The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 16th November 2007




Veteran activist Alan Rogers receives award from NCP

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Lead 

IRAQ: US CONTROL CENTRE ROCKED

by our Arab Affairs Correspondent

US IMPERIALISM’S
command and control centre in Baghdad was rocked by a massive bomb blast on Wednesday. Partisans shot down a US Apache helicopter gun-ship  in the Mosul area last week and American and puppet regime camps have been rocketed and shelled all over occupied Iraq.

Black smoke billowed over Baghdad on Wednesday following a massive bomb blast near the heart of US imperialism’s control and command centre in Baghdad. The heavily fortified US “Green Zone” compound that houses the British and US embassies and puppet regime ministries was rocked, when a car packed with explosives detonated near a police station near one of the entrances into the Zone as an American military convoy was passing.

Two US Stryker armoured cars were damaged in the blast that killed two civilians and wounded three more in a week that’s seen an increase in partisan attacks, despite American claims of a down-turn in the fighting.

Five more American troops were killed in Iraq this week - making 2007 the deadliest year for American forces in Iraq. At least 852 US military personnel have died in Iraq so far this year - the highest annual toll since the war began in March 2003. But US casualties fell dramatically in October. US propaganda puts this down to the “surge” offensive and “divide and rule” tactics that have pitted some sections of the Sunni Muslim community against the sectarian supporters of Al Qaeda in Iraq. The resistance media have another explanation.

Though there have been some clashes between Sunni militias and Al Qaeda’s followers, the partisans maintain that the US “surge”  has not dented the ability of the mainstream Baathist-led and nationalist resistance to hit the Americans and their puppets, despite the increased use of mine-resistant ambush protected  (MRAP) armoured cars.

search and avoid

The partisans believe that the Americans are deliberately trying to reduce their casualties in the run-up to the 2008 US presidential elections to claim that Bush’s “surge” tactics had worked. When the Americans go on the offensive their casualties soar. Now they are increasingly opting for “search and avoid” patrols to keep the casualties down.

But the imperialist garrisons are sitting targets. Over the past few days the US base at Rawah in western Iraq was hit by Grad missiles, setting the base headquarters on fire; the American base near Mosul has been repeatedly rocketed and shelled and a joint US-puppet army camp outside Fallujah came under heavy mortar fire.

A puppet army colonel in charge of “premier” Nuri al Maliki’s security was killed when his convoy was bombed on the road to Samara, 120 km north of Baghdad; another puppet police colonel was killed when mortar rounds slammed into a police station in Samara on Friday night and five collaborationist tribal leaders were killed when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive belt at a gathering of the al Ubaid tribe in Al Khalis, some 57 km north-east of Baghdad.

Meanwhile the imperialists continue to maintain the myth their forces are supporting a legitimate Iraqi government – in fact a bunch of quislings whose authority barely stretches beyond the Green Zone, powerless to prevent the country sinking into chaos and poverty despite vast oil-riches now in the hands of the big oil corporations.  

Sectarian death-squads and mercenary “contractors” kill civilians with impunity. Some 60,000 people are held in concentration camps without trial. Cholera, which started in the north, has now spread to Baghdad. Seventy per cent of the population is without adequate water supplies and 80 per cent lack adequate sanitation.

The national health service, once the envy of the Arab world in Saddam Hussein’s day, has collapsed. The hospitals and clinics barely function. There were 34,000 doctors in Iraq before the Anglo-American invasion in 2003; 12,000 have since fled and over 2,000 have been killed.

But the fight-back continues. In its last communiqué the underground Arab Socialist Renaissance Party (Baath) called on Iraqis to: “Raise your voices; intensify your resistance to stop the haemorrhage of Iraqi blood and the flow of the Iraqi refugees.

“Do whatever you can to help intellectually, politically, and through the media! Giving material and moral support to the heroic Iraqi Resistance is the only choice to free Iraq and to see Iraq, sovereign, Arab, human and reborn anew!”

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Editorial

One divides into two

BACK IN 1937 the great Chinese communist leader Chairman Mao pointed out that “all things invariably divide into two” and that’s certainly the case with Respect – now split between the Trotskyite Socialist Workers Party’s “Respect: the unity coalition” and George Galloway’s “Respect Renewal”.

The reasons for the split are of little concern to communists. Nor should the split surprise us. Respect never amounted to much more than a ramshackle coalition consisting of a maverick former Labour MP George Galloway; the SWP; some prominent individuals in the British Muslim community and a handful of trade unionists. Though George Galloway was returned to Parliament on the Respect ticket, the attempt to build a left social-democratic alternative to Labour in the elections was doomed from the start.

Previous attempts have always failed. Arthur Scargill’s Socialist Labour Party is moribund. The “Socialist Alliance” never even got off the ground. The Scottish Socialist Party did the dance of the seven veils to get six seats in the Scottish Parliament but split last year and lost all its seats at the last Scottish elections.

 Back in January 2004 we said Respect would undoubtedly fail and whatever takes its place, whatever it’s called, is also doomed to failure. This is because the ideological basis for these platforms is the British Road to Socialism, the revisionist doctrine that has been repeatedly spurned by the working class since its inception in the 1950s.

All these left social-democratic projects seek to build a second parliamentary and reformist platform in opposition to Labour, the major reformist party in the country which still retains the support of the vast majority of trade unions in Britain. These left groups may garner a protest vote but they have no influence within the labour movement nor can they ever form a government of their own. They refuse to accept that there is no demand for such a movement within left social-democracy today nor is there any support for this “alternative” amongst the working class itself. But by doing so they cut themselves off from the labour movement and condemn themselves to isolation.

The alternative to Labour in Parliament is not fringe groups but the massed ranks of the Tories and Liberal Democrats who, given half a chance, would launch a massive attack on the working class if they returned to power. Working people, who are much wiser than the gurus who claim to lead them, recognise this and that’s why Labour has won the past three general elections on the bounce, despite its miserable record in office.

The NCP has never had any illusions about the Labour Party which is dominated by a class-collaborating right-wing both  in the parliamentary party and the union movement. But the possibility of a left social-democratic Labour leadership exists as long as Labour retains its organisational links with the unions that fund it.

Working people can never come to power through bourgeois elections which exist so that the smallest number of people can manipulate the largest number of votes. Bourgeois democracy is democracy for the rich, a tool to mask the real dictatorship of the ruling class. But at the same time it is possible to win democratic reforms such as progressive taxation, state welfare, a public sector and a health service worthy of country as wealthy as Britain today through the strength of organised labour and the Labour Party.

The NCP’s support for Labour is based on the principle of strengthening the power of the organised working class. Reforms are best carried out by reformist parties and that is what the Labour Party is and will always be as long as it retains the link with the union movement. The Labour Party is not the enemy of the working class nor is it a barrier to communist advance. But that advance can only come through the building of a militant, monolithic vanguard party based on Marxism-Leninism that can lead the class in the struggles to come.

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