Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Palestine protesters occupy G4S London

by New Worker


 DOZENS of Palestine Solidarity supporters targeted the London headquarters of the security firm G4S in Victoria Street last Thursday evening to protest against the corporation’s provision of security services to Israeli prisons.
And they succeeded in occupying the reception area of the building, bringing banners, posters and placards and a mock-up prison cage to represent the horrors inflicted on Palestinian prisoners, including many children.
G4S services Israeli prisons where Palestinian prisoners are illegally transferred in serious violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. In the case of child prisoners, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is also breached.
G4S also provides equipment for prisons and detention facilities in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, at which human rights organisations have documented systematic torture and ill treatment of Palestinian prisoners, including child prisoners.
G4S provides equipment and services to Israeli checkpoints, and has also signed contracts for equipment and services for the West Bank Israeli Police headquarters and to private businesses based in illegal Israeli settlements.
Last month campaigners celebrated the BBC’s decision not to award their security contract, worth £80 million, to G4S. PSC has campaigned since July 2013, urging the BBC to reject any bid by G4S, the firm which provides security services to Israeli prisons.
PSC’s campaign resulted in more than 2,000 viewers and listeners urging the BBC not to award G4S with a contract because of its involvement in human rights abuses in Israel’s prisons.
In December 2013, the British Government issued advisory business risk guidance warning that EU “citizens and businesses should also be aware of the potential reputational implications of getting involved in economic and financial activities in settlements, as well as possible abuses of the rights of individuals.”
Sarah Colborne, Director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said, before the protest last Thursday: “G4S are well aware that the controversy that surrounds their involvement in the human rights abuses against Palestinians is not going away until they withdraw from providing services to institutions such as the Israeli prison service. It is unacceptable that G4S should be involved in such clear breaches of human rights.”
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign is running an on-line petition calling on G4S to withdraw from Israeli prisons, and end its involvement with Israel’s human rights abuses. It can be found at:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Farewell to Renée

Renée’s daughter Kate chatting to Andy Brooks
By New Worker correspondent

  RENÉE SAMS, a founder member of the New Communist Party who worked for many years as the Finance Officer at the Party Centre died last October.  Friends and comrades paid their last respects to Renée at her funeral in Stevenage in November. But they, and many of Renée’s London comrades, returned to the Party Centre last Saturday for a memorial social to remember Renée’s life and her life-long commitment to the communist ideal.
NCP leader Andy Brooks, who was a member of Renée’s Party branch said her dedication to the communist ideal was an example for us all.
            Renée joined the movement after the Second World War and she soon threw herself into the round of struggles that the communists were leading during the height of the Cold War. Peace and the anti-fascist struggle were paramount in those early days overshadowed by the Korean War and Moselyite attempts to rebuild the fascist presence in London’s East End.
            Renée also spent many years working for the Unity Theatre, which grew from the pre-war Workers Theatre Movement, and provided a stepping stone for many working class actors until it closed in 1975.
            Renée joined the NCP from the start in 1977 and she helped build a strong East London branch while working as a New Worker journalist. She then worked in Party admin until she retired and later moved to East Anglia. Even then Renée carried on writing on peace, climate change and the environment until almost her last days.
            Many remembered Renée as activist. Her daughter Kate remembered her as a loving mother who was an artist and musician and whose home was always filled with music and books.
            Many others joined in recalling Renée’s life, like former New Worker editor Ann Rogers and her husband Alan, who was a volunteer worker at the Centre for many years. Michael Chant, the general secretary of the RCPB (ML) also spoke of his fond memories of Renée as did Neil Harris and Dermot Hudson, who sent in a written tribute as he could not join us on the day.   
            In her fighting fund appeal Daphne Liddle spoke about the happy events that were associated with Renée’s life in the NCP and the broad movement and the comrades responded by raising £244 for our communist weekly.
            Renée will never be forgotten by her friends and comrades and her spirit lives on in the paper and the cause she dedicated her entire life to building.

Stand by Syria!

Andy Brooks, Theo Russell and Kamal Majid
By New Worker correspondent

NEW WORKER supporters heard detailed reports on the crisis in the Middle East at a meeting in central London last week. Prof Kamal Majid, the vice-president of the Stop the War Coalition and New Communist Party leader Andy Brooks both talked about the recent successes of the Syrian armed forces against the Nato-rebels, victories that may have decisively shifted the balance against US-led imperialism and their Arab lackeys who have been trying to overthrow the Assad government for the past three years.
            The meeting was chaired by Theo Russell from the NCP London District, which has sponsored a number of New Worker public meetings at Euston’s Cock Tavern over the past few years.
Prof Majid, a communist who writes on current affairs in the Arab media, covered the efforts of the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda to spread terror and sectarian division across Syria as part of the imperialist plan to replace the Syrian government with a puppet regime that would do the bidding of the Americans and Zionists.
Prof Majid said the imperialists wanted regime change in Syria to install a puppet government that would recognise Israel and Israel’s occupation of the Golan Heights, which supplies the Zionist entity with over 15 per cent of its water supply. This would then open the door to the big oil corporations to grab the Syria’s recently discovered oil and gas fields.
The second objective was to kick the Russians out of the Tartus naval base in Syria, which would effectively prevent the Russian Navy from operating in the Mediterranean and the third was to break the arc of anti-imperialist resistance than starts with Iran and through Iraq passes to Syria and the Lebanese Hezbollah movement.
Though the Syrian army now had the upper hand Prof Majid said that the civil war could, and would, continue for as long as US imperialism was prepared to sustain it.
Andy Brooks agreed but was more optimistic about the eventual outcome. The NCP leader said that divisions within the feudal Arab camp and the ousting of the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt had reduced the funding and disrupted the arms flow to the rebels, who now can only rely on the corridors through Turkey to get their money and guns.
The NCP leader also spoke about the growing strength of civil society in Syria through the existing Baathist-led popular front government and the local ceasefires that have led to the growth of local People’s Committees comprised of local leaders and former rebels committed to reconstruction and national reconciliation.
Both speakers talked about the role of communists in Syria and across the world movement and this was, naturally, taken up by the comrades in the audience during the discussion.

