National News

Victory for St Mungo’s strikers

STAFF at the homeless charity St Mungo’s Broadway (SMB) have called off a 10-day strike after a climb down by management during talks at the conciliation service Acas, their union Unite announced last Wednesday 5th November.

SMB management reversed their decision to change pay, terms and conditions for frontline workers after 10 hours of talks and pledged to work with the union Unite to find a productive way forward in a challenging financial environment.

The breakthrough follows a seven-day strike by nearly 680 Unite members at SMB which saw 19 picket lines and dozens of protests at the town halls of councils responsible for commissioning SMB services.

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Health workers to strike again

THE PUBLIC sector union Unison has confirmed that its members working in the NHS in England will stage a four hour stoppage between 7am and 11am on Monday 24th November.

This will be followed by a week of action short of strike action between Tuesday 25th and Sunday 30th November when members will work to rule and not do any unpaid overtime.

A recent Income Data Services (IDS) survey for NHS trade unions revealed that increased workload, low pay, constant restructures and the stresses of the job are among the reasons why two thirds (66 per cent) of NHS workers have considered quitting.

Christina McAnea, Unison head of health and chair of the NHS staff side trade unions, said:

“For many in the NHS, last month’s strike was a first. The next industrial action will be bigger as more unions will be joining it. Jeremy Hunt needs to listen to NHS workers who feel this Government is treating them with contempt.”

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A lifeline for the NHS?

ON FRIDAY 21st November MPS will have a chance to save the NHS from the Tories’ destructive and controversial NHS reforms by backing a new Bill that puts people not profit back at the heart of the NHS.

Published last Friday in full, Labour MP Clive Efford’s Private Members’ Bill puts the brakes on the most damaging aspects of the Tories’ pro-privatisation Health and Social Care Act 2012, which senior Tories themselves admit was a “huge strategic error”.

Backed by TULO and the country’s leading health unions, including Unite, Unison and the GMB, the Bill is a first step to building a modern NHS for the future and ending the NHS market free-for-all which has already seen 56 per cent of new NHS contracts won by private providers.

The Bill will restore the responsibility to the Secretary of State for Health to provide a comprehensive health service, free at the point of delivery and prevents Foundation Trusts from prioritising private income at the expense of NHS patients.

British MPs from across the political divide are being urged to vote in support of the National Health Service (amended duties and powers) Bill when it comes before the House of Commons for its second reading on Friday 21st November.

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Sacked and then ordered to work for nothing

JOHN McArthur, an electronics specialist who was let go at the end of a temporary job has been ordered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to work for the same firm for six months without pay.

McArthur is now unemployed and says he is living off 16-pence tins of spaghetti and without heating after being sanctioned by a jobcentre for refusing to work unpaid for LAMH Recycle in Motherwell, a Scottish social enterprise.

He says he was happy to work for LAMH under the now-defunct future jobs fund for the minimum wage in 2010- 2011, but refuses on principle to do the same job unpaid.

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Class division in east London

EAST London is filling up with new housing developments designed to keep the very wealthy separate from the local working class communities and the block at Number 1 Commercial Street in Whitechapel is typical of this trend.

Regular protests at this social cleansing, initiated by Class War, now take place every Wednesday at this block, with attendance up to 100.

Wealthy residents respond by pouring water and other liquids on the demonstrators; police are also often caught in these unpleasant showers but have not arrested anyone.

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Rahman defies Pickles

LUTFUR Rahman, the elected Mayor of Tower Hamlets, has responded to accusations of fraud and mismanagement from Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, saying the attacks are fuelled by a political class embarrassed by the success of his brand of community politics.

Pickles claimed that Rahman has behaved like a “medieval monarch” dispensing funds to favoured ethnic minority groups and Rahman was pressured to resign last week after a PricewaterhouseCoopers report commissioned by Eric Pickles.

Pickles responded by saying he would send three commissioners to oversee the running of the council until spring 2017.

But Rahman, who was removed as Labour candidate in 2010, said: “We have proven that in the heart of the London machine, national politics can be replaced by community politics, and some would have us pay dearly for that.”

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Greenham Common struggle honoured

by Wendy Lewis

It was a moving moment when the Peace garden at Greenham Common, the scene of a historic struggle against nuclear weapons, was at last handed back to the community.

Sarah Hipperson and Jean Hutchinson joined their friends and supporters, veteran peace campaigners, members of CND and Côr Cochion, along with the Mayor of Newbury and other local representatives.

They spoke of the hardships and victories of the Greenham Women’s Peace Camp of the 1980s. Women came from Wales, Britain and all over the world to take a stand against the menace of US Cruise missiles which were based there.

Over 20 years the women of Greenham campaigned relentlessly; they chained themselves to the main gates of the US nuclear base; they broke into the area housing Cruise missile launching pads, danced on top of the silos. They sacrificed months and years of their lives living at the camp in the most difficult of conditions, in all weathers.

