The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 7th July 2000

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Editorial - Stop digging.
Lead Story - Loyalist violence returns to Drumcree.
Feature - Truth remains casulty of war on Yugoslavia.
International - Mid-East crisis hots up.
British News - Campaigners warn of new nuclear escalation.

Editorial

Stop digging

THE wealthy elite who make up Britain's capitalist class have long been divided on the question of European Monetary Union. Clearly the majority of that class wants to throw in its lot with the European Union and to go ahead with joining the single currency -- the Euro.

 Others look across the Atlantic to the United States and believe there is more to be gained from keeping a tight hold of the world's richest coat tails. This section, who are undoubtedly drawn to the Anglo-American camp by their own American business portfolios, are currently banging the Daily Telegraph's latest drum to gather support for Britain to join the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta).

 These are not just debates between the well-heeled club members of St James and Pall Mall. There is supposed to be a referendum on Britain's entry to the Euro (or not) after the next general election and this is concentrating the national media's attention on the issue.

 Pro and anti Euro camps are eagerly trying to win the working class vote by raising the spectre of unemployment. The Euro-now camp claims three million jobs could be lost if Britain does not go all the way with the EU.

 The Euro sceptics claim the EU would not punish Britain in this way because even more European jobs depend upon continuing trade with Britain. They also argue that developing free trade with America and its other trading partners would help British employment levels.

 The point most of the media will not make, but which needs to be said loud and clear, is that all these arguments come from within the ruling capitalist class -- and none of that class, from any sectional interest, gives a monkey's about us.

 The whole debate being targeted on the public hinges on the old myth that what is good for Britain's capitalists is also good for the rest of us. We are supposed to swallow the lie that the boss is some kind of benevolent provider of work and sustenance and that if things go badly for the boss we will suffer too. And if the boss does well then so do we.

 These lies certainly never square with our own experience. When businesses do well the bosses do not come around offering to share the bunce with the workers -- getting a decent pay rise, however good the profits, always requires struggle.

 And when it comes to who needs who -- it is the owners, the capitalists, who need the workforce. Without workers there would be no goods, no services and no profits. But without the bosses, there would still be goods and services and the surplus used for the benefit of everyone.

 Furthermore, the dynamics of the capitalist system compels capitalists to drive for higher and higher profits. Every effort has to be made to keep labour costs down. Standing still is not an option as rivals will soon take over. As a result labour and capital have conflicting interests not identical ones.

 The struggle to keep labour costs low by exerting downward pressure on wages and by "rationalising" workforces and creating unemployment, make it impossible for the capitalists to sell all the goods and services that the workers have produced. The world's markets are full of things people need but cannot afford to buy -- a crisis of overproduction.

 Capital does not, and cannot, respond by raising wages, cancelling third world debt or finding more jobs for the unemployed. It does the very opposite and lays off even more workers and raises the level of exploitation on those still in work. The crisis just gets worse and worse.

 This problem of markets and the increasing rivalry of the leading capitalists and capitalist centres leads to growing efforts to introduce more trade tariffs and set up trading blocs. Nafta and the single European state are examples of this response.

 None of these measures will confront the crisis of overproduction. The only beneficiaries are the leading capitalist players -- the big monopolies, the major banks, the giant transnational companies and the wealthiest of the wealthy. Small businesses will continue to be squeezed out and the working class everywhere will suffer as their oppressors consolidate their gains.

We say No to the Euro, No to Nafta, No to capitalism.

 Common sense dictates that when you are in a hole, as the capitalist system is, you should stop digging. Since capitalism is incapable of solving the problems it has created and since the vast majority of the world's people can barely live in this old way, it is high time for change. The modern system -- the system of socialism -- is the answer and the future.

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Lead Story

Loyalist violence returns to Drumcree

by Steve Lawton

UGLY scenes of thuggery have returned to Drumcree as the traditional season of parades and marches across the north of Ireland gets underway, revealing just how out of step loyalist bigotry has now become.

