Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Reinstate Charlotte Monro

by New Worker correspondent

HEALTH service campaigners turned out en masse at an Employment Tribunal (ET) in support of Charlotte Monro, the victimised Unison activist who was sacked on a trumped up charge last year.
Charlotte Monro, a Unison rep at a Leytonstone hospital, was dismissed in 2013 after 26 years of service. The occupational therapist was dismissed after Barts Health Trust claimed it discovered an undisclosed convictions relating to protests in 1960s and 70s.
But the her members know she’s been victimised because she raised the concerns of staff over the impact of cuts on patient care with Waltham Forest Health Scrutiny Committee, and discussed the cuts with her union members.
Charlotte was chair of her Unison branch for many years and staff side chair at her hospital, Whipps Cross. When Whipps was threatened with closure several years ago she took a leading role in a successful campaign to save it, for which she was later given an award by the Trust Board of the time.
Her ET has the full support of her union. Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said:  “We call on the trust to reconsider its decision to dismiss such a long-serving and valued health service worker and union official, and to recognise the impact this has on the wider workforce morale and the reputation of the trust. No employer should be allowed to act in this way”.
The judge made it clear that he recognised the national interest in this case and  adjourned the case until January due to the unavailability of the tribunal judges for the full four days set aside for the case. Meanwhile the campaign to reinstate Charlotte Monro continues with an online petition and other solidarity actions.

Tens of thousands join London climate change march

by New Worker correspondent

THERE were massive climate change marches in cities all around the world last Sunday and the one in London was so big it took around an-hour-and-a-half, marching 10 to 15 abreast, to pass under Blackfriars Bridge as it passed from the embankment at Temple towards Westminster.
It was a very colourful march, with hundreds wearing elaborate animal costumes and many children involved, along with many bands and drummers all to deliver the vital message that our society has to make urgent drastic changes to the way we use energy to avoid catastrophic climate change that could devastate life on the planet.
And that message was aimed at a United Nations summit on climate change scheduled to begin on Tuesday. More than 120 world leaders including David Cameron and US president Barack Obama are expected to attend.
Many marchers condemned David Cameron and the Con-Dem Coalition for abandoning policies to limit carbon emissions and encouraging increasing use of fossil fuels through fracking, which is dangerous to the environment in so many ways.
Celebrities including actress Emma Thompson, musician Peter Gabriel and designer and activist Vivienne Westwood joined the massive march through Westminster calling on politicians to tackle global warming.
The march and rally was one of 2,000 events taking place in 150 countries around the world ahead of the UN climate summit next week.
And estimated 300,000 people came out to protest on the streets of New York, where the summit is being held, for the People's Climate March.
The UN summit has been convened by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in a bid to drive action and momentum towards talks in Paris in 2015, where it is hoped a new global climate treaty can be agreed.
In London campaigners carrying banners that said "renewables rock", and "for the love of polar bears and rhinos" marched through the streets, chanting "What do we want? Clean energy. When do we want it? Now."
Speaking at the start of the march, actor Emma Thompson said: "This is important for every single person on the planet, which is why it has to be the greatest grass roots movement of all time."
She said that fossil fuels had been a good idea at the time – like tobacco – but now it was clear they were killing people.
"Climate change has been a bit like everybody playing a deadly game of grandmother's footsteps for the last 20 years, now this climate change grandmother has turned around and started running towards us.
"It's touch and go whether we're going to survive what we've done."
She had just returned from a trip to the Arctic where, she said: "The effects of the melting ice are written so clearly on the landscape.”
She added that everyone has to act on cutting emissions. But she said: "An international climate deal is of absolutely vital importance. It must be put into law. It can't be a non-binding agreement. Those agreements have fallen to pulp in our hands over the last 20 years."
She criticised David Cameron for encouraging oil, gas and coal, and said the politics of fighting climate change were "profound, and deep and dirty".
She added: "This is the battle of our lives. We're fighting for our children."
Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven, who was also on the march, said scientists were clear about the dangers of climate change, and most world leaders understood the science, but were failing to respond to what needed to happen.
He said events were taking place the same day from Papua New Guinea and Australia to the march in New York.
"That is really what we need - global pressure coming from below on our political leaders."
Leo Hickman, chief climate change adviser for conservation charity WWF-UK, said that while the risks of climate change had been well known for a decade or more, the opportunities associated with tackling the problem were emerging.
Recent research has shown that innovative technology and new investment in cities, energy and agriculture could cut emissions at the same time as saving money, boosting growth and improving health.
"We shouldn't be scared of decarbonising; it isn't going to wreck our economy. For the UK economy there's some really clear opportunities and co-benefits of decarbonising. We should grasp this moment rather than be scared of it," he said.
Campaign groups including Avaaz, Greenpeace UK, Christian Aid and Friends of the Earth took part in the march in London, while other events were taking place in cities around Britain, including Manchester, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Stroud and Dudley.
Friends of the Earth's policy and campaigns director Craig Bennett said: "This is a global call for action that mustn't be ignored.”

