National News

Post workers vote for strike

POSTAL workers in the newly-privatised Royal Mail have last Wednesday voted by four to one (78 per cent) in favour of strike action in a move to protect their jobs, terms and conditions and secure a pay rise.

Their union, the CWU, is allowing two weeks to reach an agreement but has also announced that strike action will take place on Monday 4th November if no agreement is concluded by that date. This would be one day of all-out strike action, with further action under consideration.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

FBU postpones action

THE FIRE Brigades Union last Saturday postponed a planned strike after a small shift in position from the employers and the Government. This follows a four-hour strike on 25th September and a march by 5,000 firefighters through London on Wednesday 16th October.

The dispute is primarily over changes to firefighters’ pensions that would see them forced to work longer for a smaller pension.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Police blacklisting collusion confirmed

THE GMB general union last week commented on a report in the Observer Sunday newspaper on admission by Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) that police colluded in secret plans to blacklist 3,200 building workers.

Blacklisting came to light when in 2009 the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) seized a Consulting Association database of 3,213 construction workers and environmental activists used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Call for new inquest on Deepcut victim

THE CIVIL rights group Liberty last week announced it has applied for a fresh inquest into the death of a young British Army recruit at Deepcut barracks.

Cheryl James, 18, was undergoing initial training at the Surrey base when she was found dead — with a bullet wound between her right eye and the bridge of her nose — back in 1995.

She was one of four young recruits to lose their lives at the Royal Logistics Corps camp in mysterious circumstances between 1995 and 2002.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Government to make it easier to shut hospitals

THE GOVERNMENT has responded to the court success of the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign by trying to push through a last minute change to the law to make it far easier to shut down A&E departments and hospitals across the country without full consultation.

Amendments tabled last week to the Care Bill — which had its third reading in the Lords on Monday — give the Government or Monitor the right to order any hospital they like to “reconfigure” — in other words, close — with little consultation, to benefit neighbouring struggling hospitals.

The move comes after Jeremy Hunt’s failed in his attempt to hastily close much of Lewisham Hospital and redirect its patients to neighbouring South London hospitals in financial difficulties.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Unions oppose lobbying Bill

TRADE unions last week called on the House of Lords to throw out the Lobbying Bill, due to be debated in the Lords this week.

The House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution yesterday criticised the government for pushing through the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill with “undue haste”, saying not only would the Bill curb fundamental rights to free speech but it would also fail to restore public confidence in the political system and fail to increase transparency.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Probation officers fight privatisation

PROBATION officers in England and Wales last week voted to strike over plans announced by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling to privatise the service.

Private firms and charities are currently bidding for contracts worth £450 million to supervise 225,000 low and medium- risk offenders each year.

The probation officers’ union, Napo, said there had been a 46 per cent turn-out, with more than 80 per cent voting yes for action. No date has been given.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Teachers’ striking success

HUNDREDS of thousands of schoolchildren had a day off school last Friday 17th October as teachers from the two major teaching unions — the NUT and NASUWT took strike action, closing thousands of schools and partially closing many others.

The strike was one of a rolling series affecting different regions and this one involved teachers in London, Cumbria, the South East, North East and South West.

NUT general secretary Christine Blower, said the union regretted the disruption caused to pupils and parents but teachers felt they had “no other choice”.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

International News

Iran warns West over nuclear issue

by Mu Xuequan

IRAN’S Majlis (parliament) Speaker Ali Larijani warned on Sunday that if the West fails to build confidence pertaining to Iran’s nuclear issue, his country will further diversify its nuclear activities.

Larijani said the Majlis would approve necessary legislation on diversifying Iran’s nuclear activities if it sees the West following a double-standard approach and unjustified behaviour. He cautioned the West against mounting pressure on Tehran during the nuclear talks, said the report.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Cuban unions prepare for congress

by Juan Leandro

ALL CUBAN unions will discuss, from 25th October to 10th December, the main report to the 20th Congress of the Cuban Workers’ Confederation (CTC) in what has been scheduled the last preparatory stage before the national event.

