Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Resisting the enemies of democracy

By New Worker


ANTI-FASCIST and anti-racist activists and academics gathered last Saturday at the Bishopsgate Institute in London’s East End to debate the rising threat of extreme right-wing ideas throughout Europe and the western world and how to confront it.
The conference was called by the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight, which it marking its 50th year. Searchlight editor Gerry Gable told the New Worker that “many people when looking at the far right do not see beyond the British National Party and the English Defence League”.
These organisations have suffered serious setbacks in recent years – largely because of the hard work of anti-fascists and anti-racists going round and knocking on doors wherever the BNP has been standing in elections to counter the lies put out by the BNP – and by turning out in huge numbers wherever the EDL declares it intends to march, not to fight but simply to block them.
Bothe the BNP and the EDL are declining but that does not mean that the threat has gone away.
Two recent conferences in London were organised by people who are re-inventing fascism for the modern era. One was facilitated by the Traditional Britain Group – which has links with the right-wing of the Tory Party and provides a bridge with the new fascists in same way and the Monday Club used to. The other was fully organised by the TBG.
The first, on 12th October, is entitled “The end of the present world: the post-American century and beyond”, and will feature the infamous Russian fascist Alexander Dugin and Alain de Benoist, the French New Right philosopher and writer who for the past 40 years has tried to influence the extreme-right agenda and organisations internationally.
A week later the TBG’s day-long conference entitled “The future of the nation state”, brought together a range of extremist participants.
 Among the most concerning is the rise of Generation Identity – an extreme right wing “intellectual” group that is growing across Europe, including Britain, and is re-inventing eugenics.
A leading voice in Generation Identity is Markus Willinger, who has written Generation Identity: A Declaration of War Against the ’68ers, is trying to undo all the reforms, all the advances against racism, sexism, homophobia and general intolerance that have been made since the 1960s, which he refers to as “cultural Marxism”.
And we could be seeing the influence of these ideas in the Con-Dem coalition’s demonization of the long-term sick and disabled as “scroungers” – and some of the outrageously racist and sexist utterances of various Tory councillors and UK Independence Party “loose cannons”.
Last Saturday’s conference began with a debate on the role of the trade unions in resisting fascism and racism that was chaired by Megan Dobney, regional secretary of the South East Region TUC.
Speakers at this session included Kay Carberry, who is assistant general secretary of the TUC, Mohammed Taj, a Bradford bus driver and a member of Unite who is the TUC’s first Asian President, Jo Rust from King’s Lynn trades council and Cathy Pound who is [Searchlight’s] trade union liaison officer.
The second session dealt with the “No Platform” policy chaired by Aaron Kiely, the National Union of Students Black Students’ officer and included speakers Dr Matthew Feldman who c-directs the Centre for Fascist, Anti-Fascist and Post Fascist Studies at Teesside University, Kyaz Mughal, founder and co-director of Faith Matters, veteran [Searchlight] activist Paul Crofts and journalist Tim Lezzard.
Session three was entitled: “Education in the front-line of the defence of young people” chaired by Dr Paul Jackson of the University of Northampton. Speakers included teacher David Rosenberg, Paul Mackney, former general secretary of the lecturers’ union Natfhe until it merged with AUT to become UCU, Kevin Courtney, the deputy general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, and Dagenham teacher Dominic Byrne who a long history of campaigning against racism.
The fourth and final session, on building a stronger, non-sectarian front of mutual support, was chaired by Gerry Gable. Speakers included Bob Archer, president of Redbridge NUT, Ulrike Schmidt, a musician, instrument-maker, teacher and Activist for Amnesty specialising in campaigning against the persecution suffered by the Roma community in Europe, Daphne Liddle from the New Communist Party, Steve Hart of the trade union think-tank Class and chair of Unite Against fascism, Jo Caldwell, a leader of the very successful We Are Waltham Forest, which formed to keep the EDL out of the borough but now also campaigns against cuts and Maria Nikolakaki, Associate Professor of Education at the University of the Peloponnese in Greece and an active anti-fascist.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sutton Attacks Disabled Parking

