The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 5th November 2004

New Communist Party of Britain delegation in China last week

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by Caroline Colebrook

States went to the polls last Tuesday all around the world peace vigils were held to honour and name the thousands of people who have died as a result of the illegal Bush-Blair invasion of Iraq.

Ceremonies were held in Australia, Italy, Switzerland, Spain and Iraq. In Britain there were mass ceremonies in London, Cardiff on Tuesday and in Glasgow on Saturday.

 The dead who were remembered included around 100,000 Iraqi dead – according to the latest estimates from the medical journal The Lancet – as well as over 1,100 American dead military personnel, 69 British and other victims from many countries.

 At the London ceremony in Trafalgar Square, cosmologist Stephen Hawking joined London Mayor Ken Livingstone and TGWU general secretary Tony Woodley, former boxer Chris Eubank, writer Harold Pinter, actors Neil Pearson and Corin Redgrave, MPs Jeremy Corbyn and George Galloway and many others to take turns in reading our the names of the Iraqi dead.

 Stephen Hawking, author of A Brief History of Time, told the assembled crowd, using his voice synthesiser: “The war was based on two lies. Both the claims of weapons of mass destruction and linkage to 11 September had proved untrue.

 “It has been a tragedy for all the families. If that is not a war crime, what is?”

 Then he added: “I apologise for my pronunciation. My speech synthesiser was not designed for Iraqi names.”

  Tony Woodley said: “The civilian casualty toll from this unnecessary conflict may now be as much as 100,000. We should remember these innocent victims of aggression and pledge to ensure that such a war is never fought again.”

  In Cardiff a peace vigil at Cardiff City Centre army veteran Michael Peterson, wearing his medals, read the names of members of the armed services who have died in the war.

 He read out their names, their rank, the day they died and their country. Most came from the US, followed by Britain but there were others from Bulgaria, El Salvador, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Thailand and the Ukraine.

 Retired nursing sister Beatrice Smith read the names of Iraqi civilians who have died. The youngest victim named was an eight-month-old baby boy, Aumar Mahamed Jeasem. He was killed by a bomb on 23 March 2003 in Al-Bassra Dooer, Al-Nafuat Blooks 5.

 Half the Iraqi civilians who have died were women and children.

 The ceremony ended with two minutes’ silence to remember the names of the dead and honour them.

 The ceremony in Glasgow last Saturday was organised by the Campaign for Justice for Gordon Gentle.

 Gordon Gentle was a young Scottish Fusilier who was killed in Basra on 28 June this year. The 500-strong rally was led by his mother Rose and his sister Maxine.

 Speakers included Tommy Sheridan MSP, Ewa Jasiewicz from Voices in the Wilderness and Reginald Keys, whose son Thomas was killed on military service in Iraq.


Four more years

  BARRING a spectacular reverse in Ohio or last minute legal challenges to the vote in other states, it would seem that George W Bush has won the US presidential election by the slenderest of margins. This will be good news for the most reactionary and aggressive circles within the American ruling class who can now look forward to four more years of war and plunder.

It will doubtless please Tony Blair and his sycophants who believe that Bush’s supposed prestige can prop up his discredited leadership and General Sharon will be comforted at a result that will guarantee unlimited American support for the continued persecution and oppression of the Palestinian Arabs. For the rest of the world the struggle to contain and defeat American imperialism continues.

In Iraq the resistance is bracing itself for a new American offensive against the liberated city of Fallujah that is part of Anglo-American imperialism’s plans to impose the peace of the grave in advance of fraudulent local elections in January.

The British people may have no say in the election of America’s leaders but they have plenty to say about ours, and they have been saying it time and time again in local elections and on the streets – and the message is that they want Blair out.

Blair is openly thinking about calling a snap election early next year to head off challenges to his leadership from within the Labour Party. If he remains leader he will take the Labour Party to the brink of disaster.


Gambling with our future

BLAIR OFTEN parades his Christian beliefs and, though his ministers more modestly refrain from citing Jesus Christ as an example to follow, they often like to pose as social reformers in the spirit of the early pioneers of the Labour Party. But the best they can come up with is a plan to deregulate gambling that will open the door to money laundering, organised crime and corruption on a scale never before seen in Britain.

Can anyone seriously believe that a casino in every city will transform deprived areas into mini-Monte Carlos? Can anyone doubt that round-the-clock gambling halls in the heart of towns will lead to the greater impoverishment of working people lured by the bright lights of the slot machines, the spin of the wheel and the twist of the card?

Sure gambling, for good or bad, is part of British culture. For instance, income from Premium Bonds and the National Lottery is used to help culture and sport. But this Government has done little or nothing to support traditional working class pursuits like horse and dog racing, where betting does involve a modicum of skill and judgement.

 No, it prefers to encourage games of pure chance where the only ultimate winner is the House itself and the only people who get-rich-quick are its proprietors.

Roman Emperors spent fortunes on gladiator fights, arena battles and chariot races. By these means they sought to divert the masses away from the reality of their oppression. At least the bread and circuses were free in those days. Now we are expected to pay for it out of our own pockets.

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