National News

Claimants asked ‘When do you expect to die?’

TERMINALLY ill sickness benefit claimants are being asked exactly when they expect to die by Department of Work and Pensions benefit assessors, according to evidence seen by Frank Field, the newly elected chair of the House of Commons Pensions Select Committee.

Field, who is the Labour MP for Birkenhead, has written to Pensions Secretary Ian Duncan Smith asking for an explanation.

He told the [Guardian]: “There is absolutely no need for this level of intrusive and painful questioning by DWP officials. If I have had two such cases in my constituency in recent weeks, I dread to think how often this is happening around the country.”

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New Dawn fails to rise

by New Worker correspondent

HUNDREDS of anti-fascists gathered in Whitehall last Saturday to oppose a new tiny hard-core Nazi sect known as New Dawn who were protesting against the “jewification” of an area in Golders Green, north-west London.

In particular the fascists were attacking the existence of a Jewish Shomrim, or neighbourhood watch area, in Golders Green.

The fascists had intended to hold their offensive protest in Golders Green but the long-established Jewish community there, along with other anti-fascists, persuaded the police and local authority to ban it in their area.

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London boroughs exceed air pollution limits

MINISTERS have admitted that only two London boroughs succeeded in keeping atmospheric nitrogen dioxide levels within European Union toxic gas limits in 2013 — the most recent year for which figures are available.

These two were Bromley and Sutton — on the outer edges of the capital. All the other London boroughs exceeded the limit.

Nitrogen dioxide is a pollutant created by diesel vehicles. The figures suggest that 24-hour EU limits for another pollutant, fine particulates known as PM10s, were met in every borough.

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Bristol Ukraine Anti Fascist Solidarity marks a year of campaigning

ON MONDAY 6th July Bristol trade union members marked the first anniversary of weekly pickets of the BBC in Whiteladies Road, Bristol with a display of banners and mass leafleting.

Last July a group of Bristol trade union members, organised themselves into a group called “Bristol Ukraine Anti Fascist Solidarity” (BUAFS) and agreed to hold a picket to protest at the BBC’s misinformation about the situation in Ukraine and its lack of coverage about the attacks mounted against trade unionists by the Ukrainian regime and its neo-Nazi fascist backers.

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Shenstone protest against Israeli drones

by Kevin Wilcox

AROUND 850 people from young to old, protested outside Elbit Systems, an Israeli drone factory in Shenstone near Lichfield Staffs, on Monday.

The factory had been shut for the day, but had a heavy police presence. The demonstrators were met by burly security guards who handed out banning orders, which the protestors either refused to accept or ripped up in front of them.

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Police threaten to arrest organiser of peaceful Anti-Austerity

A DEMONSTRATION called by the People’s Assembly to protest at George Osborne’s budget, on Wednesday 8th July, came under threat from the police, apparently working with Tory controlled Westminster Council.

In a face to face meeting on Tuesday, the Metropolitan Police have threatened to arrest Sam Fairbairn, national secretary of the People’s Assembly, for the supposed crime of organising an anti-austerity protest. This came as Westminster refused to allow legitimate protest after weeks of attempted negotiations.

Representatives of People’s Assembly said: “This is a direct attack on our democratic right to protest against what looks likely to be a vicious budget — with a further £12 billion in cuts to welfare, hitting the poorest in society hardest.”

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Scottish political news

from our Scottish political correspondent

ONE OF the basic tasks of a political correspondent is to keep track of the policy pronouncements of various political parties. In the case of following the Scottish National Party this is very difficult because official policy changes on a daily basis.

If you don’t like the colour of a policy the contrary one will be along in a minute. That devotee of the Euro, Alex Salmond, has just announced his approval of the Greek Referendum result, which was popularly (if erroneously) seen as a rejection of the Euro.

In another case the SNP has recently been attacking its own decisions. New Central Ayrshire MP Philippa Whitford recently bleated it was disgraceful that the only police force in Britain ineligible for Value Added Tax refunds is the national Scottish police force.

As is the custom in such matters they blame “Westminster” for the fact that they cannot claim back £33million per year. As might be expected this situation is entirely made at Holyrood.

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Neighbours try to stop eviction of cancer victim

PROTESTS broke out in Nottingham last after a man recovering from cancer was evicted from his home. Tom Crawford has been in dispute with Bradford and Bingley over his mortgage.

Dozens of police were on the scene to support the bailiffs as more than 300 people gathered on the quiet street in Nottingham to help stop Crawford being evicted.

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Revolutionary Democracy

Reviewed by Robert Laurie Revolutionary Democracy Vol. XXI, No 1 April, 2015 £5.00 + £1.00 PP from NCP Lit: PO Box 73, London SW11 2PQ

FOR OVER 20 years Vijay Singh and his comrades in New Delhi have published the twice yearly journal Revolutionary Democracy. The latest issue for April 2015 reflects this milestone with a number of congratulatory messages from various communist parties across the globe. These messages are simply the icing on the cake of another interesting issue which contains articles on present day politics in India and hotspots in the struggle across the globe, along with historical articles and documents.

One message is from Nexhmije Hoxha, the widow of Albanian leader who found the journal valuable after her release from imprisonment by the country’s counter-revolutionary government.

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International News

Syria hits back

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

SYRIAN troops, backed by the Lebanese Hezbollah militia, stormed the rebel-held town of Zabadani on Sunday to liberate it from the terrorists operating in the area. The offensive began with artillery fire and missile attacks followed by an advance on all sides backed by the Syrian air force. Syrian soldiers and the Lebanese partisans are now moving to clear the last remaining gunmen trapped in the heart of the strategic town near the Lebanese border.

