Friday, July 18, 2014

Eternal memory of Kim Il Sung



By New Worker
 correspondent
Michael Chant, Andy Brooks and  Hyon Hak Bong
KIM IL SUNG passed away on 8th July 1994 and the 20th anniversary of his death was marked by commemorations across the Korean peninsula and amongst the Korean overseas community all over the world. In Democratic Korea mass national commemorations in the capital, Pyongyang, were matched by similar events throughout the DPR Korea. In the occupied south patriotic and communist organisations held secret commemorations in defiance of the draconian laws of the puppet regime. And throughout the world communists gathered to remember the outstanding Korean communist revolutionary and thinker.
London was no exception and the commemorations started at the AGM of the UK Korean Friendship Association on Saturday 28th June. This was followed by
a meeting of remembrance to mark the anniversary of the passing of President Kim Il Sung on 5th July at the John Buckle Centre in south London organised by the Friends of Korea committee. London DPRK ambassador Hyon Hak Bong paid tribute to great leader Kim Il Sung, whose life dedicated to the struggle of the Korean people spanned the 20th century. This was followed by tributes from NCP leader Andy Brooks, RCPB (ML) general secretary Michael Chant, John Macleod of the SLP and John Rainsborough from the Korea Friendship Association.
            Finally on 8th July Andy Brooks and Daphne Liddle from the NCP  Central Committee laid flowers at the commemorative table at the  formal ceremony at the DPRK embassy in London in memory of Kim Il Sung.








THE BIG STRIKE -- MORE TO COME




 

By Daphne Liddle

HUNDREDS of thousands of public sector workers went on strike last Thursday, 10th July in protest at low pay, pension cuts and job cuts. Estimates of the total number taking part range from one to two million strikers, angry at sharply declining living standards as the greedy one per cent of top capitalists are enjoying unprecedented rises in their income.
Schools, libraries and council offices closed throughout the country; bins went uncollected, streets went unswept and driving tests were postponed. This was the biggest national strike since November 2011 – and that was the biggest since the General Strike of 1926.
And hundreds and thousands of workers took to the streets of towns and cities throughout the country in marches and rallies to drive home the message of the strike.
In London around 15,000 assembled outside the BBC headquarters in Portland Place – to ensure the biased BBC could not pretend it did not notice the event, to march to a rally in Trafalgar Square.
The unions PCS, GMB, FBU, Unite, Unison and many others were there in force but the biggest group by far were the members of the National Union of Teachers. There were dozens of bright banners, giant balloons and thousands of placards. The mood was upbeat in spite of the rain but there was no mistaking the real hatred of the teachers for Education Secretary Michael Gove – who has since lost his job.
Firefighters were also angry at their very long-running fight to defend their pensions and right to retire at 55. The Government wants to force them to work until 60 in a job that depends on a high standard of fitness and firefighters are tested regularly on this. If the Government has its way those who fail the test between 55 and 60 will lose their pensions.
Charles Brown, a 52-year-old firefighter from London, said: "They want us to work longer, pay more in and get less out. We have tried to have negotiations with the Government but they are not listening, so we have no option but to strike."
The Fire Brigades Union is staging strikes every day this week as part of that dispute.
Many strikers and speakers were outraged at plans by the Government to regard strike ballots as invalid unless more than 50 per cent of those who could vote supported the strike.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady criticised Tory plans raise the threshold for strikes saying: “Rather than get round the table, ministers are threatening a change in the law that would make legal strikes close to impossible.
"Instead of imposing a ballot threshold that not a single MP met in the last election, politicians should stop ignoring sensible proposals to increase secret ballot turnouts at the workplace and online."
Union leaders criticised the Labour Party for not backing the strike. Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, said: "It is time for Labour to make up its mind. Public service workers are people who should be Labour's natural supporters and they deserve Labour's unashamed backing in return."
A survey last week showed widespread public support for the strikes and the aims of the strikers.
Of those who gave a view, 59 per cent think that the Government is unfairly targeting public sector workers on pay with almost the same again (58 per cent) saying that council workers deserve an extra £1 per hour on their wages; even among 2010 Conservative voters, support for a pay rise stands at 52 per cent.
Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “This Government’s ceaseless attacks on our public service workers are misguided and find no favour with the public. They can see through this bullying for what it is – an attempt to turn friends and neighbours against the good people who care for their kids, keep their streets clean and run our valued community services, and they are not buying it.
“The public has no appetite for the government’s belittling of public sector workers, and certainly none whatsoever for the Tories’ threat to remove the right to strike action.”
Speakers at the rally in Trafalgar Square spoke of plans for further general strikes – one in October and another in the New Year in the run-up to the general election.

NCP still going strong!