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London bus drivers to strike?

A CONSULTATIVE ballot of London’s 17 bus operators saw 96 per cent of drivers say they are willing to strike to end ‘glaringly unfair’ pay disparities.

The Unite union said it paves the way for a formal vote on industrial action as it aims to secure a London- wide agreement covering employment terms and conditions.

Whereas Tube drivers across the capital have a collective deal with London Underground, wages for bus drivers are negotiated on a company by company basis.

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Solidarity with anti-fascist resistance in Ukraine

by New Worker correspondent

ANTI - FASCISTS packed the main meeting room of the Marx Memorial Library in London last Tuesday evening for a meeting of Solidarity with Anti- fascist Resistance in Ukrainian, supporting those who are resisting the illegal fascist government in Kiev.

Speakers included Anantolii Sokolyuk, the international secretary of the Communist Party of Ukraine and Alexey Albu, a member of Borotba and an elected district councillor from Odessa now in exile who both spoke by means of a Skype connection.

Albu gave a detailed and harrowing account of his experiences in the Odessa fire massacre that left him seriously injured and a political exile.

Other speakers included Steve Skelly of the RMT union, Andrew Murray from the Communist Party of Britain, Jorge Martin from Socialist Appeal and rapper Marcel Cartier. The meeting was chaired by Richard Brenner.

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Commemorating the Odessa massacre

by New Worker correspondent THE BRISTOL Ukraine Antifascist Solidarity group, whilst still keeping up the pressure on the BBC in Bristol with their weekly pickets of the BBC, have shown the Photo Exhibition “Remembering Odessa”, kindly hosted by the Bristol Unite Community Branch at their Community Centre in the Malcolm X Centre, Bristol.

The exhibition, which is not for the faint hearted, contains graphic images of the day in May 2014 when Nazi terror gangs ran riot in Odessa killing scores of anti-fascists as the trade union building they had fled to was torched.

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Remembrance Sunday at the Soviet War Memorial

by New Worker correspondent

VETERANS, diplomats, local dignitaries and communists assembled last Sunday at the Soviet war Memorial in Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park, next to the Imperialist War Museum, in Southwark to pay their respects to the Soviet soldiers, sailors air force and civilians who died fighting Nazi fascism in the Second World War.

There were brief speeches from Philip Wilkinson of the Soviet Memorial Trust Fund, the Mayor of Southwark Councillor Sunil Chopra and the Russian ambassador to Britain Alexander Yakovenko. As usual the veterans of the Arctic Convoy Club were there in force.

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International News

South Korean captain jailed for ferry sinking

Xinhua

THE SOUTH Korean captain who abandoned his ship leaving his passengers to drown when his ferry went down last April has been jailed for dereliction of duty. Lee Joon Seok jumped on a life-boat and abandoned his passengers while the ship capsized and sank off south west south Korea on 16th April while making a turn during a routine voyage to the holiday island of Jeju.

Last week the district court in Gwangju, some 330 km south of capital Seoul, found Lee, 68, guilty of causing the deaths of his passengers, mostly high school students. The casualties increased as crew members ordered passengers to stay put though the vessel was sharply tilting.

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Russian anger at new Ukrainian atrocity

by Dimitri Sudakov

ON THE 5th November the Ukrainian artillery broke the ceasefire 18 times. As a result of the shelling, two teenagers were killed and four others were wounded in Donetsk. The children were playing football at the time the Ukrainian shells exploded.

Two 120-mm shells hit the school stadium within a few seconds. The first one struck the school building, while the second landed in the football field. There were nine teenagers playing in the stadium at the time of the shelling. Only three of them were lucky to avoid injuries. Two died on the spot - a school graduate and an eighth-grader; four were wounded.

Two of the four injured teenagers are still in intensive care; doctors say their lives are out of danger. A surgeon, who operated the injured children, said that the victims had severe shrapnel wounds.

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Israel orders demolition of more Palestinian homes

by Ivan Martínez

ISRAEL has ordered the demolition of the homes of Palestinians who have launched attacks against Israelis in recent days. According to Israeli sources the regime’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered officials, during an emergency security meeting, to raze the houses of those Palestinians who had recently carried out attacks against Israelis in occupied East Jerusalem.

Israel’s provocative measure came two days after a Palestinian driver, who rammed his car into a train station platform in East Jerusalem, was shot dead by Israeli police.

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Features

25 years on: Berlin Wall Blues

by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

THE ANTI-Fascist Protection Rampart, also known in the West as the Berlin Wall, did not fall. It was opened on 9th November 1989 heralding visa-free border crossings, before the German Democratic Republic military began voluntarily dismantling the structure in June 1990.

The Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart, or Antifaschistischer Schutzwall in German, was built to separate the wheat from the chaff at a time when the world was polarised between two philosophical ideologies, two political systems and two economic systems.

