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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

National News

Home or office?

A SURVEY commissioned by civil service union Prospect, which also represents workers in many other organisations, reveals that their members are none too keen on home working. The results released last month show that 37 per cent of workers have a preference to be mostly or completely office-based in the future and 24 per cent want to work at home, with the remainder wanting a mixture of both.

Most were united in annoyance at senior management taking such decisions without consultation, with only 22 per cent reporting that they had been consulted so far and 37 per cent not expecting to be consulted in future.

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On the High Seas

by New Worker correspondent

ONCE AGAIN workers who man the Woolwich Ferry, which has been taking people across the lower Thames since the 14th century, are taking strike action. They went on strike two years ago, seeking a pay rise and over safety concerns when the new operators cut staff numbers and set new shift patterns after acquiring new ships.

Last year the workers won a good deal when they won 100 per cent furlough pay from then operator Briggs Marine Contractors. Now the enemy is Transport for London (TfL). The cause of the latest action is the victimisation of a union rep. The lower Thames ferry’s 57 Unite the union members voted by 97 per cent in favour of eight days of strike action on Fridays and Mondays, this month and next.

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On dry land

by New Worker correspondent

IN NEARBY Greenwich, teachers at the John Roan School have taken strike action in defence of Kirstie Paton, a psychology teacher and National Education Union (NEU) rep who faces the sack for mentioning alleged improper use of COVID-19 tests. They walked out just before a disciplinary hearing last Friday and will be balloting for further strike action.

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In Furryboots City

by New Worker correspondent

IN ABERDEEN many of the city council’s housing workers are taking part in a strike ballot after being overwhelmed by increasing housing arrears and homelessness caused by the pandemic. The Press & Journal reported that around 40 Union housing and support officers will take part in an industrial action ballot in soon. Rent arrears have more than tripled from £2.6 million in 2015–16 to £7.9 million in 2020–21. Unite the Union claims that the rise in housing arrears is “directly related” to the widespread economic disruption caused to the Aberdeen economy by the COVID-19 pandemic, which sounds reasonable. Aberdeen council is run by that unique thing, a Labour–Tory coalition.

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On (or off) the buses

by New Worker correspondent

TRANSPORT company revenues have plummeted because almost nobody was going to work for a considerable period. Services were cut during the pandemic, but it is uncertain how many will be restored.

A survey by transport union RMT of councillors from all parties involved with local transport authorities, suggests “that a cuts disaster looms for Britain’s bus network unless the Government takes far more radical action than is set out in its National Bus Strategy”. Two-thirds of councillors in England, outside London, expect their council will be forced to cut funding for local bus services in the future.

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Scottish Political News

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

WHEN THIS issue hits the doormats, all the votes for the Holyrood elections will have been cast, with counting in progress. The only uncertainty is how many seats the ruling SNP secure and whether the Tories remain the official opposition. Much depends on how many anti-SNP voters hold their noses and vote for a party they normally dislike. In one radio phone-in, Tory leader Douglas Ross told someone to vote for the best placed pro-UK candidate knowing the caller was from an area where that meant a Labour vote.

The final stages of the campaign were enlivened only by Ross saying Boris Johnson (who never made it further north than Hartlepool) would have to resign if found to have broken the ministerial code over his interior decoration affairs. But Ross had to say that because he had made exactly the same point during the Sturgeon–Salmond war.

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Remember the dead and fight for the living

by New Worker correspondent

BRISTOL trade unionists gathered on Wednesday 28th April to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day. They marched with banners from Tony Benn House, home of Unite in Bristol, to Castle Park for a wreath laying ceremony, one-minute silence and commemoration.

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Cuban dancer tours England in July

by Lena Valverde Jordi

BRITISH audiences will be able to see top Cuban dancers this summer. On Before, starring Carlos Acosta, opens at the Norwich Theatre Royal on 16th July before going on tour to the Lowry in Salford, the Mayflower theatre in Southampton and the Marlowe in Canterbury.

Carlos Acosta performs as a soloist alongside Laura Rodriguez, who is a founding member of his Cuban dance company, Acosta Danza. The tour has been funded by the British government’s Culture Recovery Fund, which awarded millions of pounds to arts organisations around the country during the coronavirus lockdown to support to the arts.

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International News

Workers of the world rally on May Day

Radio Havana Cuba

PROTESTS erupted in several European countries on May Day as demonstrators called for better working protections amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis attributed to it.

Protesters took to the streets of France, Spain and Germany on 1st May, which marks International Labour Day commemorating labourers and the working class. Protest rallies typically occur every year in many countries on May Day, but they took on a new meaning this year after months of lockdowns and economic hardships that have impacted the livelihoods of most employees and workers.

