Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tony Benn 1925-2014

THE NEW WORKER is saddened by the death of Tony Benn, a political giant of the Labour Left who worked tirelessly for many decades for the causes of the working class, peace and internationalism.
He was born in 1925 into a political family; his father William Wedgewood Benn was a Liberal MP who crossed the floor to become a Labour MP in 1928 and became Secretary of State for India. In 1941 William Wedgewood Been was given a peerage by the war Coalition government.
Two years later in July 1943 the young Tony Wedgewood Benn joined the RAF first as an aircraftman and was then given an emergency commission and became a pilot.
After the war he entered politics, becoming an MP in 1950 and then having to fight to reject inheriting his father’s peerage because he wanted to stay in the House of Commons. In the end he won a change in the law, the Peerage Act of 1963, which enabled him to remain an MP.
Tony Benn served as Post Master General in Harold Wilson’s government from 1964 to 1970 where he oversaw the opening of the Post Office Tower, and later as Minister of Technology during Wilson’s “White heat of technology” period.
As Benn aged he became more and more left wing — just the opposite of most Labour MPs who all too easily take the opportunist path to career advancement at the expense of their principles. During that time he reversed his attitude to nuclear power and was always the first to admit when he had got something wrong
He was a man of immense integrity, which won his great respect and a great campaigner on dozens of vital working class issues. He has helped to keep the ideas of social justice alive in an era when these things are derided by the media and culture of the ruling class and been an inspiration to young people.
His death, like that of Bob Crow last week, is a serious loss to the working class in Britain and internationally. We call on comrades, and especially younger comrades, to redouble efforts to fill the gaps and take the movement forward. The strength of our class is in its numbers but that strength can only be exerted through collective organisation. So we must organise, organise, organise!

Remembering Fukushima

by New Worker

SCORES of peace activists marched through Westminster last Saturday to mark the third anniversary of the Fukushima disaster in Japan.
The marchers assembled at Hyde Park Corner before marching past the Japanese Embassy and one of the buildings housing the Tokyo Electric Company and ending near the Houses of Parliament in Westminster.
The organisers aimed to send a message to people warning of the dangers of nuclear power as well as remembering the victims of the Fukushima disaster on 11th March 2011.
One of the organisers, David Polden, said: "We're here because it's the third anniversary of the Fukushima disaster. We're trying to remember the victims and point out that the damage is still continuing with water (used to cool reactors) flowing into the Pacific and the main buildings are in a very bad state.
"It's still very dangerous. There are spent fuel rods at the top of the roofs (of reactors) and if the building collapses, it would be terrible and it would let out their radioactive contents."
Protesters held placards and banners calling for "no nuclear power", "protect mountains, rivers" and "no new nukes" with signs in English, French and Japanese.
Polden, a London region worker for CND, added: "They're (the Tokyo Electric Company who owns the Fukushima plant) taking the rods out now, and we haven't heard any problems yet.
"The message we want to send is stop nuclear. There are plans in Japan to reopen nuclear power stations but the majority of Japanese people are against them and there are plans for power stations here in the UK."
He added that the danger of nuclear power was illustrated by the Chernobyl, Fukushima and the Three Mile Island disasters.
As the march continued, the crowd chanted "no more nuclear" and "no more Fukushima" and more people joined including the Bromley branch of the Green Party. Numbers grew to more than 100 as they passed the Ritz Hotel in London.
Margaret Toomey, a member of Bromley and Bexley Green Party, who has been giving out leaflets for campaign group Japanese Against Nuclear UK for the past 18 months, said: "We're here today because it's the third anniversary.
"The four nuclear reactors are emitting 400 tonnes (of dangerous waste) per day into the North Pacific and the company is using poor people to try and repair the nuclear reactors but things are the same as they were three years ago. There was another leak three weeks ago in a storeroom. That waste was pushed into the North Pacific."
During the march, there were individuals dressed as nuclear waste barrels which they hoped would highlight the fact that nuclear power created nuclear waste.
As the march continued towards Piccadilly Circus, the fluorescent yellow banners and flags dominated the road and tourists looked on with amazement.
Members of the public who took leaflets could be heard agreeing that change was needed with regards to attitudes towards nuclear power.
Leaflets produced by Japanese Against Nuclear UK (JAN) gave a winter update about deadly spent fuel rods being removed from reactor number four at Fukushima.
According to JAN, 1,553 bundles of rods have to be removed which will take a year to complete if the rate of 44 bundles a week continues.
But the leaflet warns: "And if something 'unfortunate' does happen, it is quite likely to lead to Tokyo having to be abandoned, and a few million extra cancer cases around the world."
A Japanese marcher said it was important to say no to nuclear everywhere and said it was not the "right decision" in the UK to have nuclear plants.
Atsuko Kamura, a member of JAN, said: "We're calling on the Japanese government to take appropriate measures at Fukushima.
"It's a complicated issue and it's not solved yet. According to German magazine, [Der Spiegel], within seven years seafood from around the area cannot be eaten."