Hyong Hak Bong brings Korean communist greetings
By New Worker correspondent
  We had summer heat and the World Cup third place play off but that didn’t deter comrades and friends from joining New Communist Party leader Andy Brooks and Party Chair Alex Kempshall  in celebrating the 37th  anniversary of the foundation of the  NCP last Saturday at the Party Centre in London.
Honoured guests included Hyong Hak Bong, the London ambassador of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and John Rainsborough from the UK Korean Friendship Association who both paid tribute to the NCP’s consistent solidarity with Democratic Korea and its principled support for the communist ideal during the formal part of the proceedings.
Some NCP comrades and those from the RCPB (ML) were absent as they were taking part in the great Durham Miners Gala, but they were with us in spirit with solidarity messages that included a congratulatory message from Pyongyang from the Workers Party of Korea and another from the British Pietro Secchia cell of Italy’s Partito Communista.
The New Communist Party of Britain was established in July 1977 and since then the Party has worked to build the communist movement and working class unity while upholding the tenets of Marxism-Leninism. Over the decades the Party and the New Worker have survived through thick and thin and this was because we have something to say that comrades are ready to support with effort and cash to keep us going. This they did again with a collection of £331 for the fighting fund!  





Growing outrage at Israeli onslaught on Gaza


 by New Worker

 correspondent

HUNDREDS of thousands of people all around Britain, and all around the world have been taking to the streets to express anger and outrage at the new Israeli bombing and threatened invasion of Gaza.
In London the protests started two weeks ago driven by anger and dismay at the cold-blooded kidnapping and burning to death of Palestinian teenager Mohammad Abu Khdeir.
On Saturday 5th July around 1,500 people gathered opposite the Israeli embassy in London from many different organisations, including Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War, Jews for Justice for Palestinians and many individuals.
Chanting was loud and continuous: “From the river to the sea, free, free Palestine!” and as demonstrators arrived on the opposite side of the road the swell of protesters totally blocked the road with a sit-down demonstration.
But within a few days, by Friday 11th July, after the new bombing onslaught on Gaza had begun, another demonstration of tens of thousands totally blocked the whole area around the Israeli embassy.
There have also been a couple of protests at the BBC in Portland Place over its unacceptable bias in favour of the Zionist aggressors and a growing public pressure on the BBC to report even-handedly, treating Palestinian lives as being of equal value with those of the Israelis.
And more demonstrations are planned for the weekend with a big one in Westminster for the afternoon of Saturday 19th July.
Jews for Justice for Palestinians issued a statement utterly condemning: The horrific bombardment of Gaza, which has seen:
·         Whole families destroyed. Hospitals and ambulances targeted. Reports from health professionals of new weapons that “melt bones”. Gaza’s water and sewerage infrastructure deliberately bombed.
·         The people of northern Gaza told by Israel’s military to leave or die, raising the spectre of the 1948 expulsions among a population mostly descended from those refugees.
“As the toll of deaths and terrible injuries mounts, Gaza is suffering collectively, on an industrial scale, the fate of Mohammad Abu Khdeir, the young boy burned alive two weeks ago in Jerusalem by Jewish vigilantes. The world proclaimed its horror at his murder. But what is it doing to save Gaza?
“Israel claims to be the state of the Jewish people worldwide, and expects Jews to support it, ‘right or wrong’. JFJFP represents an alternative Jewish viewpoint that judges Israel’s deeds by international law and the UN Charter of Human Rights.”
JFJFP called for an immediate end to the onslaught on Gaza and for every life to be treated as of equal value. “Palestinian human rights start with the right to life,” they said.
Protests have been happening all around the country. Last weekend a march brought crowds of people on to the market square of Cambridge to protest about the violence in Gaza.
Members of Cambridge Palestine Solidarity Campaign set up a stall, and after marching in the square, took in a wider route through the city centre, distributing leaflets and chanting “Free Palestine”.
Internationally there have been protests in capital cities throughout Europe and the world, including one in Paris that turned violent.
In Belfast as many as 1,000 people took part in a white-line picket more than a mile long along Belfast’s Falls Road to call for a halt to the Zionist blitz on Gaza.
Organised by the Belfast Friends of Palestine, the picket saw people from across the Belfast community coming together to express their anger and horror at the calculated viciousness of the punitive and unrelenting aggression of Tel Aviv.
And in Lahore, Pakistan, representatives of various religions, sects and over 32 political and religious parties of Pakistan have urged the United Nations (UN) and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to take immediate measures to put an end to Israeli aggression against Palestinians in Gaza.
Speaking at the Palestine Solidarity Conference held by Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) at Lahore Press Club, the participants demanded that Pakistan government instantly convene a conference of Muslim rulers and join hands with other friendly countries to play an active role in the UN to put an end to Israeli aggression.

