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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain


National News

Real life Indiana Joneses

by New Worker correspondent

MONDAY saw the announcement of the discovery of a ring of 4,500-years-old Neolithic shafts near Stonehenge, which was claimed to be the largest prehistoric monument ever discovered in Britain. All very interesting – but what of the archaeologists who actually make such discoveries?

It goes without saying that the life of an archaeologist is not as glamorous as that of Indiana Jones. For one thing, the weather in Britain is much damper than his usual stomping grounds, and fragments of leather boots and smashed-in skulls are commoner finds than jewels with magical properties.

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A Bourgeois Vision

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

MONDAY saw the launch of the Scottish Government’s Advisory Group on Economic Recovery’s Report that commissioned Benny Higgins, the former head of Tesco’s Bank, to offer guidelines on what the economic future holds for Scotland. He would obviously not have got the job if he were going to offer any suggestions that would displease the SNP.

Higgins, who was the former Chief Executive of Tesco Bank, presently holds a similar post running the business that runs the vast estates of the Duke of Buccleuch, the largest landowner in the Borders. Given his background, it is unsurprising that his report is not a particularly revolutionary document.

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BBC Jobs Coming and Going

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

Not so long ago, BBC Scotland announced it was creating 250 jobs. Some of these were for its little-watched TV channel launched in February last year. Now it is to cut around 60 jobs as the corporation targets savings of £6.2 million this financial year, of which around £3.5–4 million will come from the cost of salaries. Another 90 posts are to go in Wales and Northern Ireland, and other cuts will be announced for the English regions.

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Kettled Protest

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

Last Saturday morning saw about 500 people (nothing like the 1,500 claimed by the organisers, Stand Up To Racism) assemble in Glasgow’s George Square in defiance of the police and the Scottish Government appeal to heed the current lockdown regime and stay at home.

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Cuts fear for historic sites

by New Worker correspondent

MASS REDUNDANCIES and wage cuts are faced as Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) plans to reopen sites without agreement with PCS, the civil service union which represents workers at the palaces.

Historic Royal Palaces manage iconic British landmarks such as the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace and Hillsborough Castle in northern Ireland. Members of PCS, the biggest civil service union in the country, work as heads of departments, Yeoman Warders, and in admissions, security, retail, IT and conservation.

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UCL removes names of eugenicists from facilities

Sputnik

FOLLOWING the recent wave of Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests, several institutions and organisations are re-examining their ethos to make them more inclusive. University College London (UCL) has taken a stand to address its historical links with the controversial eugenics movement following an inquiry made earlier this year.

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Well, it’s only common sense, isn’t it?

by Ray Jones

IT’S OFTEN claimed during discussion and arguments that something or other is common sense. Sometimes as a last resort when backed into a corner but sometimes in all seriousness as a triumphant coup to end debate.

But what is common sense? A dictionary definition says it’s “Sound and prudent judgement based on a simple perception of the situation or facts”, which seems reasonable but leaves much unclear. What is “sound and prudent”? What is “a simple perception”?

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International News

Using ‘human rights’ to bash others

by Wang Wenwen

THE USA, the self-proclaimed world’s defender of ‘human rights’, cannot be more hypocritical as regards this issue. Human rights, a much-applauded idea in the USA, has simply become a tool that the Americans use for political gain.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday that a UN Human Rights Council vote condemning the raging racism and discriminatory and violent policing in the USA after the death of George Floyd marked a hypocritical “new low” for the UN body. Whilst the international human rights body ordered a report on “systemic racism” against people of African descent, Pompeo said the Council should instead focus on systemic racial disparities that he claimed existed in countries such as Cuba and China.

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Another project to strangle Cuba

by Elson Concepción Pérez

THREE US Senators, obsessed with starving Cuba, have introduced a bill that seeks to punish countries that accept the island’s medical collaboration.

All three, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rick Scott, have a long history of service to the most hostile policies towards Cuba, and not one of them is interested in how many people our doctors save or help.

