The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 8th December 2017

National News

Report on suicide attempts among benefit claimants

IN SEPTEMBER 2016 the NHS published statistics on the mental health of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants. Shockingly, figures showed that nearly half (43.2 per cent) of claimants had attempted suicide at some point in their life.

Recently the Disability News Service highlighted the figures. But it says the mainstream media still isn’t reporting them.

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Korean friendship action in Liverpool

by New Worker correspondent

KOREAN solidarity activists met in Liverpool last weekend to hear a report on the current situation in Korea and plan future work in the new year.

Comrades met in the Casa Club, a community bar and venue in the heart of Liverpool’s university district, to hear Dermot Hudson of the Korean Friendship Association (KFA) talk about the imperialist threat to Democratic Korea, and the Korean people’s decisive steps to deter US imperialism and its lackeys from launching another war in the Korean peninsula.

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Amber Rudd’s adviser took cash from fracking company

PAUL Maynard MP, who is the new adviser to the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Amber Rudd, accepted a donation from a company that expects to benefit from fracking in Lancashire, according to an Unearthed investigation.

Maynard, whose Blackpool North and Cleveleys constituency is near to Cuadrilla’s proposed drill site at Preston New Road, declared a £5,000 donation to his constituency party from Addison Projects in March.

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Hotel says Britain First booked conference under false name

THE WYBOSTON Lakes hotel resort in Bedfordshire faced widespread criticism for allowing the quasi-fascist and Islamophobic Britain First (BF) organisation to use its conference facilities.

But the hotel said the group make the booking under a false name and it is unhappy to have been associated with BF.

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Local Government News

by our Scottish political affairs correspondence

+AUDIT SCOTLAND (AS) has been pouring over the books of Scotland’s councils and arrived at the unsurprising conclusion that they are in deep financial trouble as a result of facing both increased demand for services and reduced funding. Last year the Scottish National Party (SNP) government cut the grant it pays to local authorities by 5.2 per cent. It graciously lifted its long standing Council Tax freeze, but that will make little difference Council Tax only raises about 14 per cent of local authority revenue.

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The Tale of Three Bridges

by our Scottish political affairs correspondence

The original Forth Bridge, which was approved by William Gladstone and opened on the 4th March 1890, is still carrying trains. The Forth Road Bridge that was authorised by Harold Macmillan and opened on 4th September 1964 has had its problems, but is still standing and has just been recalled to duty. The third bridge, the Queensferry Crossing, which was approved by the SNP Government and opened on the 4th September 2017, has just been partly closed for resurfacing work resulting in a 40 mph speed limit on the other lanes.

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That Horrible Cow

by our Scottish political affairs correspondence

One of the first signs of Christmas is the spectacle of politicians heading off to photo opportunities beside poor people to show how much they care about them and humanity in general. Sometimes these events need a bit more planning to avoid the alleged beneficiaries airing their views in public.

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by New Worker Correspondent

NEW Communist Party (NCP) leader Andy Brooks successfully led the opposition to an anti-communist motion at a students’ union discussion at the Bloomsbury Campus of University College London (UCL) this week.

The UCL Debating Society is the oldest society at UCL and the third oldest debating society in England. The event was part of their Monday Night Public Debate Programme, which aims to raise awareness of key current issues and challenge people’s opinions.

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Rochester: Kent’s other city

by Carole Barclay

ROCHESTER was once overshadowed by Gillingham and Chatham, whose Naval Dockyard, along with the navy base and army garrison, employed thousands during the hey-day of the Royal Navy. The navy left in the 1980s and all three towns are now part of Medway, a unitary authority with powers much like the old ‘county boroughs’ that were abolished in 1972.

Rochester is the oldest of the three towns. The settlement by an ancient crossing place on the River Medway goes back to Celtic days. The Romans built a bridge and a small walled town to guard it in their time, and their defences continued to define the parameters of the medieval town that followed.

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International News

Yemen after Saleh


DISPUTED Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been a central figure in the civil war for control of the Gulf country he ruled for 22 years, was killed on 4th December by his former allies in the Houthi faction.

Saleh and the Houthis had opposed the reign of the Saudi-backed Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, a long-time enemy of the Houthi movement. Saleh was forced to resign following a popular uprising against him in 2012, but when the Houthis began to fight openly against Hadi in 2015, Saleh joined their bid for control of the country.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

The spectre of fraud hangs over Honduras

by Lena Valverde Jordi

Finally, one week after the presidential elections in Honduras, the Supreme Electoral Court disclosed the official results, following a twisted course of vote counting that has raised many doubts about the legality of the official results of the electoral contest.

The figures offered by the Chair of the Electoral Court, David Matamoros, proclaim as winner the official candidate to re-election, Juan Orlando Hernández, of the National Party, with 42,98 per cent of the ballots, closely followed by the opposition aspirant, of the Opposition Alliance to the Dictatorship, Salvador Nasralla, with an alleged 41,37 per cent of the ballots.

In what many have been interpreted as reluctance to become a party to fraud, the Chairman of the Electoral Court refused to proclaim Hernandez as re-elected President, and stated that his role was just to announce the results of the vote, without proclaiming any of the candidates as winner.

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Senior UN official in Pyongyang for talks


UNITED NATIONS (UN) undersecretary-general for political affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, has arrived in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) for an unprecedented four-day visit, following a short stop-over in Beijing where he met with Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Li Baodong.

According to UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, Pyongyang extended the invitation for Feltman to visit, during the September UN General Assembly.

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The murder of Yugoslavia

by John Wight

THE CONVICTION of former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) reminds us of a brutal conflict in which atrocities were committed by all contending parties, including the West with a NATO air assault of 78 days’ duration in which hundreds of civilians were killed.

As Nobel-prize winning playwright Harold Pinter described it: “The NATO action in Serbia had nothing to do with the fate of the Kosovan Albanians; it was yet another blatant and brutal assertion of US power.”

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How three butterflies defeated a brutal dictator

by Laura J Snook

THE MIRABAL sisters made the ultimate sacrifice to topple Dominican despot Rafael Trujillo, triggering the advent of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women every 25th November.

“The butterflies (Las Mariposas),” they called themselves: a phrase that belied their fortitude. Three sisters of exceptional beauty, the Mirabals were born into an affluent farming family in the Dominican Republic as it was descending into a totalitarian nightmare under dictator Rafael Trujillo.

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Donbas and the class approach

Red Star over Donbas

Statement by Stanislav Retinsky, Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Donetsk People’s Republic (KPDPR), at a meeting with members of the Central Committee of the German Communist Party (DKP).

THE MAIN difference between the events in the Donbas in 2014 and, for example, the current situation in Catalonia is that the struggle for independence of the region was in response to the coup d’état in Kiev. Moreover, at the rallies back in February 2014, the residents of the region spoke not of an independent state, but a federal reorganisation of Ukraine.

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