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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain


National News

Black Country blues

by New Worker correspondent

IN THE West Midlands alone at least 8,000 jobs were lost last week. In 50 automotive manufacturing firms that employ 83,529 workers, no less than 45,814 are employed in high-risk firms.

Unite the union points out that with the furloughing scheme coming to an end and the Westminster government reluctant to introduce survival packages for strategically vital sectors such as automotive, aerospace and aviation, the risk of redundancies will get worse.

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Pressing problems

by New Worker correspondent

REACH, formerly known as Trinity Mirror, which publishes the Mirror stable of newspapers that includes 150 local weeklies and the recently acquired Express titles, has announced it is cutting 550 jobs, about 12 per cent of the workforce, allegedly as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. It presently employs 2,600 editorial staff and does contract printing for other companies.

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In the shops

by New Worker correspondent

IN THE retail sector the posh people’s store Harrods have announced that they will be making around 600 to 700 of its 4,800 employees redundant. The cuts will particularly affect staff in its beauty salons and cafes in its Knightsbridge store.

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On the rails

by New Worker correspondent

GLASGOW’S Queen Street Station is Scotland’s third busiest station serving 17 million passengers heading to and from Edinburgh and the north. It, and the rail services to Edinburgh, have recently been upgraded. To celebrate, operator Abellio Scotrail has announced that there will be a two-thirds cut in the number of retail positions in the station travel shop and it will have just two open-plan ‘pods’ to serve the whole station.

Despite COVID-19, staff and passengers will no longer have the protection of a fully glazed screen. Transport union RMT believes it is absurd that as companies across the country are putting protective screens in place in response to the pandemic, Abellio Scotrail is planning the complete reverse. It will also be less than satisfactory for the staff when confronted with Saturday night drunks.

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Union elections

by New Worker correspondent

THE big three of British trade unions are all engaged in the early stages of electing new general secretaries.

First off the starting bloc was GMB, whose leader Tim Roache stood down citing ill health at the same time as an internal inquiry was investigating anonymous allegations of misconduct against him.

Over at Unite, General Secretary Len McCluskey’s term is not due to end until April 2022, but already there is jockeying for position because he is expected to depart earlier.

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Labour calls for release of Patel ‘bullying’ report

Sputnik

THE LABOUR Party is calling for the prompt release of a report into allegations of bullying by the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, amidst claims that the inquiry’s chief is under political pressure to clear her of charges.

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New Parties…

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

THERE SEEMS to be a fashion for new political parties in Scotland at present. An ‘Alliance For Independence’ (AFI) was formally announced on Tuesday morning by a former Highland and Islands SNP MSP who has resigned from his former party. He claimed that “voting for the SNP twice under the list system will achieve nothing” but that “whereas if a lot of these votes came to AFI we can garner a lot of MSPs”.

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…and old

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

At the same time, the SNP government has been heroically battling the government presided over by Boris Johnson and his Rasputin-like aide, Dominic Cummings. A constant refrain is that it does not get enough money, yet it is reluctant to use what it already gets. The SNP claimed that that Scotland’s share of last week’s £30 billion windfall was only £21 million. But more than £320 million of the Westminster-funded business support cash hasn’t been distributed and the SNP government has closed the scheme despite 17,000 applications unprocessed. Elements of the Scottish bourgeoisie will not be pleased.

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Theatre industry faces bleak future

Xinhua

NUFFIELD Southampton Theatres (NST), an institution comprising two venues in Southampton, is set to close permanently. The theatre, which has run for over 50 years, went into administration in May after it suffered a severe drop in ticket sales amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even though the Government announced an emergency support package to help protect the future of theatres, several venues such as NST have still had to close.

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TV REVIEW

Dreams of Gold in Victorian New Zealand

by Ben Soton

The Luminaries (2020–), TV mini-series. Stars: Eve Hewson, Eva Green, Himesh Patel. Produced by: BBC Two, Southern Light Films and Working Title Television. Distributed by: BBC Two (UK) (TV) and TVNZ (2020) (New Zealand) (TV).

