National News

Families march over police custody deaths

HUNDREDS of protesters marched through Westminster last Saturday for the annual procession by the United Families and Friends Campaign (UFFC), which campaigns for justice and to make police and prison authorities more accountable for deaths in custody, in which young Black men feature so disproportionately.

The demonstrators marched from Trafalgar Square to Downing Street. Ajibola Lewis, whose son died after being restrained by officers in August 2010, said “police have to be held accountable for their actions”.

Ms Lewis’ son, Olaseni Lewis, died days after he was restrained three times — first by hospital staff and then by 11 police officers — for 45 minutes in a south-east London psychiatric hospital.

She said she was still waiting for an inquest to be held, four years on. “This is happening all the time and it’s not just black people, it’s Asian and white, men and women,” she said.

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Met to pay £425,000 to mother of police spy’s child

THE METROPOLITAN Police Force is to pay £425,000 in compensation to a woman political activist who was seduced by a police spy, bore a child and was then abandoned.

The woman, who does not wish to be named, found out that the father of her child, now 24 years old and over six-foot tall, was a police spy only two years ago.

Police are still resisting legal claims from more than 10 other women who say they have suffered emotional trauma after discovering that their one-time boyfriends were undercover officers.

This case is the first time the police have made a payment to settle any of the legal claims brought by women who were deceived by undercover officers sent to spy on political and activist groups.

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A Fuel Bill of Rights

CAMPAIGNERS for Fuel Poverty Action last Monday delivered a demand for an eight point Energy Bill of Rights in the House of Commons, calling for fair pricing and sustainable energy sources.

The Annual Fuel Poverty report, released last week by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), suggests the inability to afford energy bills killed 10,000 Britons in 2013.

It also found over two million households in Britain are living in fuel poverty. This accounts for 10.4 percent of the population. While the figures for 2014 constitute a reduction of almost five per cent since 2011, fuel poverty still affects 30 per cent of unemployed households.

The Energy Bill of Rights seeks to hold the Government responsible for the provision of environmentally friendly energy and the continued supply for those living in poor conditions.

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Britain drops out of gender equality top 20

BRITAIN has fallen out of the top 20 most gender- equal countries in the world for the first time after average wages for women in the workplace fell by £2,700 in a year, a new report reveals.

The analysis, by economists at the respected World Economic Forum, found that Britain now lagged behind Nicaragua, Bulgaria and Burundi in the list of those societies where women and men have the most equitable life chances in education, work and health.

Last year Britain was ranked 18th in the Global Gender Gap Report, but this year fell to 26th. The report is unusual in that the index is constructed to rate countries on their gender gaps, independent of their levels of development.

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Legal aid cuts hit travellers

CAMPAIGNERS have launched a petition demanding “No Mad Laws” to highlight the disastrous effects of legal aid cuts on Gypsy and Traveller communities.

Recent Government changes mean that lawyers might no longer be paid for work in connection with judicial reviews Gypsies and Travellers often need to challenge unlawful decisions by local authorities concerning, for example, stop notices, direct action against a site without planning permission or eviction of an unauthorised encampment.

The Government has now brought into force provisions which mean that legal aid providers will not be paid on a judicial review claim unless either permission is granted or the matter is settled prior to permission without costs being awarded to the claimant and the Legal Aid Agency exercises its discretion and decides to pay the provider.

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Scottish News

by our Scottish political correspondent

TO LOSE one woman Scottish Labour Party leader may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness. Scottish Labour’s first woman leader Wendy Alexander resigned shortly after her election in 2008 as a result of technical irregularities over a donation to her leadership campaign fund.

On Friday night Johann Lamont’s three-year reign as leader came to an end when she departed in a huff with an explosive interview in the Glasgow tabloid Daily Record in which she sternly denounced the all-Britain leadership of the party and the SNP: “The Labour Party must recognise that the Scottish party has to be autonomous and not just a branch office of a party based in London” and that “there is a danger of Scottish politics being between two sets of dinosaurs ... the nationalists who can’t accept they were rejected by the people, and some colleagues at Westminster who think nothing has changed.” she wrote.

