The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 20th January 2006

Campaigning against cuts in Incapacity Benefit in Sheffield

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by our Arab Affairs Correspondent

Iraqi resistance ambushes, raids, sabotage and bombings soared this month after the brief Islamic holiday lull, making the past two weeks one of the  deadliest of the war for the US imperialists and their hirelings and lackeys.

Three US military helicopters were downed last week by the partisans using old Iraqi army Strela missiles; Baghdad was racked by shoot-outs and bombings and fighting continues in all the major towns and cities under occupation.

In Fallujah, where the resistance has returned in force after it was stormed by US Marines last year, a partisan sniper has been picking off American and puppet soldiers while eluding capture for weeks. The sniper has killed at least 15 American soldiers over the past few days.

The Americans have set traps, ambushes, put up check-points and raided homes to catch the sharp-shooter, but all to no avail. Now they’re offering a reward of up to $100,000 to anyone who will turn him in.

On the oil front the struggle to halt the plunder of Iraq’s oil resources was stepped up with pipeline sabotage at Bagman in the north, raids on oil tanker convoys and assassinations of quislings working for the puppet oil ministry.

price soaring

Though pumping has resumed from the northern oilfields following the repair of pipelines blown up in late December, chronic shortages of fuel due to the constant attacks on the oil refineries have sent the domestic price at the pump soaring – when it can be obtained at all.

“We have been suffering from a huge loss of money due to the attacks on our oil refineries that have been costing the ministry around US $22 million dollars per day,” an official for the puppet oil ministry admitted. Petrol has already gone up 300 per cent and it is expected to double again this month.

Drivers often have to queue for over seven hours at petrol stations to get served. Those who can pay turn to the black market where petrol at 4 times the official rate is available – providing it hasn’t been diluted with water and dye.

In the United States opposition to the war is growing. Last week one of America’s most highly-decorated combat veterans called on Bush to “get out fast” of Iraq.

Brigadier General Andrew Gatsis, who was awarded numerous medals for bravery in combat during both the Korean and Vietnam Wars, told the New American: “We never should have gone in there in the first place since we weren’t immediately threatened.

“There were no weapons of mass destruction; Saddam Hussein’s regime had no connection to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, and wasn’t responsible for the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Centre; and there wasn’t any evidence to back up the claim that Iraq was building nuclear weapons capability.

reasons false

“All the reasons given by the administration to justify this war have been shown to be false.”

The US general, who retired in 1975, said: “We invaded a country that posed no threat to us. What’s different about what we have done in Iraq and what Hitler did when he sent his forces into Czechoslovakia in 1939? 

“This war in Iraq has already cost the lives of 2,200 Americans, wounded over 15,000 more, and left at least 30,000 Iraqis dead, most of whom were non-combatants caught in cross-fires or victimised by Islamist terrorists.  And look at the billions of dollars being poured into this flawed effort.  It saddens me to see all of this happen to our troops, and all for an unjust cause.”

exit strategy

The increasing financial and human cost is taking its toll and firing reports that the Bush administration is now looking for an exit strategy. According to the New York Times, the United States is conducting wide-ranging, exploratory talks with the nationalist resistance with the aim of isolating the Al Qaeda elements who operate amongst the Sunni Muslim community.
This has involved face-to-face talks with local leaders and exchanges with national figures through go-betweens. It co-incides with the recent release of some prominent political prisoners including an associate of Saddam Hussein and twenty other major figures from the Baath party.

 But it may come too late for one of them. Former deputy premier and foreign minister Tariq Aziz, is on the brink of death due to the atrocious conditions in prison, his lawyer said last week. Confined in an unlit cell “intended for dogs” no longer than two metres and one metre wide, the former Baathist minister, who suffers from heart disease, is in a “terminal” condition.

 “I don’t expect my client to live more than a month,” the lawyer, who was allowed to meet Aziz over the holiday period, told the Arab media. Though charges of “genocide” against Aziz have been dropped he now faces new accusations of embezzlement of public money under the Saddam government.


A new anti-communist offensive

  Few of us have ever heard of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and those who have will have assumed that it’s another part of the EU’s gravy train that we pay for through VAT.  In fact the Council of Europe and its assembly has nothing to do with the European Union as it was established during the Cold War in 1949, long before the Treaty of Rome.

The inspiration came from Tory leader Winston Churchill, who was touring the world stoking the flames of anti-communism to prepare public opinion in the West for a new conflict with the Soviet Union. In March 1946 Churchill gave his infamous “iron curtain” address in Fulton, Missouri where he declared that “communist parties or fifth columns constitute a growing challenge and threat to Christian civilisation” and he called on the “free peoples” of Europe to form a “United States of Europe” in Zurich later in that year. 

Though the “parliament” is essentially a debating society composed of parliamentarians drawn from its membership, its major purpose has been to elevate “human rights” as a weapon in the struggle between imperialism and socialism.

In 1960 it condemned the collectivisation of the land in the German Democratic Republic which it called the “Soviet zone of Germany” and in 1962, the year the Algerian people won their independence from France in a struggle that cost the lives of over a million people, PACE saw fit to pass a resolution condemning “communist colonialism in central and eastern Europe”.

From its inception PACE was an instrument of Cold War politics. Membership was restricted to European countries that conformed to the bourgeois definitions of “freedom”, ”human rights” and “the rule of law” to exclude the Soviet Union and the people’s democracies of eastern and central Europe. Needless to say all the counter-revolutionary regimes in Russia and eastern Europe were made welcome after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1990.

Since then PACE has been used as a sounding board to justify attempts to outlaw communist parties in the former socialist countries. Now it seeks to launch an anti-communist drive throughout the continent. At the end of the month the assembly will consider adopting a resolution on “the need for international condemnation of crimes of totalitarian communist regimes”. It was drafted by a rabid anti-communist Swedish conservative who believes that the French Revolution and the Paris Commune were also grave mistakes in the development of European history.

    Communism is equated with fascism in this resolution that notes with some regret that “Communist parties are legal and active in some countries, even if in some cases they have not distanced themselves from the crimes committed by totalitarian communist regimes in the past”, and communist parties are encouraged “to reassess the history of communism and their own past”.

    It then calls on all European members, which includes Britain, to establish a memorial day for “victims” of “totalitarian communist regimes” and establish museums to document the “crimes” of communism and launch a “public awareness campaign” that includes the revision of school text books and encourage local authorities to erect memorials to these supposed “victims” of communism. In fact it’s a call for an anti-communist witch-hunt throughout Europe.

    Though the Council of Europe has nothing to say about Anglo-American imperialism’s invasion and occupation of Iraq or the US concentration camp at Guantánamo Bay, it would like to pose as an international human rights tribunal. And while it is a worthless, toothless tiger there can be no doubt that this resolution will be used by Anglo-American imperialism and the reactionary forces within the European Union to attack the organised working class and communist and workers’ parties across the continent.

    The attack on the communists in Europe demonstrates not only that the movement is reviving and growing amongst the working class, but that the ruling class continue to fear and loathe it.

We can take comfort from this, like Chairman Mao who said in 1939 that “to be attacked by the enemy is not a bad thing but a good thing” because it showed that communists had not only drawn a clear line of distinction between themselves and the class oppressors but also that the communists had achieved a great deal in their work.

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