The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 1st December 2017

National News

Benefit change threatens to close all women’s refuges

THE FUTURE of all women’s refuges throughout England and Wales is at risk following new changes to housing benefit.

Paragraph 68 on page 26 of a 54-page document drawn up by the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Work and Pensions reveals plans to remove refuges and other short-term supported housing from the welfare system, meaning vulnerable women will not be able to pay for placements using housing benefit.

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Amazon workers treated like ‘animals’

WORKERS employed by the giant on-line retail company Amazon are being treated like “animals,” forced to work to the point of physical collapse, it has been revealed by an undercover reporter for the Daily Mirror.

The reporter, Alan Selby, said that that workers at the Amazon plant in Tilbury, Essex, were so tired that they “fell asleep on their feet” whilst working a 55-hour week.

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Lettings agency sends eviction notices to all tenants

GAP PROPERTY, a lettings agency in Grimsby, has issued hundreds of tenants with pre-emptive eviction notices ahead of the roll out of Universal Credit (UC) in the area.

The agency has threatened tenants that if they are in receipt of any benefits under the new system they will need to prepare their rent payments now or face being ordered to leave their homes by Christmas.

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Tesco re-invents the truck system

THE SUPERMARKET giant Tesco has told some temporary staff taken on to help through the Christmas rush that their wages will be put on to pre-paid credit cards, which charge holders for cash withdrawals.

Several temporary workers have told the Telegraph that they received letters telling them that their wages would be paid onto a Tuxedo Card.

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Kent to axe all bus services

KENT County Council (KCC) last week announced plans to cut all the county’s 78 bus services next year in order to save £4 million.

The cash-saving measure will affect the elderly, disabled and dozens of school children who rely on buses to get around.

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Fyffes sack and blacklist 1,000 women

THE GENERAL union GMB last week called on the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) to exert pressure on the giant food company Fyffes after it sacked and blacklisted 1,000 women workers in Honduras in an industrial dispute.

The ETI includes British supermarkets and it has granted Fyffes a stay of execution until 25th January 2018 — but that leaves the women who lost their jobs and who are barred from new employment facing an uncertain future as Fyffes wholly owned subsidiaries refuse to rehire them for the melon-growing season.

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Junior doctors left in charge of A&Es

THE GENERAL Medical Council (GMC) last week warned that the health of patients is at risk whilst trainee doctors are being forced to “act beyond their clinical competence.”

The safety of hospital patients is being put at risk because inexperienced young doctors are too often being left in charge of accident and emergency (A&E) and other units, according to Britain’s medical regulator. Understaffing and pressures on senior doctors mean trainee medics are being forced to “fend for themselves” by looking after patients whose conditions they are not qualified to treat, said the GMC.

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Benefits frozen as inflation rises

THE TORY government waited for the day the royal wedding was announced to leak out the news that benefits for millions of people will be frozen for another year — in spite of rising inflation. This means an effective cut in the value of benefits.

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Northants to close 28 libraries

NORTHAMPTONSHIRE County Council last week announced plans to close up to 28 of the county’s libraries in a move that would be “completely unacceptable and completely monstrous” according to Northampton resident Alan Moore, author of the graphic novel Watchmen and V for Vendetta.

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Universal Credit hotline to close over Christmas

UNIVERSAL Credit claimants could face ‘disaster’ this Christmas as their helpline opens fully for just two days out of 10, an MP has warned.

It comes despite charities and Labour warning delays under the all-in-one benefit leave people facing hunger and eviction.

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Scottish Political News

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

SIR ROBERT Mark, the late Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, once said that: “A good police force is one that catches more crooks than it employs.” Recently Police Scotland seems to be spending more time investigating its own officers than crooks.

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Couch Potatoes

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

Every year in Scotland £500 million is spent to encourage people to take part in physical recreation. The results of this funding, £400 million of which comes from cash-strapped councils, have been revealed in a report by the Holyrood Health and Sport Committee.

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Green Technology or Witchcraft?

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

Charges of witchcraft have been flying around Scottish Water. It has come under fire for the practice, in common with other water companies, of employing dowsers to search for underground water using twigs or L-shaped metal rods. This was defended by Fay Palmer of the British Society of Dowsers, who said: “Water companies should be applauded for using a green cheap sustainable technology. Dowsing in the right hands can be very accurate.”

