The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 26th March, 1999

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Editorial - Stop NATO!
Lead Story - Stop the bombing!
Feature - Lawrence enquiry responses: Watershed or Whitewash?
International - Turkey ablaze in Kurdish revolt.
British News - Rosemary Nelson tribute.

Editorial

Stop NATO!

 ONCE again a stream of sickening propaganda is pouring out of Washington and London as these major capitalist powers try to sanitize their murderous war threats against a weaker, but proudly defiant, country.

 We heard it all last Christmas when Britain and America connived to bomb Iraq again. Now it is Yugoslavia's turn to be vilified, condemned and subjected to brutal air attacks.

 It is sickening to listen to because the entire Anglo-American case rests on blaming the Yugoslav government for the present fighting m Kosovo and holding it solely responsible for the plight of the refugees an other civilian victims.

 The undoubted suffering of people caught up in this conflict is being cynically used to justify an even bigger war and even more death and destruction.

 What's more, the pretext for Nato's threatened war turns the truth on its head.

 For years the Western powers have repeatedly spat upon Yugoslav sovereignty. Even the country's name is ignored and replaced in news reports and politicians' speeches with "Serbia". And if the Yugoslav federation is today a predominantly Serbian state that is only because the west has encouraged and aided the breaking away of other parts of the former Yugoslav Republic.

 Kosovo, an autonomous part of Yugoslavia, is clearly next on the West's list of for detachment. It is also an area of fertile valleys, forests, rich mineral deposits and a valuable metallurgical industry. While it remains inside Yugoslavia this wealth is locked away -- in a separate state of Kosovo it would be there for the picking!

 And what of the war? While the West heaps all the blame on Belgrade it has in reality been the West that has covertly equipped the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). The smart new uniforms, guns and other equipment were not manufactured in Kosovan mountain huts nor provided by struggling Albania. They have been supplied by outside forces -- western forces.

 It is a case of foreign powers blatantly intruding into the internal affairs o sovereign nation, a long standing member of the United Nations, and encouraging separatist elements to wage war against it. When the Yugoslav government resisted it was accused of aggression.

 Nato's increased pressure on the Yugoslav government has nothing to do with concern for the victims of war. The motive is to serve up a victory for the KLA -- a victory it is clearly incapable of winning on its own even with the guns and bullets already donated.

 All of this raises another question. Why are the major capitalist powers going to such extreme lengths to break up Yugoslavia when they are usually able to exploit countries through more subtle methods?

 The answer is that Yugoslavia, if it were left intact, would be a militarily strong force in the region -- but not a force under the control of Nato or the Western European Union. Also, though Yugoslavia was not a communist country and was not part of either the Warsaw Pact or Comecon, it had, and still has, a sector of its economy that is under state control.

 Many countries, including the once powerful republics of the former Soviet Union, can be pressed into giving up their natural wealth and valuable assets  rough compulsory privatisation programmes imposed by the West in exchange for derisory handouts.

  Yugoslavia shows no sign of rolling over so easily. Therefore the stick is being used rather than the carrot.

 The leading capitalist states already have Yugoslav blood on their hands -- they egged-on and aided separatists in Bosnia, Croatia and lately in Kosovo. Now they talk of plunging in up to their armpits. And at the heart of it all is capitalism and its insatiable desire for more and more and more.

 If the threats become reality the consequences will be terrible for the whole region. Other countries will be affected and the death and devastation will be greater than anything that has gone before in the effort to break-up Yugoslavia.

 We need to vigorously protest against our government's stance now! Every decent citizen should make their voice heard -- NO TO NATO WAR ON YUGOSLAVIA !

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Lead Story

Stop the bombing!

by Andy Brooks
 
 WAR has erupted in the Balkans. Anglo-American imperialism, backed by the rest of the Nato pack, has declared war against Yugoslavia. American B-52 bombers and RAF Barriers are hitting targets in Serbia and Montenegro. Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevich has called on his people to remained "determined" in the face of Western aggression and carry on working to "help the army and defend the nation". The attack has provoked outrage in Moscow and Beijing.

 Anglo-American warplanes are hitting Belgrade and the Kosovan provincial capital of Pristina to bomb the Yugoslavs into the ground and seize their province of Kosovo -- part of Serbia since 1913 when the Turks were driven out.

 Nato has some 400 warplanes readied for action against the Yugoslavs together with an arsenal of Cruise missiles on board ship including some on a Royal Navy submarine in the eastern Mediterranean.

 Blair and Clinton led the orchestrated justification for the war by claiming it was done to save the Albanian minority in Kosovo, whose "Kosovan Liberation Army" is armed and financed by the West. Last minute Yugoslav efforts to stop the war, including an appeal for an intervention by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, failed in the face of Washington's ultimatum that Belgrade must accept the West's terms for Kosovo including the deploymentof Nato troops in the province.

 The Yugoslavs, though overwhelmingly outgunned by the might of imperialism, warn that they will meet force with force. And their armed forces are capable of hitting Nato bases in Bosnia, Macedonia, Hungary and Italy.

