Lead story

US backs Kiev Nazis

by our European Affairs correspondent

FIERCE fighting continues in eastern Ukraine as anti-fascist forces battle to cut off the Debaltsevo salient and take the strategic town, which has been surrounded by the partisans. Novorossiyan air defence units have downed two Ukrainian war-planes and one helicopter gunship and Nato-backed puppet regime forces are continuing to pound Donetsk and Novorossiyan positions along the front.

The Novorossiyan freedom fighters have prevented puppet regime reinforcements reaching Debaltsevo through their artillery “fire control” over the only road into the town. But they have allowed rear support units and civilians to leave the town, which is held by some 7,000 Ukrainian soldiers and fascist militiamen that the Novorossiyans call the “Naziguard”.

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Londoners demand homes

by New Worker correspondent

HOUSANDS of Londoners gathered last Saturday — half in Shoreditch east London and the other half at the Elephant and Castle in south London — in spite of freezing wind, rain and sleet to demand affordable homes for Londoners.

“Cap rents, not benefits!” “Social housing not social cleansing!” and “Housing is a human right!” were among the slogans shouted as local residents, trade unionists and a wide spectrum of campaigning groups marched carrying hundreds of colourful banners and placards.

The two marches met, with a loud cheer, at the south end of Tower Bridge and turned long Tooley Street a few yards to surround City Hall, the headquarters of the Greater London Assembly and Tory London Mayor Boris Johnson.

As the marchers approached the glass structure and the wind from the river added another dimension of cold to the air as it was filled with ever louder chanting of “Boris Out! Boris Out!”

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Nothing to lose but our chains

THE FIGHT between workers and bosses over wage levels versus profit levels is the main engine of the class struggle — it is the irreconcilable difference between the two classes in which a gain for one side is a loss by the other, a battle in which there is no common good for both sides.

It is a battle in which the individual worker who owns nothing but their own ability to work is automatically at a disadvantage in bargaining with a boss who owns means of production and the money that the worker needs to access the necessities of life.

That is why over the last two centuries workers have formed trade unions in order to get more leverage by bargaining collectively.

But for the last three-and-a-half decades it is a battle that workers have been losing as wages levels have declined steeply. This arises from a many-pronged attack on the strength of the unions.

It began with the Housing Finance Act of 1971 which ramped council rents up so high it had to be accompanied by the introduction of housing benefit or the vast majority of council tenants would have faced eviction. And there was the introduction of Family Income Supplement (nowadays known as tax credits).

These means-tested benefits to people in low paid work meant that a rise in wages automatically led to a cut in benefits, thus undermining both workers’ motivation to fight for better wages and their solidarity.

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