Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Recalling a great Korean leader

Dermot Hudson and Shaun Pickford
 By New Worker correspondent

COMRADES and friends met in central London on Saturday for a second meeting to commemorate the 71st anniversary of dear leader Kim Jong Il and to celebrate the DPR Korea’s latest outstanding scientific achievements in atomic power.
Kim Jong Il followed in the footsteps of great leader Kim Il Sung to lead Democratic Korea and the Korean revolutionary movement until his last breath in December 2011. So it was fitting that the start of the event, organised by the Juché Idea Study Group and the Association for the Study of Songun Politics, was heralded with the playing of the Song of General Kim Jong Il that is irrevocably linked to the Korean communist leader.
The meeting began with openings on the Juché Idea, along with cultural films and discussion on the philosophy that guides the Workers Party of Korea in the building and defence of the DPRK.     
Dermot Hudson, who chaired the meeting, said: “Today 16th February is the 71st anniversary of the birth of the great leader comrade Kim Jong Il, the sun of Songun. It is rightfully celebrated as the Day of the Shining Star by the Korean people and the progressive and revolutionary peoples of the entire world.
Today when the Democratic People's Republic of Korea faces unprecedented threats from US and world imperialism it becomes ever more important for Juché idea and Songun idea followers to uphold this occasion. Marking the birth anniversary of the great leader comrade Kim Jong Il is an act of positive solidarity with the DPRK in its struggle against US imperialism.
“Today the DPRK is one of the few countries in the world that it is not a member of the IMF, World Bank or World Trade Organisation. It does not have a foreign owned or privately owned central bank. Moreover it does not have any foreign troops stationed on its soil and does not take orders from other countries, as has been demonstrated recently. This is the proud legacy of leader Kim Jong Il and why we uphold his birth anniversary
“We remember the great leader comrade Kim Jong Il on the occasion of the anniversary of his birth for manifold and excellent ideological and theoretical achievements as well his role as a great people's leader and constructor of socialism.
“Today the Korean people under the guidance of the dear respected Marshal Kim Jong Un hold the great leader comrade Kim Jong Il in high esteem as they complete the Juché revolutionary cause. Under Marshal Kim Jong Un the Korean people will advance along the road of independence, Songun and socialism charted by the great leaders comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and win final victory.”
Next Shaun Pickford of the Juché Idea Study Group spoke about the Kim Jong Il’s immense contribution to socialist philosophy. He said that Kim Jong Il’s classic work Abuses of Socialism Are Intolerable that was written soon after the counter-revolutions in the Soviet Union and the people’s democracies of eastern Europe, was a brave work that refuted the slanders of the imperialists and reactionaries against socialism and the socialist idea and exposed the fallacies of revisionism and opportunism.
Despite the intensification of the moves of the imperialists to stifle Korean style socialism the DPRK has held firm. During the period of the "arduous march" in the DPRK not one hospital or school closed down and now it was taking giant steps into the 21st century to build a modern socialist republic.
            Many useful suggestions were made to actively expand and develop solidarity with the DPRK, including the need for a more vigorous expose of the south Korean puppet regime and to step up the campaign to free Ro Su Hui, the south Korean peace campaigner jailed for four years by the puppet regime. He was arrested in July 2012 after he returned from a visit to the north. Ro was arrested and detained by the south Korean puppet regime under the so-called "National Security Law" which punishes south Koreans for visiting north Korea or sympathising with it in anyway.
            And informal discussion continued over refreshments long after the close of the formal part of the meeting.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Remembering Kim Jong Il

