National News

Fracking good news

LANCASHIRE County Council last week voted overwhelmingly against energy company Cuadrilla’s plans to drill for shale gas in the county — a resounding move that will send shockwaves through the fossil fuel industry, Lancashire councillors voted overwhelmingly against fracking firm Cuadrilla’s plans to drill for shale gas.

This follows a massive campaign by local people, who had been rallying outside county hall for days and an on-line petition organised by Greenpeace that was supported by 65,000 people.

Fracking would be bad news for Lancashire because it could contaminate water and pollute the air.

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Tata steel strike rescues pensions

A STRIKE by workers employed by Tata Steel against plans to do away with final salary pensions and replace them with an annuity — and the threat of another strike — were enough to force management to back down and negotiate a compromise deal

Now the four unions involved — Community, Unite, GMB and Ucatt — have called off a strike due to start last Monday and are re-balloting their members over the next 28 days and recommending acceptance of the new offer.

Former South Wales steel worker Glen Eynon told the New Worker: “It is a victory in essence. The final salary pension has been saved but it is not a complete victory.

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Successful Korean Friendship Association picket of US embassy

by New Worker correspondent

MEMBERS and supporters of the UK Korean Friendship Association held a very successful picket — numbers double previous turn-outs —of the United States embassy on Thursday 25th June to mark the start of the Month of Solidarity with the Korean people and the 65th anniversary of the start of provocation of the great Fatherland Liberation War.

It was supported by the Association of Supporters of Songun Policies UK (ASSPUK), the Juché International Study Group of England (JISGE) and the New Communist Party including general secretary Andy Brooks and Central Committee member Theo Russell. Members of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) and the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) were also present.

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Local authorities face £3 billion

LOCAL authorities are to face new cuts of more than £3 billion next year. Around £3.3 billion will be slashed from local council budgets next year thanks to cuts in government funding, experts have warned — with little left to cut.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said councils were facing having to make “significant” savings on top of previous spending cuts, with vital frontline services such as bin collections, elderly care, child protection and transport all at risk.

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Long wait for desperate children

AROUND 460 young people are currently on the child and adolescent mental health (CAMH) service’s core waiting list and the average waiting time for which is 45 weeks.

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Lawyers action against legal aid cuts

SOLICITORS and Barristers began a boycott of new cases paid at the new lower legal aid rate this Wednesday after mass meetings on Monday across England and Wales.

The lawyers are angry as fees for duty solicitors were cut by 8.75 per cent on 1st July, following a similar cut last year.

Criminal solicitors warned Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Justice, that the introduction of new legal aid contracts, due to come into force in January, will force many law firms to close and cause mass redundancies. With the disappearance of experienced lawyers, they argue, the quality of representation will fall and there will be more miscarriages of justice.

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Scottish Political News

from our Scottish Political Correspondent

THE SCOTTISH Parliament has packed up its collective bucket and spade on the 26th June and has headed to the beach for the next nine weeks. The members will return properly invigorated on the 31st August for a strenuous session lasting a whole six weeks until the 9th October.

As each parliamentary week occupies an entire three days it is important that they are fully rested before resuming the heavy burdens of government.

As the suitcases were being metaphorically packed the final task of the Scottish National Party government was to sneak out its annual oil revenue forecasts so nobody would notice and that MSPs could not discuss them.

Figures produced out of Alex Salmond’s hat in May of last year ranged from £15.8 billion and £38.7 billion a year in the five years to 2018/19. This year the figures are a much more modest: £2.4 billion and £10.8 billion in the four years to 2019/20.

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Disappointment and Disillusion in the Air

Reviewed by Dermot Hudson Revolution in the Air by Max Elbaum, Verso 2002

AT FIRST sight the book Revolution in the Air: Sixties Radicals Turn to Lenin, Mao and Che by Max Elbaum looked like a very good read.

A history of the anti-revisionist movement (sometimes called Maoism) in the United States is of course very welcome as indeed a history of the anti-revisionist movement in Britain would be if it was ever written. In fact the US had a much bigger anti-revisionist movement than here with the numbers being counted in thousands rather than hundreds.

For a time in the 1960s and early 1970s anti-revisionism was very much a going concern.

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International News

Islam should not be blamed for terrorists’ crimes

by Song Miou

WHILE terror attacks in three different parts of the world last Friday highlight the grave danger the world is facing now, some western media’s bias against Muslims is equally dangerous because such prejudice can only ferment hatred and polarisation.

On Friday the world was shocked as terrorists, following a call for violence by the Islamic State (IS) militant group, staged three bloody terrorist attacks in different parts of the world, killing and injuring dozens of innocent people.

At the same time the tendency of defaming Islam is widely visible in western media.

What the terrorists have done was repulsive. It is undeniable. And coordinated or not, three attacks in three continents on one day obviously underscored the daunting challenges posed by terrorism. But this does not grant the legitimacy to label followers of a particular religion as terrorists or to accuse it as an ideology that preaches violence and intolerance.

