National News

Bereaved families demand police accountability

THE UNITED Family and Friends (UFFC) campaign last Saturday staged its 18th annual march through Westminster to demand justice for those who have died in custody or in prison at the hands of police or prison officers.

The UFFC, a coalition of those affected by deaths in police, prison and psychiatric custody, supports others in similar situations.

Established in 1997 initially as a network of Black families, over recent years the group has expanded and now includes the families and friends of people from varied ethnicities who have also died in custody.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Orgreave inquiry denied

HOME Secretary Amber Rudd last Monday ruled out an official inquiry into the events outside the Orgreave coking plant in Yorkshire during the great miners’ strike of 1984-1985.

The Battle of Orgreave took place in June 1984 as thousands of striking miners assembled to block the coking plant’s gates.

But police herded them into a field where they found themselves surrounded by 6,000 police, including mounted officers. The police systematically attacked the miners, wielding truncheons freely and making dozens of arrests for no reason.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Scottish Political News

by our Scottish political correspondent

A NEWLY published report from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre has examined The Social Impact of the 2016—17 Local Government Budget. In the abstruse language beloved of social scientists, it has laid bare the dire impact of the Scottish National Party (SNP) government’s decision to pass on Tory cuts by reducing council budgets by £500 million rather than allow councils to raise the council tax on larger properties.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

RMT rally to keep the guard on the train

HUNDREDS of railway workers, other trade unionists, pensioners, rail passenger groups and people with disabilities gathered in Parliament Square yesterday to tell the Government to keep guards on trains.

The rally in Parliament Square was followed by a packed meeting in a committee room inside Parliament.

In particular this demonstration was about Southern Rail’s long-running dispute with its own workers to try to do away with the role of a safety-trained guard or conductor on every train.

But similar disputes are happening all over the country as the private train operating companies are also trying to go over to driver-only-operated (DOO) trains.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

The International Brigade’s 80th anniversary

THE SPANISH war against the Franco fascist invasion began in July 1936 and in October of that year the International Brigades were formally constituted.

More than 40,000 volunteers from all around the world set out for Spain to try to defend the left-wing Republican government from the fascist invasion.

Many faced strong opposition from their own governments. Britain and the United States formally adopted a neutral position, whilst fascist Italy and Nazi Germany openly supported Franco with aid, weapons and troops, and were using Spain as a rehearsal for their later attempt to take on the world.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Computer says no: Hitting a wall with technology


IT’S BEEN five years since the British government promised to digitalise its services and drag its administrative backside into the 21st century — but it’s still being accused of “hitting a wall”.

A new report, Making a success of digital government, says that some of Britain’s public services are “still running on last century’s computers.” The wall however, isn’t the barrier to technology — but rather the “lack of political drive from the top,” authors of the report suggest.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

International News

Maduro warns idle factories will be seized

by Pavel Jacomino

VENEZUELAN President Nicolas Maduro has said that he is prepared to take more dramatic steps to counter what he deems an “economic war” by his political opponents, calling for a new round of nationalisations of companies engaged in economic sabotage.

“A stopped company, (is) a company recovered for the working class and the revolution. I won’t hesitate with respect to that, I will not accept any kind of conspiracy,” said Maduro during a nationwide address last week. Maduro said: “People here have a need to work and produce and we will not allow a Yankee model of destabilisation to install itself here in Venezuela.”

Speculation is growing that the Polar Company, which is the country’s largest producer of foodstuffs and beverages, could be seized by the state after Venezuelan officials were seen outside the company’s headquarters in Caracas. The head of the Polar Company, Lorenzo Mendoza, was seen attending the opposition demonstration last week. Intelligence officers were also reportedly seen outside Mendoza’s home in an upper-class part of the Venezuelan capital.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

ISIS will not be destroyed

by Lyuba Lulko

IN JUNE 2014, the world was amazed to see the Iraqi army — armed and trained by the Americans — losing ground to the “Islamic State [ISIS]”. Fallujah, Ramadi and Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, fell within a month. The operation to liberate Mosul was launched on 16th October. Will the city be liberated from ISIS terrorists?

In 2014 the whole world started talking about the emergence of new terrorist movements. The world could not destroy them because the Americans wanted to use the new terrorists to their advantage to struggle against geopolitical rivals — Iran and Russia. Now we can see the Americans trying to take Mosul. The Western press is full of rosy expectations about the imminent collapse of ISIS. Fallujah and Ramadi have been liberated — one only has to take the two-million-strong Mosul and the trick is done. Yet the trick does not seem to be that simple.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Four options for Russia in Syria


THE SYRIAN Arab Army, assisted by Russia, Iran and local allies, needs to free rebel-held areas of Aleppo before the next US president moves into the White House on 20th January 2017, says analyst Gevorg Mirzayan, adding that Moscow has to secure an “impressive victory” in the key Syrian city whilst there is still time.

“Washington will be passive in its foreign policy during the election in the United States and the interregnum (between the election of the new president on 8th November and the inauguration on 20th January). As a result, Moscow has room to strengthen its standing ahead of the looming talks on Syria with the US,” he said.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Blaming the dead

Kiev regime lays responsibility for Odessa massacre on slain deputy

by Ilya Murom

THE Ukrainian Prosecutor’s Office announced that a suspect in the case of the death of people in the Odessa House of Trade Unions on 2nd May 2014 was one of the people killed there — Odessa Regional Council Deputy Vyacheslav Markin.

According to Ukrainian media, relatives of the deceased recently received notification that Vyacheslav Markin was suspected in the case of the tragedy in the House of Trade Unions. According to the document, Markin first allegedly lured people into the building, and then provoked a clash between Kulikovo field activists (the anti-fascists) and so-called “Euromaidanists” — who, according to the investigators, supposedly committed no crimes but merely defended the rule of law in Odessa.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

The first flower for Camilo

by Andy Jorge Blanco

ON 15th November 1959 the people of Cardenas, in Matanzas province, initiated the tradition, now cherished by all Cubans, of honouring Camilo Cienfuegos.

The Cuban people’s first tribute to Camilo Cienfuegos, pilot Luciano Fariñas and soldier Félix Rodríguez after their disappearance was organised by the Youth Patrol in the city of Cardenas on 15th November, 1959. At 6pm on 28th October of that year, a small CESSNA 310 No53 departed from Camagüey’s airport, heading to Havana, with Camilo Cienfuegos and his two companions aboard. They never reached their destination. The massive country-wide search that ensued ended on 12th November, without discovering the fate of the 27-year-old revolutionary who, after years in the guerilla struggle, lived only 310 days of the triumph.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]


US subversion against Cuba continues

by Sergio Alejandro Gómez

IF YOU MIX the same ingredients an equal number of times, the result will always be the same., The United States (US), however, is attempting to change its Cuba policy whilst maintaining the same subversive recipe.

Even while the ink of Barack Obama’s new Presidential Directive on Cuba is not yet dry, an announcement for new subversive projects against the island, containing all usual ingredients of the typical aggressive and interventionist policies of the past, was published on the US State Department website on 21st October.

The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL), is offering funding opportunities for projects that supposedly promote “democratic changes” in the spheres of civil, political and labour rights in Cuba.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Organise a European referendum and you’ll see that the Walloons are not alone

Last week the Walloon regional government in Belgium stalled for a week the European Union’s (EU’s) free trade deal (CETA) [Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement] with Canada. Bert De Belder asked the Chair of the Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB), Peter Mertens, how he saw things panning out.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]