Mun Myong Sin calls for solidarity
By New Worker correspondent 

LONDON comrades and friends gathered last Saturday to mark the “Day of the Shining Star”, the anniversary of the birth of Kim Jong Il, and to celebrate the continued advances of the people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and their contribution to international peace and progress.
A film on the significance of Kim Jong Il’s life and work was shown, along with a photo exhibition on the work of the DPRK leader, who sadly passed away in December 2011, as well as portraying Democratic Korea’s recent technological, cultural and architectural achievements.
Addressing the meeting Comrade Mun Myong Sin from the DPRK embassy in London said that tensions are currently growing in the Korean peninsula due to the West’s interference.
Commenting on the recent UN Security Council sanctions imposed on the DPRK, Mun pointed out that the DPRK’s neighbours have launched hundreds of satellites for peaceful use, “but the Western media portray the launch of satellite by the DPRK as a threat”. He concluded by saying: “We really appreciate your support at this time, and for helping us to build socialism in our country”.
Michael Chant from the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (ML) exposed the unfairness of the new UN Security Council sanctions, and declared his full support for the DPRK’s independent right to pursue the peaceful exploration of space.
Dermot Hudson from the Juché Idea study group said: “The commemoration of the anniversary of the birth of Kim Jong Il is always celebrated by the Korean people as their greatest national holiday, as well by Juché Idea followers throughout the world. Now, with the threats by the US imperialists and others against the DPRK, it takes on even greater significance as celebrating it is actually a profound and meaningful act of solidarity with People's Korea in the face of these threats.
“Taking advantage of the collapse of socialism in several countries, the imperialists made a fuss about the end of socialism itself. The imperialists and those who turned their backs on the socialist cause resorted to despicable smear campaigns against socialism to justify their argument on the end of socialism. They directed the spearhead of their offensive to Korea that remained as a bulwark of socialism.
“At this critical juncture Chairman Kim Jong Il clarified the scientific accuracy and truth of socialism and the inevitability of its victory through his energetic ideological and theoretical activities, dealing a resolute counter-attack to the imperialists’ manoeuvres against socialism.
“He published a series of works including The Historical Lesson in Building Socialism and the General Line of Our Party, Abuses of Socialism Are Intolerable and Socialism Is a Science so as to lay bare the absurdity of the slanders and abuses of the imperialists”.
The meeting was a fitting tribute to the memory of the Kim Jong Il’s revolutionary contribution, and a timely gesture of solidarity when imperialism is renewing its pressure and threats against the people of Democratic Korea.

The meeting, at the Marchmont Centre in the heart of the capital, was organised by the Co-ordinating Committee of Friends of Korea which consists of the European Regional Society for the Study of the Juché Idea, UK Korean Friendship Association, New Communist Party of Britain, Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) and the Socialist Labour Party. It holds public meetings in London throughout the year.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

LGBT photo show success

Francisco Gomez de Villaboa
 By Anton Johnson

UNITE House hosted a very successful Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) History Month event of a display of photographic works by London-based Lesbian Gay Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) photographer Francisco Gomez De Villaboa. The event was organised by the Sertuc LGBT Network and Unite London and Eastern Region LGBT Committee. It exhibited nine portrait photographs of London-based LGBTQ artists and activists from Spain, Greece, Cyprus and Ireland to show solidarity in the fight against austerity across Europe and the impact on LGBTQ communities in those countries.

The exhibition, at Unite’s London headquarters, was curated and hosted by David Sharkey of the Unite London and Eastern Region LGBT Committee and started with a welcome from Jim Kelly the chair of the Unite London and Eastern Region, followed by Francisco introducing and explaining the works and Rachel Newton from the Greece Solidarity Campaign.
The attendance exceeded expectations with people having to stand outside the room whist the speeches were made.
The photographs will also be on display at the Horse Hospital in Russell Square in London on 26th February for the Global Queer Shorts film screening and it is planned to hang them in the Marble Hall of the TUC Congress House during LGBT History Month and later in the year show them in Norwich.