Russian demand

 Russia is demanding an emergency meeiing of the UN Security Council to try and stop the war. Russian premier Yevgeny Primakov called off his trip to the United States mid-flight in protest and President Yeltsin went on television to warn of the danger of a much wider European war.

 In the Russian parliament, the Duma, members of the communist and nationalist blocs are calling for military assistance to Yugoslavia and the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in neighbouring Belarus.

Chinese call

 People's China made its opposition clear at the United Nations. "Any military action against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia without the authorisation of the UN Security Council will be a severe violation of the UN Charter and established principles of international law," Qin Huasun declared. "Such action will not be accepted by the international community,".

dialogue

 He told reporters that "the question of Kosovo is an internal matter" for Yugoslavia. The Chinese UN representative said: "The Chinese government believes that it should be settled politically through dialogues, on the basis of respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Yugoslavia and the guarantee of the legitimate rights and interests of the ethnic groups in the region,"

grave crisis

 Blair has refused to allow a Commons vote on the crisis -- a snivelling tactic he's done before over Iraq. The government has the support of the Tory leader and the Liberal Democrats.

 But in parliament on the eve of the fighting veteran Labour MP Tony Benn called the proposed action disgraceful and illegal as it had not been sanctioned by the UN or voted on in the Commons.

 This was echoed by the Tory MP Sir Peter Tapsell who accused Blair of "weasel words" and said the Prime Minister should admit he was proposing to wage war against "one of the great fighting peoples of Europe. The British people should be told now that we are embarking inevitably in ground operations that will result in heavy casualties."

 Some of Blair's New Labour intake laughed at his remarks.

 * Five Labour MPs, Tony Benn, Jeremy Corbyn, Alice Mahon, Alan Simpson and Robert Wareing have signed an Early Day protest motion "That this House recognises that Nato military action against Yugoslavia has not been endorsed by the United Nations Security Council, does not have the support of the Contact Group on Kosovo, contravenes the sovereign status of a recognised state, is likely to cause further civilian casualties and could lead to an escalation of conflict with consequent loss of life on all sides, therefore opposes the bombing of Yugoslavia by Nato, and calls on Her Majesty's Government to adopt a policy of assisting a negotiated resolution of the terrible crisis in Kosovo in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter."

 * Labour CND and the Serbian community in London are holding protest vigils outside Downing St. All readers are urged rejoin them.

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Feature

Lawrence enquiry responses: Watershed or Whitewash?
 
by Daphne Liddle
 
WHEN the Macpherson report into the racist killing of Stephen Lawrence was published last month, Prime Minister Tony Blair and Home Secretary Jack Straw promised it would mark a watershed in improving relations between the police and the black community.

 Last Tuesday the government produced its own response to the 72 recommendations made in the report and already there are small indications of some back-tracking.

 The revelations of the report into the police racism and lack of will to bring the killers to justice were shocking and have provoked outrage. But there has also been a strong backlash in parts of the right-wing media against its recommendations and there is pressure on the Home Secretary to back pedal.

 Jack Straw has indicated he will implement the recommendation to bring the police force and other state authorities within the scope of the Race Relations Act.

 But he is not keen to implement the recommendation to extend the period a police officer can be disciplined to five years after retirement. This would eliminate the loophole where so many police facing discipline have escaped by taking early retirement.

 Straw is also hesitating over measures to take away police pensions from officers found guilty of gross misconduct. Yet it is this very certainty that they can be sure of getting away with it that has allowed those police who are racist to carry on with appalling behaviour for so long.

 Police and the local authority have also been spelling out how they intend to respond to the Macpherson report in the borough where Stephen Lawrence lived and died.

 The Greenwich Council for Racial Equality invited local councillors, the Crown Prosecution Service and Chief Constable John Grieve, who has just been appointed head of the Metropolitan Police Race and Violent Crime task force, to a seminar in Woolwich Town Hall last Friday morning, under the title "Meeting the Challenge of Implementation".

 The seminar was chaired by Ros Howells of GCRE who opened by saying: "When I first came to Britain in 1951 there were signs in windows saying: 'no dogs, no blacks and no Irish'.

 "Times have moved on from then. Earlier this year we saw police officers prosecuted for cruelty to dogs. But we have still yet to see police officers prosecuted for cruelty to blacks."

 Councillor Bob Harris outlined the councils plans to combat institutional racism within its own ranks.

 He also spoke of the devloping partnership between the council and local police to combat racism.

 Hardev Dhillon from GCRE, who is also a member of the Indian Workers' Association reminded the seminar that racism is a tool of the ruling class used to divide worker against worker.

 And he questioned the sincerity of Home Secretary Jack Straw's intentions to improve race relations at the same time as introducing new draconian measures against asylum-seekers.

 "If he is sincere, we are happy to work in partnership with him but not if he is just playing politics," said Mr Dhillon.

 Educationaiist Professor Gus John outlined the life-long struggle he has had in studying how racism develops in growing children and then convincing this government and the Tories before that all teachers need special training to deal with racism when it emerges in growing children.

