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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain


National News

Building and driving buses

by New Worker correspondent

THE CLASS struggle does not cease with the festive season. This is demonstrated by the case of the Leeds-based bus manufacturer Optare, where strike action that has taken place for nine weeks already will continue into January.

The hundred-plus workers, whose hourly rates are considerably lower than those in comparable companies, voted 73 per cent in favour of strike action that started in October over a broken promise to provide a pay increase for 2019 and 2020.

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On the High Seas

by New Worker correspondent

IT WAS on Plymouth Hoe where Sir Francis Drake had his game of bowls briefly interrupted to be told the Spanish Armada was on its way. This week less momentous news has been received from Plymouth, namely that specialist tug operators at Devonport’s naval base employed by outsourcer Serco Marine will be going on strike.

In a ballot with a 92.3 per cent turnout, 97.2 per cent voted in favour of strike action. The 40-odd tractor tug crew members will go strike from 25th December in protest to stop drastic changes to their working patterns. These will change from one week on and one week off to a gruelling three weeks on and three weeks off. To make matters worse, the changes also mean the workers will lose annual leave allocations.

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Rowdy customers

by New Worker correspondent

SHOPWORKERS’ union USDAW has expressed disappointment that, under questioning from Labour MPs Daniel Zeichner and Shadow Home Affairs Minister Bambos Charalambous, the Minister of State for Crime and Policing replied that the Government didn’t “yet” see a case for a specific offence of assaulting a shop-worker.

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In the departure lounge

by New Worker correspondent ANOTHER SEASONAL strike is taking place at Heathrow Airport, where Cargo workers employed by British Airways voted almost unanimously for nine days of strike action starting on Christmas Day and ending on the first Saturday of the New Year.

The 840 workers belonging to Unite agreed to the action in protest at BA’s attempts to fire and rehire the workforce, a move which would result in pay cuts of between 20–25 per cent, in addition to substantial cuts to terms and conditions.

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A festive demarcation battle

by New Worker correspondent A SERIOUS inter-union dispute is underway over which union represents Santa Claus. The Fire Brigade Union (FBU), citing a video of him driving a fire engine, has claimed him as member. This was disputed by the Communication Workers Union (CWU), saying that he does a postman’s job. The FBU promptly pointed out that as Santa wears boots and leggings and is accustomed to heights, he can only be an FBU member.

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That was the Year That Was

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

2020 WAS A GOOD year for political scandals, apart from the ongoing revelations about the battles between the present and former First Ministers where it is yet to be finally clarified which of the contending parties has behaved the least worst.

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Party News

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

The Tory Party had three leaders this year. In August 2019 Ruth Davidson resigned soon after returning from maternity leave, claiming she wanted to be a full-time mother. Although she had said some unflattering things about Boris Johnson, these were not serious enough to prevent him making her a baroness. After a belated election in February she was succeeded by second-hand car dealer Jackson Carlaw, who was such a success that the men in grey kilts deposed him in late July.

The Neverendum

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

Needless to say, much ink time and energy will be spent on the independence question. The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford says the party “must” prepare for a second referendum on Scottish independence to take place in 2021, claiming that the nationalists would have a platform to hold another referendum “quickly” if they came out on top during the Scottish elections next May.

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COVID-19 and Other Matters

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

The SNP’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis north of the border can be symbolised by the example of the emergency hospital established in Glasgow. It was similar to the others established in England, but it had to have a different name because Florence Nightingale was English, so it was called after Louisa Jordan, a Scottish nurse who ran a hospital in Serbia during the First World War and died during a typhus epidemic in 1915.

Thinking up names for an emergency hospital was obviously more important to the SNP than running them properly. The new flagship hospital in Glasgow has been found to be covered in the same sort of cladding used in Grenfell Tower and the Edinburgh children’s hospital remains unopened.

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Corbyn launches new peace and justice campaign

by Jason Dunn

FORMER Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn unveiled on Sunday his new project to promote international co-operation and establish cross-country ties to tackle issues such as racism and climate change. Since the election defeat in December 2019, the left-wing movement surrounding the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn was considered to have come to an end. With continued opposition from the Labour Party, however, the former leader has set up a new campaign to promote his political values.

