The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 12th January 2018

National News

Police watchdog concerned over Black deaths in custody

ANNE OWERS, who is about to retire as chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), last week expressed serious concern over the number of deaths of Black and minority ethnic (BAME) people following restraint by police.

She has called for the relationship between ethnicity and the use of force to be examined closely.

This follows many years of protests, rallies and complaints by the United Families and Friends Campaign (UFFC), which brings together families that have had a member die in custody. It represents all ethnicities, but black and minority ethnic families form the majority of families bereaved in this way — way out of proportion to their numbers in the general population.

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No beds for patients?

LABOUR MP Tracy Brabin last week told the House of Commons how one of her constituents had taken photographs of patients “sleeping on the floor” in Pinderfields hospital in Wakefield, Yorkshire as winter pressures led to severe overcrowding.

NHS Minister Philip Dunne replied that there were seats available in most hospitals’ Accident and Emergency (A&E) units where patients could wait until a bed did become available.

Labour MPs and doctors were appalled at Dunne’s answer. “This is an appalling and ignorant remark from a minister entirely out of touch with the reality of the NHS winter crisis,” said Justin Madders, the Shadow Health Minister.

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Bogus ‘faith schools’ under fire

THE LONDON Borough of Hackney has called for new legislation to regulate unregistered ‘schools’ that deprive children of safety and adequate education, according to the National Secular Society (NSS).

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Atos to pay over dishonest PIP assessment

A COURT last week awarded a disabled woman in Huddersfield £5,000 in compensation over a dishonest Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment by Atos that led to an unnecessary cut in her benefits, according to a report in Disability News Service.

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Corbyn says no to Britain in single market

JEREMY CORBYN last week insisted that Britain cannot remain in the single market after Brexit as he was setting out his Brexit policy to the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP).

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Police Farce

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

THE FESTIVE season is generally a quiet one for news, so we are grateful to the Scottish Police and their overseers for generating much needed column inches.

The Chief Constable of Durham has said that Police Scotland should make a public apology about an illegal spying operation by, of all people, the force’s Counter-Corruption Unit who “wilfully and deliberately manipulated intelligence.”

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Alex Salmond

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

Former First Minister Alex Salmond got himself in trouble on two fronts over his broadcasting activities. The broadcasting regulator is looking into his Russia Today show because messages from social media read out on the show that purportedly came from the public were in fact manufactured in the studio, so that Salmond could look clever by ‘spontaneously’ coming up with a quick-witted reply that had been carefully rehearsed beforehand. One tweet was sent from an account owned by an RT producer. An Ofcom spokeswoman said: “We are investigating whether this programme breached our rules on due accuracy.”

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Eric Canning

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

Eric Canning, the leader of the Communist Party of Scotland (CPS), passed away last month. Eric was one of the small band of Scottish communists who broke ranks with what was left of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) in 1991 to form the CPS.

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Mass Food Protests

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

A mass campaign has been launched in protest against the Tory Government’s food policies, which have seen an outbreak of panic buying of an essential foodstuff. Drinkers of Irn Bru (the Scottish Coca-Cola) are outraged at the manufacturer AG Barr planning to follow government legislation and reduce the amount of sugar from 10 grams per 100 millilitres to just below five, which would reduce the calorie count from 140 to 66.

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Ecuador seeks ‘safe passage’ for Assange


AFTER LIVING five years behind the safety of Ecuador’s London embassy, Julian Assange may be in for a change of scenery.

Ecuador is seeking out a third country or individual to mediate the safe passage of Assange from its embassy in Britain, Ecuadorian foreign minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa told a press conference on Tuesday.

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Canterbury Tales

by Carole Barclay

CANTERBURY, the historic capital of Kent, has attracted visitors for over 1,000 years. In the past it was the focus for the cult of St Thomas, the archbishop cut down in his own cathedral in 1170 for crossing the king once too often. Tourists now follow the footsteps of pilgrims in the majestic cathedral that is the hub of the Church of England and wander around the ancient streets that are still surrounded by a massive city wall that goes back to Roman days.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Film Review by Brent Cutler

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017). Director: Rian Johnson; Writers: Rian Johnson, George Lucas (based on characters created by); Stars: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Mark Hamill. Certificate PG-13; 212min.

THE FILM is episode eight of the Star Wars series. Episode six, The Empire Strikes Back, saw the Evil Empire of Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine defeated by the rebel alliance.

