The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 1st September 2006
Chavez meets Assad -
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WELCOME FOR CHAVEZ IN SYRIA
by our Arab Affairs Correspondent
THE STREETS of Damascus were packed on Wednesday to give
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez a hero’s welcome on his arrival for
top-level talks with the Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Huge crowds
from all walks of life waved banners and flags of the two countries and
portraits of the two leaders as the motorcade drove through the city to
the hill-top People’s Palace for a 21-gun salute and the first round of
talks with the Syrian leadership.
The revolutionary Venezuelan leader is well known on the Arab street
for his defiance of American imperialism and his support for the
Palestinian Arabs and the heroic Lebanese resistance that defeated
Israel in the border war last month. Chavez denounced American
imperialism’s support of Israel and condemned Israel’s aggression and
its war-crimes, which he likened to those of the Nazis.
During that war, when Blair and Bush were blocking a ceasefire at the
UN because they still hoped Israel would win, the Syrian communist
party called on Arab governments to copy Venezuela. Ammar Bakdash, a
member of parliament and of the party’s politburo, said: “We call on
Arab leaders to follow the example of Venezuela’s President Hugo
Chavez”, who recalled his ambassador from Israel while accusing the
United States of blocking UN Security Council action to stop the
Egypt and Jordan are the only Arab states which have diplomatic
relations with the Zionist entity. The Communist Party of Syria is part
of Syria’s National Progressive Front, which is led by the governing
Arab Socialist Renaissance [Baath] Party.
Chavez, who has just completed successful talks in People’s China and
Malaysia, landed in Damascus Tuesday evening. Bashar al Assad greeted
him at the airport and thanked him for his “great stand” in support of
the Arabs. “We appreciate your sincere feelings toward the
peoples who have their rights and are under occupation, as well as your
sincere humanitarian and moral sentiments,” Assad declared.
“We have the same political vision and we will resist together the
American imperialist aggression,” Chavez replied adding that the two
countries will sign a document opposing US “aggression” in the Middle
“We are here in Damascus to call for peace,” Chavez told Venezuela’s
state television by phone shortly after arriving in Syria. “These two
countries are strongly united against the imperialistic aggression and
hegemonic pretensions of the US empire.”
Last month, Chavez visited Iran and received the country’s highest
state medal for supporting Tehran in its nuclear standoff with the
international community. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called
the South American leader “a brother and trench mate”.
The badge of honour was granted to the Venezuelan president to honour
his valuable and brave efforts to establish a justice-based peace,
adopt a stance against the hegemonic system and support endeavours to
uphold the freedom and independence of Venezuela.
Chavez’s struggle to end the corrupt and unequal political and
social system in Venezuela; his support for Iran’s stance on the
nuclear issue, particularly Venezuela’s vote against an anti-Iranian
resolution adopted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),
and his support for popular moves in Latin America and efforts to
eradicate poverty in the region were the main reasons Iran made the
The former Venezuelan paratroop colonel has built close ties with Iran,
Syria and other Middle East countries following the triumph of his
Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement in the 1998 elections.
Venezuela is the fourth largest oil producer in the world, and Chavez
is using his country’s wealth to help the masses and assist other
countries in South America and beyond, which are striving to develop
their own independent economies outside Anglo-American imperialism’s
Chavez’s world tour – he’s going to Angola next – has broken
imperialist attempts to isolate his country and strengthened
Venezuela’s bid for a place on the UN Security Council. People’s China
and Malaysia are both backing the bid for one of the rotating seats
traditionally reserved for South America. US imperialism wants
Guatemala to replace Argentina, which stands down in October.
“The US government has employed every means to block my country from
joining the Security Council,” Chavez told reporters when he was in
Beijing last week. “The American imperialists are trying to stop us”.
The decision will be made by all the South American and Caribbean
countries and if they can’t agree the choice will go to the full UN
AGE CONCERN last week released
a shocking report, Hungry to be heard, revealing that 60 per cent of
elderly hospital patients are at risk of malnutrition because nurses do
not have enough time to help them to eat the dinners that are put in
front of them. Many patients who are malnourished on arrival in
hospital get a lot worse during their stay. The report also said that
90 per cent of nurses say they do not always have time to assist
patients who need help to eat.
The logical deduction is that there are not nearly enough nurses.
Everyone in the NHS knows full well that diet is a vital part of
recovery from illness and injury. Yet NHS trusts are cutting nursing
jobs because they cannot balance their books.
They make these cuts in the full knowledge that this will make
the shortage of nursing care on the wards even worse.
The NHS trusts cannot balance their budgets because of the
swingeing costs of the private finance initiative contracts, which have
proved a real seam of vast riches for City finance companies. The
insatiable greed of these fat cats is literally causing starvation
among the elderly. Yet if we said these bloated capitalists are
grinding the faces of the poor in the dirt, we would be accused of
using quaint and old fashioned language, of exaggerating and being
It is not just the elderly who suffer from a desperate lack of
time and attention and are treated by capitalism as though they are
worthless and a burden.
Recently Guardian columnist Julie Bindel complained that people
like her, who had chosen to be “child-free” should not be penalised by
school holidays and being forced to share public places – like trains,
restaurants, art galleries and museums – with children on holiday.
Clearly she believes their parents should keep them permanently out of
the way, in schools, at home or locked safely away in cupboards. Or
better still, people in Britain should not have children because, it
seems, capitalist society has no time or desire for children. Taking
care of children properly takes time – and time is money. Their parents
would be more useful making profits instead of babies.
And when a new generation of workers is needed, we can import
them from Poland or Nigeria or Bangladesh or almost anywhere else.
The capitalist worship of money has always cheapened the value of
human life – especially working class human beings – from the days of
the industrial revolution when wage slaves were recruited in childhood,
worked until their health was wrecked and then discarded right up to
today. It tries to abolish the collective, social human traits – the
innate mutual caring instincts that allowed the human race to survive
On the anniversary of the hurricane Katrina we are reminded of
what happens to a human society where the ruling class, in its drive to
maximise greed, selfishness and profit, has almost totally suppressed
collectivism and tried to dissolve society.
Funding to maintain the levees that protected the city was cut in
spite of meteorological predictions of the disaster that happened. When
the storm approached, people were told to rescue themselves; the poor,
the sick and the elderly were left to sink or swim as best they could.
The official death toll was around 1,900 but many suspect it was far
When the authorities belatedly returned to the drowned city, they
were more concerned to shoot the hungry and desperate survivors who had
robbed flooded shops for food and bottled water than to rescue or feed
them. The flood damaged goods in the wrecked shops were valued more
highly than the lives of the people.
The values of capitalism lead to a nightmare society where people
are devalued and despised while wealth and riches are everything. It’s
little wonder there is so much depression and mental anguish.
But mental anguish alone won’t change things; we need something
more constructive. What we need is anger – good healthy collective,
united working class anger; the same anger that drove Marx, Engels,
Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Kim Il Sung. We need people who are prepared to
organise, unite and fight, by whatever means are appropriate, to banish
capitalism and its values to history and to replace it with human,
caring socialist values.
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