THE NEW WORKER

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 3rd November 2017


National News

Bus workers strike

BUS workers in North-West England employed by Arriva decided last week to take strike action again in a long-running dispute over pay.

Over 2,000 bus drivers and engineering staff working for Arriva North West across 11 depots, who have already started a campaign of industrial action, went on strike again for 24 hours on Monday (30th October) — and this will be followed by five further one-day strikes on 6th, 8th, 13th, 20th and 27th November.

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PCS calls for Universal Credit halt

THE CIVIL service union PCS last week cautiously welcomed the recommendation from the Work and Pensions Select Committee to reduce the six-week wait for claimants between the end of their current benefit payments and their first Universal Credit (UC) payments to four weeks.

But, the union pointed out, the flaws in the UC system are much more fundamental than just the waiting time issue. PCS said:

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The family no one wants to join

by New Worker correspondent

UNITED Friends and Families Campaign (UFFC) is the campaigning organisation representing the relatives and friends of people who have died violent deaths in police custody or prison but who have not received justice for the loss of their loved ones.

Leading UFFC activist Marcia Rigg last Saturday at the organisation’s annual rally and procession from Trafalgar Square to Downing Street, described UFFC as “the family no one wants to join”, which tragically grows larger every year as more people are killed by police.

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Legal aid cuts demolish benefit claimants’ rights

A MERE 440 benefit claimants were given assistance in the last financial year, according to figures from the Ministry of Justice, compared to 83,000 before the almost £1 billion of cuts to legal aid. That is a 99.5 per cent collapse in the help available to people seeking to challenge wrong decisions about their benefits.

Thousands of the claimants will have been denied help to pursue cases where they were refused Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA).

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Capita staff start strike action over pensions

WORKERS employed by the technology firm Capita last week started industrial action in their pensions dispute with the outsourcing company. Following the breakdown of talks at conciliation service ACAS, staff are taking part in nine days of industrial action.

The dispute centres on Capita’s attempts to close the current defined benefit scheme and transfer staff to a defined contribution scheme. Unite members are taking nine continuous days of strike action, which started on Saturday 28th October 2017 and ends on Sunday 5th November.

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Peace activists acquitted

PEACE campaigners Sam Walton, a Quaker, and the Reverend Daniel Woodhouse were acquitted last week after they had been arrested trying to ‘disarm’ Typhoon fighter jets headed for Saudi Arabia where they would be used to bomb Yemen.

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Priorities

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

THREE hundred council workers in Fife are to lose their jobs to help reduce a £20 million black hole in the council’s budget. So what better way to cheer them up than to spend £5,000 wrapping up 64 traffic bollards in fancy coloured wrapping paper for a week?

This was what the Labour—SNP coalition did in the former mining town of Cowdenbeth. They commissioned Glasgow based Art Studio Nadfly to provide what a council spokesperson said was: “A one-week installation aimed at sparking a conversation about the future of the high street.”

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More NHS Woes

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

Unfortunately last week’s New Worker was rolling off the presses at the same time as the Auditor General of Scotland released her report, which more than confirmed our piece about the dysfunctional state of the National Health Service under SNP misrule.

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SNP Internationalism

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

For a nationalist party the SNP keeps surprisingly quiet about other nationalist movements in the British Isles and abroad, whom one would have thought were natural bedfellows. The SNP has not yet got round to inviting a delegation form Sinn Féin to their annual conference, nor has Nicola Sturgeon taken a Sinn Féin delegation around her Govan constituency for a discussion about the Irish peace process.

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Tory Votes

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

Douglas Ross, the new Tory MP for Moray who defeated SNP heavyweight Angus Robertson, has been forced to step down from his second job as an international football referee. He came under criticism from SNP MPs for missing a non-binding vote on Universal Credit and in his previous job at Holyrood missed several committee meetings.

