labour regulations in Qatar?

How severe are the violations of human rights and labour regulations in Qatar? Are there Nepalese workers really treated like slaves?

Yes, the violations are extremely serious in the range of mechanisms which facilitate the exploitation. So workers have their passports taken away. They have huge amounts of debts. They work on the system of sponsorship- based employment. They don’t have the protection of trade unions and they can’t access the justice system. So this facilitates forced labour. If you regard forced labour as different from slavery, you wouldn’t say it is like forced labour. But it is forced labour in many cases. So it is a very serious problem.

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Greece austerity and fascist violence bring a fight-back

by G Dunkel

GREECE’S Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is making positive predictions: Unemployment has gone from 27.8 per cent to 27.1 per cent, though for youth under 25 it remained at 59 per cent in the last quarter. He claims that in six years the economy should be back to where it was in 2008. But the trade unions involved in the struggle against the cruel austerity imposed by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund say that it is more likely that it will be 20 years until there is a full recovery.

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Top leaders study at China’s Silicon Valley

Xinhua news agency

CHINA’S top leadership held a group study on Monday in a Beijing technology hub known as China’s Silicon Valley, the first time such a study has been held outside the central authority’s seat at Zhongnanhai.

Analysts said the move signalled the Chinese top leadership’s determination to keep in close contact with the masses and seek an innovation-driven development pattern.

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Chinese leaders honour martyrs

Xinhau news agency

CHINA’S top leaders laid flower baskets at the Monument to the People’s Heroes at Tiananmen Square on Tuesday morning to mark the 64th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic.

All seven members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee attended the ceremony and paid their respects to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for China’s independence and the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949.

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US soldiers with a nose for antiques?

by Maria Snytkova

RECENT events in Syria alarm not just the oil market, but also the antiques trade.

Dealers are familiar with the shocks to the market that have followed other US invasions in the Middle East so we’ve asked the experts to see whether we can expect a collapse in price of artefacts if the antiques market is flooded with stolen goods after the Americans invade Syria.

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An essential part of Cuban society

by Juan Leandro CREATED over 50 years ago as a response of the Cuban people to the constant attacks of local counter-revolutionaries and those of the United States, the Committees for the Defence of the Revolution are now an essential part of Cuban society for its continuous efforts in various spheres of socio-economic life of the country and its attention for the most vulnerable elements.

With over eight million members, the largest mass organisation on the island is ready to prepare its 8th Congress, which will analyse its role in the current changes taking place in Cuban society. The event follows a long process of discussion in every neighbourhood across the nation. Over 137 000 meetings were conducted throughout the archipelago, which renewed its current leadership structures, and enhanced the young people’s recruitment in it.

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A brief history of ‘marriage’

Parts 8 & 9

The significance of classification kinship

by Bob McCubbin

IN THIS instalment we deal with Lewis Henry Morgan’s crucial “classification kinship” discovery. Classificatory kinship patterns, described below, present a seeming conundrum that has alternately been puzzled over, dismissed or, for many years now, largely ignored by anthropologists of the bourgeois schools.

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