In episode seven, The Force Awakens, we see the Empire reconstituted in the form of the First Order. We also see Kylo Ren, the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa, turn to the Dark Side; meanwhile the rebels return to being rebels, an inter-galactic example of permanent revolution perhaps.

The Last Jedi shows a mixture of good cinematic effects, which perhaps can only be appreciated on the big screen, a complex story and an array of new characters. There is discussion in the film about the past mistakes of the Jedi Order; an order that bares many similarities to the Warrior Monks of the Middle Ages.

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Communist thoughts from India

Reviewed by Robert Laurie

Revolutionary Democracy: Vol XXIII, No 2, October 2017. £5.00 + £1.00 p&p from: NCP Lit, PO Box 73, London SW11 2PQ.

THE LATEST issue of the biannual Indian journal Revolutionary Democracy has arrived. As one might expect, the issue for October 2017 has plenty of material to mark the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution to supplement the usual range of materials on contemporary Indian affairs and historical materials from the Soviet archives.

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International News

Kim urges Korean reconciliation


IN MERELY a week, the governments of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and south Korea have made unexpectedly rapid progress towards re-establishing diplomatic contact. The question of whether the talks will lead to a breakthrough will face a crucial test Tuesday when the divided Koreas hold talks at the truce village of Panmunjom, located on the Demilitarised Zone dividing the two governments’ regions of control.

DPRK leader Kim Jong Un stated his firm commitment to the reunification of North and South, expressing the need for conditions to be created that would allow for normalised relations between capitals that haven’t spoken directly to one another in over two years.

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Calm returns to Iran


IRAN’S authorities have announced that the foreign-fuelled unrest in the country has been thwarted, adding that the alleged orchestrators of the protests have been detained.

The leading protest organisers have been arrested and they are now being held in different cities throughout the country. The authorities first started detaining protesters in late December but most of the participants have now been released.

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Trump trumped in Alabama

by Lena Valverde Jordi

DONALD Trump suffered a new defeat last month when judge Ray Moore, his candidate to a vacant post in the Senate in the State of Alabama, the traditional turf of the Republican Party, was defeated by the Democrat aspirant, Doug James.

Alabama is one of the most conservative states in the USA and Trump himself obtained a resounding victory there in the Presidential elections, surpassing Democrat aspirant Hillary Clinton by over 30 per cent of the votes.

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Tillerson: The Devil dancing on a hot tin roof

by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

REX TILLERSON, the US Secretary of State, declared in an opinion-editorial article in the New York Times this week that he is, and I quote, “Proud of (US) diplomacy.” The analogy that springs to mind is that of a father defending his demented son who has just murdered a family of six but left a grandmother sitting in a wheelchair because he ran out of bullets.

So when Rex Tillerson, US Secretary of State, the leader of his country’s diplomacy, makes his statement about how proud he is of his country’s diplomacy, after Washington insulted the international community with the insolence of Colin Powell with his lies, Condoleezza Rice with her insults, Hillary Clinton with her utter incompetence (Libya) and John Kerry with his rudeness, we have the right to stand back and take stock.

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Labour fought slavery in the American Civil War - How do we fight it now?

by Chris Mahin

THE MAIN headline proclaimed the news in large capital letters set in thick black type: “THE CONSUMMATION!”

Below, only slightly smaller headlines continued: “Slavery Forever Dead in the United States. ... No Human Bondage After December 18, 1865.”

The New York Times had good reason to use dramatic headlines in its 19th December 1865 edition. Those headlines reported a momentous development: Slavery was now illegal throughout the whole of the USA. US Secretary of State William Seward had signed a proclamation the previous day announcing the ratification of the 13th Amendment.

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British intelligence plots social disruption in Iran

IRANIAN protests in recent days has again raised questions about just how far Western intelligence agencies have gone in sowing unrest against political opponents.

“The Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG), a unit in one of Britain’s intelligence agencies, is tasked with creating sock puppet accounts and fake content on social media in order to use ‘dirty tricks’ to ‘destroy, deny, degrade [and] disrupt’ enemies by ‘discrediting’ them,” Mustafa al-Bassam, a security researcher pursuing a PhD in London and former member of the LulzSec hacktivist group, said in a 27th December talk at the 34th Chaos Communication Congress.

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