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Coming to terms with COVID-19

REVIEW by Ben Soton

Blinded by Corona: How the Pandemic Ruined Britain’s Health and Wealth and What to Do about It by John Ashton, Gibson Square Publishers 2020.

Paperback: 256pp; £12.99.Hardback: 256pp; £40.

Kindle: 256pp; file size 461k; £5.99.

IN THE months and years ahead there will be numerous articles, books and even television dramas about COVID-19. With this in mind, John Aston’s book will be one amongst many critiques of how the pandemic was handled and for the most part mishandled.

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Blairite ‘fake news’ campaign targets left

by Mohamed Elmaazi

FAR FROM offering an impartial analysis of ‘fake news’, the Stop Funding Fake News (SFFN) campaign is in fact a politically motivated censorship group, organised by Blairites, that targets the alternative and Left press, an investigative journalist tells Sputnik.

John McEvoy is an investigative journalist who has had articles published in the scholarly International History Review as well as The Canary, Tribune, Jacobin, Declassified UK, Brasil Wire and other publications. McEvoy talks about his latest exclusive in the Canary, which revealed that the opaque Stop Funding Fake News campaign was founded by Labour members linked to current Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer. “Protecting freedom of expression is a noble endeavour; mounting an anonymous campaign to silence ideas you don’t like is cowardice” says McEvoy, after describing how the primary target of SFFN was the pro-Corbyn left news website the Canary. Sputnik: What is it exactly that you discovered?

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MP nominates Cuban doctors for Nobel Prize

by Jorge Ruiz Miyares

KATE OSBORNE became the fifth Labour MP formally to nominate Cuban medical brigade Henry Reeve for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize last month. Four other Labour MPs, Mick Whitley, Graham Morris, Navenda Mishra and Rachel Hopkins, are also supporting the Cuban nomination. The Cuban internationalist doctors also received nominations from two Scottish Labour MSPs, Neil Findlay and Elaine Smith, and academics Alpesh Maisuria, Matt Henn, Helen Colley and Helen Yaffe.

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International News

Bloody clashes during US protests

Radio Havana Cuba

VIOLENT clashes between pro-Trump protesters and Black Lives Matter (BLM) supporters on both sides of the country ended in bloodshed last weekend.

In Washington DC, four people were stabbed as violence escalated Saturday night following protests during the day. The president’s supporters, including the far-right Proud Boys, had gathered in the afternoon to denounce the results of the 2020 election – baselessly decried as fraudulent for weeks by Trump.

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Israel moves in on north Africa

Sputnik MOROCCO and Israel agreed to establish formal diplomatic relations last week. As part of the deal, the USA agreed to recognise Morocco’s sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara region.

But the recently-signed agreement on normalisation of relations between Morocco and Israel also points to Tel Aviv’s determination to anchor itself in Northern Africa, Algerian Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad said on Saturday.

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French police crush new Paris protests

Telesur

FRENCH CITIZENS held another day of large-scale demonstrations in Paris last weekend to protest against the global security bill, which would make it a criminal offence, under certain circumstances, to film or photograph police officers. Many fear this will make it harder for journalists and citizens to document cases of police brutality.

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Features

USA: Fight or Die!

by Martha Grevatt

IT’S DECEMBER 2020. The working class in the USA is facing a crisis of survival. It is the worst such crisis since the Great Depression, especially for the most oppressed.

The statistics are damning: One in six households face hunger; one in five workers are out of work; some 30 million renters and homeowners face homelessness in the coming winter months. The COVID-19 death toll will hit 300,000 any day now. The coronavirus is now the leading cause of death in the USA, passing heart disease and cancer. Hospitals are unable to cope with the surge in COVID-19 cases.

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Pages of Our History: Marx on the Market

by Robin McGregor

TRIVIAL matters such as global pandemic should not deter readers from doing their Christmas shopping for themselves and their loved ones, especially as the Interweb makes shopping easier than ever without the risk of crowds or germs. What better seasonal gift, or a treat for oneself, than some of the writings of Karl Marx and his colleague Friedrich Engels?

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