Never Again – Holocaust Memorial Day event

The London Klezmer Quartet
By New Worker Correspondent

AMNESTY International and the Waltham Forest section of Unite Against Fascism (UAF) joined forces last Wednesday evening to host a Holocaust Memorial Day event with speakers, a film, music and debate, in Hackney, to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day.
Speakers included Holocaust Survivor Mala Tribich, Sandar Szoke from the Hungarian (Anti-fascist Movement, Roma Civil Rights Movement and son of Holocaust survivors), David Rosenberg (author of The Battle of the East End), Dan Jones (Amnesty International), Natasha Munoz, Father Steven Saxby and Weyman Bennett of the UAF.
 The event was opened by Dan Jones Amnesty International and chaired by David Rosenberg.
 Mala Tribich gave an account of her early life, in which she experienced her family being forced to live in a ghetto and then being forced into a concentration camp.
 Mala Tribich was born in Poland in 1930 and is the sister of Olympic medallist Ben Helfgott – the only members of their immediate family to survive. During the occupation, her parents moved her and a cousin to a Catholic family. But they were so homesick they asked to return to the ghetto.
One day they were taken to a row of lorries at an unknown destination. But Mrs Tribich, then 12, showed incredible chutzpah: she asked an SS officer if she and her cousin Hania, who was five, could return to the ghetto. Amazingly, the officer said yes.
She survived two death camps and was reunited with her brother several years after the war. In Britain, she met and married Maurice Tribich, completed a degree in sociology and raised two children.
Sandor Szoke gave an account of the situation in Hungary, Rumania and the rise of fascism and anti-Semitism.
 This was followed by a question and answer session chaired by David Rosenberg, author and Jewish socialist.
 Natasha Munoz from We Are Waltham Forest spoke about the positivity and raised morale in Waltham Forest after We Are Waltham Forest successfully blocked a march by the Islamophobic English Defence League.
            Father Steve Saxby, who works with Walthamstow Immigration Centre, spoke on multicultural diversity and the problems of isolation and loneliness for immigrants in Britain.
 Weyman Bennett, leader of the UAF warned that, in spite of a year of victories against the EDL and other fascist organisations, we should not be complacent but must still come out on the streets to oppose EDL and other racist and fascist scum.
 Music was provided by the London Klezmer Quartet.

Freedom Press firebombed

 THE POLICE have launched an arson investigation after the Freedom Press Anarchist bookshop in Whitechapel in London’s East End was firebombed at about 5.30am on Friday 1st February.
 Fortunately no one was on the premises at the time and there were no casualties. But around 500 books were completely burned and thousands more partially damaged by both smoke and water from the fire-hoses used to extinguish the flames.
  The electrical wiring was completely damaged but the first floor is reported to be OK. Unfortunately the shop was not insured.
 The shop suffered a previous arson attack in 1993 at the height of a campaign of bombings and violence carried out by the notorious neo-Nazi thugs of Combat 18.
 And the people of Freedom Press again suspect a far-right motive behind this.
Andy Meinke, who is one of the bookshop’s “coordinators”, said staff believe the culprits are likely to have been members of far right groups such as the English Defence League or the British National Party.
“No-one’s claiming responsibility for it yet, but we’ve obviously got radical politics and have campaigned against groups like the EDL in the past”, he said.
Hundreds of people turned out over the weekend to help with the clean-up operation. “We spent the weekend having a massive clean-up”, Meinke said.
“A lot of people came who we didn’t even recognise after word spread on the internet.”
Gerry Gable, the editor of the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight said: “The latest attack comes at a time when we are seeing a new growth of small groups of hard-line Nazi thugs on the extreme edges of the British far right, often consisting of men and women of violence who are deserting the failing English Defence League together with sleeping tigers from old established groups such as British Movement and the Racial Volunteer Force.”
 He added: “It is likely that the far right would associate Freedom Books with the growing numbers of young activists, many of them anarchists, who have confronted the EDL on the streets in various parts of the country. The attack might well reflect frustration rather than organisation, as many of the thugs from the far-right splinter groups are now being convicted of arson attacks on mosques, violence against trade union meetings and other crimes.
“The anti-fascist movement must remain alert without getting caught up in gossip mills.”
 The Freedom Bookshop stocks thousands of left-wing newspapers and pamphlets and acts as a host to campaigns like the London Coalition Against Poverty. It was founded in 1886 by Charlotte and Peter Kropotkin and opened at its present site in Whitechapel in 1969.
The shop has now re-opened.