National News

Unite pay victory

THE GIANT union Unite last week hailed the pay settlement for nearly 500 workers at EDF Energy, achieved after three days of strike action, as a “great victory”.

As well as the strikes, the workers, who install meters and deal with alleged electricity theft, in the London, south eastern, south west and eastern regions also staged selective industrial action in the three-pronged dispute. Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “This is a great victory for Unite members at EDF Energy. The improved offer is the result of our members standing together and taking strike action and threatening more action, if an improved offer was not delivered.

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150,000 on London march for Gaza

AN ESTIMATED 150,000 protesters filled London’s streets last Saturday in the biggest ever demonstration in Britain for Gaza. The assembly point in Portland Place by the BBC headquarters was so crowded, with more and more coming all the time, that police and stewards had to re-route the first 100 yards of the march because it was impossible to clear a route through the people still arriving.

Among the hundreds of banners were several from fan clubs of premier football teams: Arsenal, West Ham, Everton and many others brought by an umbrella group called Football Against Apartheid.

They told the New Worker of their work among football fans throughout the world in support of the Palestinian Football Association and to expel Israel from FIFA.

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Corruption in the Met

THREE former Scotland Yard detectives were part of “highly corrupt cells within the Metropolitan Police Service” but have never been brought to justice, according to a secret internal report seen by [The Independent].

The three police officers, who left the Met to open a private investigation agency, were suspected of seizing tens of thousands of ecstasy tablets from criminals and selling the drugs themselves, according to a file produced by the force’s anti-corruption command.

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Bruce Carr refuses to be Tory puppet

BRUCE CARR QC, who was appointed by David Cameron to review the law concerning trade union disputes, last week decided to make no recommendations after what he called the “politicisation” of the issue.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Bruce Carr has been cynically used by the Government in a party political stunt for the Conservative Party.

“He is right to recognise this ‘politicisation’, so I am not surprised at his decision not to make any recommendations and to simply review the few submissions sent to him.

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Bishop berates EDL

AROUND 200 hundred English Defence League (EDL) supporters last Saturday attended a rally in Batley, Yorkshire.

Local anti-fascists staged a counter rally under the banner “We are Batley”, organised by Kirklees Unite Against Fascism and Huddersfield TUC.

Before the event the Bishop of Pontefract the Rt Rev Tony Robinson spoke out, saying: “I condemn the action of all who seek to divide and sow the seeds of distrust between our communities.

“In particular we deplore, in the strongest terms, the activities of the English Defence League, directed against our Muslim brothers and sisters.”

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Minister snubs FBU

FIREFIGHTERS in England and Wales have been striking for three hours every day — and will continue to do so, from last Saturday after Fire Minister Penny Mordaunt cancelled the talks due to be held last Thursday, which might have found a solution to the long-running dispute over firefighters’ pensions.

Strikes will take place each day from Saturday 9th August until Saturday 16th August, between 12 pm and 2 pm and between 10.59pm and 11.59pm. FBU assistant general secretary Andy Dark said on Friday: “Government proposals as they stand include a number of unacceptable elements including firefighters being forced to work until 60 — an age at which the enormous physical demands of the job are beyond most of us.

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No charges for police after death during search

THE CROWN Prosecution Service last week announced that it would bring no charges against police officers after a man collapsed and died during a police search.

Habib Ullah, 39, of Slough, Berkshire, collapsed during a routine stop-and-search in a High Wycombe car park in July 2008.

A 2010 inquest was abandoned and the police watchdog referred the case to the Crown Prosecution Service earlier this year.

Ullah’s relatives said they were unhappy with the CPS’s decision. His sister Nasrit Mahmood said: “This is not justice for us and we will not give up until justice is served, and that is a promise.”

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Scottish News from our Scottish political correspondent

THE LEFT in Scottish Fire Brigades Union last week secured a crushing victory over the incumbent right-wing Scottish Secretary.

Scottish National Party member John Duffy OBE was heavily defeated by 1,014 vote to 254 by Fife, Stirling and Lothian District Secretary Stevie Thomson, who does not yet have a gong.

Supported by general secretary Mike Wrack, Thomson’s victory marks a rejection of the “social partnership” policies pursued by the defeated Mr OBE as he was unaffectionately known.

These policies included ignoring the wishes of members by wholeheartedly supporting the SNP government’s merger of the eight forces resulting in the loss of five fire control rooms and the loss of about half of all control operator jobs leaving remaining staff with greatly increased workloads.

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Universal credit delay will hit 300,000

THE DEBT charity Step Change asks how long could most households go without any income — a week, a month?

The charity reckons 13 million people don’t have enough savings to last a month; six million are using credit to make it through to payday and almost three million are using further credit to keep up with existing debt.

In this precarious situation millions will be in serious trouble if they suddenly lose their job or have to stop working through illness or injury and in such an event they need the benefits they are entitled to be delivered quickly.

But hidden in the small print of the government’s biggest welfare reform — the replacement of most current benefits and tax credits with a new Universal Credit — is a change that will make most people wait at least five weeks before they get any cash support.

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Voters want NHS protected from TTIP

AN OVERWHELMING majority of voters (68 per cent) in 13 marginal constituencies across the country want to see the NHS safeguarded from a new trade deal which threatens to make privatisation permanent.

If Britain fails to achieve a guaranteed exemption for the NHS, a clear majority of voters want Cameron to use his veto to block the treaty to ensure the NHS is protected.

The deal, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), is being negotiated behind the closed doors of the European Commission, between EU bureaucrats and delegates from the United States.

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The faults and virtues of Baroness Warsi

by Adrian Chan-Wyles

BARONESS Warsi is to be applauded for her resignation from the Con-Dem government over the Prime Minister’s unquestioning support for the ongoing Israeli policy of terrorism and genocide carried- out against the innocent people of Gaza.