By Adrian Chan-Wyles

THE ULTRA-right-wing Council of the London Borough of Sutton, south London, has continued to support and perpetuate the latest national trend of demonising and attacking people with disabilities.  Many people with disabilities undergo a vigorous medical test and examination when they apply to be accepted for the Blue Badge Holder Scheme, which allows for the parking of vehicles (carrying, or driven by disabled people), on double and single yellow lines for up to three hours without charge.  The Blue Badge is also for vehicles carrying disabled people to use priority parking places next hospital entrances, bus and train stations, as well easily accessible spaces in council run car parks in the borough, and so on.  The Blue Badge may also be used in this manner nationally in Britain, and throughout the European Union.
The Blue Badge Scheme acknowledges that people with disabilities, being more or less permanently excluded from mainstream society, need extra-help and encouragement to travel unhindered around the area (and country) that they live in. As rich families in such places as conservative Sutton often own more than one car, parking spaces are highly competitive and difficult to acquire, and as many people with disabilities have to exist on an ever retreating welfare system in Britain, parking can be very expensive in the area.  This social and financial pressure serves to alienate people with disabilities to an ever greater extent, and explains why the Blue Badge Scheme is important to encourage participation within society and a movement away from isolated living.
The current British Con-Dem Coalition has unleashed a tirade of anti-disability rhetoric and action across Britain, with an increase of attacks against people with disabilities by 75 per cent, as clearly shown in Katharine Quarmby’s excellent study entitled Scapegoat – Why We are Failing Disabled People.  Quarmby makes the following points that nine out of 10 people in Britain have never invited a person with disabilities into their home; only two in 10 people have disabled friends, eight out of 10 children with learning difficulties are bullied at school, nearly 50 per cent of disabled people have recently experienced or witnessed physical abuse, and the number of Disability Hate Crimes reported has risen by 75 per cent in one year alone.  This clearly shows that within a capitalist society that has a national government espousing right-wing rhetoric and pursuing hateful policies, it is the minority under-classes, such as the disabled, that disproportionally suffer the most.
On 1st November 2013, the Parking Services department of Sutton Council issued a letter to all Blue Badge Holders within the borough, stating that residents of the exclusive Belmont area of the city have requested that Sutton Council revoke the right of disabled vehicle owners to park in permit parking bays in the area.  Blue Badge Holders are informed that Ward Counsellors are in support of this measure and that Sutton Council will soon be amending the parking law.
 Disabled people living in the area in question have not been consulted, nor have disabled people living in the borough in general.  The local non-disabled residents of Belmont have expressed a dislike for the presence of those with disabilities legally parking in the area.  What is extraordinary in this day and age of bureaucracy is that a small, bigoted group of people have had their concerns listened to, and legitimised by Sutton Council, and their demands immediately met with a change in local parking law.
 If a similar group of local residents campaigned for school, hospitals, resources, and greater understanding between ethnic groups, for example, the wheels of council administration would turn very slowly until the demands were withdrawn, forgotten, or both.  As it stands, people with disabilities living in the Belmont area, and those who would like to visit them, are now encouraged to apply for a parking permit and ”pay” like other residents in the area, thus undermining the practical and compassionate Blue Badge Scheme, and perpetuating the inequalities the scheme was set-up to over-come.         

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Down with the south Korea puppet regime!

By New Worker 

SUPPORTERS of the Korean revolution returned to the picket the south Korean embassy to protest against the oppressive regime, whose leader was greeted at Buckingham Palace last week. New Communist Party leader Andy Brooks joined the demonstration called by the UK Korean Friendship Association outside the embassy in London on 7th November to protest against the state visit of fascist puppet Park Geun Hye last week.
              Dermot Hudson, KFA Official Delegate and chair of the Juché Idea Study Group, opened the picket by saying: “The south Korean embassy is a joke and should not exist as south Korea is not a state. South Korea has no independence; south Korea is totally dependent on the United States and indeed was created by the US.
“Today south Korean puppet ruler Park Geun Hye is on a state visit to the UK and is being entertained at the expense of the British taxpayer despite huge cutbacks in public spending. Park is as dictator like her father Park Chung Hee.”
General Park Chung Hee came to power in a military coup in 1961 and ruled with an iron fist until he was assassinated by the head of his own intelligence service during a power struggle in 1979. His daughter is now following in her father’s footsteps by banning the Unified Progressive Party as well as the Teachers Union.
The demonstrators waved the DPR Korea flag in front of the puppet embassy as well as the UK KFA banner and maintained a barrage of slogans throughout the 90-minute afternoon protest action.
The picketers exchanged banter with a couple of journalists from NK News, an anti-DPRK front that poses as an independent news agency, and a man who said he was a north Korean defector living in London. They also had to put up with the unwelcome attention of a member of the puppet embassy staff who went around taking close-up photographs of the protesters in an amateurish attempt to intimidate the demonstrators and presumably for the records of the south Korean intelligence service!

