The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 4th November 2005

  Comrade Nuno Guerreiro of the Portugese Communist Party dies

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by Daphne Liddle

PRIME MINISTER Tony Blair and his best friend George W Bush are both fighting for their political lives this week as their dishonesty and warmongering came back to haunt them with a vengeance.

Blair came within one vote of defeat on the latest Anti-Terror Bill as an amendment was defeated by 300 votes to 299. The amendment would have meant that “glorifying terror” would only be a crime if it could be shown that is what the accused person intended.

 The closeness of the vote forced Home Secretary Charles Clarke to seek a postponement of voting on another amendment to the proposal to allow police to hold terror suspects for 90 days without charge or trial.

Clarke appealed for the issue to be delayed while he sought consensus – meaning while he retreated to some compromise, possibly shortening the 90 days to 28.

 Either way, extending the time that people can be held without trial could and probably would be used as a weapon of political repression, as it was in Apartheid South Africa.

 This was the culmination of a very bad week for Blair, with Cabinet rebellions sprouting like mushrooms, the scandal that led to Blunkett’s resignation (under pressure) and new critics of the Iraq war reported every day.

 These included BBC security correspondent Frank Gardener – paralysed from the waist down after being shot by terrorists while filming in Saudi Arabia. He told MPs that the terror threat to the West had been “raised dramatically by events in Iraq”, which had “breathed new life into al Qaeda”.

  And some bereaved families boycotted a memorial service for the victims of the 7th July bombings in London because they were angry over delays to much needed compensation money and because Blair’s involvement in the illegal invasion of Iraq had made London a target for terrorism.

 Tory leader Michael Howard pointed out that Blair had “endured an extraordinary week” which had seen “the seepage of his authority turn into a haemorrhage”. Blair has also brought new troubles on his head by proposing the abandonment of targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions – in line with the policies of his mate Bush.

 And across the Atlantic Bush has also been in hot water. First Lewis “Scooter” Libby – chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney – was indicted, charged with perjury, two counts of making false statements and obstruction of justice. Libby is also under investigation for revealing the identity of a CIA agent – a Federal offence with a possible 30-year prison.

 The agent in question, Valerie Plame, is the wife a former ambassador, Joe Wilson. Wilson had angered the White House when he revealed that Bush made false claims that Iraq was seeking to obtain uranium to establish a nuclear weapons programme.

 Libby has been charged but his trial is likely to bring his boss Cheney under investigation. In addition Bush’s chief mentor and confidante, Karl Rove, is also under investigation.
few untouched

This is a scandal that goes deep into the heart of the Whitehouse, leaving few leading figures untouched. At its roots are the lies told by the Bush administration to lead his country to war against Iraq. Those lies are now being unpicked, detail by detail.

 Two thousand US troops have died in the Iraq war – according to official statistics. This does not count those who die later from wounds or who commit suicide. And the war is taking a heavy economic toll on all Americans. The war is becoming very unpopular.

 The American ruling class is now deeply divided and the neo-con warmongers are finding themselves more and more isolated as those opposed to the war grow in strength and numbers.

 Last week Democratic senators took the unusual step of forcing the US Senate into closed session for over two hours and accused the Republican majority of colluding with the White House by failing to investigate whether intelligence had been manipulated to justify the Iraq war.
When the Republicans expressed anger, Democrat leader Harry Reid said that the American people and US troops deserved to know the details of how the country became engaged in the war.

 He accused the Republican chair of the Senate intelligence committee of breaking a promise to conduct a full inquiry into the pre-war intelligence and whether or not the White House misused it.

 The Democrats succeeded in winning an agreement to create a two-party group of six senators to report on the intelligence committee’s progress.

 Read said: “The Libby indictment provides a window into what this is really all about, how that administration manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to sell the war in Iraq and attempt to destroy those who dared to challenge its actions.”


Power struggles

  TONY BLAIR and his spin doctors are trying to convince us that we must accept a new generation of nuclear power stations because the ones we already have are ready for the scrap heap, world oil reserves are running out fast and nuclear power is somehow more friendly to the environment. He also argues that we need the extra power resources to remain competitive in face of “globalisation”. These power stations will be enormously expensive to build. They will be paid for by taxpayers but owned and controlled by the private sector. Can we trust the private sector with the planet’s safety?

 The existing generation of nuclear power stations is now costing far more to decommission than it took to build them. The costs of dealing with the radioactive waste they produced will continue to be a burden on generations to come.

 But there are enormous profits to be made from milking the taxpayer on this one – so it is worth bending the truth a bit. There are reports that the shortage of world oil reserves is being exaggerated by vested interests – including the oil companies who benefit from higher prices.

 Blair mentions the expanding Chinese economy a lot to persuade us that we must throw all caution to the wind to keep up. He forgets that China is a socialist country that is strengthening its labour protection laws as he is upholding the Tory abolition of our union rights.

 And he is forgetting Britain’s main power reserve. We are still sitting on 300-years supply of coal. True, this is a carbon-based fuel and wrongly used will increase global warming. But the technology now exists to clean the emissions from coal-fired power stations. This technology is now cheap compared to the rising price of oil.

 For Blair, and for the whole western ruling class, the problem with restoring King Coal is political, not economic. It would restore the strength and standing of the industrial working class in Britain and Europe. Blair should note that China is expanding its coal-mining operations, abolishing unregulated pit management and improving safety and environmental protection legislation. These things can be done – under socialism.


‘Generous’ Gates

MICROSOFT billionaire Bill Gates last week announced a gift of $258.3 million to combat the scourge of malaria, saying it was a “disgrace” that the world had allowed malaria deaths to double in the last 20 years, when so much could be done to prevent the disease.

 A couple of generations ago, young socialists were frequently told of the generosity of men like Andrew Carnegie and the motor tycoon Lord Nuffield – to “prove” that capitalism could be a good thing and that some capitalists were “nice people”.

 But where do these millions they dish out come from? All wealth is created by work. No individual can do enough work to create that much wealth. Gates may have genuinely earned some money himself from his bright ideas a couple of decades ago.

Since then he has employed others to have his bright ideas for him. And he employs – directly or indirectly – a global army of workers to build and assemble computers and all the other peripheral gizmos that go with them.

 It is this unsung army that has created his vast wealth. Just as other unsung armies created the wealth of all the world’s billionaires. And if these workers had any kind of democratic control over the wealth they create, disgraces like malaria and HIV-aids would have been dealt with long ago.

 Bill Gates is giving the largest part of his donation ($107.6 million) to a giant drugs company to work on a vaccine. We do not lack the science to prevent malaria. Westerners holidaying in the Third World are routinely given anti-malaria jabs.

 Malaria, when experienced in the Third World, like HIV-aids, is a different and far, far more lethal disease than that experienced in the West. These are the diseases of poverty that strike because people are vulnerable through hunger, through lack of clean water supplies and through lack of proper healthcare systems. Malaria strikes children whose parents cannot afford a simple anti-mosquito net to put over their bed at night. They are like the victims of tuberculosis in Victorian Britain, which killed thousands of workers and left their dependants destitute.

 Capitalism does not care as long as enough workers survive to carry on the wealth making. If the wealth produced by African workers were used for their benefit, it would be the most healthy and wealthy continent on the planet.

 Bill Gates’ $258.3 million is a drop in the ocean compared to what is needed – and compared to the wealth he has acquired from the work of others.

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