The right-wing media is to be condemned over its racially motivated attacks aimed at Baroness Warsi for her principled stance against David Cameron, and the courage she has shown in face of her own Conservative Party’s indifference to the plight of Palestinian children, and the general air of pro-Israeli warmongering that exists amongst its upper echelons. This is at exactly the same time that the proletariat is being brainwashed by the state to eulogise the 1914-1918 holocaust perpetuated against it — otherwise affectionately known by the bourgeoisie as “World War I”.

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Revolutionary Democracy

reviewed by Theo Russell

Revolutionary Democracy £5 post free from NCP Lit PO Box 73 London SW11 2PQ. THE LATEST issue of the Delhi-based Marxist- Leninist journal Revolutionary Democracy is packed with new and fascinating articles from around the world, of which we only have space to delve into a selected few.

There have been many recent revelations about US intelligence, but an interview with former senior CIA officer Robert Baer by Yugoslav journalist Milos Cupurdija is particularly revealing.

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International News


by Eduardo Galeano Uruguayan journalist and novelist

TO JUSTIFY itself, state terrorism fabricates terrorists, sows hates and presents alibis. Indications are that the butchery in Gaza, which according to its perpetuators, is about eliminating terrorists, will create more.

Since 1948, Palestinians have been condemned to perpetual humiliation. They cannot breathe without permission. They have lost their country, their land, their water, their liberty, their all. They do not even have the right to elect their rulers. When they vote for those they are not supposed to support, they are punished. Gaza is being punished. It has become a rat hole without escape, since Hamas fairly won the elections in 2006.

Something similar happened in 1932, when the Communist Party was elected in El Salvador. A bloodbath ensued, and Salvadorans did penance for their bad behaviour, living under military dictatorships for years. Democracy is a luxury not everyone deserves.

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A calm South China Sea needs no flame-stoker

by Shang Jun

THIS WEEKEND saw top diplomats of the world’s two largest economies, the United States and China, engage in a head-on clash over the South China Sea issue.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi rebuffed a call by US Secretary of State John Kerry for a “freeze” on provocative actions in the South China Sea at an ASEAN foreign minister’s meeting in Myanmar.

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Did the Americans create the Ebola virus?

by Dimitri Sudakov

THE EPIDEMIC of the deadly Ebola virus that was born in the depths of the jungle has been spreading around the world with an unprecedented speed lately. The number of victims, according to official figures, has already exceeded 1,000 people. The number of infected individuals nears almost 2,000. The World Health Organisation declared the disease a threat of global significance. Are there ways to combat the fever?

It turns out that there is a serum against Ebola. Pentagon scientists have been developing it for 30 years, and all the rights for the drug belong to the government of the United States. Two infected US medics received injections of the serum and they started recovering from the disease immediately.

Why has this been made public only now? Why is it the USA that holds all the rights for the use of the serum? There are two obvious answers to these questions.

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Edinburgh Fringe comes to China

by Mu Xuequan

AS THE 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe runs, five Fringe hits will be staged for Chinese audiences from September, the shows’ promoters have announced.

Co-sponsored by the British Council and the Beijing 707N-Theatre, Edinburgh Fringe Showcase will open with Brazilian theatre group AMOK Teatro’s Kabul, a play that examines the lives under the iron rule of the Taliban, and Odyssey, a dialogue-free live performance cinema based on the epic Greek poem.

The rest include avant-garde dance drama Missing by the Gecko Theatre about a soul-searching journey, What Happens to the Hope at the End of the Evening about the reunion of friends and I, Malvolio, a oneman show based on Twelfth Night.

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Meaningless art and hysteria over dogs

by Rob Gowland

IT IS VERY unfashionable these days to want art to actually mean something. Today, when people say a work of art “speaks to them”, they merely mean that it gives them a momentary frisson, not that they perceive anything deep and meaningful in it. Art is divorced from the life of the mass of the people, and realism in art is scorned as so old fashioned it’s not even worth talking about.

Meaningless art, however, doesn’t seem to work in small sizes. To impress the viewer and make up for its lack of content, art with nothing to say has perforce to grow in size often to gigantic proportions. Considering the huge prices paid for “major” artworks these days, large size at least suggests value for money.

That may sound cynical, but if we look at the $9 million being spent by the City of Sydney on proposed outdoor “artworks”, in at least some cases size does seem to be the principal consideration. Certainly they don’t seem to have anything to say so there must be some other factor to justify their huge price-tags!

And just what are those price-tags? Well, a Japanese artist is being paid $2.5 million for a 75-metre-high steel sculpture that resembles nothing so much as a wiggly line vaguely suggesting the outline of a cloud. This huge oddity is going to be erected adjacent to Sydney’s Victorian- era, crenulated, sandstone Town Hall. Harmonious? I wouldn’t have said so. But if the French government can erect a disfiguring glass pyramid in the courtyard of the Louvre, I suppose we can shove a giant piece of twisted steel opposite the Town Hall.

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Anti-war protests sweep Ukraine

by Greg Butterfield

WOMEN gather in dozens to block major highways, carrying signs and banners reading “Save our boys” and “Stop the slaughter”.

Protesters shout down politicians spouting pro-war rhetoric, telling them to “Go fight your own war”.

Young men burn their draft cards amidst reports of hundreds of soldiers surrendering or deserting to a neighbouring country. Is it a scene from a college town in the US during the 1960s? No. It’s happening today, in hundreds of cities and villages across Ukraine.

You won’t see it in the corporate media. But people in western, central and even embattled eastern Ukraine are taking to the streets — with women of all ages in the lead — to oppose the new “mobilisation law” (conscription) enacted on 22nd July by the farr ight junta of oligarchs, neoliberal politicians and fascists in Kiev.

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