Monday, June 30, 2014

“Sinister forces” backfire as Sinn Féin advances



By New Worker correspondent
  
ONLY five weeks ago, “sinister forces” were at work to stem Sinn Féin’s steady electoral advances in both parts of Ireland, when Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams was arrested under the terrorism act and questioned for four days in the midst of the local and Euro election campaigns.
Yet, as newly elected County Mayo Sinn Féin councillor Rose Conway Walsh told a packed meeting of supporters at Westminster last week, the party made stunning gains in both the north and the south last month. The crude tactics of the forces opposed to the peace process had spectacularly backfired.
In the European elections Martina Anderson topped the poll in the North with 25.5 per cent  of votes to take one of three seats, ahead of the DUP’s Diane Dodds on 20.9 per cent, while in the South Sinn Féin came second behind Fine Gael, taking three Euro seats.
Sinn Féin took third place in the Republic’s local elections, doubling its vote share to 15.2 per cent and winning 159 council seats, 105 more than in 2009, and pushing a broken Labour Party into fourth place.
In the north Sinn Féin’s vote fell slightly and the party won 10 fewer council seats than in 2010, but still took second place with 105 seats.
The party made gains in both working class and middle class districts in Dublin, and captured almost a third of votes in Monaghan and Louth. It appears to be on track to join a coalition government in Dublin after the 2016 general election, as many are predicting.
Gerry Adams declared: “The people have spoken and given the (Dublin) government notice to quit.”
Conway Walsh said: “Opinion polls show that many voted Sinn Féin because of our positive economic policies, with a strategy of investment, growth and better public services as the alternative to years of austerity, emigration and hardship.”
Asking: “Why a government which did so well in 2009 did so badly in 2014?” she said this was clearly due to the Republic’s dire economic situation. “Emigration and homelessness are increasing; €2 billion will be cut from this year’s budget and the same in 2015, 16 and 17; pensions are under attack; new charges for water and property are in place; there are 183,000 long-term unemployed, and 26 per cent of our young people are out of work.
“Despite the €64 billion given away to the banks, leaving a huge hole in country’s finances, the banking sector is still in a fragile state and promises of re-capitalisation have not been realised, while multinationals such as Apple and Shell are paying virtually no tax at all in the Republic.”
Conor Murphy, Sinn Féin MP for Newry and Armagh and the party’s economy spokesperson, spoke of the long list of issues arising from the Good Friday Agreement yet to be resolved or implemented: equalities, the Irish language, the Anglo-Irish institutions, a Bill of Rights in the North (guaranteed by all the GFA signatories), flags and parades, inquiries and inquests, and the recent British government U-turn on an inquiry into the state killing of Pat Finucane.
He said: “The unionist parties are incapable of negotiating in the run-up to elections or the summer marching period, leaving only a few weeks a year for any serious talks.
“Meanwhile both Dublin and London – especially the current British government – are failing to engage, removing the only really effective pressure on the unionist parties.”
Murphy said the unionists had sabotaged and then walked away from the last set-piece talks, chaired by US diplomat Richard Haass, and while Sinn Féin, the SDLP, the Alliance Party and the Dublin government had endorsed Haas’s proposals, neither the British government nor the Labour Party had followed suit.
He also said Sinn Féin was “almost alone” in its strong opposition the coalition’s attack on benefits in the North. “The SDLP are effective cheerleaders for austerity, and there is a lack of support for Sinn Féin’s position both on the left in Britain and in the North, including from the trade unions.”
When one member of the audience noted that the elections in France and Germany had gained far more British media attention than those in Ireland, Conway-Walsh responded: “If Sinn Féin had done badly, you would have seen a lot more coverage.”

Friday, June 27, 2014

Festa Comunista on London’s South Bank


NCP's Theo Russell with Italian comrades


By New Worker correspondent

ITALIAN, Greek and British comrades came together on London’s South Bank last weekend for the Festa Comunista, organised by members of the Italian Partito Comunista living in Britain. In addition to lively and jovial debates, the comrades discussed the political situation and communist movements in Italy, Europe and Britain, and solidarity work with Democratic Korea.
The British wing of the new Italian communist party that was formed last year is named after Pietro Secchia, a leading Italian communist who was imprisoned by the fascist regime in 1931.
Freed by the partisans in 1943 following the collapse of the Mussolini regime, he became a guerrilla leader in the struggle against the Nazi occupation and the fascist forces still loyal to Mussolini. After the war Secchia entered the Italian parliament while secretly maintaining a group of former partisans who kept their weapons in case of a right-wing coup.
Secchia was increasingly side-lined by the revisionist Italian communist leadership from the 1950s onwards but he continued to support national liberation struggles and upheld the Marxist-Leninist line until his death in 1973.