The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 17th August 2007




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Lead 

Heathrow protest - HEAVY HANDED POLICING BACKFIRES

by Daphne Liddle

THE GOVERNMENT
is planning to use its most draconian anti-terror legislation against a broad coalition of groups – under the umbrella organisation Camp for Climate Action – who are assembling at a campsite close to Heathrow Airport for a massive but peaceful demonstration this weekend.

Estimates of the number of protesters expected from all over Britain and Europe vary from 1,500 to 3,000 – a modest number for a national demonstration. But around 1,800 police will be deployed who have been told by the Government to use powers under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 against the demonstrators.

 These powers include stop and search even if police have no reason to suspect a person.

 “That’s unbelievably heavy handed,” said camp spokesperson Anna Jackson, “They’re using the most draconian legislation on the statute book, and I hope they can be embarrassed out of it.”

 Protesters include members of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, a variety of environmental groups and local villagers whose homes are threatened by plans to expand Heathrow and build a fifth runway.

 The camp is supposed to be a model of eco-friendly communal living, with electricity supplied by solar and wind power.

 Some papers claim to have infiltrated the campers and have published scaremongering leaks. In particular the London Evening Standard front page carried a banner headline claiming: “Militants will hit Heathrow”.

  A Camp for Climate Change spokesperson responded saying: “This story did not contain a single source or even attempt at a source.
 
smear campaign

“We don’t know who is feeding them this stuff and the suspicion is that we are the subject of a smear campaign. We are challenging BAA [the airport operator] to come clean.”

 BAA denied planting the scare story but expressed anger that the protesters’ plans might disrupt the airport at the height of the holiday season.

 No one yet knows exactly what form the protest will take. The campers assume they are infiltrated and are therefore delaying finalising plans.

 Anna Jackson said: “We really can’t say what the direct action will be – there are no leaders in this camp. It’s 100 per cent democratic, run through consensus.

 “It will be down to individuals’ judgement as to what they think is the best way to take action.

 “It’s inevitable that the authorities are going to be in these meetings, coming into the camp and infiltrating – we can’t stop them coming in. But the camp is a lot more than just mass action.”

 Clearly the intent of BAA, the police and the Government is to be as intimidating as possible to discourage people from taking part in the protest.

 But this is proving counterproductive as the media – at the height of the silly season and little else to fill news bulletins – has been giving the protest a lot of coverage before it has even begun, ensuring that awareness of the issues involved is being raised all around.

 The protesters point out that 20 million litres of fuel are consumed at Heathrow every day and 31.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide are generated there every year.
 
joining

One of those attending will be the chair of Bournemouth and Poole Greenpeace, Richard Hillyard. He says he will be joining the Heathrow campaigners on Friday.

 “Heathrow and BAA are being targeted because it’s a major UK airport and campaigning there will get a lot of attention, but it is really a statement against the expansion of many local UK airports, Bournemouth included,” he said.

 “If aviation expands at the rate the Government wants, then every other industry would have to be zero carbon, which in reality has no chance of happening.

 “Greenpeace is trying to mobilise the focus on binge flying, trying to get the message across that there’s no need to fly internally in this country just because it’s cheap.”

 He says public transport needs to be drastically improved to give people a real alternative.

 And they hope that this is the message that makes the news, rather than a battle with the police.

 But at the same time the state is delivering another message – ordinary peaceful protesters are the real targets of anti-terror legislation.

 *************
Editorial

Brown’s hundred days

AUGUST HAS COME round again and the bourgeois media try to fill their columns with silly season gossip now that Parliament is in recess. Devastating floods and a foot-and-mouth outbreak have at least spared us too many great white shark sightings and learned discussions about the weather have to now take global warming into account. But speculation on an early election is growing as Brown’s star rises and the Tories slump in the opinion polls.

Though we can take some satisfaction at the fact that working people have seen through Cameron’s spin, the fact that Labour has a 10 point lead over the Tories simply because it is no longer led by Tony Blair is a warning to all those campaigning to defeat the right-wing within the labour movement.

Whether Gordon Brown calls a snap election in the autumn after the conference season or, as seems more likely, waits till next spring is irrelevant. The key issue is what will appear on the Labour manifesto and whether there’ll be any departure from the class-collaborationist policies of the last 10 years of “New Labour” government.

 If the first weeks of the Brown government are anything to go by the answer is very little. The Government clearly intends to continue the privatisation of the health service and what’s left of the public sector as a whole.

All the past Labour governments of the 20th century, and remember the first was in 1924, have been led by right-wing social democrats and they always sought to align themselves with the bourgeoisie. In the post-war period Attlee, Wilson and Callaghan introduced reforms beneficial to the working class that were also broadly acceptable to the ruling class as a whole. Blair, however allied himself only with the most venal and reactionary elements within the bourgeoisie who believe that British imperialism can only be protected in servile alliance with the United States and turned his back on those in favour of European integration.

Brown wants to return to the traditional post-war bourgeois consensus to restore the trans-Atlantic “bridge” between American and Franco-German imperialism that was the pivot of British foreign policy under all past Tory and Labour governments since 1945 until Blair came along. 

No worker benefits from this one way or the other. Billions will still be spent on replacing Trident with new weapons of mass destruction. British troops will still play the sepoy for imperialism in Afghanistan and Iraq. Pensioners will continue to struggle to survive on their meagre pensions and millions of workers in Britain will fight to keep a roof over their heads, while rich parasites head off for their season in the sun.

The rich have their agenda and so have the working class. Most workers know what sort of world they want. Unfortunately many of them believe it’s unattainable and that they are powerless to bring about change. That’s what the ruling class think and that’s what they want us to believe.

We have to prove them wrong by stepping up the mass anti-war campaign for an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all British troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. We have to prove them wrong by building the fight-back in the unions and the Labour Party that the union’s largely fund.

We have to prove them wrong by building a militant communist movement based on Marxism-Leninism that elevates the communist ideal and the socialist cause that will, sooner or later, end the exploitative and oppressive capitalist system once and for all.

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