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”.

Anti-fascists defend Cricklewood -- again

By New Worker correspondent
A MIXED bag of anti-fascists from many different groups gathered once again last Saturday in Cricklewood Broadway to prevent a march by the fascists and racists of the South East Alliance (SEA) – a hardline breakaway from the Islamophobic English Defence League.
As before the core of the protest were comrades from Brent Trades Council but there were also local councillors, members of the Green Party, Polish anti-fascists in Dywizjon 161, members of the Labour Representation Committee, young people in Antifa and lots of local residents. And again the local shopkeepers and passers-by were supportive of the anti-fascists.
There were also very large numbers of police – many more than on previous occasions – and no prepared pens for the opposing demonstrations. Anti-fascists anticipated attempts to kettle them to allow the fascists to pass.
So the Antifa young people were reluctant to remain together with other anti-fascists in one place for any length of time – though there was great camaraderie between the groups – tossing anti-fascists chants back and forth from one side of the road to the other. And occasionally they would make a group dash to disorganise the police.
The fascists arrived late and from two different directions – two small gangs surrounded by protective police and unable to connect without passing the crowds of anti-fascists.
Their leader, Paul Pitt, threw one of his usual tantrums and was nearly arrested. But he was rescued by a light-blue-jacketed police liaison officer with an ear-piece that was clearly relaying directions from above. Pitt got away with being confined to the naughty step yet again to calm down before police led Pitt and his handful of supporters through backstreets to meet the rest of their gang – numbering about 25 in total and including some veteran National Front faces.
There followed the usual exchange of verbal insults until the fascist presence faded and crept away – again.

Hands Up! Don't Shoot!

Diane Abbott addresses the crowd

by New Worker correspondent
ANTI-RACISTS gathered in Grosvenor Square outside the American embassy last Wednesday 27th August to protest at the murder of Michael Brown, an unarmed black youth with his hands up, shot dead by police in Ferguson, Missouri.
They were also protesting at the American police response to the wave of outrage and protests this sparked in Ferguson.
The American police response to the demonstrations has harked back to the days prior to the Civil Rights Movement. They have used tear gas, dogs, automatic weapons and armoured cars on demonstrators. Michael’s murder highlights the deeply racist nature of US society today. But deaths in police custody are not limited to America. As we have seen in the cases of Mark Duggan, Smiley Culture, Sean Rigg, and Christopher Alder to name but a few.
The event, organised by Stand Up to Racism, was well attended and speakers included London Labour MP Diane Abbott, Wilf Sullivan, TUC Race Relations Officer, Zita Holbourne, TUC Race Relations Committee member and founder of Black Activists rising against the Cuts, Marcia Rigg of the Sean Rigg Justice Campaign and UAF Co-Chair Weyman Bennett.