The immediate cause (or the straw that broke the camel’s back) was, apparently, the sacking of the party’s Scottish general secretary Ian Price who was removed from his post from London without any consultation with Lamont.

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Kashmir, the forgotten struggle

by New Worker correspondent

KASHMIRIS living in London last Sunday held a protest march in Whitehall and the next day packed an evening meeting in Portcullis House to mark the 67th anniversary Kashmir’s “Black Day” and to publicise the fight for human rights in Kashmir.

The British Empire in August 1947, reluctantly and after a long and bitter campaign for independence, withdrew its rule from the Indian subcontinent, dividing it first into two nations, India and Pakistan.

India was mainly Hindu and Pakistan mainly Muslim — but thousands of people ended up on the wrong side of the boundaries, leading to bloody strife and refugees pouring across the borders in both directions.

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A Rapper for Korea

by New Worker correspondent

A packed public meeting last week at Housmans Bookshop in Kings Cross, London on the theme “From Socialist Korea to Ferguson” heard a wide range of speakers recall ties between Democratic Korea and the black power movement in the US dating back to the 1960s, and connecting present-day struggles in Britain and the US with the need to defend the DPR Korea and other socialist countries.

Among the impressive line-up was Marcel Cartier, an anti-imperialist American rapper working with the Tricontinental Anti-Imperialist Platform, Pan African News Wire editor Abayomi Azikiwe speaking via Skype from the US, and Yong Ho Thae of the DPRK embassy.

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International News

Italians protest at economic policies

by Ivan Martínez

WORKERS in Italy have staged a nationwide strike to protest against the government’s economic policies including cuts to public services and labour reforms.

Last Friday, the USB union called the 24-hour walkout that disrupted train services and local transport in several cities across the country including the capital, Rome.

The demonstrations expressed discontent with a new labour reform package presented by the administration of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Under the initiative procedures in Italy’s labour system will be simplified with the aim to boost employment. The new measures will also reduce a variety of job contracts and lay-off benefits.

Proponents have applauded the approach, saying companies hiring young workers on a fulltime basis will benefit from lighter taxation and will have a better chance to dismiss workers.

Meanwhile opponents of the reform package say the move undermines the rights of the workers and fails to address the underlying causes of decades of economic stagnation.

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Dilma wins hottest election in Brazil’s history

by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

DILMA Rousseff (Workers Party) has won the second round of the Brazilian Presidential election with 51.64 per cent of the vote, against Aécio Neves’ 48.36 per cent after obtaining 41.59 per cent of the vote in the first round against the rightwing candidate, Aécio Neves (PSDB) who took 33.55 per cent.

With 99 per cent of the vote counted, Dilma has received 54,500,287 out of 112,682,849 votes. The abstention rate was 21 per cent, there were 4.63 per cent spoiled votes and 1.71 per cent blank votes.

Dilma Roussef was born in 1947, the daughter of a Bulgarian father and a Brazilian mother. After the fascist dictatorship was set up in the 1964 coup, she joined the cause of the freedom fighters fighting against the regime. She was captured, jailed and allegedly tortured between 1970 and 1972.

An economist, Dilma Rousseff started her political life after release with the Democratic Labour Party. She was Secretary of the Treasury of Porto Alegre (capital of Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil), then Secretary of Energy in the State, before she joined the Workers Party (PT) in 2000.

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PFLP salutes the solidarity movement with the Palestinian people in Britain


THE POPULAR Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has praised the growth and escalation of the solidarity movement with the Palestinian people in Britain, including the growth of the boycott movement, the large and increasing trade union support for Palestine, and the popular pressure on the British government to change its policy of adherence and support for the Zionist entity.

The Front considers that the vote in the House of Commons, which calls for the British government to recognise Palestine as a state, reflects the growing weight and power of the solidarity movement in Britain. However, the vote itself is, on the part of the British state, at best merely symbolic and lacking in meaningful action to change the situation in Palestine.