 John Grieve re-iterated the apology that his boss, Sir Paul Condon, had given to the Lawrence family and then continued: "But we are not going to get into serial apology mode."

 He pointed out the practical measures the police intend to take such as special training in family liaison for the families of victims of violence.

 He also cited the newly drawn up Greenwish Accord for "effective policing within a diverse community", covering racially motivated crime, supporting victims, prevention, confidentiality, partnership, quality control, police training and recruitment.

 From me floor, a representative of the local branch of the New Communist Party asked about the council decision last year to wind up funding for the Greenwich Action Campaign Against Racist Attacks and to merge it with GCRE.

 GACARA has a long and distinguished record of initiatives against racism campaigning and in particular pursuing cases of police racism.
If, a couple of years down the line, all the new structures and partnership policies between the police, the council and GCRE, are not working as they should, an independent voice like GACARA is needed more than ever to draw public attention if "partnership" becomes collusion.

 Councillor Bob Harris replied that the council had decided the merger would produce the most efficient use of funding. Hardev Dhillon replied that checks and balances were necessary to monitor progress.

 And John Grieve commented that "The proof of the pudding is in the eating". He reported that in the last few months police have arrested more than 1,000 racists.

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International

Turkey ablaze in Kurdish revolt
 
 TURKISH security forces have arrested thousands of Kurds throughout the country in a new wave of terror aimed at crushing Kurdish resistance in the run-up to (he show-trial of captured gucrrilla leader Abdullah Ocalan.

 Over 8,000 people have been detained and hundreds injured in bloody clashes in cities throughout Turkey and Turkish Kurdistan after the military were ordered in to quell the traditional Kurdish Spring Newroz celebrations which have become in recent years the focus for rallies in support of the Kurdish resistance.

 In the old capital, Istanbul, supporters of the outlawed Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) closed ranks with the Turkish opposition and wok to the streets in defiance of the police. A Dutch eye-witness said: "Suddenly tanks appeared on the scene, masked special units armed with heavy weapons stormed towards the peaceful celebrating people and shot into the crowds. We watched with our own eyes as three people fell badly injured from the gunfire. It was like an image from a war," Turkish human rights groups report 1,319 arrests in Istanbul alone.

 In the south-eastern city of Adana the security forces made 1,000 arrests trying to disperse a 60,000 strong crowd. Demonstrators defied tanks and troops wi th stones and irorr bars. A child was hit by a Turkish tank and badly injured.

 And resistance was fierce in the Kurdish "capital" of Diyarhakir ending only after 4,000 arrests. Kurds and Turkish left-wingers battled with the police and army in other towns including Batman, Van, Urfa, Gaziantep in the south east and as far as Izmir on the Aegean Sea.

 * Hundreds of Kurds and supporters demonstrated outside the London headquarters of the Independent Television Commission (ITC) on Tuesday to protest at its suspension of the Kurdish satellite TV station MED-TV on grounds that its programmes were "likely to encourage or to incite crime,". The 21-day suspension follows Turkish demands to put the Kurdish station beamed to Turkey off the air.

 
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British News

Rosemary Nelson tribute
by Renee Sams
 
 A PACKED meeting at London's Conway Hall last Tuesday paid tribute to solicitor Rosemary Nelson, killed by a loyalist car bomb in Lurgn, County Armagh last week. The audience packed into the small hall heard that she was respected not only throughout Ireland but throughout the world for her work for justice.

 She had a brilliant legal mind which she used to defend many over the years who the authorities did not want to be helped. But she was not sectarian and was prepared to use her legal skills where an injustice had occurred for people on both sides of the community.

 Solicitor Gareth Pierce said of her that "she was ambitious not for herself but what she wanted to achieve for people" and "she was totally emotionally and intellectually engaged and committed to that end."

 The meeting called for the disbanding of the RUC and heard Martin McGovern, Sinn Fein representative in Britain, pay his own tribute to Rosemary Nelson. He outlined the problems confronting the people of the six counties and said the Good Friday Agreement, "needed compromises on all sides -- it is not a win or lose situation."

 "It was difficult enough to persuade our own people to accept" all the compromises that had to be made but after eventually getting it signed the British Government now seem to say it is not enough, now they are demanding even more.

 On the RUC which is an armed sectarian force consisting of 93 per cent unionist, 90 per cent male Martin McGovern was clear that it was 100 per cent sectarian and should be disbanded.

 Despite the problems, he assured the audience that Sinn Fein naving signed that agreement and will continue to honour it. "We are totally committed", he said.

 Solicitor Gareth Pierce, who had known Rosemary Nelson, expressed her concern that since the murder of Rosemary "the law enforcement agencies had taken no action. The British Government had been unable to maintain a standing army in the six counties so the military had been "transformed into a police force."

 In a situation of war a standing army may be required but at the end of the war they should be stood down.

 If it is a civilian law enforcement agency "why is it allowing people to be killed?" she asked. There had been 13 serious incidents in the street where Rosemary Nelson lived and many people knew that she had been threatened but she was not offered protection.

 John McCabe MP also added his tribute to Rosemary Nelson and called for a "thorough professional investigation into her death".

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