 Condemned by many within the unionist community itself, tension is rising again with the unleashing of loyalist provocations that have continued since last weekend. Fears that this will spark attacks elsewhere against Catholics and nationalists has already begun.

 The British government appointed Parades Commission, in a statement by its chairperson Tony Holland on Monday, refused for the third year in a row, to grant the Orange Order access to the nationalist Garvaghy Road in Portadown this Sunday.

 He said he "cannot envisage circumstances in which any subsequent Orange Order parade could take place along the Garvaghy Road except on the basis of a local agreement."

 Garvaghy Road Residents' leader Breandan MacCionaith said the decision was the only logical course of action. Sinn Fein Assembly member for Upper Bann, Dara O'Hagan said four criteria had first to be met, besides the need to remove the loyalist Drumcree hill focus of sectarian action.

 O'Hagan said the Orange Order must adhere to the Parades decision; stop all Drumcree-related marches; end the general incitement to lawlessness; and they must negotiate with the Garvaghy Road Residents' Coalition. Therefore, "any talk of limited Orange Order marches in the future is premature."

 This is compounded by the Grand Orange Lodge's decision last month, by 88 votes to 43, to maintain their non-contact with the Parades Commission. But pressure to overturn that position is apparently growing, especially from within the troubled areas where an accomodation is being fought for -- something Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) leader David Trimble is pushing.

 What has so far occurred obviously fails these conditions. Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) and Ulster Freedom Fighter (UFF) members, since last weekend, have hurled petrol bombs, bricks, bottles, stones and firecrackers at the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and in the course of the rampage an armoured vehicle was set alight.

 Johnny Adair, former UFF commander and recently released from prison, led the paramilitaries under a banner which read: "Shankill Road UFF, 2nd Battalion C.Coy." The RUC and British army repelled them, but on one occasion the RUC fired warning shots.

 About a mile from the main focus, on the Protestant Corcrain estate early this week, balaclava clad Loyalists read out a 'no surrender-style' statement. They vowed to avenge the December 1997 Maze prison killing of LVF leader Billy Wright by republican breakaway group INLA. Pistols raised, volleys were then let off.

 Drumcree Orange leader Harold Gracey virtually incited their forces to rise up and "get off their bellies" in their thousands all over the north of Ireland, creating a general atmosphere of renewed tension. Adair, claiming to be responding to this call, said the Orange Order should provide "clear and decisive leadership".

 But the LVF-UFF actions were attacked by Gary McMichael, leader of the Ulster Democratic Party (UDP), as a "macho display". He called upon "loyalist paramilitaries not to become embroiled at Drumcree".

 Therewere clashes also in parts of Belfast County Down and County Tyrone. But there have also been terror attacks on Catholic homes which Sinn Fein link to Drumcree tensions.

 In the predominantly Protestant Fortwilliam Parade area of north Belfast, Colin O'Brien was with his pregnant partner Lisa Magee when a masked gang battered down their front door with iron bars last Sunday evening and tried to gain entry to the living room.

 Failing to get any further, they smashed the hallway up and left. When relatives arrived to offer help, the couple said an RUC officer hit one of them. Sinn Fein are investigating, but it again means Catholics will be forced to move from their homes. The RUC acted equally impartially at an Orange Order parade disturbance in County Down last Saturday.

 Loyalists marched into a largely nationalist cul-dc-sac in Annalong, and nationalists were out protesting. Sinn Fein South Down Assembly member Mick Murthy, said the RUC were telling a "tissue of lies" when they claimed the RUC was responding to an attack by protesters.

 Martin Connolly, Nationalists for Equality leader from Mourne, said they "have available video footage that clearly shows the aggressive nature of the RUC." The RUC was also captured on camera by international observers present to monitor the parade.

Precisely this unreconstructed behaviour governs the nationalist desire to sec a sweeping change to the policing of northern Ireland. The way in which loyalists and RUC continue to collude in many of these circumstances, despite the appearance of confrontation, make adhering to the Patten proposals all the more urgent.

