Lead story

Stop Trident renewal SAVE £100 BILLION

by Daphne Liddle

BRITAIN’S current Trident nuclear weapons system is up for renewal and last week Defence Secretary Michael Fallon confirmed that the Con-Dem Coalition has decided to go ahead with replacing the existing fleet of Vanguard-class nuclear submarines with four new Trident nuclear missile carriers.

The total cost of this renewal will be around £100 billion and, apart from the inhumanity of possessing such weapons of mass destruction, thousands of people in Britain believe this money should be better spent.

CND, Stop the War and other peace groups have been busy last week campaigning against this renewal, forming the Scrap Trident Coalition, with demonstrations in Glasgow last week and this week at the nearby Faslane Trident submarine base and in London outside the Ministry of Defence.

Around 300 peace protesters surrounded the Faslane nuclear submarine base on the Clyde on Monday in protest at Government plans to renew Trident. They arrived at 7am and succeeded in closing the north gate, chaining themselves together across the road while comrades set out to block other gates at the site. They promised not to leave until 3pm that afternoon.

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Steel unions ballot for strike

STEEL unions Community, Unite, GMB and Ucatt have announced that Wednesday 6th May is the date they intend to open an industrial action ballot over Tata Steel’s proposal to close the British Steel pension scheme (BSPS).

The ballot is expected to end on Friday 29th May. The unions are continuing to take legal advice and make preparations to ensure that the ballot meets all legal requirements and cannot be challenged by Tata.

Roy Rickhuss, chair of the National Trade Union Steel Co-ordinating Committee and general secretary of Community said: “Tata Steel Europe management have not taken up the unions’ offer to re-enter discussions about the pension scheme.

“Our members are determined to stand up for their pension and therefore we have no option but to proceed to an industrial action ballot in May.

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Reform or revolution?

CONVINCING workers in Britain that a revolution against the capitalist state is necessary has always been an uphill struggle. Indeed it is hard anywhere; workers always prefer peace and peaceful ways of doing things. But the long history of the British labour and trade union movement — which begins long before Marx and Engels published their analysis of the class struggle — means that it was created predominantly as a reformist movement with a goal of gradually reforming capitalism into socialism.

Britain’s bourgeois revolution, from 1642 to 1649 removed feudal restrictions on finance and trade. A counter-revolution in 1660 led eventually to a compromise between the aristocracy and budding capitalism that allowed them both to exploit to the full the slave trade and sugar trade and allowed the accumulation of massive fortunes by the great Whig families. It enabled investment in huge projects: mining, canals and iron production and later industrialised production of cloth and other commodities — and equipped the Royal Navy to protect trade routes and wipe out rivals.

This kicked off the industrial revolution and created the proletariat in Britain. The new class had no land rights — it had no way to feed itself except by selling its labour power and no right to a home without paying rent. The history of our dictatorship of the bourgeoisie has always hinged on land rights, which have divided the haves from the have-nots.

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