Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Celebrating Korea’s victory over imperialism



By New Worker correspondent

FRIENDS and comrades marked the 62nd anniversary of the Korean people’s victory in the Fatherland Liberation War in London on Saturday 18th July. The meeting, called by the Korean Friendship Association and the Juché Idea Study Group heard an opening from Dermot Hudson of the KFA and a report-back of a recent trip to the DPR Korea by Shaun Pickford.
Dermot Hudson said: "The Fatherland Liberation War referred to as the Korean War in the imperialist countries was provoked by the US imperialists on 25th June 1950 and lasted three years. It was a most intense war, one of the fiercest wars of the 20th century. Indeed it was a third world war in miniature in which the two systems in the world, capitalism and socialism fought each other.
“The  US imperialists along with troops from 15 of their vassal states attempted to destroy the young Democratic People's Republic of Korea in its cradle, an obscene and barbarous war in which a big power and its minions tried to pulverise into submission a small country.”
 Dermot also spoke about the 21st anniversary of the demise of great leader President Kim Il Sung: "President Kim Il Sung was a great man, a great leader, a great philosopher who created the Juché Idea and authored the Songun idea.
“He wrote over 1,800 works,  and was the father of modern Korea, indeed Korea is the Kim Il Sung nation. He was respected as one of the outstanding leaders of the international communist and working class movement.”
Shaun Pickford said: “I was able to return to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea after an interval of three years and saw immense improvements in the cultural and living standards of the Korean People. All the progress that is being realised in the DPRK, is based on socialist principles and self-reliance.
“The Supreme Leader of the DPRK, Marshal Kim Jong Un, is working continuously for the welfare of the Korean people and spares nothing for the well-being of the workers, farmers and intellectuals. Such a leader as Kim Jong Un, cannot be found elsewhere in the world, as the DPRK leader is always putting the people first in everything”.
The meeting also received a message from Cllr Damien Biggs, East of England regional party secretary and National Executive Committee member of the Socialist Labour Party.
A very lively discussion followed with questions and answers and concluded with the adoption of a solidarity message to DPRK leader Kim Jong Un.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

News Round-up




London boroughs exceed air pollution limits

 

 MINISTERS have admitted that only two London boroughs succeeded in keeping atmospheric nitrogen dioxide levels within European Union toxic gas limits in 2013 – the most recent year for which figures are available.
These two were Bromley and Sutton – on the outer edges of the capital. All the other London boroughs exceeded the limit.
Nitrogen dioxide is a pollutant created by diesel vehicles. The figures suggest that 24-hour EU limits for another pollutant, fine particulates known as PM10s, were met in every borough.
But limits for a more harmful, smaller pollutant, PM2.5, were missed in seven boroughs: Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, Ealing, Tower Hamlets, Camden and Brent.
Sadiq Khan, the Labour MP who is campaigning for his party’s nomination as mayoral candidate, and who requested the numbers, said: “These figures paint a dismal picture of London’s long-term efforts to tackle air pollution and underline the need for a much bolder and more radical approach.”
Diane Abbott, also hoping to be Labour’s candidate foe London mayor, last month forced a House of Commons debate on rising air pollution in the capital.

  Paddington rally for two major rail strikes

 MEMBERS of the RMT rail union, the train drivers’ union Aslef, TSSA and Unite held a rally on Wednesday evening 8th July in Paddington in support of two major rail strikes due to start on Wednesday evening – on First Great Western and on the London Underground.
The LU dispute centres on plans by Transport for London and London Mayor Boris Johnson to introduce 24-hour running of some LU lines at weekends.
Talks on Tuesday to avert the planned 24-hour strike failed. RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT has received the latest offer from London Underground during the ACAS talks today
“Our representatives on London Underground have discussed it and are clear that it is divisive and unacceptable. While a small minority of staff are being offered a non-consolidated one-off lump sum the remainder of staff are ignored and the key issues of work/life balance and the personal health and safety concerns are side lined.
“The deal as it stands is financed off the back of the proposed axing of over 800 safety-critical station jobs and is deliberately constructed to play individuals off against each other in the most cynical fashion.
“RMT is a democratic organisation and the views of our reps on LU are being taken into account. There will be a meeting of the union executive tomorrow morning at which there will be a recommendation to reject the offer.
“As is normal in all industrial negotiations RMT will remain available for talks.”
There are also fears that the extra costs of keeping the Underground running all night will result in cuts to the London night bus services.
The First Great Western dispute centres on the introduction of new Hitachi Inter-City trains leading to a threat to jobs and safety. Talks to avert the strike failed on Monday.
The RMT union said on Monday: “Talks aimed at settling a dispute on First Great Western over the threat to jobs and safety from the introduction of the new Hitachi Inter-City trains have broken down without agreement and the 48 hours of strike action across the company starting at 18.30 hours on Wednesday 8th July goes ahead as planned.
“There will also be a rally in support of RMT’s members on FGW in their dispute at 17.00 hours Wednesday 8th July at Paddington station.”
RMT said that First Great Western were simply playing for time in the talks and were going through the motions rather than tackling the fundamental issues at the heart of the dispute and addressing the union’s key points which are:
  • ·         To keep a safety competent guard on every train.
  • ·         To keep safety critical station despatch staff.
  • ·         To keep buffet car facilities on every train.
  • ·         To ensure that the maintenance of new rolling stock remains in-house.
  • ·         No job losses.

