National News

Communists remember the Battle of Cable Street

by New Worker correspondent

THE BANNER of the New Communist Party (NCP) Central Committee was among hundreds of banners of anti-fascist, anti-racist and left-wing parties and groups marching through London’s East End last Sunday to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street.

In this month in 1936 the working class people of the east end — including dockers and their families, Jewish and Irish immigrants, and left-wing refugees from the fascist regimes in Italy and Germany — came out on to the streets en masse to block the path of a march planned by Sir Oswald Mosley’s fascist Blackshirts.

The leaderships of the Labour Party and the British Board of Jewish Deputies had told their members to stay indoors and ignore the fascists. But the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) mobilised at short notice — abandoning a previously planned rally in Trafalgar Square — to urge the people to come out onto the streets and make a stand against the fascists.

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Stop the War successful conference

HUNDREDS of peace activists gathered in London last Saturday for a conference organised by Stop the War to mark the 15th anniversary of its foundation — in the build-up to the 2003 imperialist war on Iraq.

The conference packed the TUC headquarters in Great Russell Street with a diverse spectrum of people attending and participating.

There was a range of sessions including on the Middle East, drone warfare and Islamophobia.

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RMT and Southern Rail in uneasy talks

RAIL workers employed by Southern Rail embarked on a “rock solid” 72-hour strike organised by the RMT transport union on Tuesday — within hours Southern Rail boss Charles Horton responded positively to a call from the union for talks that might resolve the dispute.

The long-running dispute concerns attempts by the company to do away with the role of fully safety-trained guards on the trains. It mirrors similar disputes with other privatised train companies throughout Britain as, behind the scenes, the Tory government is pressuring these companies to save costs by going for driver-only-operated (DOO) trains. As a halfway step Southern Rail, which is run by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), is proposing the replacement of guards with conductors who would not have the same level of safety training.

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PIP claimants not spared re-testing

A WEEK ago Prime Minister Theresa May moved to spare the chronically sick and permanently disabled the misery and humiliation of regular repeated tests for the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) or forfeit their benefits.

But this week it was confirmed they will still face regular tests for their personal independence payments (PIP).

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Big government

THE GOVERNMENT plans to outlaw local councils, public bodies and even some student unions from boycotting Israeli goods and the products of unethical companies.

All publicly funded institutions will lose the freedom to refuse to buy goods and services from companies involved in the arms trade, fossil fuels, tobacco products or Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

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Council Privatisation

by our Scottish political correspondent

Local government union Unison is fighting to defend the jobs of Information Technology (IT) workers employed by Glasgow City Council. The cash-strapped Labour controlled council is planning to out-source all its IT services to Canadian multinational CGI Group who have already taken over IT services for Edinburgh and the Borders.

The council intends that all IT services for schools, social workers, benefits provision and payroll etc. would fall into private hands. Unison fear that many other councils could follow the lead of Scotland’s two largest councils.

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Tea-breaks at Risk

by our Scottish political correspondent

On the east coast the 1,200 workers employed at the Grangemouth refinery are under threat of losing their morning tea-breaks, which were denounced as being the cause of “high levels of unproductive time.” Shortly after reports appeared in the press about the plans Inecos, the refinery’s owner, said that the plans were only suggestions made by one of their independent contractors and that: “A pilot scheme would include a move of the 10-minutes break and 30 minutes’ additional pay for inconvenience.”

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Stately Homes

by our Scottish political correspondent

Across the country the National Trust for Scotland, which looks after many of Scotland’s stately homes, is planning to cut 90 jobs. Originally 142 jobs were on the line when the Trust announced a consultation. Prospect, the civil service and energy union which represents many of the 540 permanent and 750 seasonal staff, complained that during the consultation period: “The lack of detail on aspects of the proposals [is] extremely frustrating,” meekly adding that: “It would be unfair not to note the chief executive’s significant efforts in recent weeks to reduce the level of compulsory redundancies.

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Less than Stately Homes

by our Scottish political correspondent

Housing Associations seem to be becoming something of a battleground.

In the south, tradesmen employed by the Scottish Borders Housing Association (SBHA) are contemplating balloting for industrial action, according to their union Unite.

Regional officer Tony Trench accused SBHA of taking two years to enter into meaningful talks over pay, equality of working conditions and hours. He said that they did not receive any response after talks through the conciliation service ACAS. In a consultative ballot, more than 80 per cent said that they would support industrial action.

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International News

International Day of the Girl: What future?

by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

THE 11th October is International Day of the Girl. Today there are over one billion girls ready to take their place in tomorrow’s world. What kind of world are we leading them into, what have our generations done to help them lead full, satisfying, productive and happy lives? The theme this year is Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress.

For the United Nations (UN): “Only through explicit focus on collecting and analysing girl-focused, girl-relevant and sex-disaggregated data, and using these data to inform key policy and programme decisions, can we adequately measure and understand the opportunities and challenges girls face, and identify and track progress towards solutions to their most pressing problems.” What does the data show us?

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Sinn Féin protest at Palestinian account closure

by John Hedges

THE YOUTH WING of Sinn Féin staged a protest last week at the Bank of Ireland (BoI) on Dublin City’s O’Connell Street against the bank’s closure of the account belonging to the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC).

