The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 19th May 2006

Hugo Chavez visits London

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by our Arab Affairs Correspondent

blaze throughout Iraq as the partisans continue their bold and relentless onslaught against the US-led imperialist army and its local puppets across the land of the two rivers. Fierce fighting continues in the southern British zone of occupation, firing a renewed call on the Blair government to pull the troops out of the conflict.

General Sir Rob Fry, the most senior British general in Iraq, says a phased withdrawal was likely to begin “in the pretty near future”. But the downing of a Royal Navy helicopter over Basra earlier in the month and an increase in deadly partisan road-side bombings has fired demands for a complete withdrawal.

Labour MP Paul Flynn said television pictures of British troops being protected from a mob by Iraqi police had provided evidence of the need for a phased exit.

“Our troops are now in a situation where their main function is to defend themselves,” he said. “The case for remaining there is collapsing.”

New Iraqi resistance groups with distinctly Shia names have begun to make their appearance in attacks and video announcements, joining their Iraqi Sunni comrades in the battle against the Anglo-American occupation. And not just in the Shia strongholds of the south.

The Imam al-Kazim Brigade claimed to have killed seven US troops last week when they detonated a bomb by a US patrol in the Sab‘ al-Bur area north-west of Baghdad and the Imam Ali Brigade broadcast a video showing the destruction of an Italian armoured car in Nasiriyah that killed all the Italian troops aboard the vehicle. Other brigades rocketed a US military base on the outskirts of Baghdad and planted road-side bombs on the road between Baghdad and Kirkuk.

Black Hawk down

There’s been no let up against the Americans either. Partisans shot down a US Black Hawk helicopter gunship over Yusufiyah on Monday killing its two-man crew during an ambush of an American military column some 25 km south-west of Baghdad. This happened in what the Marines now call the “Triangle of Death” following the downing of a US Apache  helicopter in April in a region largely controlled by the resistance.


Resistance fighters are battling in the heart of the provincial capital of Ramadi and the US HQ in the border town of Al Qaim was repeatedly shelled last week. In Baghdad the resistance is launching daily ambushes and bomb attacks on the Americans and their puppets and the quisling Iraqi “foreign minister” narrowly escaped with his life when his motorcade was attacked on the main road to Kirkuk in northern Iraq. Three of his bodyguards were slain during the battle but the puppet regime later claimed that the minister was not with his entourage at the time, alleging that puppet officials normally use air transport these days for security reasons. The motorcade of puppet leader Jalal Talabani was ambushed by the resistance along the same road on  7th May leaving four of his guards dead.

Whenever the going gets tough the Americans wheel out Saddam Hussein for another session of his show-trial in Baghdad. And this week the ousted Iraqi president heard the charges against him for the first time in these farcical proceedings. His refusal to recognise the authority of the American-appointed court was taken as a plea of not guilty by the “judge”.

Anglo-American imperialism invaded Iraq in 2003 to seize and plunder its immense oil wealth. At that time oil-prices hover around $25 to $30 a barrel. Last month they topped $75. Resistance sabotage has crippled the Iraqi oil industry that was going to be donated to the big oil corporations who hoped to flood the market with cheap Iraqi oil. The turmoil in Iraq and fears of an new imperialist attack on Iran have sent prices soaring, which in turn have strengthened the hand of other oil producers including Russia, Venezuela and, of course, Iran itself.

Saddam’s Baathist government used part of its oil wealth to raise the standard of living of all Iraqis. Today most Iraqis live in abject poverty. According to a new UN report malnutrition among Iraqi children has reached alarming proportions. Almost one child in ten aged between six months and five years suffers from acute malnourishment according to a survey supported by UNICEF and the UN World Food Programme.

David Singh, an official from UNICEF’s Iraq Support Centre in neighbouring Jordan, said the number of acutely malnourished children had more than doubled, to nine per cent in 2005 from four per cent in 2002, the last year of Saddam’s rule. And some four million Iraqis, roughly 15 per cent of the population, were in dire need of humanitarian aid including food, up from 11 per cent in 2003.  “Until there is a period of relative stability in Iraq we are going to continue to face these kinds of problems,” he declared.

War, poverty and death. That’s what the Americans have given Iraq. The real problem is imperialism and stability will only come to Iraq when the last imperialist soldier leaves Iraq once and for all.


Human rights or workers’ rights?

IN THE PAST WEEK we have seen a concerted attack on the Human Rights Act by both Tony Blair and David Cameron – the leaders of the two main political parties. Both are threatening to weaken or repeal the Act, portraying it as something alien imposed on us by “Europe” – leaving many people to believe it is a product of the unpopular European Union. But the Human Rights Act and the European Court of Human Rights are nothing to do with the EU.

 The European Court of Human Rights was set up in the wake of the Second World War in an effort to prevent obscenities like Nazism ever being allowed to take over a country ever again. Britain supported the court from the start but only incorporated its values into British law in the late 1990s.

 It was a weak concept from the start, founded by bourgeois liberals who did not understand the powerful class antagonisms that gave birth to Nazism. It is about to be swept aside by a bourgeois ruling class that now finds the concept of human rights inconvenient.

 The imperialist powers always wave the human rights flag whenever a workers’ state tries to defend itself, using strong measures against the subversive agents of imperialism or when they want an excuse to invade some weak third world country.

 The latest attacks on Britain’s Human Rights Act comes in the wake of a court decision to allow Afghan refugees from the Taliban regime who hijacked a plane to get to Britain, to stay here now they have finished their sentences, because their lives would be in danger if deported back to Afghanistan. The Taliban regime may be gone but puppet Karzai regime is no better – but the bourgeois defenders of human rights have now forgotten all about the people of Afghanistan.

 Both Blair and Cameron claim that the judges who granted the men leave to stay are out of touch with popular opinion. The attacks on the concept of human rights are also feeding off the mess in the Home Office where hundreds of foreign prisoners have been released into the community rather than being deported.

 At essence this muddle is caused by two Home Office departments – the prison service and the immigration service – failing to communicate with one another. Those who have been released have served their time for whatever crime they have committed. Those who happen to be foreign are neither more nor less likely to re-offend than native ex-cons.

 If someone commits a serious offence in a country other than their own, they must reasonably expect to be deported once they have finished their sentence. But for some, this would in effect be a sentence of death and since British courts do not impose a death sentence, the matter is not always simple.

 But the implications of the rantings of both Blair and Cameron and the popular press are that any foreigner who commits a crime on British soil should be locked up forever – regardless of the seriousness of the crime.

 Blair and Cameron – agents of the ruling class – are using the strong but confused feelings of racism and xenophobia being whipped up on this issue to get rid of human rights protection that the ruling class now finds inconvenient. Bear in mind that protection was meant to prevent a return to the values of Nazism.

 Today’s ruling class needs to curtail our rights and freedoms in order to increase the exploitation and oppression of the working class – just as the Nazis did. The first targets will be those who pose a political and economic threat to their greed and power lust – in other words socialists and the trade unions.

 Our class needs more, not fewer, workers’ rights and workers’ traditional values of solidarity – the strong protecting the weak, the right to organise, to defend and advance living standards. Ultimately we need to overthrow the greedy parasitic ruling class because they will never give these rights to us just because we ask. As Pete Seeger once said: “Take it easy, but take it!”

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