Mick Cash said: “RMT has made every effort to secure a series of very basic assurances from FGW over jobs, services and safety as a result of the introduction of the new Hitachi fleet and they have shown no intention of addressing those issues in the talks today.
“RMT is angry and disappointed that the company have ignored the massive vote for action by their staff and have instead opted to plough ahead with a series of actions that will decimate jobs, services and safety.
“As a result of FGW collapsing the talks in this cavalier fashion the action goes ahead as planned.
“It is frankly ludicrous that East Coast, who are introducing the same trains, have given us the assurances we are seeking but FGW have ignored us and are crashing on with the ripping out of buffet cars and the threat to safety-critical station and train staff purely to maximise the profits from new trains bought for them by the British taxpayer.
“RMT will be out at stations this week with a public campaign to expose this shabby and profiteering treatment of both passengers and staff alike by a company that already has one of the worst reputations in the industry for milking the rotten rail privatisation racket for every penny they can.
“The ‘Worst Great Western’ tag has been wrapped around this outfit by their own passengers and RMT will be building alliances with the services users to exert further pressure to end this outrageous profiteering and corner-cutting that will come at a heavy price in terms of jobs and safety.”
Meanwhile another rail dispute is building on Northern Rail. An RMT ballot for both strike action and action short of a strike of station and guard’s grades members over the threat to jobs and safety and the creation of a two-tier workforce:
Eighty per cent voted for strike action and 90 per cent for action short of a strike.
The issues behind the dispute relate to the removal of permanent posts and the creation of zero-hour jobs via the contract with security company STM, cuts to booking offices and attacks on the role and responsibility of train guards.






New Dawn fails to rise



By New Worker correspondent
Turner's porkies
HUNDREDS of anti-fascists gathered in Whitehall on Saturday 4th June to oppose a new tiny hard-core Nazi sect known as New Dawn who were protesting against the “jewification” of an area in Golders Green, north-west London.
In particular the fascists were attacking the existence of a Jewish Shomrim, or neighbourhood watch area, in Golders Green.
The fascists had intended to hold their offensive protest in Golders Green put the local long-established Jewish community there, along with other anti-fascists, persuaded the police and local authority to ban it in their area.
The police offered them the option to hold their Nazi protest in the “neutral” territory of Whitehall and they had no choice but to accept.
And a large contingent from the Jewish community in Golders Green also made it to Whitehall to make it clear that they found the Nazi presence offensive wherever it was. They pointed out that the Nazis had broken the law against propagating race hate many times over but police made no attempt to arrest them for it.
Also among the anti-fascists was a large group of anarchist Jewish students carrying banners and placards opposing anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. The Jewish Socialist Group, Unite Against Fascism and Antifa were also present in strength.
Precisely 24 supporters of New Dawn turned up and a high proportion of these were Polish immigrants including Arkadiusz Rzepinski. The English individuals present included Eddie Stampton, not brandishing his swastika flag on this occasion but the equally offensive and racist American confederate “stars-and-bars”.
His friends Mark Atkinson, formerly of Combat 18, Paul Mellors, Jeremy Bedford Turner and Kevin Layzell were there but Martin Webster did not turn up this time. They also brought with them a professional video photographer, suggesting that another of the many TV production companies may be making yet another documentary about them.
As soon as the fascists arrived their pen was immediately surrounded by crowds of young anti-fascists, who has resisted being corralled by the police and who drowned out the offensive fascist speeches with anti-fascist slogans.
Jeremy Bedford Turner demonstrated his anger at “Jewification” by eating a pork pie during his speech – which was taken by anti-fascists as an admission that he was talking “pork pies,” or lies, in rhyming slang.
After an hour, the time allotted to the fascists for their static demonstration was over, and they were marched away.
Many of the anti-fascists then wandered up to Trafalgar Square to join a rally in solidarity with Greece.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

US embassy picketed



 By New Worker correspondent


MEMBERS and supporters of the UK Korean Friendship Association held a very successful picket – numbers double previous turn-outs –of the United States embassy on Thursday 25th June to mark the start of the Month of Solidarity with the Korean people and the 65th anniversary of the start of provocation of the great Fatherland Liberation War.