The Bank of Ireland shut down the account because it considered the Palestine solidarity group to be associating with a “high-risk country”. It is not believed that the Bank of Ireland has taken this action against any other country or organisation in the world. The IPSC said the shock news came after 15 years of banking with BoI.

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When terror hits home in the Caribbean

by Juan Jacomino

ON 6th October the Caribbean appeared troubled, its blue waters no longer crystal blue, tossed and whirled in the whims of Hurricane Matthew, one of the worst storms hitting the area in decades. Nature rocked the Caribbean, stealing peace from its people. In the Caribbean we’ve grown used to dealing with these adversities, knowing that they can bring unexpected tragedy and even death. In our region, in the face of these calamities brought on by nature, we exhibit preparedness.

But in our region, peaceful and friendly, we are not used to terror bringing tragedy and death to our shores and our families. We are not prepared. The 1976 mid-air bombing of a Cubana flight off Barbados that claimed the lives of all 73 people on board caused outrage and heartfelt consternation in the region, which saw the images of their blue Caribbean sea turned red as, literally, countless human pieces, fragments of bodies, were being taken out of the water and placed in bags.

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US continues subversion against Cuba

by Cheryl LaBash

DESPITE ongoing bilateral discussions and mutually beneficial agreements between the USA and Cuba following the 17th December 2014 announcement by both countries that restored diplomatic relations, the US has continued funding and promoting programmes intended to undermine and overturn the socialist economic relations chosen by the Cuban people.

On 24th September the Haitian radio show Konbit Lakay reported on the growing crisis at the Mexican border caused by the Obama administration’s decision to reject thousands of Haitian refugees there and to step up deportations. The host compared these hostile actions to the preferential status accorded to Cubans entering the United States.

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The Legacy of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara


ERNESTO Che Guevara was executed by a Bolivian soldier in the village of La Higuera, Bolivia, on 9th October 1967. The soldier was acting on orders that emanated directly from the president of Bolivia at the time, Rene Barrientos. Guevara was summarily executed for fear that his trial would become a public spectacle which would garner sympathy for Guevara and his cause.

The legacy of Che Guevara continues across Latin America and the world. History has proven that what Barrientos, and the elites of Latin America, wanted was impossible — Guevara’s ideas live on and he continues to serve as an inspiration for Leftists and revolutionaries, not only in Latin America but throughout the world.

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World focus on Syria’s archaeological heritage

by Basma Qaddour

SYRIA’S archaeological heritage was a main topic at several world events held in Japan, Holland and Scotland last month.

The 8th World Archaeological Congress (WAC8) held in Kyoto, Japan, discussed the Syrian heritage and the damage caused to the historical sites during the ongoing crisis in the country.

The Syrian delegation, which took part in the WAC8, gave several lectures on the current situation in Palmyra and the efforts of the Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) to protect the historic sites in Syria.

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National Peking Opera Company returns to London


THE China National Peking Opera Company has returned to London for the second visit in two consecutive years, with two classical operas: The General and the Prime Minister and The Legend of White Snake.

During a press conference on Monday in London, the local organiser of the performances, Sinolink Production’s Director Kevin Zhang, introduced the content of the two operas.

The General and the Prime Minister is a great piece of stage play and is based on true historical accounts of what happened in the Warring States period of ancient China.

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Aussies in Paris, Russia in Syria, China in Sudan

by Rob Gowland

WHEN my eldest son and his partner toured Europe not long ago, he sent me some postcards from Paris and I thought I might share with you the sentiments inscribed on the back of them. The first, naturally, announced their arrival in the French capital: “We’ve left gay Holland and beautiful Belgium behind us, and now we’re in Paris.”

Paris, however, failed to impress: “This really is the domain of the rich and criminal classes. From the heights of Montmartre one can just discern the proletariat huddled on the dim horizon...”

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Black History Month - After emancipation ‘Sick from freedom’

by Dolores Cox

IN 2013 the United States commemorated the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, which gave enslaved Africans their freedom effective 1st January 1863.

The federal government’s main motivation was to deprive the Southern slavocracy of their labour force, not some moral freedom ideology.

Professor Jim Downs, author of Sick from Freedom: African American Illness and Suffering During the Civil War and Reconstruction, says that in the transition to freedom from 1862 to 1870, hundreds of thousands of freed slaves never lived long enough to enjoy their freedom. A lifetime of suffering was followed by a massive death toll.

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Indian Workers’ Association - In solidarity and struggle

by Harsev Bains

THE national conference of the Indian Workers’ Association (Great Britain) (IWA [GB]), one of the oldest Non-Resident Indian (NRI) organisations, took place in Derby on 11th September. Delegates from across the UK assembled to discuss and deliberate upon the report presented by Joginder Kaur on behalf of the Central Executive Committee of IWA (GB). The conference was organised in a hall dedicated to all the founders of the Association. Derby is home to the former national president of IWA (GB), the late Prem Singh Perdesi, and the incumbent national general secretary, Joginder Kaur Bains.

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