Muslims and their religion as a whole should not be blamed for the actions of a few fanatical individuals or a small group who claim to uphold “Islamic doctrines”. It is the criminals, not the religion, who should be blamed for the terrorist crimes.

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Prisoners of Transnistria: Russian peacekeepers under Ukrainian blockade


HUNDREDS of thousands of people, including a group of Russian peacekeepers, became stranded in Transnistria, a de-facto independent region of Moldova, after Ukraine passed the law on the full blockade of the region.

Kiev is coordinating its actions with Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, and now Russian peacekeepers can neither drive nor fly to their duty station.

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Cuba: An oil refinery without Esso?

by Lino Luben Perez

IN LEGITIMATE defence and totally legal, the new Cuban Revolutionary Government nationalised the US Esso Standard Oil company in 1960 after it refused to refine oil that came from the former Soviet Union.

For years Cuba’s oil supply depended on three companies that controlled the imports and refinery needed for the country: the US Esso and Texaco companies and British Shell.

But at the request of the US Dwight D Eisenhower administration, imports began to be restricted with the objective of cutting the oil supply and provoking a halt to the national economy.

The Cuban Revolutionary government obtained the commitment of the former Soviet Union, one of the main oil producers in the world, to guarantee the necessary amounts at preferential prices.

But the negotiations with the Soviets angered the US government and the US oil companies, who refused to process the Soviet oil in its installations.

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US terrorism comes from the right

by Teresa Gutierrez

THE CAPITALIST media would have the people believe that the main terrorist threat in the United States comes from terrorist attacks carried out by Muslims.

But a 16th June op-ed piece in the New York Times revealed that “headlines can mislead. The main terrorist threat in the United States is not from violent Muslim extremists, but from right-wing extremists. Just ask the police.”

This usually buried fact comes from a 2014 survey conducted by the writers of the opinion piece with 382 law enforcement agencies of the Police Executive Research Forum.

The police themselves document that it is not Muslims who are the big threat but rightwing anti-government extremists, the overwhelming majority of them white men. Over 70 per cent of the police who were surveyed report that anti-government extremism is one of the top three terrorist threats in their jurisdiction. In addition, only three per cent of the police surveyed identified the threat from Muslim extremists as severe.

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Music serves as bridge for cultural exchanges

by Xia Xiao

TRANSITION, a British rock band, this month launched their music carnival tour in 21 cities across the Chinese mainland.

The trio, known as Qianjin Band in Chinese, have already rocked stages in Wuhan and Chongqing with cities such as Shenzhen, Wenzhou, Dalian, Handan and Hohhot next in their line-up.

This is their second tour on the Chinese mainland, having performed in 10 cities last year. One reason why they’re increasingly popular is because while they are British, they sing songs in Chinese.

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Desmond Tutu’s embrace of Venezuela’s far-right

by Joe Emersberger

HOPEFULLY Desmond Tutu will start researching much more thoroughly before commenting on Latin America. I believe Desmond Tutu to be a decent person. Unfortunately, having a good heart isn’t enough to prevent somebody from supporting terrible things. As Malcolm X put it: “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” To the newspapers Malcolm X mentioned, we should add NGOs who are embedded in the western establishment.

In 1987 Desmond Tutu was asked what Ronald Reagan should do about apartheid South Africa. Tutu’s response was “Do what you are doing in Nicaragua.” I recall seeing Tutu saying this during televised discussions at the time; otherwise I’d assume his position had been badly distorted. Unfortunately, it was not.

Did Tutu really want the US government to organise and fund terrorists to kill tens of thousands of innocent people in South Africa? Of course not, but that is exactly what the Reagan government was doing in Nicaragua. There is no way any decent person who was aware of the facts could say to the Reagan administration: “Do what you are doing in Nicaragua.”

Reagan’s terrorism against Nicaragua killed 30,000 people and was so flagrant that in 1986, a year before Tutu’s comment, the World Court ruled that the CIA’s mining of Nicaragua’s harbours was an unlawful use of force — a legalistic way of saying international terrorism.

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Lugansk communist: ‘We fight first and foremost for peace’

by Greg Butterfield

Workers World interviewed Ekaterina Popova, a leader of the Communist Party — Lugansk Regional Committee in the Lugansk People’s Republic. Popova is a founding member of the Forum of Communist, Socialist, Workers’, Environmental and Anti-fascist Forces. She helped to organise the Donbas International Forum “Anti-fascism, Internationalism, Solidarity” held on 8th May in Alchevsk.

Workers World: Where did you grow up and attend school? What is your trade? How did you become involved in the communist movement?

Ekaterina Popova: I was born in a small town called Svetlodarsk, population 10,000, in the Donetsk region. It is a young city, founded in 1968 in connection with the construction of a thermal power plant.

When I went to university and moved to Lugansk, and people asked where I had come from, it usually took a long time to explain exactly where Svetlodarsk was — few people had heard of it or knew about it. Now I only have to say two words, known not only throughout Ukraine — “Debaltsevo cauldron” (where the Donbas people’s militias defeated the Ukrainian military offensive in February 2015).

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