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Angry Palestinians hit the streets

by Elizabeth Blade

PALESTINIAN President Mahmoud Abbas has decided to postpone the legislative elections set for 22nd May and crowds in the West Bank and Gaza are boiling with rage.

The 22nd May was supposed to be the day Palestinians headed to the polls in their first legislative elections in 15 years. But last week’s decision by President Mahmoud Abbas has put an end to those hopes, triggering protests against his government.

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Rich line their pockets under Biden

Radio Havana Cuba

THE COMBINED net worth of the top 100 ultra-rich people in the USA has skyrocketed by $195 billion since Biden took office, according to Bloomberg’s calculations. From his election to his inauguration, they added $267 billion to their fortunes, bringing their total gain to $461 billion since 4th November.

The rise in billionaires’ wealth in the first 100 days of Biden’s presidency is around 20 per cent of the cash stockpile those billionaires raked in between Trump’s inauguration and the 2020 election. According to available data, they became $860 billion richer over that period.

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The USA can’t control the World

by Margaret Kimberley

SLOW-WITTED Joe Biden appears to think that we’re still in the age of the sole superpower, when in fact that era has come and gone.

As this columnist has pointed out, Joe Biden’s foreign policy differs little from that of his predecessor Donald Trump. The imperatives of the US hegemon require treating the rest of the world as either willing vassals or as sworn enemies. Any nation that threatens economic supremacy or the ability to thwart foreign policy directives is labelled an adversary and faces an onslaught of governmental and corporate media attacks. This dynamic remains unchanged, and the Biden administration has only worsened an already bad situation.

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Western media: Western propaganda

by Xia Wenxin

IT IS UNDENIABLE that the West, especially the USA, has started a propaganda war with its rivals, particularly China and Russia. Branding its opponents and their media is one of the common tactics of the West. For instance, the Global Times is often labelled as “China’s nationalist tabloid” and RT (Russia Today) is smeared as “pro-Kremlin” or “state-controlled”.

Recently, it’s noticeable that certain Western media outlets are becoming more and more like the so-called state media. One twitter user wrote that the “New York Times front page of the World section is currently: Russia bad, China crazy, Iran weak. Who needs state media when you have this?”

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Syrian students win UK computer laurels

by Rawaa Ghanam

FOR A second year in a row a Syrian team has ranked first in the international Girls in AI 2021 competition in Britain. This remarkable achievement was made by the ADA team from the Syrian Computer Society (SCS) branch in Latakia, which achieved first place in the category of ethics of artificial intelligence.

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Donbas: The people have made their choice

by Boris Litvinov

Chair of the Communist Party of the Donetsk People’s Republic

IN FEBRUARY 2014, a coup d’état took place in Ukraine. The capitalists of Ukraine, with the support of international capital, brought to power Ukrainian nationalists with their fascist ideology and methods of governing the country.

Incitement of hatred towards the Russians and Russia, towards Soviet history and the socialist country, towards communist ideology and the supporters of the union of fraternal peoples, became the basis of the state policy of Ukraine. With the money of Ukrainian oligarchs, the USA and several Western countries, armed detachments of neo-fascists were created, which forced the citizens of Ukraine to submit to the will of the organisers of the coup by force and threats.

Crimea, thanks to the unity of the goals and actions of the people and local authorities, held a referendum on its self-determination in March 2014 and returned to Russia, where it had been historically located until 1954.

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What’s happening in Myanmar?

by Jan Dieles

THE SITUATION in Myanmar is complicated. Such a statement should be entirely obvious – yet the fact (or rather, an immense bundle of facts) it represents is pointedly glossed over by mainstream media coverage.

We are given a picture where there is a pure and straightforward struggle happening in Myanmar, between good and evil – Aung San Suu Kyi, her party and allies; and the military (known as the Tatmadaw), respectively. In certain senses, this interpretation is close to reality: the Tatmadaw (Armed Forces) is certainly irredeemable from any angle and Aung San Suu Kyi is the figurehead of the existing mass movement against their rule. But there are considerably more forces at play that should make us consider our attitude more carefully.

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May Day: Made in the USA

by Milton Howard

ON THE MORNING of 6th October 1886, Albert Parsons, a native of Alabama whose brother was a general in the Civil War, rose in a Chicago courtroom to make the last speech of his life. He was facing his doom as one of the convicted so-called “anarchists”, one of the “detested aliens” who had been seized in the police frame-up following an explosion on Chicago’s Haymarket Square during a workers’ demonstration on 4th May.

Parsons spoke long and well. He was going back over his life, telling the remarkable story of how the boy who ran with the Texas trappers and Native American traders as a kid grew up to become a leader of industrial strikes and an agitator for a new social system.

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