Swastikas at EDL Whitehall march

 by New Worker correspondent
NEO-NAZI veterans were welcomed as they joined a march by the Islamophobic English Defence League in Westminster last Saturday. One notorious Nazi, Eddie Stampton, was brandishing a red flag carrying a version of the swastika surrounded by the words: “Englisc We fear no foe”.
The march was called in the wake of the Rotherham child abuse scandal, which has given a boost to the EDL and other fascist and racist fringe groups, who try to scapegoat the Muslim community in Britain with responsibility with all child sex abuse crimes, even though the vast majority of Muslims in Britain abhor such crimes as much as the rest of the population.
It is a cynical excuse the EDL uses to intimidate all Muslims and peddle their thinly-disguised race hate – while prolific child abuse by some prominent former celebrities, politicians and Catholic priests is ignored.
But there was no attempt by Stampton to disguise his Nazi sympathies and he was not the only one. Other veteran fascists present sported swastika tattoos without shame or reservation.
The fascists began assembling opposite Downing Street and in Trafalgar Square from about 11am.
At the same time anti-fascists from Unite Against Fascism and Antifa assembled in a separate area opposite Downing Street – with police barricades between fascists and anti-fascists – also from 11am.
At first the fascists had just a handful while the anti-fascists far outnumbered them. But as time passed a larger group of fascists assembled in Trafalgar Square, including many ageing National Front and BNP veterans along with current leaders of the EDL.
They did not start to march until after 2pm and as their supporters quit pubs along Whitehall to join the march it swelled to a couple of hundred strong.
By then many anti-fascists had given up and gone home but there were still plenty left to ensure the racists and Islamophobes got a really noisy welcome, singing: “There are many many more of us than you; We are Black we are Asian, White and Jew; There are many many more of us than you.”

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A day to remember

by New Worker correspondent
Leslie Larkum and Yu Kwang Song
MILLIONS of Koreans celebrated the 66th anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea this week with parades, rallies and celebrations throughout the north of the divided peninsula. Down in the occupied south many others defied the puppet regime to hold their own events to mark 9th September 1948 when the DPRK was established under the leadership of Kim Il Sung and the Workers’ Party of Korea.
            And last weekend British communists and supporters of the Korean revolution met for a joint meeting and social at the New Communist Party’s Centre in London to commemorate this important date in the calendar of the world communist movement.
NCP leader Andy Brooks welcomed everyone to the meeting called by the Friends of Korea committee and the Korean Friendship Association to hear openings from Lesley Larkum of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (ML), Yu Kwang Song from the DPRK embassy in London and KFA activists on the 9th September and the Juché Idea.
But first of all comrades paused for a minutes silence for Eric Trevett, the NCP President who had passed away the day before after a long illness. Many paid tribute to his earnest efforts in support of the Korean revolution over the years. Eric made a number of trips to Democratic Korea over the years and met great leader Kim Il Sung three times in the early 1990s – a true friend of the Korean revolution to his last breath.
 The meeting opened with a short film on the sporting achievements of the DPRK over the years which was followed by openings by a number of Korean solidarity activists in London.
Lesley spoke about the significance of the establishment of the DPRK in 1948 and talked about what she saw with her own eyes when she visited Democratic Korea last year while KFA activists talked about the role of Juché in the revolutionary struggle against Japanese colonialism, US imperialism and the struggle to build a modern, socialist republic in north Korea.
Yu Kwang Song took up these points in his opening and during the discussion that flowed from the openings and that continued over drinks for the rest of the evening. 

A garden party for the paper

veteran comrades make the most of the sun
 by New Worker correspondent

 WHETHER the sun shines on the righteous or not it certainly came out for the Metropolitan NCP Cell and Supporters’ Group annual garden party in south London last Saturday.  A table loaded with good food made by one of our local Charlton comrades. An afternoon of discussion and friendly banter and plenty of soft drinks, beer and cider to wash it down with made the day for all the comrades.
            All good things come to an end but our events never close without a New Worker collection. And everyone showed their support by raising £74.50 for our communist weekly.


Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Reasons to march against Nato

Kagarlitsky speaking
By Theo Russell

The Stop the War Coalition held a packed meeting in central London last week to mobilise for the protests in Newport against NATO expansionism and to hear expert views on the crises in the Ukraine and Iraq.
The meeting heard that the true number of casualties in eastern Ukraine is far higher than being reported, the US had given “a helping hand to the formation of ISIS,” and that the ultimate aim was to “destroy the centres of the Arab world”.
Boris Kagarlitsky, editor of the Moscow journal Levaya Politika (Left Politics), said the true figure for those killed in the Eastern Ukraine fighting “is around 40,000”. “This is happening in Europe, and it is happening now,” he said.
He said according to “semi-official figures” by mid-August there were 6 to 7,000 lives lost, but any information given out by the Kiev government could not be believed.
Kagarlitsky said the Russian ruling class was “deeply divided on this crisis, with a major element extremely angry that this rebellion has taken place. They realise  this could also happen in Russia itself, and the same demands are being made by many people in Russia such as ending neo-liberal economic policies on privatisation and health care.
Richard Bremmer of Solidarity with Ukraine said that the coup in Kiev had brought “a neo-Liberal and all but fascist party to power, whose aims were to make the Russian language and culture illegal and to destroy the industrial infrastructure of Eastern Ukraine”. He called for “similar support to the people fighting in Ukraine to that given to the people of Spain in 1936”.
Sami Ramadani, of Stop The War’s steering committee, said ISIS (now the ‘Islamic State’) was “one of the outcomes of the US led War on Terror, which has led to the creation of the biggest terrorist organisation in 100 years or so. But no matter how bloody the IS’s crimes are, what the US has done in the last 60 years is the biggest crime in human history. The victims of US-led imperialism have covered Africa, Latin America and Asia in blood.
He said the CIA-backed coup right-wing coup in Iraq in February 1963, Suharto’s one million victims in Indonesia, and the coups in Chile and the Congo were “supreme terrorist acts which have led the people of the world to unite and point the finger at the United States”.
After the US occupation in 2003, faced with mass resistance, he said “the US military turned a blind eye to the formation of any organisation in Iraq. Six militias emerged which the US hoped would elevate sectarian tension to a level of brutal violence, the only way it could rule over the Iraqi people. Thus the US gave a helping hand to the formation of ISIS.
“The aim is to serve Israel and destroy Iran, Syria and possibly Egypt. These are the centres of the Arab world, and it has always been Zionism’s aim to destroy them.
“A week before ISIS announced the creation of a Caliphate, Benjamin Netanyahu declared that ‘the Sykes-Picot agreement has come to an end’ and that in the future Israel would be defended ‘along the Jordan River’. He also called for a new ‘axis of regional cooperation’, strengthening Jordan and supporting Kurdish aspirations for independence.
Ramadani added that “just after the Caliphate announcement, Israel’s ambassador in Washington declared that ‘there are bad guys and there are much worse guys,’ describing ISIS and its allies as ‘less bad’ and the groups backed by Iran as ‘much worse’.
He said the terrorist threat whipped up around ISIS “is being used to re-invade countries and use Iraq for future wars against Syria and Iran”.
The Biden Plan for Iraq envisaged three regions with a weak central government, hence the weak and toothless Iraqi army established under Paul Bremer, head of the US occupation authority.
“We must attack and isolate ISIS, but remember that the sectarian ideology they espouse belongs to the Saudi and Qatari royal families. The danger of this Wahhabism is not military, but as a sectarian ideal which could destroy the entire Middle East”.
He said the atrocities carried out by ISIS should be compared with the US crimes at Abu Ghraib. “The photos released to the media were heavily censored. The uncensored photos shown to members of Congress include US troops holding severed heads of prisoners, and women being raped”.
Lindsay German, convenor of Stop the War, said the goals of the NATO summit in Newport was about setting up new NATO bases in Poland, expanding to the Russian border and including Georgie and Ukraine in the organisation, adding that “the only non-NATO head of state invited was Ukraine’s Petro Poroshenko”.
She attacked liberals in Britain who continue to support Kiev, such as a writer for the Guardian who described the right-wing militias as “volunteer battalions”.
She said Turkey had allowed ISIS to set up bases on its soil and cross the Syrian border hundreds of times, and recalled the 30,000 people killed during NATO’s assault on Libya, adding: “David Cameron’s ‘humanitarian’ interventions in Libya and now Iraq are in stark contrast to Britain’s inaction while Gaza was being bombarded”.