Saturday, August 27, 2016

No to Sanctions! No to War!

By New Worker correspondent

Solidarity activists were out in force on Tuesday 23rd August, scoring a double-whammy with afternoon protest pickets outside both the puppet south Korean embassy in Westminster and the centre of US imperialism in Mayfair’s Grosvenor Square.
outside the puppet south Korean embassy
New Communist Party (NCP) leader Andy Brooks and other London comrades joined Korean Friendship activists at both pickets called by the Korean Friendship Association (KFA) to protest against the current US war-games in occupied south Korea and to denounce the recent wave of arrests of trade union militants by the puppet regime in Seoul. 
Dermot Hudson, UK KFA chair, took the mike to denounce US imperialism and its local south Korean lackeys for ratcheting up tension on the Korean peninsula and threatening world peace with the deployment of THAAD [Terminal High Altitude Area Defence] missiles that clearly threatened the security of Russia and People’s China.
and then to Grosvenor Square
After an hour outside the south Korean embassy the picket moved on to the West End to continue the demonstration outside the US embassy in Grosvenor Square.  A number of passers-by joined in discussions with the pickets and took photos of the banners – and one Arab tourist from the Gulf joined the protesters in solidarity with their progressive demands! 

Day of Liberation

Dermot Hudson and Andy Brooks
by New Worker   correspondent

Friends of the Korean people met in central London last weekend to celebrate Songun Day and the liberation of Korea by the Korean People’s Army commanded by great leader Kim Il Sung.
The Korean Friendship Association (KFA) meeting, at the Chadswell Centre on 20th August, was opened by Dermot Hudson and followed by keynote openings from Alexander Meads and Professor Harish Gupta, the director general of the International Institute of the Juche Idea and head of the Asian Regional Institute for the Study of the Juche Idea.
            Alexander outlined the history of the Korean people’s struggle against Japanese colonialism that saw the birth of the communist movement led by Kim Il Sung and the communist-led guerilla war that ended in victory in 1945.
   Prof Gupta stressed the importance of the armed forces in his talk, saying that "the great leader President Kim Il Sung charted out the path of the Korean revolution in a meeting held in Kalun, China from 30th June–2nd July 1930. He exhorted the importance of strong armed forces. He advocated the principle of giving importance to arms in the revolutionary struggle of the masses – the core of the Songun idea. This meeting has special significance in the history of Korea because the idea of Songun politics was floated for the very first time. Thus the Songun idea, which elucidated the way for realising the masses’ independence by force of arms at the centre of consideration, was created as a revolutionary theory based on Juche philosophy.”
            Needless to say, the breaking news about the traitor Thae Yong Ho was a hot topic for discussion. Andy Brooks, the leader of the New Communist Party (NCP), said that the Korean revolution would continue and would not be defeated by the actions of one traitor. Andy stressed that the Democratic People#s Republic of Korea (DPRK), as well as the KFA and other friends of Korea, are on the front-line and we must not forget this.
 The KFA Communications Secretary Daniel Braggins read out a statement from the Korean Central News Agency denouncing Thae’s treachery – a view shared by everyone in the hall and reflected in a letter condemning the treachery of the former Korean diplomat, which was unanimously endorsed, together with a solidarity message to Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the close of the session.

Thursday, August 25, 2016


RMT demo outside the Department of Transport
By Daphne Liddle

MEMBERS of the RMT transport union employed by Southern Rail staged the biggest rail strike in Britain for many decades in August, bringing Southern Rail services to a halt for five days.
The issue behind the dispute is rail safety and in particular the need for a fully trained guard, or conductor, to be on every train and to operate the doors, assist passengers, and deal with incidents and emergency situations that may arise.
It is an issue that the rail unions have been forced to fight with just about every train operating company in our broken and divided railway system.
But in other regions, in particular ScotRail, the companies and the unions have been able to negotiate a resolution that has protected passenger safety.
And on Friday 5th August, before the strike was due to start, the RMT reports that negotiations with Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) at the arbitration service ACAS were very close to agreement when a behind-the-scenes Government intervention stopped the negotiations.
Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said: “RMT can confirm that we were within an inch of making progress towards boxing off a deal with Southern in ACAS talks on Friday afternoon that was based on the offer from ScotRail, an offer that enabled us to suspend all industrial action in the ScotRail guards’ dispute.
“We were just getting into the detailed wording when suddenly the plug was pulled and our legs were kicked from under us. We have it on good authority that the deal, which would have enabled us to suspend the Southern strike action this week, was sabotaged by the Government with their Director of Rail Peter Wilkinson directing operations from outside the talks.”
The union staged a mass protest outside the Department for transport (DfT) on Wednesday morning that included solidarity supporters from the French union CGT.
The RMT ascribes the problem to a change in attitude by the new Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and the policy of Peter Wilkinson.
Wilkinson told a public meeting about problems with Southern Rail services in Croydon in January: “Over the next three years we’re going to have punch-ups and we will see industrial action and I want your support.
“And that trade union members on Southern GTR can’t afford to spend too long on strike and I will push them into that place. They will have to decide if they want to give a good service or get the hell out of my industry.”
In other words, Wilkinson’s agenda is to push the unions into disputes in order to break them.
Even former Rail Minister Claire Perry MP criticised GTR’s industrial relations, in evidence to the Transport Select Committee on 11th July: “I put on record, as I said on the radio this morning, that the company’s handling of some of their industrial relations could have been better.”
What GTR wants is an end to the safety ruling that a train cannot leave the station without a safety-trained conductor as well as the driver on board. They claim it is causing delays.
Ultimately they want to do away with guards altogether to save costs.
Train guards/conductors undergo rigorous and continuous training, know their routes, the signalling systems, how to assist disabled passengers, where to get the wheelchair ramps at each station, how to cope with anti-social, behaviour as well as giving out information and advice about services to passengers.
Their role in managing the doors is especially important now that there has been a big increase in passenger numbers – leading to crowded platforms – and that many stations are completely unstaffed most of the time.
The RMT argues that with no guard on board, a driver would have to leave the cab and check every door before leaving the station.
Wheelchair users would find it almost impossible to use rail services without the assistance of guards and campaigners for disability rights have attacked plans to do away with properly trained guards.
Many elderly and vulnerable passengers say that they would not feel safe on trains without guards.
There are many delays and occasional incidents where passengers have to be led off trains between stations. A trained guard knows who to contact to get power rails disconnected and keeps passengers informed so that this can be done safely. The presence of the guard can make the difference between a minor incident and a major accident.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

For Peace and Socialism!

Mushtaq Lasharie (R) talking about growing resistance
By New Worker correspondent

London comrades met to discuss the US–NATO drive to war and the struggle for peace in a pub in central London last week. Chaired by Theo Russell, the topic was opened by Mushtaq Lasharie, a retired Labour councillor and a leading figure in the Pakistani community, and New Communist Party (NCP) leader Andy Brooks at the upstairs meeting room at the Cock Tavern in Euston.
Andy Brooks stressed the NCP’s long-standing position that the primary contradiction in the world today is between US imperialism and the rest of the world it seeks to dominate, which includes the national bourgeoisie in Russia and the Third World. Mushtaq, who is the Chair of Third World Solidarity, talked about the growing resistance to imperialism throughout the world, pointing out that the abortive Turkish army move to depose the president was only the second time since the Second World War that a US-inspired coup had failed.
Everyone took part in the discussion that followed and the meeting ended with a collection that raised £36 for the New Worker fighting fund.