On the eastern side, the desire for growth after the seeds of the Russian Revolution had been sown brought backward and medieval societies into the front line of development in educational, scientific and cultural terms within one generation. This progressive approach was also extended to the central European countries formerly ruled by fascist regimes that had licked the boots of their Nazi paymaster.

On the western side the Soviet Union’s former allies suddenly but predictably in cahoots with Nazism, were xenophobic, racist, chauvinistic and sexist.

On the eastern side societies were based upon meritocracy, where from cradle to the grave the State took care of and provided services for its citizens. On the western side societies adopted an ephemerally cynical and pretentious mirror of the social models practised genuinely on the other side until the day the Wall disappeared. Then look what happened.

On the eastern side childbirth was provided for in excellent free healthcare facilities. Education was provided to excellent standards, catering for the individual, offering multiple opportunities for the academically and through youth development programmes, all of which were free.

Higher education was a birth-right, and was free as were practical courses for those who wished to pursue non-academic careers. Free further education for adults was always readily available. Free literacy programmes defeated the scourge of ignorance.

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Rewriting history again

by Rob Gowland

HISTORY is not kind to capitalism. That’s real, genuine history I’m talking about, a scientific analysis of facts including economic factors, social movements and political ideas. Not the sort that credits all advances to a few powerful individuals.

Capitalism, as I say, doesn’t come off too well in any objective consideration of history in the last 200 years, so the people whose job it is to promote the system simply rewrite history to make the outcome more favourable to them. It’s an old dodge and capitalism’s apologists have been applying it with unashamed gusto, especially in the 90- odd years since the October Revolution changed the relationship of global class forces forever.

The post-war period usually identified as the Cold War saw the rewriting of history reach new heights as it became important to denigrate or outright deny the achievements of socialism, especially its role in the defeat of fascism. With the overthrow of socialism in Russia in 1989 the floodgates were opened: it became important once again to rewrite the history of the Revolution, of collectivisation, of the struggle against imperialist espionage and sabotage before the Second World War.

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US Mid-term elections : The fog that blinded the electorate

by Rick Nagin

THERE were local and geographical peculiarities, but when an election was as uniformly one-sided as this one was, deeper explanations are required. In the most general sense it can be said that the electorate does not yet recognise or understand that the enemy they face is right wing extremism; that this is the fundamental source of the insecurity they feel as their living standards and democratic rights are besieged.

It is the Republicans, not the Democrats, who have blocked programmes to create jobs, raise wages, strengthen unions, who have cut taxes on the rich and shifted the burden to working people, who have slashed funds for education, health care and local government services, who have launched an unprecedented assault on the right to vote, on the rights of women, on equality for gay people, on immigration reform and on defending humanity from a climate catastrophe.

All this begs the question as to why the people were not able perceive the mortal danger from the right. The answer to this, I believe, was the ability of the right to unleash unprecedented resources to roll out a dense fog, as thick as pea soup that covered the South, blanketed the Midwest and reached even into the far recesses of New England, a fog that terrified, blinded and paralysed the Democrats and had them running for cover. It was the fog of racism.

The demonisation of President Barack Obama and, by extension, the Democrats who “voted with him,” has been building for years in the nether world of right wing hate talk radio and Fox News and was unleashed full force in this election. Since it is forbidden to mention racism in polite company, the corporate media referred to the Grand Old Party (Republican) strategy as the “nationalisation” of the election. Tom Cotton, GOP candidate for senator in Arkansas, avoided state issues but used Obama’s name 79 times in his televised debate with Democratic incumbent Mark Pryor.

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Can the Democrats still win the presidential election in 2016?

Pravda.Ru

Last week the Republicans won in seven states that the Democrats represent in the US Senate and have gained control of all committees in both houses of Congress. Now it will be up to Republicans to determine the daily legislative agenda. How will the White House try to build relationships with the Republican majority? Pravda.Ru asked expert opinion from political scientist, Director General of the Russian Council for International Affairs, Andrei Kortunov.

Pravda.ru: “What will Obama do now? Will his law legalising illegal migrants fail?”

Andrei Kortunov: “As a rule, the President tries to put his foreign policy on the support of the two parties, to reach a consensus on major issues, at least. If such a consensus exists, the change in leadership of certain committees of the Senate or the House of Representatives does not affect the passage of bills. In this particular case, this agenda of US foreign policy can be divided into two parts: there are issues on which consensus has been reached, and there are other issues, on which serious differences remain.

“If we take the policies of the United States in respect of Russia and the Ukrainian crisis, there are no discrepancies. It is hard to assume that the Republicans will change something fundamentally in their attitude to the events in Ukraine. As for the new immigration legislation — this is a field for serious party debate. I think that it will be very difficult now for Obama to preserve the law on the reforms of immigration policy in its original form.

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