The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 20th January 2017

National News

Welsh ministers to opt out of anti-union law

MINISTERS in the Welsh Assembly last week introduced a Bill that would exempt Wales from the most recent Tory Trade Union Act, by ruling that the Act would not apply to devolved public services.

This would protect workers in the Welsh Assembly, museums, the NHS, education and others from severe and unnecessary restrictions on industrial action ballots and strikes.

Key measures in the Westminster government’s Act, passed last year despite strong opposition, include:

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Ikea shuns investment in non-green Britain

THE SWEDISH-based furniture and household goods retailer Ikea last week attacked the British Tory government’s failure to support renewable energy and said that it will not spend a penny of its £524 million green fund in Britain. Ikea said it would have to go elsewhere to finance projects, including wind farms, because of Britain’s “political context”.

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Derby school staff take action over pay cuts

TEACHING assistants, school supervisors, admin staff and other support workers employed in schools in Derby began strike action last week in a dispute over contract changes that have cut pay; for some of them this cut will be 25 per cent of their wages.

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Southwark residents defend community hall

RESIDENTS on what is left of the Aylesbury estate, Walworth in Southwark have occupied Thurlow Lodge Community Hall that Southwark council is trying to close. The closure would also mean the eviction of Divine Rescue, a homeless charity and foodbank.

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ASLEF offers to suspend strikes for new talks

THE TRAIN drivers’ union ASLEF last Tuesday, 17th January, offered to suspend strikes on Southern Rail in return for new talks. These talks would be hosted by Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC.

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, said: “I am today proposing a new process to try to find a resolution to our industrial dispute with Southern Rail.

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Bad for Your Health

by our Scottish political correspondent

TEN YEARS of Scottish National Party (SNP) rule over Scotland has had a dire effect on everything they touch. The National Health Service (NHS) in Scotland is one such disaster area.

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A Class Warrior Parliamentarian

by our Scottish political correspondent

ALEXANDER James Amherst Burnett of Leys captured the Aberdeenshire West seat from the SNP in the last elections to the Scottish Parliament. As one might expect from his name, he is a Tory. An old Etonian, he is a descendant of Nicolas I of Russia to boot. Since his election he has been putting many Labour MSPs to shame in the tireless way he fights for his class.

A member of the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, he takes a strong interest in matters related to land and energy. This is because he owns a lot of land and has extensive interests in forestry. Indeed, he has not made a single speech or asked a single question that does not relate to his business interests.

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Campers Evicted

by our Scottish political correspondent

IN NOVEMBER a group of “IndyCamp” nationalists were evicted from the park surrounding the Scottish Parliament. Although little known south of the border, they are the spiritual heirs of the old “Democracy for Scotland” campaign that used a travelling tent to campaign for independence in vigils up and down the country back in the 1990s.

Despite their tatty caravans being towed away they have continued their epic legal fight. Ironically for nationalists, they have been infuriated at the Scottish Court of Session not allowing them to appeal to the London based Supreme Court.

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Islamic Students honour Fidel in London

by Theo Russell

A MEETING in memory of Fidel Castro at the Kanoon Towhid Centre in Hammersmith, West London, run by the Islamic Students Association (ISA), heard speakers from several countries honour the leader of the Cuban revolution’s life and ideals.

Opening the meeting, Dr Kamran Fathi from the ISA said that Castro’s movement “inspired millions around the world from all races and religions, and many other countries in Latin America and elsewhere, with its ideals.”

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International News

Obama commutes Manning’s sentence


OUTGOING US President Barack Obama on Tuesday commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence officer who was sentenced 35 years for giving classified material to Wikileaks.

Manning will be freed in May this year, according to a statement from the White House. She was originally set to be released in 2045.

She was arrested in 2010 after leaking 700,000 military files and diplomatic cables to Wikileaks. The 35-year sentence Manning received was the longest ever imposed for a leak conviction in the United States.

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People’s struggle in the Philippines will defeat martial law


THE NATIONAL democratic youth group Anakbayan has warned that martial law threats will only worsen existing human rights abuses and police brutality.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to impose martial law as communist rebels in the country warn that peace is unlikely in the near future given the government’s negligence in fulfilling their demands.

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Russia promotes Syrian Kurdish talks


SYRIAN KURDS have recently discussed the creation of a Kurdish federation with Syrian government representatives. Russia is acting as a guarantor of the talks between representatives of the Syrian Kurdish political forces and the Syrian leadership, regarding the formation of a Kurdish Federation in the north of the country.

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Russia is a key component in China—Britain rail route


The first freight train travelling directly from coastal China to Britain began its journey across Eurasia on New Year’s Day. Many believe that this another clear sign that fundamentally new global economic processes are at work.

The first freight train making its way from coastal China to London departed from the Yiwu Railway Station in Central China’s Zhejiang province on 1st January 2017. The 11,930 km route, passing through China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium France and through the Channel Tunnel to Britain will take 18 days, with the train set to arrive at the Barking Rail Freight Terminal in East London this week.

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Two universal Cubans united by a common concern: environmental protection

by Ed Newman

TWO MEN of universal stature: one of them the National Hero of Cuba, José Martí, and the other the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro. Both had many things in common besides their struggle for the independence and sovereignty of their homeland. Each one of them in their own epoch, with their brilliant speeches and cutting edge writings, voiced their concern about the environment.

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Chez Assange: Paris museum recreates room of WikiLeaks founder


VISITORS to a new exhibition in Paris can now check out Julian Assange’s room at the Ecuadorean Embassy. Julian Assange is unable to leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London, but visitors to a Paris museum are now able to see where he is living in London thanks to a new exhibition called Whistleblower in the Gaité Lyrique, which opened on 11th January and runs until the 29th.

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The first week of the new year: A shameful embarrassment

by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Looking back over the first week of the New Year, some 2,017 years after Augustus Caesar brought the “Roman Peace” to the so-called civilised world, the feeling is that we are moving round in circles and as a species Humankind is incapable of making benchmarks last. What we see is terrorism, crime and misery. Bring back the USSR!

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US imperialism foments conflict in Africa

by Abayomi Azikiwe

A GROUP claiming to be in solidarity with the Al-Fatah Revolution of 1st September 1969, headed by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in Libya — whom imperialism overthrew and had murdered in 2011 — diverted an Afriqiyah Airways A320 flight to Malta on 24th December. No passenger was injured.

The two hijackers who requested asylum in Malta were making a profound political statement that the imperialists in Washington, London, Paris and Brussels, along with their allies in Ankara, Turkey and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, were responsible for Libya’s destruction.

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