The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 14th September 2007
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SURGE ‘ABJECT FAILURE’ IN IRAQ
by our Arab Affairs correspondent
AMERICAN imperialism’s top commander in occupied Iraq, General
David Petraeus, told the US Congress this week that the military
objectives of the so-called troop surge “are largely being met”. But
hostile Senate Democrats bluntly said the surge strategy was an abject
failure in its prime objective and several senior Republican Senators
also questioned the Bush administration’s approach, as Petraeus and US
ambassador to Baghdad Ryan Crocker endured a grilling during the second
day of testimony to Congress.
General Petraeus said nothing new. The “surge” offensive was working.
More time was needed though the 30,000 reinforcements sent in this
summer could be withdrawn sometime next year. The general rejected
Democrat claims that his testimony had been scripted in the White House
but this didn’t convince the New York Times which described it as
“another of the broken promises and false claims we have heard from Mr
Whether the extra “surge” troops leave or stay is largely irrelevant to
most Iraqis. It would still leave them at the mercy of the 130,000-plus
US army of occupation, together with a legion of mercenary
“contractors”, struggling to prop up a puppet regime that had no
credibility amongst the masses to start with.
While General Petraeus was painting a rosy picture of success in
Baghdad on Tuesday the resistance showed what they were capable of by
hitting the US army HQ at the international airport. Rockets and mortar
fire rained down on “Camp Victory” killing one soldier and wounding 11
more. Meanwhile back in Al Anbar province, a resistance stronghold,
partisans continued their campaign to cut all major transport links by
blowing up two more bridges on the motorway in the western desert last
Friday. The number of bridges blown up on the Al Anbar motorway this
year now stands at five.
The attack came only a day after a “Conference on Rebuilding Al Anbar”
discussed restoring the province’s bridges, power stations and water
purification plants – all of which have been destroyed during the years
of the American occupation.
The conference was convened by the puppet “vice-presidents” and a
number of other quislings in the American-installed administration.
Also presiding over that conference were the US Ambassador, Ryan
Crocker, and a number of American Senators. It was announced that
the sum of $84 million had been earmarked for the puppet authorities in
the province and another $50 million as “compensation” to be given out
to families that have suffered during the American occupation.
The Iraqi people certainly are suffering. In Saddam Hussein’s day part
of the oil wealth was set aside for the people. They had full
employment, a national health service, schools and universities,
electricity and drinking water.
Since the Anglo-American led invasion in 2003 four million Iraqis have
fled the country. More than a million have died. Sixty per cent are out
of work. Seventy per cent of Iraqi children are not in school. Eight
million people, or almost one-third of the population, are in need of
emergency aid. Now cholera has returned.
More than 7,000 cases of acute diarrhoea have so far been reported in
the cholera epidemic in northern Iraq, putting over 2.8 million people
at risk from exposure to the infectious and sometimes fatal disease,
according to the United Nations health agency.
The UN World Health Organisation (WHO) is taking emergency measures to
help the Kurdish “autonomous” region authorities contain the epidemic.
Ten people are so far reported to have died. WHO Technical Officer Omer
Mekki told reporters that doctors still need materials to control the
pandemic, including drugs, medical supplies, diagnostic and enteric
disease bacteriology kits, water testing kits, awareness and
communications tools and equipment.” He added that they are making
their best efforts to lead the UN emergency aid in northern Iraq.
Health authorities in occupied Iraq say that all evidence suggests that
the transmission of cholera is still spreading. While it is unclear
exactly what initially caused the outbreak, preliminary investigations
show that the polluted water the area residents were forced to rely on
due to a shortage of drinking water, may have been to blame.
Doctors warn that the continuous movement of people and goods, bad
sanitary conditions and high temperatures may increase the possibility
of spreading the disease rapidly to other areas such as Baghdad and the
No one expected
much from Brown
THE ANNUAL conference of the
Trades Union Congress kicks off with the annual address from the leader
of the Labour Party that most of the unions keep afloat through their
dues and donations. Tony Blair could barely disguise his distaste at
this ritual reminder of where the money comes and he worked tirelessly
during his decade in office to find alternative sources of funding to
make the final break with the unions possible. Fortunately for us the
Tories and the Liberal Democrats were opposed to tate funding of
political parties and business backing, such as it was, dried up soon
after the “loans for peerages” scandal broke.
Gordon Brown plays a different hand. While he never seriously expected
a rapturous welcome from the delegates at the Brighton Centre on Monday
he certainly wants to keep the big affiliated unions on board in time
for the next election. He privately promised trade union leaders
regular talks at Downing Street “without fear or favour” in a letter to
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber last month that was conveniently
leaked to the media on Monday. Whether these regular consultations will
develop into genuine dialogue and consultation rather than public
relations exercises largely depends on the union leaders themselves.
The Prime Minister certainly made no apology for the dismal anti-union
policies of his predecessor while making it clear that the union
movement can expect no more than the usual platitudes and a few token
concessions on training, the minimum wage and agency workers in the
future. Instead we were given a lecture on globalisation and all the
great work Britain has supposedly been doing “building jobs and
prosperity” in the 21st century.
The Tory media highlighted Brown’s concern at the spectre of foreign
competition: his proposals to limit the influx of non-European Union
workers and guarantee a “British job to every British worker” — a
term that would not sound amiss from a Neanderthal Tory or a
follower of the British Nazi Party. To be fair to Brown he didn’t
actually use those exact words but merely said he was suggesting “new
ways that we can respond to globalisation by creating more jobs for
British men and women and for young people throughout our economy”.
Though Brown’s repeated stress on the “British” and “Britain”
might have made delegates think he had strayed into the wrong
conference he made it clear later that: “We will at all times
stand up to expose and eliminate from every council hall in Britain the
bigotry of the BNP”.
Brown saw no need to make any reference to “social justice” or even pay
lip-service what the social-democrats called “socialism” in the
old days. Though the Labour leader talked about “workers” and “working
people” he said nothing about the party millions of them have
repeatedly returned to office since 1997. He dwelt on the role he sees
for the unions and the Government, which he says will give “our
workers…the power to acquire the skills that give us the bargaining
power, the higher wages, and then the prosperity”. But he said nothing
about repealing the anti-unions laws of the Thatcher era that curb free
collective bargaining or anything about the relationship between the
unions and Labour that he wants to curb in his own proposals for
internal Labour Party reform.
The Labour Party was established to provide a political platform for
the unions – not a road to power and position for class
collaborators, opportunists and place-seekers. It certainly needs
reforming by returning to its democratic roots with all power in the
hands of the affiliated unions that fund it. Until that happens the
right wing of the movement and the likes of Blair and Brown will
continue to hold sway.
Nobody could expect much from Gordon Brown at TUC this week so no one
should be surprised at what we got. Brown was Number Two in the Blair
Government. He publicly went along with everything in the “New Labour”
agenda, no matter what he might say these days. They have their
agenda. We need to fight for ours – for a democratic Labour Party and
for the communist ideal.
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