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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain


National News

BBC and Reuters spread Cold War propaganda

Sputnik

NEGOTIATIONS to make secret payments to Reuters were led by the Information Research Department, a shady propaganda arm of the Foreign Office which had a major impact on Western media, culture and academia in their positions on and coverage of the USSR and other communist countries before being closed down in 1977.

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Watering the workers’ beer

by New Worker correspondent

SUPPLIES of Greene King, whose beer is served at state banquets, could be in short supply as dray-men, brewery production staff and warehouse workers voted strongly in favour of strike action over pay.

About 160 workers belonging to Unite at Bury St Edmunds, where the brewery is based, and at distribution centres in Abingdon, Oxfordshire and Eastwood, Nottinghamshire have taken action over a miserable two per cent pay offer.

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Education battles

by New Worker correspondent

IT IS NOT just the big unions that are leading class struggle. At the Delfin English Language School in leafy Bloomsbury Square near the British Museum, a small band of teachers are fighting back.

Just before Christmas all staff at the private college that teaches English as a foreign language were made redundant. Ten teachers, many of whom had been loyal employees for several years, were given the news on 20th December after the close of business. Most are members of the TEFL Workers’ Union, a street union set up by the anarchist Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) movement last year to represent workers in the TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) industry.

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Zero Hours

by New Worker correspondent

LAST MONDAY evening, ironically just a few hundred yards from Delfin, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) held a debate on the matter of zero-hours contacts sponsored by Thompsons Solicitors.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The government has promised new laws on workers’ rights. But the current proposals for a ‘right to request’ predictable hours will achieve nothing. Ireland has shown the way by banning zero-hours contracts. Britain must do the same.

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Safeguarding the diamonds

by New Worker correspondent

SECURITY officers and CCTV operators at Harrods, the posh people’s department store in Knightsbridge, have begun balloting for strike action in a dispute over pay and unpaid work. Not only has Harrods, owned by the Qatari sovereign wealth fund, imposed a below-inflation pay increase but Management also demands half an hour of unpaid work at the beginning and end of each day.

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House of Lords won’t stand in way of Brexit

Sputnik

THE House of Commons vote on Boris Johnson’s withdrawal agreement has brought an end to the three-year long political discord that followed the Brexit referendum of 23rd June 2016. Dr Martin Farr and Sir John Curtice have given their prognoses on the House of Lords vote and transition period.

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IndyRef2 Part 94

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

TUESDAY morning saw a major non-news story break. This concerned Boris Johnson’s one-page reply to Nicola Sturgeon’s letter of the 19th December requesting that she be allowed to hold another independence referendum later this year. To be pedantic, she wanted the powers to decide transferred officially from Westminster to Holyrood.

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Council Cuts

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), which is the trade union for local councils, has accused the SNP government of drastically cutting their funding and at the same time burdening councils with all sorts of nationally imposed tasks. To compensate, COSLA

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Edukashun Newz

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

Because he is Headmaster of Clifton Hall, a private school at Newbridge, near Edinburgh, Rod Grant does not need to worry about offending local or national officials. So his views on the state of education are worth paying heed to even by those of us who dislike the misnamed public school system.

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No to Trump, and no to war

by New Worker correspondent

LONDONERS braved the cold weather on Saturday to attend Stop the War’s march against war on Iran. Although there were only a few hundred on the march from BBC headquarters to Trafalgar Square, plenty more came to hear Jeremy Corbyn, Tariq Ali and Steve Hedley speak at the rally at the end of the protest.

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Warm welcome for KKE leader in London

by New Worker correspondent

AKEL’s community centre in Wood Green was packed out on Saturday as London comrades joined members of London’s Greek community at a social at the Cypriot communist centre in honour of visiting Greek communist leader Dimitris Koutsoumbas. Many had gone to listen to the Greek communist leader give a talk at Birkbeck College in central London earlier in the day. Many more came along for the evening reception, which included live Greek folk music and jazz as well as a Greek buffet and bar.