Fascists kept out of the Square

ANTI-FASCISTS rallied in Trafalgar Square last Saturday afternoon to prevent the English Volunteer Force – and hard-line neo-Nazi splinter group with connections in the north of Ireland – from holding a planned rally in the Square.
Around 60 to 70 fascists from the EVF, United British Patriots and the South-East Alliance led by Paul Pitt gathered in various pubs along Whitehall from where police collected them to assemble outside the Lord of the Moon pub.
Paul Pitt tried to march them into Trafalgar Square but police barred them because of the anti-fascist presence there, both from AntiFa – mainly young students – and Unite Against Fascism.
The fascists were marched down Whitehall, shouting anti-Islamist slogans and accusing passers-by – mainly bewildered tourists – with the slogan: “You’re not English anymore!” – their familiar expression of disappointment and surprise in finding that most white people do not share their race hatred.
But they seemed quite confused about their own identity. Though they were supposed to be EVF many were sporting English Defence League T-shirts and banners. Others wanted to return England to a pre-Norman invasion political structure.
Heavy police cordons blocked off Whitehall Place and Horse Guards Avenue, preventing very noisy anti-fascists from entering Whitehall. Nevertheless a few anti-fascists got through and there was an exchange of epithets.
The fascists also threatened press photographers. After they objected to being photographed they were told: “You came out for publicity; now you’ve got it.”
On the way the fascists passed two even tinier protests behind big barriers opposite Downing Street – one by anti-Assad Syrians and the other by and handful of Ukrainians, both groups calling on Nato to invade their countries – but police hurried them by.
Eventually police brought the fascists to a ready prepared kettle-pen in Old Palace Yard but before they could shepherd the reluctant fascists in they had to force out a few anti-fascists who had occupied it.
After speeches the fascists were led away by police – right across the path of yet another protest demonstration, this one organised by CND to commemorate the third anniversary if the nuclear disaster at Fukushima in Japan.
Some of the fascists pondered attacking the Syrian protest group on the grounds that they were Muslim but ended up opting to go to St Stephen’s Tavern, next to Westminster Tube Station instead.

35 years of the RCPB (ML)

Korean comrades with Lesley and Michael at the seminar
By New Worker correspondent

Around 60 members and supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) gathered in Central London on Sunday for a seminar marking 35 years since the party came into being, and paying tribute to the life and work of party founder John Buckle, who died in a plane crash in 1983.
Chaired by Lesley Larkum the seminar was opened by Michael Chant, the RCPB (ML) general secretary, who paid tribute to Buckle, and characterised the RCPB (ML) as “a party of modern communism which can address itself to the problems of the 21st century”. Contributions were made by Graham Buckle, John Buckle’s brother, Chris Coleman and RCPB(ML) members from various parts of the country. The DPR Korea ambassador, Hyon Hak Bong, and Mun Myong Sin of the DPRK ‘s London embassy, delivered a friendship message from the central committee of the Workers Party of Korea, and Theo Russell from the New Communist Party also delivered greetings on behalf of the party, in which he expressed the hope that the friendly relations between the two parties, which date back to 1994, would continue for many more years to come.

