The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 26th October 2007




African history month

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Lead 

BROWN FEARS EU VOTE

by Daphne Liddle

PRIME MINISTER
Gordon Brown last Monday faced attacks from all sides in the House of Commons – including the Labour benches – after taking the first step towards signing Britain up to new European Union treaty that differs little from the rejected EU constitution.

The constitution would have been a big step towards a European super-state. When it was proposed the major EU states were at odds with US President Bush’s over his illegal invasion of Iraq.

Tony Blair, Britain’s Prime Minister at the time, threw a spanner into the EU works by promising the British public a referendum on acceptance of the constitution – more to please George W Bush than out of any sense of democracy towards the people of Britain.

This pledge led, as Blair knew it would, to pressure on other EU governments to have their own referendums on the issue. The constitution died when the people of the Netherlands and France rejected it – before Blair had to fulfil his promise to the people of Britain.

 Brown now claims the new treaty is in no way a replacement for that constitution, despite contrary assertions from other EU leaders. He claims the various opt-outs guaranteed to Britain – the famous “red lines” – were made stronger at last week’s EU summit in Lisbon, where he gave an initial signature to the treaty on behalf of Britain.

The treaty has yet to be formally signed at another EU summit, also in Lisbon, in December. After that the EU governments will take it to their parliaments for final endorsement and incorporation into the legislation of those countries. If endorsed, the treaty will come into effect in January 2009.
 
wide spectrum

Now a wide spectrum of the public in Britain – ranging from trade unions and Labour backbench MPs to the Tory leadership – is demanding that Brown must honour Labour’s pledge for a referendum. Brown has no intention of doing this because he knows the vote would go against him.

And he is hoping that the whole issue will be well over, signed sealed and forgotten, before the next general election, probably in 2009.

The Tories are now in disarray because their leader David Cameron, although clamouring loudly for a referendum now, has refused to promise that if he was elected in 2009 he would hold a retrospective referendum; he said it would be “too late” by then.

Brown claims that as a result of last weekend’s Lisbon talks the EU could not make any changes to Britain’s opt-outs without Parliament’s approval and that he would oppose any further changes in the EU towards a super-state.

But the Prison Officers’ Association plans to challenge the strength of opt-outs. Unsurprisingly some of these opt-outs so hotly defended and supported by Labour and Tories, concern trade union and human rights. While defending the “red lines”, Brown is claiming that the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights is not enshrined in British law.

The POA will demand the right for its members to take strike action by challenging the legality of the opt-out.

POA general secretary Brian Caton has been collecting a monthly levy of £1 from 37,000 members to fund the legal costs of asking British judges to refer a case to the European Court of Justice.
 
promising

The Tories are promising a parliamentary battle for a referendum but are unlikely to win. The Liberal Democrats are supporting Brown. Meanwhile the American sub-prime lending crisis continues to send shock waves through the stock exchanges of the western world and recent steep rises in oil prices are leading to predictions of a slump and instability.

Banks are raising loan rates and many working class people are finding their income undermined by the rising costs of paying their mortgages and other debts.

This is leading to a drop in high street sales and the possibility of a fall in house prices. The International Monetary Fund claims that house prices have risen by 50 per cent more than they should have done over the last decade and that falling house prices are now a major threat to the economy.

Capitalism continues to follow its regular cycle of boom and bust. The sooner it is stopped the safer our planet will be.

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Editorial

Avoiding Dr Watson

DR JAMES D WATSON came to Britain to promote his latest book, Avoid Boring People; Lessons from a Life in Science, and his crackpot racist theories which were splashed across the bourgeois media last week. The veteran American scientist, who won a  Nobel prize for his role in the discovery of DNA back in 1962, may have welcomed the initial publicity but he certainly didn’t anticipate the furore provoked by his crass remarks during Black History month.

For the past 35 years Watson has been the Director and President of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York that is no stranger to controversy. From 1910 to 1940 it was also the centre of the Eugenics Record Office that opposed immigration to America by ethnic groups it considered lower on the evolutionary scale than  “Anglo-Saxon” whites and advocated laws that led to the forced sterilisation of many Americans deemed “feeble-minded”.

In his book, out this week, Watson says: “There is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically. Our wanting to reserve equal powers of reason as some universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so.”

Dr Watson has since apologised for suggesting that blacks were genetically inferior to the rest of humanity, claiming he was misunderstood. He’s been forced to cancel his speaking tour and he’s even been  suspended by his own research institute.

But his original comments, presented as the considered views of an eminent scientist, have been trumpeted by the neo-Nazis while the closet racists in the Tory camp bleat on about the right to free speech and scientific debate.

There is not one shred of evidence to back Watson’s claim that black people are less intelligent than whites and that was clearly demonstrated by the outrage in the scientific world when his views were first aired. And there is, of course, nothing new, in what he said.

Bogus science is part of the ideological arsenal of imperialism. In the past the ruling class were never short of  “scientific” arguments to justify slavery and colonial oppression. The supposed superiority of the “white man” was promoted long before the modern science of genetics began in the late 19th century. And when the study of heredity and variation in living organisms began to be based on scientific observation and experiment genetics was easily distorted to justify the “colour bars” in the imperialist colonies; segregation in the former slave-states of America and the apartheid system in South Africa.

Genetics spawned the eugenic and pseudo-Darwinian argument that human hereditary traits could be improved through various forms of intervention, which was embraced by the  Nazis who were never short of professors willing to peddle the theory of the Aryan “Master Race” and the “sub-human” Jews that led to the gas-chambers and the Holocaust.

The British ruling class like to boast about their alleged tolerance and how they’ve welcomed millions from the former British Empire and beyond to these shores. But the millions have come to fill huge gaps in the labour market and their “welcome” is laced with the institutionalised racism of an  unspoken caste system that exists to keep the working class divided and in their place.

Dr Watson has come and gone. Few will read his book and he will soon be forgotten.  But racism, bigotry and prejudice will continue to be foisted on working people until they themselves consciously take the lead against it. Marx wrote long ago that “labour in a white skin can never be free so long as labour in the black skin is branded”. That’s as true today as it was in 1867.


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