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Samson’s Syndrome

REVIEW

by Ben Soton

Samson’s Syndrome by Steve Monaghan. 2017; Troubador Publishing; 210pp. Paperback: £7.99; ISBN: 9781788033237. Kindle: £3.99; eISBN: 9781788032506.

THIS IS very much a political thriller. John Morton, a journalist on the Guardianesque newspaper The Chronicle, finds himself caught up in the fascist coup in Ukraine in 2014 where a fellow journalist, Karl Waggoner, is killed in suspicious circumstances. Meanwhile a Conservative aristocrat, Sir Harold Nevin, attempts to take over The Chronicle. Morton’s desire to investigate his colleague’s death sees his eyes gradually open about the true nature of events in Ukraine and beyond.

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Sentenced to Hope

A classic Arab play now in English

by Lama Alhassanieh

Sentence to Hope: A Sa’dallah Wannous Reader (The Margellos World Republic of Letters) by Sa’dallah Wannous. Translated from the Arabic and with an Introduction by Robert Myers and Nada Saab. 2019; Yale University Press. Hardback: 464pp, £25; ISBN: 9780300221343. Kindle: 464pp, £21.38; ASIN: B07PBHBTYK.

YES, you were right, “We are sentenced to hope” — and more than two decades after Sa’dallah Wannous’s death, his plays retain their ability to surprise and connect with audiences.

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International News

by Ed Newman

TENS of thousands of people have demonstrated in several Australian cities demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Scott ‘ScoMo’ Morrison. They reject the inaction his administration has shown in fighting bush-fires that are sweeping the country’s ecosystems and animals.

“We protest because these fires are unprecedented, they have been burning since September. We need urgent action to stop this tragedy and the climate crisis,” Students for Climate Justice activist Anneke De Manuel said.

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India: biggest strike in world history

by Martha Grevatt

INDIA is the world’s second-most populated county, with about 1.374 billion people. Over 928 million are ‘working age’ (15 to 64-years-old; statistics from worldometers.info) and last week one in four people in this age group — 250 million — took part in the biggest strike to-date in world history.

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Iran admits accidentally downing Ukrainian plane

Sputnik IRAN has admitted to downing a Ukrainian Boeing 737 airliner by mistake, confusing it with a missile amidst heightened tensions with the USA following the killing of Iran’s top military commander General Qassem Soleimani last week. The Ukrainian Airlines passenger plane took off from Tehran Airport but crashed soon afterwards, killing all 176 people on board. Days later, Iran admitted that the plane was mistakenly shot down by its military.

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Chinese production of Hamlet tours in March

Xinhua

A CHINESE production of William Shakespeare’s masterpiece Hamlet will grace the Beijing stage at the Poly Theatre from 12th—15th March, marking the start of the play’s second China tour.

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Features

A decade ends: does it leave a legacy?

by Greg Godels

WILL WE remember the victory in Syria as a long overdue turning point in the struggle against imperialism and, perhaps, capitalism? Does the defeat of US and NATO machinations and their surrogate combatants in Syria inspire the people of the Middle East to transcend the divisive limits of sectarian grievances and cultural manipulation? Are we seeing the decline of artificially stoked and cruelly fuelled national and religious divisiveness and a turn toward economic justice?

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In Berlin and Erfurt, two murals that belong to the people

by Victor Grossman

NO-ONE on Berlin’s main eastbound traffic artery could miss one of the two murals, five stories high, 2745 square feet in area, in shiny bright, red, green, yellow and blue colours up to the gabled rooftop of an older, isolated apartment building. A first glance sees an Indian village in Nicaragua with red-roofed huts, dogs, a spotted h

But take a closer look and you see the fighter plane and the armed soldiers marauding through the village, masked villagers trying to protect it, panicked mothers and children — and the corpses.

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