National News

Labour Party backs Miliband rule changes

A SPECIAL conference of the Labour Party called last weekend by party leader Ed Miliband voted in favour of his proposed changes to links between the party and the unions by a margin of 86 per cent to 14 per cent.

Miliband claimed the changes, drawn up by Lord Collins, would enhance the ties between Labour and the unions and give union members a more direct voice within the party. He said: “I want to hear the voices of working people louder than ever before.”

But socialists fear the opposite will happen as affiliated union members will cast the votes individually and no longer as part of massive collective.

The Labour Representation Committee, led by John Mc- Donnell MP, warned the changes would be “a ticking time-bomb which could destroy Labour as we know it”.

The LRC said: “The Collins Report set in train a process which could radically undermine the party’s link to the trade unions.

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Delivery for Amazon

A GROUP of on-line campaigners last Friday delivered a 56,000-strong petition to the on-line retailer Amazon calling on it to pay its workers living wages, after seeing media exposes of the appalling policies and practices in Amazon warehouses across Britain.

One of the campaigners said she had received such an overwhelming response that she had spent the past two months gathering testimonies from Amazon warehouse workers. “Their powerful statements bring to life the reality of being an ‘Amazon elf’,” she said, giving some examples:

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Biscuit workers in dispute

WORKERS employed by the McVities Cake Company in Halifax are in discussion with their union over the next steps in a dispute which could see them losing up to £3,000 a year in wages.

The 40 staff are angry at management plans to radically change their shift patterns and also the threat of 10 job losses at the West Yorkshire plant which makes cakes, cake bars and the like. Unite said the company wants to introduce the shift changes on 1st May and that this has been prompted by contractual changes with major customer, Mars which come into force on 1st April.

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Calls for inquiry into miners’ strike

PRESSURE is mounting from former mining communities and from unions for a Hillsborough style inquiry into the 1984/5 miners’ strike — and in particular the Thatcher government’s role behind the scenes.

The calls for an inquiry increased dramatically this week as the 30th anniversary of the start of the strike passed, stirring memories of the most bitter industrial conflict in living.

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International News

Nothing justifies civilian slaughter in China’s ‘9-11’

by Gui Tao

CHINA was outraged and the world shocked after separatists from Xinjiang knifed down innocent civilians at a crowded train terminal in Kunming on Saturday night.

It was a typical terrorist attack and also a severe crime against the humanity. It was China’s “9-11”.

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Another Cuban anti-terrorist fighter finally freed

by Juan Leandro

FERNANDO González regained his freedom last week after 15 years in US jails. He is the second member of the internationally known Miami Five, after René González, to complete his sentence and return to Havana.

Fernando, René, Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero and Ramon Labañino were arrested in 1998 in Miami, where they monitored the activities of US-based terrorist groups planning violent actions against Cuba.

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Ukraine’s communist traditions

by Stephen Millies

UKRANIAN workers over the past century have made heroic contributions to the struggle for socialism in Europe and North America. This should not be forgotten even though reactionary forces currently have the political ascendency in Western Ukraine.

The toppling of a Soviet war memorial in the Western Ukrainian town of Stryi spits upon everyone who died fighting the Nazis. It’s an attack on the millions of Ukrainians who fought heroically in the Red Army and the many thousands who were anti- Nazi partisans.

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Panchen Lama extends New Year greetings to Tibetans

by Zhu Ningzhu

THE ELEVENTH Panchen Lama extended his greetings to all Tibetans at home and abroad on last Saturday, the eve of the Tibetan New Year.

“On the occasion of the Tibetan New Year of Wooden Horse, the occasion of beginning and renewal, I would like to extend New Year greetings to all Tibetan people at home and abroad,” he said.

“I wish you all a healthy and peaceful life. May all your good wishes come true. Tashi Delek,” he said, using a Tibetan phrase to extend good luck and best wishes.

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Tom Jones visits Cuban Ballet School

by Damian Donestevez

POPULAR British singer and actor Tom Jones visited the National Ballet School of Cuba this week, talked with professors and students and watched a programme that included the Little Prince, a number of solos and the Grand Pas of ballet Paquita.

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Movie on legendary Vietnamese spy planned

A THIRTY-TWO-episode television film on the legendary Vietnamese spy Pham Xuan An will be shot soon in both the US and Vietnam.

According to Professor Larry Berman, author of a biography on the spy, each episode will be of 45 minutes and the budget will be around US$ 1 million. Berman was speaking at a ceremony to release his updated version of the book Perfect Spy X6 in Hanoi in February by publishing company First News.

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Features

The dictatorship of the proletariat is a necessity

by Dimitris Kivotidis

WE READ in Article Two of the rules of the New Communist Party of Britain, that the aim of the New Communist Party of Britain is “the overthrow of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and its replacement by the dictatorship of the proletariat so that a socialist society is formed, which is the first phase in the building of a communist society”. What exactly is the meaning of this dictatorship? Is it a mere political choice that can be abandoned according to a Party’s tactics?

The dictatorship of the proletariat is a Marxist- Leninist concept. There is a qualitative difference between the bourgeois understanding of the term “dictatorship” and the class content of the term in the dictatorship of the proletariat. This is something that every communist has to bear in mind. Otherwise she or he is in danger of following opportunist currents and turning against the interests of the working class. Because abandoning the principles of Marxism-Leninism in the analysis of society and the state is exactly that: turning against the interests of the working class.

The abandoning of the analysis through the lens of class struggle and of the class content of communist terminology is the quintessence of opportunism and reaction. And this is exactly the practice of Eurocommunist parties that disorient the movement.

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International Women’s Day

Women pushing the boundaries of knowledge

by Daphne Liddle

THE NEW WORKER this year marks International Women’s Day with a look at just a few of the hundreds of thousands of women who have made a contribution to science and advanced our understanding of the world we live in.

Most are unknown to history so we cannot celebrate them by name. Certainly in prehistoric times women, as gatherers — and sometimes hunters as well — had to study plants for food and as medicines (botany), animal habits — were they dangerous, useful or good to eat? (zoology).

They had to make tools, for digging and planting, they developed the technology of using fire for cooking, warmth and defence, pottery, weaving — cloth, baskets and fences. But life was not all struggle; they also from the very earliest times developed combs, cosmetics, perfumes, and ornaments from flowers to colourful shells and pebbles.

But written history has not been kind to women because it has mostly been written by men and written after the development of private property and the state. This saw women disinherited from the common ownership of the means of production — land, commodities, artefacts and the very homes they lived in. Bereft of any way to feed and clothe themselves and their children they were consigned to become economic dependents of men and thereby under the control of men.

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