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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

National News

Pandemic winners

SOME PEOPLE are doing well out of the pandemic, such as those supermarkets which had existing delivery services.

Those involved in the Government’s unsuccessful “Test and Trace” programme have also been amongst the winners. No less than 2,300 private sector consultants were working on the project. That is about the same as the Treasury, which employs 2,260, and the Department for International Trade with 2,290.

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Mixed results for Unions

THE LATEST lockdown has naturally dominated the recent activities of trade unions. The teaching unions achieved their desire for the closure of all schools in the face of opposition from the Government, but many other unions are dissatisfied. The GMB has said that all nurseries and pre-schools should also close, citing its success in persuading Green-run Brighton & Hove council to do just that.

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‘Outrageous’ discrimination

LAST SATURDAY The Times reported two cases of grave inequalities facing women.

A recent report found that women QCs in government departments were “significantly more likely to be instructed at the lowest hourly rate”. To be more precise, 80 per cent of them were instructed at the hourly rate of £180 per hour compared with only 68 per cent of men. The higher rate of £275 was far more likely to go to male QCs.

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Shock News: Useless Minister Actually Resigns

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

JUST AS the pre-Christmas edition was whizzing its way through the post an extraordinarily rare event took place. This was the departure of a Scottish Minister for the sin of incompetence. Whilst incompetence is the norm for the SNP Government, taking responsibility for it is as rare as a blue moon. Figures had recently been published showing that drug deaths in Scotland had been risen to a record height of 1,264, a figure double that of 2014, or 295 per million and a rate 3.5 times higher than that of the UK of a whole. These comparative figures do not usually feature in SNP press releases, which normally like to stress microscopic differences in the Scottish– English coronavirus death rates.

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Brexit Grumbles

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

SNP positions on Brexit are as varied as those in the Kama Sutra. They said that a No Deal Brexit would be catastrophic. One MP, Joanna Cherry, said that she would go to court to ensure that if the Prime Minister took us out of the European Union (EU) without a deal he would go to jail. In the final House of Commons vote this was exactly what they voted for however, when they voted for a No Deal Brexit in the final vote on the instructions of Nicola Sturgeon (SNP Parliamentarians are not allowed to think for themselves).

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The Year Ahead

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

It is no more newsworthy than reporting a “dog bites man” story to record that the SNP are still demanding another independence referendum this year. To some extent Boris Johnson agrees, helpfully suggesting 2055 because there were 41 years between the two referendums on the EU.

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Passing of a Life- Long Anti- Fascist

GEORGE BLAKE, who died in Russia on Boxing Day at the age of 98, spent his life fighting fascism in various guises. Born in 1922 in Rotterdam of a Dutch mother and a naturalised British Egyptian Jewish father called Albert Behar, he was named after the reigning King.

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Assange still jailed

THE LONG-RUNNING Julian Assange affair has not yet finally been resolved. On Monday, a judge in the Old Bailey ruled that the founder of Wikileaks could not be extradited to the USA, where he faces the prospect of being locked up for the rest of his life for revealing official communications from US diplomats abroad to their bosses in Washington that reveal, or rather confirm, that US diplomats do much more than ‘diplomacy’.

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International News

Alabama warehouse workers take on Amazon

by Minnie Bruce Pratt AMAZON workers at a Bessemer, Alabama, USA warehouse took a big step toward organising the first union ever in that behemoth company, when the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) approved their request for a unionisation vote. Bessemer is a former steel-producing city adjoining Birmingham.

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America’s retail union

by New Worker correspondent

THE RETAIL, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) was founded in 1937 as the United Retail Employees of America by the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), as a result of a split in the New York branches of the Retail Clerks International union, and changed its name the following year.

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Similar story at Google

ANOTHER group of workers in the USA are taking steps to get organised. At internet giant Google 227 workers, mostly in the San Francisco area, have formed a new “Alphabet Union” (named after Google’s parent company).

“This is historic, the first union at a major tech company by and for all tech workers,” said software engineer Dylan Baker, who added: “We will elect representatives, we will make decisions democratically, we will pay dues, and we will hire skilled organisers to ensure all workers at Google know they can work with us if they actually want to see their company reflect their values.”

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Israel blocks COVID vaccine for Palestinian prisoners

Communist Party of Israel

THE ISRAELI Health Ministry reported on Wednesday, 30th December, that the total number of residents in the country inoculated against COVID-19 is currently more than 500,000. Israeli Public Security Minister Amir Ohana has issued a directive however, preventing Palestinians detained by Israel from receiving vaccinations, in violation of mandatory Health Ministry guidelines.

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Israeli prisons

Prensa Latina

DURING 2020, Israel detained 4,636 Palestinians during raids according to Wafa, the Palestinian news agency. According to complaints from human rights groups, the Israeli military captured at least 543 minors in 2020, despite exhortations from the United Nations (UN) to provide them with protection and keep them away from all kinds of violence.

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The German photographer who recorded Hà Noi in time 0f war

Việt Nam News

ANYONE who has seen the photography book Hà Nội 1967–1975 by German photographer Thomas Billhardt can see the true emotions of Hà Nội. Writer Đỗ Phấn noted: “Traces of wartime were featured peacefully, gently and romantically through the lenses of the German photographer… Of course, there are also painful moments.”

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Capitalism and Science: Elsevier and Wiley’s War on Science and Research

by Prabir Purkayastha

THREE journal publishers have filed a case in Delhi High Court for blocking Sci-Hub and Libgen in India. These two websites provide free downloads of research publications and books to research scholars and students. This is not an attack on pirate sites as the publishers claim but a war against students and researchers in India, who do not have access to these high priced journals. The case has been filed in Delhi by knowledge monopolies who have locked the results of science – both natural and social sciences – behind their paywalls, and now insist that everyone pay through the nose for access.

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Polish Communists on farmers’ protests

Edited by the New Worker from an automatic translation of an article by the Communist Party of Poland

DECEMBER saw a huge increase in the protests of farmers in Poland at the same time as the great farmers’ strike was taking place in India. This involved 300,000 agricultural workers on a march to Delhi. Despite differences between the situation of farmers in Poland and in India, the reasons for the protests and the demands of the protesters in both countries are similar.

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