The bill directs the State Department to publish a list of countries that have contracts with the Cuban government to provide medical services, and requires that this be considered as a factor in the classification of such nations in the US report on human trafficking.

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Sanctions on Syria “grotesque and inexcusable”

by Basma Qaddour

PEACE, disarmament, international co-operation and friendship are more urgently needed than ever, says Miguel Figueroa, the president of the Canadian Peace Congress, who called on the USA last week to rescind immediately the ‘Caesar Act’ and other sanctions against Syria.

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The Americas in turmoil

by Ed Newman

THE FUTURE of our planet seems quite gloomy. Worldwide, there are more than 8.3 million people infected with COVID-19 – almost half of them concentrated in the Americas... with several countries in our region still on the upward curve of the disease.

The USA accounts for the most discouraging statistics, with 2.1 million patients, followed by Brazil that practically hits one million infections.

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Wang Dingguo ¡presente!

by Lyn Neeley

WANG DINGGUO, the oldest female veteran of the Chinese Red Army’s Long March, died at the age of 107 on 9th June.

At the age of 20-years-old in 1933, Wang joined the Communist Party of China after running away from a five-year marriage she had been sold into.

The following year she joined the Fourth Red Army Front and went on the Long March from October 1934 to October 1936. Red Army soldiers marched 6,000 miles through the rough Chinese countryside to combat the Kuomintang regime and flee General Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang (Nationalist Party) army. Wang was one of only 30 women amongst the 86,000 men on the Long March.

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The World of Banksy comes to Prague

Xinhua

WORKS OF the anonymous British street art artist Banksy feature in an exhibition in Prague called The World of Banksy – the Immersive Experience, which opened this month.

The exhibition presents a selection of Banksy’s work – in the form of reproductions – to the public, which included over 60 printed items from private collections and more than 30 examples of wall graffiti. The exhibition will last until the end of September.

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It’s reckoning, not wrecking

by Finian Cunningham

PEOPLE are asking: where does this end? The list of monuments and emblems slated for removal in the USA and Europe is a daunting, ever-expanding one.

Some are labelled as glorifying racism, others for venerating war, imperialism and colonialism. Statues to Christopher Columbus and Confederate leaders in the USA have been toppled. So too have landmark effigies in Britain, Belgium and other European countries.

The anger on both sides of the Atlantic has come like a torrent following the racist police killing of African-American man George Floyd in Minneapolis on 25th May.

That anger goes beyond racist policing, and now engulfs wider historic issues of slavery and colonialism.

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Features

India’s migrant marchers herald the coming COVID surge

by B Prasant

THE THIN emaciated woman lay on her back by the side of the highway that leads away from Delhi towards Kolkata. Her arms akimbo, her knees folded together and drawn up, her body barely covered in a torn-to-strips cloth that had once been a red saree. Her eyes drew attention because they were wide open – death by starvation had surprised her mid-stride in her young life. A puzzled and underfed child, presumably hers, meandered around the body that was already in the grip of rigor. From time-to-time, hesitatingly and with great care, the child would take hold of a corner of the shredded pallu of the saree that lay pooled on one side and gently coo to her.

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The Skripals: Faker Than Fiction

Sputnik

FROM 14–16 June, the BBC broadcast the Salisbury Poisonings, a three-part dramatisation of the March 2018 poisonings of former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

A review of the miniseries in the Guardian – which neglected to mention that two Guardian journalists worked on the script or that intelligence agency propagandist Hamish De Bretton Gordon was a ‘military consultant’ – praised the Salisbury Poisonings as “admirably restrained”. Anyone familiar with the Skripal saga, however, would surely suggest the show was only restrained when it came to facts, or at least alleged facts – and these lacunae are anything but admirable.

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Facebook backs down from allowing ban on word ‘unionise’

by Mark Gruenberg

MARK ZUCKERBERG, often all too willing to allow Trump’s racist falsehoods on Facebook, was very willing to allow companies to erase pro-union words. Under pressure from unions and the law he has backed down.

Facebook has apparently backed down from guidance to firms using its office management app, ‘Facebook Workplace’, that they could ban the word ‘unionise’.

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