The president of the congress’ organising committee, Ulises Guilarte, said that the event will take place amidst the ongoing update of Cuban economy.

The document dedicates four chapters to address weaknesses and inefficiencies that limit the performance, the capacity of mobilisation and organisation of the unions. It also identifies ways and means to improve the role of the workers’ organisations as it leaves space for the workers to speak their minds about what must be changed in the unions’ performance.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Gaddafi’s widow demands investigation

Voice of Russia

THE VOICE of Russia has received a letter from Muammar Gaddafi’s widow, Safia Farkash, which is in fact a proclamation addressed to the entire world. Safia Farkash is distributing this letter through her sister Fatima.

“In the memory of Nato’s aggression against my country, which turned Libya into chaos, and in the memory of my husband, whom I consider to be a martyr, my dear son and the people who were with them on 20th October 2011, when Nato air forces shelled the cortege of Libya’s leader, and then, their wounded bodies were butchered by a crowd of people whom I can call no other way than criminals.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Venezuela: food within reach of everyone

Radio Havana Cuba

THE SOCIAL inclusion policy of the Venezuelan government, aimed at the majority of the population, sees access to food as a right of all citizens.

The experience of the 2002 coup and the oil strike had a negative effect on the consumption levels of Venezuelans, and it took this initiative to ensure the supply of basic commodities to everybody. According to the Minister of Food, Félix Osorio, one in five Venezuelans suffered from hunger before 1999. The situation began to change with the coming to power of Commander Hugo Chavez.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

US Shutdown cost: $24 billion and counting

by John Wojcik

THE GOVERNMENT shutdown may be officially over but its estimated cost of $24 billion to the American taxpayers will continue to rise every day for a long time to come. And that’s not counting the oceans of misery into which millions have been plunged as a result, and even the deaths that occurred during the shutdown.

Three miners died, for example, in the first days after the government shutdown. The United Mine Workers of America said the shutdown might have been the cause of those deaths.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Dalai Lama clique’s callousness and hypocrisy exposed

Xinhua news agency

THE “TIBETAN orphans” incident, exposed by European media, has lifted the veil on the callous and hypocritical Dalai Lama clique, who have been masquerading as pacifist and benevolent.

According to a series of stories published by the Swiss Neue Zuercher Zeitung daily, the vast majority of the so-called “Tibetan orphans” who were brought to Switzerland in the 1960s through a privately- run campaign masterminded by a Swiss entrepreneur and the Dalai Lama had at least one parent in Tibet.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

New Basque solidarity mural unveiled

by Peadar Whelan

A NEW MURAL on west Belfast’s International Wall to show support for the Basque people in their struggle for independence from Spain has been unveiled by Sinn Féin Assembly member Pat Sheehan, a former political prisoner.

The Falls Road mural calls also for the release of Basque political prisoners held under draconian legislation aimed at suppressing Basque political resistance despite the peace process and armed resistance movement ETA announcing a definitive ceasefire in 2011.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

People’s China donates books to Cambridge University

Xinhua news agency

ABOUT 200 books about China were donated to the Needham Research Institute in the University of Cambridge last week.

These books were given by Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese ambassador to Britain, on behalf of the Chinese Ministry of Culture, the National Library of China, as well as the embassy.

The books were chosen by the institute itself, many of which are about history and archaeology. The first batch of 40 books has arrived, which are about water conservation, navigation history, printing and dyeing technique, and so on. The institute also received a VIP membership card so as to read online the books from the National Library of China.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]


Revolutionary tactics in the bourgeois dictatorship

Part two of two

by Neil Harris

APART from the “official” Comintern tactics, there were two other techniques of working: “entryism” and the “front” and although both became associated with communism’s enemies, both began life with the Comintern.

After the breach between Trotsky and Stalin, the underground Trotskyite factions found it increasingly difficult to operate inside communist parties and eventually left to create independent parties. When these failed to gain any following, “entryism” (The French Turn) into the parties of social democracy was used as a technique to try to connect with the working class. On occasions Trotskyite parties would split in two with one wing working as an open party while the other operated as a secret faction inside social democracy, as in Britain.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]