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The truth about Korea in Stoke

by New Worker correspondent

THE Staffordshire branch of the UK Korean Friendship Association (KFA) held a successful meeting on the Korean crisis in a Stoke-on-Trent hotel last weekend. Chaired by Shaun Pickford from the local branch, the meeting heard a report from national KFA chair Dermot Hudson on the reality of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), which he said was “the most demonised and abused country on earth, with lies about the country being produced on an industrial scale...the DPRK is a stable and harmonious unified society based on single hearted unity so there is no terrorism and no riots.”

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God’s Wonderful Railway


by Andy Brooks

STEAM — the Museum of the Great Western Railway, also known as Swindon Steam Railway Museum — is a must see for anyone interested in Britain’s railway history. It is located at the site of the old railway works that was once the heart of the old Great Western Railway (GWR). Modern Swindon is largely the creation of the GWR, whose works, at its peak in the 1930s, directly employed over 14,000 workers to build and repair the locomotives and carriages of the railway dubbed “God’s Wonderful Railway” during the Victorian era.

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International News

New Democratic Korean missile test


THE Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has test launched another ballistic missile according to a US government source and the south Korean media. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said that the DPRK had launched an “unidentified ballistic missile”. US officials confirmed that the launch occurred without offering further details.

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One of the world’s most dangerous regions for women

by Lena Valverde Jordi

DESPITE advances in the last few years in terms of legislation to counter violence against women, Latin America and the Caribbean continues to be one of the most dangerous regions in the world for women because of the high rate of violence against their sex, both within and outside their homes, according to data compiled by the United Nations (UN) and released a few days ago.

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Israel’s secret Arab ties


Although just two members of the Arab League have official diplomatic ties with Israel, there are a dozen Arab states that have a secretive relationship with Tel Aviv and “understand the potential of relations with Israel” in spite of their official position on the country’s existence, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Danny Danon has said.

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Large turn-out for Cuban poll

Radio Havana Cuba

LARGE numbers of Cubans went to the polls on Sunday to elect delegates to the Municipal Assemblies of the People’s Power — 7,608,404 voted in last Sunday’s election said Alina Balseiro, president of the National Electoral Commission (CEN), in a press conference in the Cuban capital.

According to preliminary results, that figure represents 85.94 per cent of the 8,855, 213 citizens eligible to exercise their right to vote during the first stage of the general elections 2017—2018.

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New elections in Germany?

by Lena Valverde Jordi

THE FAILURE of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to form a new cabinet following last September’s elections has led to a political crisis that could lead to a solution that has not been seen in Germany in the past 70 years.

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Fidel’s commitment to Women’s Emancipation

by Marion Deschamps

THE beginning of the Cuban Revolution in 1959 marked a remarkable political, economic and social change in Latin America’s history, especially for Cuban women — who did not just participate in the military victory but also have played a prominent role throughout the building of the socialist nation.

As the revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro be

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Red tourism in People’s China

by Liu Lu and Lai Xing

MAO HAOFU, 28, has returned from studying in Britain to his home town in Ciping in east China’s Jinggangshan city, which was the first rural revolutionary base established in 1927 by the Communist Party of China (CPC).

He is now an on-site teacher at Jiangxi Executive Leadership Academy. Although most tourists are Chinese, he is prepared to tell the Party’s story in English.

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How TV shows from behind the ‘Iron Curtain’ captured children’s hearts

by Neil Clark

WE’VE BEEN hearing a lot about the centenary of the Russian Revolution, but there is one aspect of communism — and its impact on Britain — we’re not reading about. Namely, the wonderful children’s programmes from eastern Europe that were shown on British television in the pre-neoliberal era.

It is said that the BBC bought these ‘Red Classics’ because they were relatively cheap but as the former Head of Children’s Programmes, Edward Barnes, admitted in 2002, there was also “a desire to see that children got as wide a cultural diet as possible. It gave them a taste of other cultures and other worlds.” How very admirable.

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Philippine leader says ‘I’m a fascist’ and orders crackdown


Duterte has terminated peace talks with the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the underground Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), whilst vowing to treat combatants in East Asia’s longest-running communist insurgency as “terrorists.”

“I will follow America, since they say that I am an American boy,” Duterte said. “OK, granted, I will admit that I am a fascist. I will categorise you already as a terrorist.”

[Read the complete story in the print edition]