Collusion in the North of Ireland: Thatcher knew but did nothing

 By Theo Russell

EXPLOSIVE new evidence on British state collusion with Loyalist paramilitaries during the conflict in the north of Ireland has been revealed in a new book, Lethal Allies, based on research by the Pat Finucane Centre (PFC) and the Historical Enquiries Team (HET), a 100-strong unit of the Police Service of Northern Ireland set up in 2005 as a result of the Good Friday Agreement.
The authors, Anne Cadwallader and Alan Brecknell of the PFC, were in London last week for a meeting at the House of Commons, but a meeting with the secretary of state was turned down.
The new research shows that Margaret Thatcher was fully briefed about extensive Loyalist infiltration of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) in 1975 by senior Army officers and the north of Ireland minister. Not only did she take no action to stop collusion, she simply carried on heaping praise all the security forces involved in the conflict.
The same goes for Sir John Charles Hermon, the then Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, and then Defence Minister Lord Carrington, who both had full details of collusion but did nothing about it.
The first source to break the collusion story in the 1970s was Private Eye magazine.
According to Sinn Féin's Gerry Adams in his Léargas blog:In the days since the book has been published a succession of unionist politicians and former RUC officers have denied, denied, denied.” As Cadwallader points out, many of those politicians were themselves members of the RUC or UDR.
Many new documents were found in a secret RUC safe and at the Public Records Office in Kew, but many are still withheld and a further 66,000 are yet to be seen. The researchers say that between five and 15 per cent of RUC officers were also members of Loyalist paramilitaries.
Cadwallader said that officers from the HET are “appalled” at the new revelations, adding that: “Not every policemen, judge or UDR member was corrupt. Many lost their lives because of the collapse of Catholic confidence in justice, law and order.”
But there was widespread and criminal corruption of the justice system. At the trial of three Loyalist members of the RUC for the attack on the Rock Bar, Granemore, Lord Chief Justice Lowry said they were motivated by “the feeling that more than ordinary police work was needed, and justified, to rid the land of the pestilence which has been in existence”.
 The book covers dozens of killings in the “murder triangle” by the notorious Glenanne Gang, a loose group police officers, UDR soldiers and Ulster Volunteer Force members.
A farmhouse in County Armagh was used as a base at which bombs were made and used in the 1974 Dublin-Monaghan bombings, which killed 33 people, and the Step Inn in bombing in Keady, Armagh which killed two people.
When the RUC uncovered a large quantity of weapons at the farm in 1978, the owner, James Mitchell, an RUC reserve officer, was convicted for possession but let off with a suspended sentence. The Army knew all about the farm but ended its surveillance there on orders from above.
Almost all the Loyalists’ guns came directly from British state forces. The UDR kept detailed counts of weapons going “missing” at a rate of hundreds a year, but made no attempt to recover them. Just one of these “missing” guns was used to kill 11 people.
Now we can see the absolute hypocrisy of the British in pointing the finger at Muammar Gaddafi for supplying Libyan arms to the IRA. Now we can understand fully why republicans felt quite justified in resorting to armed struggle.
The Glenanne Gang’s victims included two prominent members of the SDLP, which resolutely opposed the IRA’s actions, and a 16-year-old Protestant boy mistaken for a Catholic.
Robert John “The Jackal” Jackson, a UVF member thought to have murdered between 50 and 100 people, was charged early in his “career” with possessing a gun silencer, but was acquitted after the RUC tipped him off about the evidence. His “career” continued for another 20 years, and he died of natural causes in 1988.
A report can be seen on the Channel Four News website by searching “Historical Enquiries Team exposes Northern Ireland collusion”. But according to Cadwallader, plans for a BBC documentary were dropped on the grounds that it wasn’t “current affairs”, which apparently didn’t apply to the current BBC series on the Cold War.
The families of the Loyalists’ victims are now demanding justice in the light of the new evidence, and many new complaints have been lodged with the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman along with many new legal cases. Their lawyers say an open apology and acceptance of responsibility would, in many cases, be acceptable.
But the British government owes a sincere admission of guilt and an apology to all the people of Ireland for these appalling crimes carried out in the name of defending “the rule of law”.