THE BBC’s most recent historical drama The Luminaries is based on Eleanor Catton’s Man Booker Prize-winning novel of the same name. Set during the New Zealand Gold Rush of the 1860s, it combines mysticism, suspense and romance.

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International News

Stop the war on Iran!

by Raymond Tyler

ISRAEL set off a bomb on 3rd July on the Iranian Natanz nuclear site, severely damaging a building integral to Iran’s nuclear power facility. The plan to attack the Iranian nuclear centre had long been planned by the USA and Israel.

The unprovoked attack is one in a series of US-backed bipartisan attacks targeting the Iranian people. Despite soft criticism from the Democrats about the Trump administration’s war crimes, the two major political parties in the USA have supported the use of force against Iran.

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The race for the vaccine

by Ed Newman

ALMOST everyone is convinced that social distancing and preventive measures are effective to stop the chain of infections and the expansion of the COVID-19 pandemic. Those measures, however, are not a definitive remedy for the disease.

We say ‘almost’ everyone, because there are notorious exceptions such as Donald Trump and Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, staunch enemies of such fundamental regulations as wearing a mask and avoiding crowded places.

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The São Paulo Forum that gave the left heart

by Raúl Antonio Capote

THIRTY years ago, on the initiative of Fidel Castro, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and the Brazilian Workers’ Party, a conference was held in the Brazilian city of São Paulo to rally the left around the world. The Encounter of Latin America and the Caribbean Political Parties and Movements, renamed the São Paulo Forum a year later, was held in São Paulo in July 1990.

It was a difficult time for the left following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the people’s democracies of eastern Europe. Neo-liberalism was advancing and many believed that socialism was a dead-end.

But Fidel Castro was advocating, wherever and whenever But Fidel Castro was advocating, wherever and whenever he could, the creation of a bloc to fight, not surrender despite the great difficulties – as he did at the 1993 session in Havana, when he spoke to leaders of the left, the surviving progressive, popular, revolutionary movements of that time, and called for unity in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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Deadly new sanctions on Syria

by Judy Bello

ON 20th May US President Donald Trump signed into law the 2020 National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA). Embedded in this bill, a housekeeping bill of sorts where yearly ‘defence’ appropriations and priorities are spelled out, was the basic text of the 2019 Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act. Perhaps the details were buried here because there was no bipartisan support but there is certainly no reason to think that was the case. The war on Syria has had bipartisan support for the duration.

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Features

Ending the chaos in Hong Kong

by Dilip Barua

General Secretary, Communist Party of Bangladesh (ML)

THE BRITISH entered in China as opium traders. Later, in 1841, they occupied Hong Kong. After occupying Hong Kong, British imperialism implemented a highly centralised colonial political system. Hong Kong’s colonial governors were appointed by the British government instead of being democratically elected. Under British rule, Hong Kongese could not enjoy equal citizenship and equal participation in politics, and they suffered from colonial oppression.

But an outstanding leader like Comrade Deng Xiaoping had formulated one country two systems, and afterwards in 1997 British colonial rule ended and Hong Kong was handed over to the government of the People’s Republic of China.

In this way Hong Kong has become a legal and sovereign component of China, with its basic law constitution endorsed by the National People’s Congress – which, as China’s foremost legislative body, issues such formal power. Hong Kong has designated autonomy, but it is not something ‘independent’ of China, it is legally and constitutionally part of China.

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Arabs will not back West over China

Sputnik

PEOPLE’S CHINA remains a reliable political and economic partner for the Arabs. The Arab world supports China regarding the pandemic, Xinjiang and Hong Kong, and the Arabs are not going to participate in the Western anti-Chinese campaign. This can be concluded from the 9th ministerial meeting of the Sino-Arab Co-operation Forum held via video-conference on 6th July.

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