It was supported by the Association of Supporters of Songun Policies UK (ASSPUK), the Juché International Study Group of England (JISGE) and the New Communist Party including general secretary Andy Brooks and Central Committee member Theo Russell.
Members of the RCPB (ML) and the CPGB (ML) were also present.
Dermot Hudson, who chairs the UK KFA and the JISGE made a short speech introducing the picket explaining it was part of the Month of Solidarity with the Korean people and it was to mark the 65th anniversary of the start of the Korean War (Fatherland Liberation War).
US troops still occupy south Korea today. Comrade Hudson said that at the same time KFA members in Ireland were also picketing the US embassy in Dublin.
 Dermot Hudson also said: "The US imperialists, the ringleader of the world imperialism and international reactionaries, provoked a war in Korea on the 25th of June 1950 by instigating their south Korean puppets to attack the young Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“The US imperialists were hungry for profits and conquest. The US imperialists fought an unjust aggressive war against the Korean people.
“The US imperialists launched a war of conquest against the DPRK, a war to destroy the Juché-based people's democratic system in the DPRK as well to destroy socialism in Asia and the world.
“The Korean people, led by the great revolutionary leader Marshal Kim Il Sung, a true military strategic genius and ever-victorious iron-willed and brilliant fought a fierce anti-imperialist and anti-US struggle against US imperialism and the allied forces of international reaction.
“It was a fierce class struggle against the enemies of the people. The Korean people fought a national liberation war against the Yankee imperialist invaders, a war of justice for independence and freedom and also a war to reunify the sacred motherland.
“The Fatherland Liberation War of the Korean people proved to a crucible of the Songun idea.
“We condemn the appalling barbarity of the US imperialists during the Fatherland Liberation War.
“We denounce their crimes of massacring civilians, use of biological and chemical weapons: 35,383 people were murdered by the US at Sinchon-ri and 1,050 people at Susan-ri (one third of the population of the area), just to give a few examples.
“The US imperialists tried to exterminate the Korean people by carrying out the war that they had long planned.
“History will curse forever the US imperialists as sub-human savages and criminals as well as an enemy of humanity and progress. Indeed US imperialism is the ringleader of aggression and war, as proved by the recent racial violence and oppression of black people.
“It is the US that is the biggest human rights violator in the world.
“The US imperialists continue to occupy south Korea to this very day, ignoring the will of the Korean people and the voices of world progressives. The US imperialists have committed crimes in south Korea too numerous to mention, but these include murder, rape and theft.
“They are exploiting the south Korean people by taking huge sums of money in so-called "upkeep expenses".
“The US imperialists have introduced anthrax into south Korea in order to commit genocide against the Korean nation. This is a horrendous crime. The US imperialists have also tried to stifle the DPRK using the ‘human rights’ issue and used the United Nations against the DPRK."
Andy Brooks, general secretary of the New Communist Party, thanked everyone for coming saying it was a very successful. He said that US had caused the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula by reneging on agreements with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The following slogans were shouted: “US out of Korea,” “Yankee go home,” “Korea is one,” “Long live the Workers' Party of Korea,” “Long live Marshal Kim Jong Un,” “Long live the worker’s paradise of the DPRK,” “Down with US imperialism,” “Down with the fascist American regime”.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

No More Cuts!




Caroline Lucas, Diane Abbott and Len McCluskey at the front

 by New Worker correspondent

THOUSANDS took to the streets of London on Saturday 20th June to protest against  more austerity. Around 250,000 people marched through central London to demonstrate against the renewed ruling class offensive of the Cameron government.
Every major trade union was well represented along with many of the minor ones, community groups and peace movemtns like Stop the War and CND, anti-fascist campaigns like UAF, freedom and justice campaigns, NHS and housing campaigns, religious and pensioner groups, phalanxes of people in wheelchairs and thousands and thousands of noisy and colourful students – all together and all with one message: “No more cuts!”
The march from the Bank of England to Parliament Square was tiring for many but they packed the square to listen to speeches from Green Party leader Caroline Lucas, singer Charlotte Church, Diane Abbott MP and of course Jeremy Corbyn MP, who is standing for the Labour leadership.
He spoke of the ruin that the banking crisis had caused and the increasing inequality with a million depending on food banks and people sleeping in the streets.
He also spoke of the 1850s rallies in the same spot for the People’s Charter, whose demands were described as “out of date and irrelevant” at the time but were all achieved within a century. “They were the real visionaries,” he said. “We are standing on the shoulders of giants.”
“We want a state that takes responsibility for everybody… where we each care for all and no one is destitute. I think it’s called socialism,” he added.