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Support the Ukrainian anti-fascist resistance!

by New Worker correspondent

MEMBERS of the New Communist Party joined other demonstrators in London’s Whitehall on Saturday to show solidarity with Ukrainian anti-fascists and hear warnings from campaigners in the United States that Washington is preparing to provide $500 million in military aid to the Ukrainian regime, including so-called “defensive lethal assistance”.

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For a People’s Brexit

by Theo Russell

ALTHOUGH the majority of voters opted to leave the European Union in last year’s referendum it’s by no means a done deal, with the Tories deeply divided over the issue and the majority of Labour’s MPs openly ‘Remainers’ regardless of what the Corbyn leadership may say.

This was the central theme of a meeting at London’s Conway Hall held by the Communist Party of Britain’s (CPB’s) London District last week. The speakers included CPB leader Rob Griffiths, Luton North Labour MP Kelvin Hopkins and Lindsey German from the Stop the War campaign, as well as union officials from Unite and the RMT.

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International News

Catalans rejects Spanish ‘coup d’etat’

Telesur

CATALONIA’S dismissed deputy premier, Oriol Junqueras, said last weekend that: “The relationship that the Spanish Government has always imposed in Catalonia is one of arbitrary and capricious subordination, of subjection.”

The Catalonian leader rejected the Spanish government’s “coup d’etat,” further adding that “the president of the country is and will remain Carles Puigdemont.”

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Iraqi Kurdistan president steps down

Sputnik

AMIDST the grave consequences of a controversial independence referendum in the autonomous region of Kurdistan in Iraq, its leader Masoud Barzani has decided to step down from the presidency.

The President of Iraqi Kurdistan Masoud Barzani said on Sunday that he will continue to fight for the rights of the Kurds as a member of the Peshmerga [militia] after his term as the autonomous region’s head ends on 1st November.

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Gaddafi’s son returning to politics

Sputnik

SAIF AL-ISLAM is “the Libyans’ only hope right now” and will return to politics, says the lawyer of the second son of Libya’s former leader, Muammar Gaddafi, who was ousted and murdered during the Arab Spring.

Saif al-Islam, one of the most prominent politicians before the ‘Arab Spring’ swept the country in 2011, was released by the Abu Bakr Al Siddiq militia under an amnesty deal in June after having spent more than five years in captivity. His lawyer Khalid al Zaidi now says that “the current situation in Libya, the absence of dialogue and the misunderstanding of the actual state of affairs there make it essential that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi returns to politics to try to reach a political settlement” in the country.

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Features

A dystopian future?

by Rob Gowland

WHEN I was a child in the late 1940s, one of the comic books in my collection was set after nuclear war had devastated Earth (a hot topic in the ’40s and ’50s when America’s leaders were belligerently threatening to “nuke” any country that defied their diktat). I remember, the main health consequence of the “atomic war” in the comic was blindness caused by “the flash”.

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Palestine: This is not national unity

by Ramzy Baroud

THE RECONCILIATION agreement signed between rival Palestinian parties, Hamas and Fatah, in Cairo on 12th October was not a national unity accord — at least, not yet. For the latter to be achieved, the agreement would have to make the interests of the Palestinian people a priority, above factional agendas. The leadership crisis in Palestine is not new; it precedes Fatah and Hamas by decades.

Since the destruction of Palestine and the creation of Israel in 1948 — and even further back — Palestinians found themselves beholden to international and regional power play, beyond their ability to control or even influence.

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Marx and Lenin: Social gains in early years of Soviet power

by Deirdre Griswold

AS WE described in the first article in this series last week, the workers’ revolution that started in Russia in 1917 and spread to all the nationalities brutally oppressed by the czarist empire took place in one of the most underdeveloped countries of Europe, only recently emerged from feudalism. The majority of the people were impoverished peasants, and few could even read or write.

Nevertheless, it was a revolution that reflected the rise on a world scale of a working class capable of taking power into its own hands in order to socialise the means of production — to use them not for private profit but to liberate the people from want and oppression.

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