Britain as a colonial power is directly responsible for the historical injustice suffered by the Palestinian people, through its major historical crime of the colonisation of Palestine and the establishment of the Zionist entity in Palestine. To this day Britain continues to provide political, military and financial support for the Zionist entity and provides cover for its crimes in international forums.

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Resurgence of the military industrial complex

by Rob Gowland

IN THE 1960s, with the glaring injustice and horror of the Vietnam War raging on their TV screens and claiming thousands of young Americans’ lives, many people around the world became aware of the influence of the military- industrial complex on all aspects of modern life under capitalism. They spoke out against it and actively campaigned to curtail its influence. But how could its influence be reined in when military budgets continued to grow at almost exponential rates?

Excuses for increasing military spending and militarism itself were easily found. The Cold War was replaced by the War on Drugs which was replaced by the War on Terror. All were equally bogus, excuses for encouraging fear and paranoia and for justifying massive arms budgets and imperialist military adventures all around the world.

Wars are an expression of class conflict, waged either directly or indirectly by the capitalist ruling class to increase its wealth or power — or both. Peace activists who view war as purely a moral issue and ignore the question of who gains from it financially cannot hope to understand why wars not only persist but have become so prevalent.

Irish peace activist Mairead Corrigan Maguire won the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her work for peace in Northern Ireland. But she is baffled by the wars that continue to plague us today. In an article entitled The Disturbing Expansion of the Military-Industrial Complex written for IPS America earlier this year, she asked: “How can we explain that in the 2lst century we are still training millions of men and women in our armed forces and sending them to war?”

Because, Mairead, war is big business and big business needs war to protect and expand its profits and to suppress those people who oppose its greed.

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Ukraine: face to face with 21st century fascism

by Greg Butterfield

ON 22nd September Workers World conducted an extensive interview with Victor Shapinov, a coordinator and leading theoretician of the Marxist organisation Union Borotba (Struggle) of Ukraine. Shapinov currently lives in exile with other Borotba activists in Crimea (part of the Russian Federation), under threat of arrest from the US-backed coup regime in Kiev.

Workers World: What is the role of US imperialism in Ukraine today?

Victor Shapinov: It is very significant now, and Maidan showed that. Before Maidan, we didn’t believe that the US role was so important in countries like Ukraine. We sometimes laughed at conspiracy theorists who said that everything was produced by the US State Department, the CIA and so on.

Of course that’s not true, because its real basis is the capitalist crisis. Ukraine was just the weakest link in the chain of post-Soviet countries. There are many contradictions. Different imperialist forces and even non-imperialist forces, try to take advantage of this situation to achieve their goals. However US imperialism has the best instruments in this field.

For instance in Ukrainian politics US imperialism is not limited to direct agents who are active in politics and who hold pro-western positions. Around the edges they have a field of friendship and alliances with nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and human rights organisations. They do not always directly support US imperialism. But in critical moments — for example when Maidan started — in that situation they had a command to go there and so they went.

We went to investigate Maidan at the beginning. We saw only about 1,000 people, and many were from NGOs, human rights organisations and so on. We recognised many of them and some we knew personally, because when you are active in politics you get to know them.

From the point of view of political and financial mechanics Ukraine is totally integrated into the system led by the United States. Ukrainian oligarchs all have their money, their bank accounts, in Europe and the US. They are closely linked with imperialist capital.

We also had political consultants such as Paul Manafort (US lobbyist and campaign advisor to several Republican presidents). He was a confidant of former President Yanukovich. But all Ukrainian politicians sought his advice. It was very good practice for them to go and ask him how to do everything. It was one of the ways for Washington to influence events. It was not overt; it was communication from Ukrainian politicians to some forces in the US about how to do things in Ukrainian politics.

Another of these mechanisms is credit from the International Monetary Fund. All previous Ukrainian governments (since the breakup of the USSR in 1991) were dependent on IMF credits. The amount owed is always increasing, allowing the West to set conditions; for example to destroy the social-care system or to raise prices of gas for the population.

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