 The Irish Premier Bertie Ahern, in welcoming the Parades Commission decision on Garvaghy Road at a ceremony to honour Senator George Mitchell with the Tipperary International Peace Award, said he had no doubt in his mind that the peace process was "fixed and firmly set". Setbacks there may be, but overwhelmingly people "want peace and political stability", he said.

 * Gerry Adams hailed Sinn Fein's 'hat trick' Monday with the election of Sean MacManus as Mayor of Sligo and Michael Colreavy and Brian McKenna as chairpersons respectively of Leitrim and Monaghan County Councils. It is the first time Sinn Fein has had a mayor anywhere in the 26 counties of Ireland since 1967. In the others, Sinn Fein's presence breaks many more decades of absence.

 MacManus, a carpenter and former National Chairperson of Sinn Fein, said his term will have a "republican and labour character", that it will be "a Mayoralty for the ordinary worker and local communities of Sligo... We will give the people a strong voice to defend and promote their interests and provide effective and honest leadership at a time when people are increasingly disillusioned with the establishment parties."

  * The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) was seeking to debate a motion aimed at removing the two Sinn Fein ministers on the Assembly executive, in a bid also to undermine UUP leader David Trimble.

 Most UUP, Sinn Fein and SDLP were absent, the motion was defeated and -- as they had said they would do if that happened -- Peter Robinson and Nigel Dodds resigned. They are to be replaced as we go to press.

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Feature

Truth remains casulty of war on Yugoslavia

by Renee Sams

TRUTH IS the first casualty of war is a well-known saying that has been amply proved by the mass media coverage of not only Kosovo but the Gulf War.

 Philip Knightly, speaking at a meeting on Tuesday 27 June organised by the Committee for Peace in the Balkans, told his audience of all the stories he had found in his study of war reporting.

 He is the author of a book, From Crimea to Vietnam which takes a look at the coverage in the newspapers at the time of the wars and how long it took for the truth of many incidents in was to become known to the public.

 "It became apparent to me at the age of 18, when I was a young reporter," he said, "that newspapers were not publishing the truth."

 And he told how a senior man on the paper told him to "just make something up".

 So he made up a far-fetched story about a pervert on a train molesting women and it was published.

 He was sure it would not be believed and that he would be found out. But days went by and he had a phone call from the police.

 They thanked him for the story and said they had now caught the man!

 In the early days of war reporting it was a great adventure. Reporters were risking their lives to bring the news to people back home. But he asked the question: "What if all they had written bore no relation to the truth?"

 His studies of reports in newspapers convinced him that journalists had a tendency to favour their own side in their war reporting.

 "After all," he said, "every journalist wants to ensure support for their own side." It was felt that this was part of the "war effort".

 But this patriotic tradition began to fade after the Second World War. During the Vietnam War some journalists, American and British, let slip war stories that were not favourable to the American government or the Pentagon.

 The military and governments have learned since then and begun to control journalists more tightly, with their own "manuals" and "guidelines" to keep reporters on the right path.

 By the time of the Gulf War there was even more control over propaganda. The military provided its own spokespersons to stand before the cameras and tell the stories that Nato wanted to put across.

 The same kind of tight control was provided for the Kosovan conflict and journalists could only get into the country if they were given permission and taken by naval warship.

 On television people were bombarded daily with the wonders of technical warfare, and the astonishing accuracy with which their war planes could drop bombs on the chosen target.

 People were assured daily that "every precaution was being taken to ensure that only military targets would be attacked and no civilians would be killed".

 Most of the media, Philip Knightly said, "have shown themselves to be willing accomplices" to the Nato war machine.

 He pointed out that in earlier wars "it took many, many years for the truth to come out". But for the latest wars, the cameras can show up the lies we were told much faster.

 It has become all too clear that in the Balkans the damage to the civilian infrastructure was part of a deliberate policy and the slickness of the Nato lies are revealed.