Karl Marx and other heroes

Chinese students at the ceremony
By New Worker correspondent

THE FIRST act of this year’s annual commemoration of Karl Marx at his tomb in Highgate this year was a one-minute silence to mark the deaths of two giants of the working class movement in Britain: Bob Crow and Tony Benn – and of course to remember Marx himself.
Daphne Liddle from the Central Committee of the New Communist Party joined around 60 people to remember the life and times of Marx, who together with Frederick Engels, laid the foundations of modern scientific socialism.
Diplomats from China, Cuba and Vietnam along with comrades from all over the world stood in the warm spring sunshine, the air filled with birdsong, in front of the massive granite monument to Karl Marx, and saluted our heroes.
The event was organised by the committee of the Marx Memorial Library, who are the trustees of the Marx monument in Highgate cemetery and conducted by MML chair Alex Gordon, who is a former president of Bob Crow’s union, the RMT. He was a close friend of Crow and clearly deeply saddened and shocked by Crow’s sudden death.
This year the main oration was given by John Douglas, president of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. He spoke without notes on the history of the Irish trade union movement, of James Larkin and James Connolly and the influence of Karl Marx on their struggles.
And he spoke of the modern struggles against the crimes being committed against the working class in Ireland and all over Europe and America in the name of austerity. He ended with a quote from Larkin: “The great appear great because we are on our knees: Let us rise.”
Liz Payne from the Communist Party of Britain read a prepared speech on the effects of capitalism on women’s rights.
Then the Internationale was sung and dozens of wreathes and floral tributes were laid at the monument; hundreds of photos were taken of comrades old and young standing with raised banners or just raised clenched fists in front of the monument..
Then the party departed with many going on to a small reception at a nearby public house.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Remembering Karl Marx

By New Worker 
Andy Brooks

 KARL MARX spent most of his active life in Britain working with Frederick Engels to build the international working class movement and writing a corpus of books that provides the basis for scientific socialism.
Marx died in London on 14th March 1883 and his memory has been recalled ever since by the working class movement throughout the world. And last Saturday his immense contribution to the socialist cause was recalled at the annual reception at the New Communist Party’s London centre in honour of the Marx and the philosophical thinking that inspired the great revolutionary movements of the 20th century.
The Communist Manifesto, written by Marx and Engels in 1848, is as valid today as it was on the day that it was written and the torch that it lit led to the raising of the Red Flag in Russia in October 1917 and the establishment of the communist movement that ended the First World War and defeated the Nazis in the Second.
 The print shop was once again transformed for the bar and buffet and comrades and friends gathered in the main meeting room for the formal part of the celebrations that was opened by National chair Alex Kempshall.
NCP leader Andy Brooks, Dermot Hudson from the UK Korean Friendship Association and John McCleod of the Socialist Labour Party all paid tribute to Marx, whose  entire life was dedicated to the cause of the emancipation of the working class.
No NCP event ever ends without a collection and Daphne Liddle from the Politburo of the NCP made a forthright appeal for money crucial to ensure the survival of the New Worker. The comrades responded by putting £347 in the tin for the New Worker fighting fund. Most comrades left at 10.30pm but, as usual, the die-hards kept the bar open till well gone midnight...

From Rome to London!

Andy Brooks with the Italian comrades
By New Worker correspondent

THE NEW Communist Party of Britain has forged links with Italian communists working in Britain following a meeting on 1st March at the Party Centre in London. NCP leader Andy Brooks held a meeting with comrades from the Pietro Secchia branch of the Communist Party of Italy that was formerly known as the Communist People’s Left.  
This Italian party broke away from one of the two successors to the old revisionist Italian communist party in 2009 over disagreements on social policy and the European Union.
The People’s Left is opposed to the EU and it was one of the founding members, like the NCP, of the Initiative of the Communist and Workers Parties of Europe that was set up at a conference in Brussels last October. The People’s Left changed its name at its second congress in January of this year and it is organising all its supporters throughout the EU.
The British wing is named after Pietro Secchia, after 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.