Nato-backed terror gangs seized Zabadani in 2012 and used it as a conduit for arms and sectarian terrorists coming from Lebanon. In May the Syrian army and the Hezbollah militia launched an offensive that has driven the rebels out of the Qalamoun hills and sealed off the Lebanese border. The assault on Zabadani was ordered after the rebels refused to evacuate the town.

Meanwhile in northern Syria Kurdish fighters have managed to retake some key villages that had fallen into the hands of the “Islamic State” (ISIS). Ten villages were liberated last week and some 80 ISIS militiamen were killed in the fighting.

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US, Iran head toward nuke deal?

by Matthew Rusling

THE UNITED States and Iran are reportedly nearing a deal on Tehran’s nuclear programme, but it remains unknown whether the US Congress will undermine the agreement by refusing to lift the sanctions that have ruined Iran’s economy.

The US and Iran have in recent months been engaged in talks over the latter’s controversial nuclear programme, which some western critics say is intended to build nuclear weapons, although Iran maintains the programme is peaceful.

But while the White House may be nearing a deal with Tehran, the Republican- led US Congress may butt heads with President Barack Obama over a few crucial details.

A key disagreement between the US and Iran is the level of access that inspectors will have to Tehran’s nuclear programme. The Republican lawmakers want international inspectors to have full, unfettered access to all of Iran’s nuclear facilities, including military sites.

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New Israeli communist leader elected

CPI

A NEW general secretary was unanimously elected by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Israel (CPI) on Friday 27th June. The new head of the party, educator and journalist Adel Amer, has succeeded outgoing general seretary Mohammed Nafa’h — a well-known Palestinian writer.

After his election, Amer addressed the Central Committee: “I thank all the comrades for the great confidence they have placed in me by electing me to this position. It is my and our responsibility to lead the party, to consistently pursue our internationalist politics and to anchor our values and principles in both peoples of this country, in particular within the working class.”

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Greece rejects Euro-austerity and social terrorism

by Timothy Bancroft- Hinchey AT LEAST there is one country in Europe with a spine and some courage and that country is called Greece; at least there is one people in Europe who stand for democracy and those people are the Greeks. On the other side of the fence are the endemic misery, social terrorism and subservience to Germany practiced by Eurocrats and preached by Euro- austerity.

After the people of Greece voted on Sunday 5th July to reject the European Union’s austerity plan (61.3 per cent voted “No” against 38.7 per cent who voted “Yes”), two questions are raised: firstly, will the European Union respect democracy for once and secondly, how viable is the financial and economic system practised in the West?

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Gilles Peterson: searching for the roots of Rumba

by Natalie Aba Sama Howard

TASTEMAKER and legend of the world music and club culture scenes Gilles Peterson was recently in Havana to shoot a new documentary on Afro-Cuban Rumba. The film is a collaboration between his London-based record label Brownswood Recordings and Havana Cultura — a Havana Club International project that celebrates Cuba’s contemporary artistic culture. Peterson has been visiting Cuba for the last six years has produced a series of albums that bring together the modern sounds and voices of the island. Now Gilles is back: “To get to the bottom of what Rumba is all about.”

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Features

Cracks in the image and the business of war

by Rob Gowland

THE DALAI Lama, a spent force within Tibet, still parades around the western world on behalf of US imperialism posing as the champion of love and tolerance (not to mention peace), much as the US itself poses as the champion of democracy and justice (not to mention peace). His regime was based on slavery and the complete domination of the state by the church, but when the Chinese Revolution finally reached Tibet, this bastion of feudalism went into the rubbish bin of history where it belonged. The Dalai Lama fled abroad, to embrace a new career as a propaganda tool on behalf of imperialism’s continuing Cold War against the People’s Republic of China and socialism generally.

As long as he remains useful to the West, he is assured of constant media coverage and continued financial support. Typically his recent visit to Australia was given widespread media coverage. By contrast there was a near total blackout on reporting the protests against his visit organised by the Dorje Shugden Buddhist sect. Followers of the Shugden form of Buddhism claim the Dalai Lama’s “aggressive persecution campaign” against them has resulted in suffering and human rights abuses. A protest rally against the Dalai Lama’s religious discrimination would surely be newsworthy. But apparently not.

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Sixty years after Freedom Charter, South Africa struggle continues

by Abayomi Azikiwe

EVENTS that took place on 25th-26th June 1955, in Kliptown, South Africa, represented a turning point in the national liberation struggle in that apartheid-dominated state. Several thousand people met at the Congress of the People, which brought together a broad alliance of oppressed groups: Africans, Indians, “Coloured” (“mixed-race” people) and progressive whites reiterated their determination to end institutional racism and economic exploitation. The gathering drafted a programme that carried the struggle forward for 40 years, leading to the African National Congress’ ascendancy to power in 1994. Known as the Freedom Charter, the document called for a transfer of power from the white minority to the African majority through democratic rule and the nationalisation of land and natural resources.

This event was held in the context of broadbased struggle against apartheid and settler-colonialism in South Africa and across the African continent. The African National Congress Youth League drafted a “programme of action” in 1949, calling for mass dissent against the system of racist rule.

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Novorossiya: We’ll free Lvov from the fascist vermin

by Alexander Krot

Alexander Krot interviewed Pyotr Biryukov (“Arkadich”), deputy commander of the Ghost Brigade of Alexei Mozgovoi and commander of the Volunteer Communist Detachment in June.

Alexander Krot: Pyotr Biryukov, our readers are interested in your opinion of the Minsk ceasefire — the so-called Minsk Two agreement. Why do we need it, or is it necessary at all? Should this time perhaps be used to prepare the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) for war? What do you think are the Kremlin’s plans in relation to the Minsk agreement?

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