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International

Mid-East crisis hots up

by our Middle East Affairs correspondent

Yasser Arafat says he will proclaim an independent Palestinian state on 13 September, whether Israel likes it or not, provoking a storm of diplomatic activity in Tel Aviv, London and Washington.

 The declaration, made by the 129-strong Palestinian parliament endorsed Arafat's proposal for a state which would claim authority over the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip, even though over 60 per cent is still occupied by Israeli troops and hundreds of thousands of Zionist settlers.

 Arab Jerusalem would be the Palestinian capital and its borders would be those of the 1949 Armistice line which prevailed until 4 June 1967 -- the day before the Israeli invasion which seized the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

 "There will be a battle for Jerusalem," Palestinian Communications Minister Imad Faluja warned. "No Israeli may live in the occupied territories and we will not allow the settlers to return to their homes,".

 Israel has warned that its response would be to annex the Jordan Valley, the Zionist settlements and what it calls "Greater Jerusalem" if Yasser Arafat goes ahead with his threat.

 But the "old man" of the Palestinian national movement has said all this before. No-one knows whether Arafat is again bluffing to get the "peace process" going again or whether he's now resigned to a new period of confrontation with the Israeli occupiers.

 It's certainly being taken seriously in Tel Aviv. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak flew into London on Wednesday to try and get Tony Blair to put pressure on Arafat to back down. He then dashed to Paris to meet President Chirac to make the same plea. And US President Bill Clinton has convened an emergency Middle East peace summit for next Tuesday to head off the crisis.

 In London Barak was giving away nothing. "I hope, of course, that everything will be decided in negotiation," he said outside No.lO. "I made it clear... that if unilateral steps will be taken by one side, we will have to respond with our own unilateral steps," he added.

 According to the Israeli media, Barak is prepared to return 80 percent of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian National Authority, while the rest would be "leased" or annexed by Israel. Few Palestinians believe even this -- and in any case everyone knows the 20 per cent Tel Aviv covets includes "Greater Jerusalem" and the Jordan Valley. And nothing is being said about the plight of the millions of Palestinian refugees who have been promised nothing at all.

 Arafat is under increasing pressure from the Palestinians under his authority and the much larger refugee community across the Arab world to stand up to Israelis. Israel has sent three extra battalions into the West Bank backed up by tanks, helicopter gunships end a new "gravel gun" designed to disperse crowds. Confrontation or Israeli concessions -- we'll soon know one way or another

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British News

Campaigners warn of new nuclear escalation

 LONDON Region Campaign  for Nuclear Disarmament  (CND) and Labour CND have  called for support for a picket  of the United States Embassy,  taking place from 12 noon to 2pm on Friday 7 July.

  The action is to protest against  the threat of a new arms race  posed by US plans to violate the  Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty,  which has been the cornerstone of nuclear arms control for al most three decades.

  Friday is the date of the United States next test in the US national missile defence (NMD) system, when American crews will fire an intercepter missile from a Pacific atoll at a target missile.

  Under the current schedule, the first 20 interceptors are due to be  in place by 2005. NMD will cost around $60 billion.

  The United Nations General Assembly has called for "full and strict compliance" with the terms of the ABM Treaty, by 80 votes to 4.

  Opening the nuclear disarmament conference in New York earlier this year, General Secretary Kofi Annan warned that "the growing pressure to deploy national missile defences ... is jeopardising the ABM Treaty - which has been called the 'cornerstone of strategic stability' - and could well lead to a new  arms race".

  As part of the first stage of NMD development, Fylingdales missile tracking base in York shire -- the scene of a national CND protest on Saturday 8 July  -- is due to be upgraded.

  CND is calling on the British  government to give a commitment that Fylingdales or other facilities in Britain, such as Menwith Hill spy base, will not be used as part of US missile defence plans.

 * CND Chairperson, Dave Knight, said: "We believe the US is determined to press ahead with this crazy system despite opposition from Russia, China, Nato countries and scientists, academics and campaign groups around the world. This is already destabilising international relations and could very well start a new nuclear arms race."

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