The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 12th October 2007
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US TROOPS ON THE DEFENSIVE
by our Arab Affairs Correspondent
US TROOPS IN IRAQ are on the defensive during Ramadan while the
long expected resistance offensive during the Muslim holy month of
fasting and prayer is concentrating on attacks on collaborators and
quislings. The underground Baathist resistance has launched a new
united resistance front and American plans to partition Iraq into three
sectarian statelets are floundering.
Twenty-two Iraqi resistance movements have combined to form a national
liberation front under the leadership of the Arab Socialist Renaissance
Party (Baath). At a unity congress held in a liberated area of Baghdad
last month, partisan leaders pledged to fight for the total liberation
of Iraq however long it takes and established a Supreme Command headed
by Baathist leader Izzat Ibrahim al Duri.
The new Jihad and Liberation Front then elected a Supreme Command,
staffed by a number of generals from the old Iraqi army along with
religious and community leaders, and declared that there would be no
negotiations with the “American enemy” except on the basis of the
“sacred principles” of the front.
The preconditions for negotiations with the occupying forces are
firstly: that the Americans officially recognise the patriotic
resistance as the sole legitimate representative of the Iraqi people
and announce an immediate or rapid-staged unconditional withdrawal from
the country; then that all US offensive actions are halted and all
prisoners freed without exception and with compensation; that the Iraqi
army and national security forces are restored and all laws and decrees
issued during the occupation are cancelled.
“If the enemy wants to withdraw in a face-saving manner,” the Supreme
Command declared “they should sit down and speak directly with the
resistance to discuss the implementation of these sacred principles.
Otherwise, their only alternative is collapse and flight.”
In the northern city of Mosul the puppet deputy police chief of Nineveh
province was wounded in a drive-by shooting and at least seven people
were killed and 19 others were wounded when the headquarters of the
Kurdish Democratic Party was blown up on Sunday.
The puppet mayor of al-Iskandariyah was assassinated last week when his
motorcade was bombed on his way to work and the leader of the Salah ad
Din province collaborationist militia has died from wounds sustained in
an earlier bomb attack.
Back in Baghdad the puppet “governor” narrowly escaped with his life
when his motorcade was ambushed Saturday night. Several guards were
wounded in the gun-battle.
The Polish embassy has been evacuated to the “Green Zone” following
four bomb attacks on their legation on Monday. Last week the Polish
Ambassador was wounded when his motorcade was bombed. Poland, a
satellite of US imperialism, sent 2,500 troops in support of the
Anglo-American occupation in 2003. There are 900 left at “Camp Echo”,
some 180 km south of Baghdad, which was subjected to a barrage of
Katyusha rockets Sunday night.
In the south the leaders of the two major Shia militias have reached an
agreement to end the turf-war in Basra province.
Abdel Aziz al Hakim and Muqtada al Sadr have agreed to set up a
joint committee to end the bloodshed between the Badr Brigades, which
support the Shia-led puppet government, and the Mahdi Army. The British
base at Basra International Airport was rocketed Friday night. Three
British soldiers were injured and several airport buildings were set
ablaze by the Katyushas. This Tuesday the director of Basra airport was
kidnapped by unknown gunmen.
America’s divide and rule tactics are back-firing big-time – the only
takers are the pro-Iranian sectarian Shia Muslim leaders who now
dominate the puppet administrations in central and southern Iraq –
while the threat of a Turkish incursion into Iraqi Kurdistan could
propel the feudal Kurdish chieftains who currently support the US
occupation into the arms of Iran.
The Turks have been bombarding the border areas which they claim, with
some justification, are sanctuaries for the Kurdish Workers’ Party
(PKK) militia that has resumed its guerrilla campaign in southern
Turkey. The Americans are calling for restraint but the Turkish
government has warned that if the Americans and their Iraqi Kurdish
allies don’t crack down on the PKK they’ll do it themselves. The Iraqi
Kurds know well what this means. The last time the Turks went in, in
the late 1990s, their troops used indiscriminate violence and terror
against the civilian population.
Brown overplays his
GORDON BROWN’S standing with
the public took a nose-dive last weekend when he ruled out a snap
election after days of media speculation that had been fired by rumours
spread by his own merchants of spin. Labour has a working majority of
69 in the House of Commons and its mandate does not expire until 2010.
Brown had no need to renew Labour’s mandate after Blair because he’s
made it clear he’s going to carry on, more or less, where Blair left
off. Nor was there any demand from the opposition parties for an early
poll given Labour’s clear lead in the opinion polls until last
So it is difficult to see what possible motive Gordon Brown’s aides had
in firing the speculation on a snap election, apart from trying to
wrong-foot and embarrass Tory leader David Cameron at his own
conference in Blackpool. If that was the reason it certainly backfired.
Cameron rallied his troops calling on the Tory faithful to close ranks
around the same stale anti-working class policies of his predecessors,
which they did because this is precisely what they wanted to hear.
Now the Tories claim that Brown backed down because he feared
Labour would lose in November, safe in the knowledge that it now will
never be proved. What is for sure is that the latest opinion polls, for
what that’s worth, put the Tories neck and neck with Labour and that
certainly reflects public distaste at the sight of the Labour leader
using his high office to try and pull a cheap stunt over his major
Prattling on about his “vision” for Britain is making Brown look even
more the fool to the millions of working people who have voted Labour
time and time again in the hope that their rights and standards would
be defended. Sadly it’s been left to the Liberal Democrats to formally
call for fixed four-year parliamentary terms ensure that this sort of
nonsense doesn’t happen again.
One of the six main demands of the Chartist movement back in 1838
was, in fact, for the annual election of parliament so this is, at
least, a step in the right direction.
the postal workers
OVER A 100,000 Royal Mail workers walked out for 48 hours last
week bringing postal deliveries to a standstill and they did so again
this week, demonstrating that the membership was right behind their
union’s refusal to accept management’s attempt to link their miserable
pay offer to a “flexibility” agreement that will reduce postal workers’
average earnings and considerably devalue their pension scheme. The
rock-solid response of the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU)
membership has shocked management, which had spread scare stories that
a strike would finish the union and the industry.
Despite management claims what postal workers make is still £80 a
week below the national average. The current 6.9 per cent pay offer
over two years is tied to “flexibility” changes without any guarantee
of recompense or job security. The current pension scheme will close,
reducing existing benefits and the retirement age will be raised from
60 to 65. Senior management is refusing to seriously negotiate with the
CWU to settle the dispute. Now they’re churning out the “greedy
workers” lie to turn the massive public sympathy for the strikers to
justify management’s refusal to meet the CWU’s legitimate demands.
Down the years post workers have won concessions to cover the unsocial
hours, shifts and public holiday work that they have to do to deliver
the mail. Now it’s called “Spanish” or “restrictive” practices. When
the head of Royal Mail gets a million a year – far more than even the
Prime Minister gets – it’s called “competitiveness” and “good value”.
Gordon Brown bleats that the strike was disrupting people’s
lives. “When we, the Government, are investing a huge amount of money
in the postal services, it is not something that we can either condone
or we can stand idly by and say it is an acceptable form of behaviour,”
he says, adding: “I want these people back to work.”
Well, all he has to do is tell Royal Mail management to make a
realistic response to the CWU’s demands. In the meantime the striking
workers should receive all the trade union solidarity and public
support they need to guarantee victory.
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