50 years fighting fascism

 By New Worker correspondent

SEARCHLIGHT anti-fascist magazine marked its 50th anniversary with a two-day conference last week hosted by Northampton University and attended by a wide range of anti-fascist activists, intellectuals, journalists, teachers, lawyers, photographers and retired “moles”.
Northampton University is now the home of Searchlight’s archives, covering the history of fascist and racist activity in Britain and most of the rest of the world and the anti-fascist and anti-racist movement that arose to oppose the violent and extremist right-wing.
Archivist Dan Jones is now working through several thousand archive boxes, sorting and cataloguing the material and preparing to make it available to researchers.
It is an ongoing project but what has been processed so far can be researched on
 The archive is open from 9.30am to 4pm Monday to Friday and can be visited by appointment.
Searchlight arose from within a group of progressive Jews, ex-servicemen, and former International Brigaders in the post-war years who were horrified to see fascism raising its ugly head again among the followers of Oswald Mosley, Colin Jordan and others.
They decided that to be effective anti-fascist and progressive forces needed a reliable source of accurate information about the various fascist and racist organisations and set about creating an anti-fascist intelligence network, delivering high quality information for anti-fascist activists to use – turning a searchlight on the activities of the fascists.
The leaks from among the fascist organisations that it has published have proved a serious embarrassment to the fascists over the years and led to many splits and divisions among the fascists.
The first editor was Maurice Ludmer and the magazine was based in Birmingham. Ludmer had been a member of the Young Communist League in his youth in the 1930s. During the Second World War he served in the British Army. He witnessed the relief of the Belsen concentration camp and it changed his life; he became a dedicated anti-fascist.
He died at the age of 54 and the editorship passed to Gerry Gable and Searchlight moved its base to London.
Throughout its existence Searchlight has informed not only the anti-fascist movement but also the mainstream media and became the authoritative source of reference on extreme right-wing activity in Britain.
On occasions it has also supplied information to the police, for example passing on a warning that a group of fascist terrorists was planning to explode a bomb during the Notting Hill Carnival and helping the trace the youthful nail-bomber David Copeland who planted bombs in Brixton, Brick lane and the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho's Old Compton Street, the heart of London's gay community.
Speakers at the first day of the conference included Gerry Gable, playwright David Edgar, human rights expert Ciaran O Maolin, photographer David Hoffman, Gavin Millar QC.
International speakers included Alfio Bernabei, Searchlight’s Italian correspondent, Professor Maria Nikolakaki from the University of Peloponnese, Leonard Zeskind and David Burghardt from the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights.
Speakers on the second day included Andy Bell – deputy editor at [Panorama] and producer at World in Action, Ray Hill former British Movement organiser and Searchlight mole and Sonia Gable – Gerry Gable’s partner and a former Inland Revenue tax inspector with specialist research skills on the financing of fascist groups.
Cathy Pound from Trade Union Friends of Searchlight and NUT member Bob Archer spoke on working with the trade unions.
David Rosenberg from the Jewish Socialist Group and Daphne Liddle from the New Communist Party spoke on working together and overcoming sectarianism.
In the final session historian Dr Paul Jackson of the University of Northampton, archivist Dan Jones and Gerry Gable spoke on the future of anti-fascism and the challenges ahead.

Bruce Kent brings fight against Trident to Lewisham

 By New Worker correspondent

VETERAN peace campaigner Bruce Kent last Thursday addressed a well-attended meeting of Lewisham and Greenwich CND jointly with Forest Hill and Sydenham CND in Lewisham Town Hall.
It was part of a series of meetings all around the country organised by CND to campaign against the renewal of the Trident nuclear submarine nuclear weapons system – a demanding task for an 84-year-old.
The meeting was opened with peace songs from the Strawberry Thieves Choir and local peace activist and Green Party member Ann Garrett recited some of her own poetry to the meeting.
 The opening speech was given by Dr Rebecca Johnson, vice-president of CND.
Rebecca spoke about the work being done by 146 nations under the United Nations ambit to make nuclear weapons illegal under international law. She also called for support for a 50,000-strong demonstration to link Aldermaston and Burghfield this August.
Bruce Kent, aged 84, based his argument against Trident on the waste of money and resources on a weapons system that most people in this country do not want when schools, hospitals and other vital public services are suffering austerity cuts.
He said: “It seems to me that we, as a country, are towards replacing – at vast expense – ‘our’ present Trident submarines and their murderous missiles and warheads with a new generation, planned to last for another 30 years.
“Despite majority public opinion against, there is no clearly articulated political opposition to replacement, except from CND and other disarmament groups. So the Government is just attempting to go ahead with its project through a series of small steps – all of which will make it very difficult, if not impossible, to say NO when a vote comes in 2016.
“Yet many, many groups and organisations strongly oppose the cuts that will make humanitarian work of all sorts so much more difficult. We are supposed to ‘be in this together’. We are not. The cuts will hit the poorest hardest.”