Friday, January 31, 2014

"Britain First" - Whatever Next?

BRITAIN FIRST's Jim Dowson stirs the crowd in Belfast.
Daily Record, January 9, 2013 

WITH Tommy Robinson, aka Stephen Yaxley Lennon, having defected from the English Defence League (EDL) for greener pastures, and Nick Griffin of the British National Party (BNP) declaring himself bankrupt, who is likely to elbow their way to the front and take up the flag for Britain's Far Right crusade?

Can they outdo the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and its increasingly oddball looking characters, to harness that combination of popular disillusion with parliamentary politics, and backward prejudice against Johnny Foreigner, that has brought remunerative seats in the European parliament? 

Britain First, set up as a campaign group before deciding to call itself a political party in September 2012, is led by former members of the BNP, like Paul Golding, Andy McBride, and Jim Dowson, who was the BNP's top man in Scotland and leading fundraiser before he fell out with Griffin and quit, leaving his former pals potless. A report in the Scottish Daily Record in 2009 linked Dowson with hard-line Loyalists and criminal activities.

It said Dowson, expelled from his Orange Lodge after accusing fellow members of not being extreme enough, called himself a "dyed in the wool Protestant". But this did not stop him meeting members of the right-wing Catholic Youth Defence group in the south of Ireland, trying to emulate their anti-abortion protests. Plainly when it comes to ecumenism the far Right can set an example to us all!

Last year Searchlight reported that "Dowson is currently busy in Belfast helping to stir up loyalists to protest against the democratic decision by Belfast council to fly the Union Flag at Belfast City Hall only on 20 days a year,...Golding has also visited Belfast for the protests."  

It also reported that Britain First held a meeting in Dartford, Kent, on January 13, 2013, with the EDL and others, at which according to the BF website, they discussed "the disintegrating situation in the street protest movement and were unanimous in their resolve to salvage the situation and start again."

One year later the Britain Firsters decided to come to Cricklewood, in north west London, and wave their flags. Whether they were able to salvage anything from this adventure was not clear, as experts tell me even their flags were upside down.

The ostensible occasion for this was the news that the Muslim Brotherhood, only recently forming Egypt's first elected government, but now being repressed, had opened a small office in a flat over a shop in Cricklewood Broadway. To confront this peril to the populace and civilisation as we know it, the BF brought out just over a couple of dozen flag-waving patriots on Saturday, January 18.

Having heard they were coming, Brent Trades Union Council and local Unite Against Fascism(UAF) supporters managed at a few days' notice to mobilise a larger counter-demonstration.. I was not able to go myself, so here is an account by fellow-blogger Martin Francis:  

Around 27 members of Britain First were confronted by three times as many local activists and residents when they turned up in Cricklewood Broadway today. Ostensibly they were demonstrating against the Muslim Brotherhood office above a shop but their agenda was really anti-Muslim, anti-Mosque and anti- immigrant, using the MB office as a pretext.

In fact they had no placards or leaflets to explain to the local community why they were there. Brent people were present, not to demonstrate in favour of the Muslim Brotherhood, but to say that they did not want Britain First to come into the area and disrupt and divide their diverse local community.

Brent and Harrow Unite Against Fascism gave out a leaflet to passers by, many of whom joined them,  explaining the origin of Britain First in evangelical Protestantism and anti-abortion campaigns, and its associations with Loyalist paramilitaries. The BNP had found them too extreme and their leader James Dowson is on bail for violence.

Local campaigners and residents told Britain First they were not wanted in Cricklewood and a 9 year old boy used his megaphone to passionately tell them that his best friend was a Muslim.

The numbers of Britain First supporters gradually reduced during the afternoon and eventually the dozen or so remaining were escorted by police to Cricklewood Broadway accompanied by cries of derision from local residents and the chant of 'Brent united will never be defeated'.

LESS IMPRESSIVE in Cricklewood.  A local mother comments "These are the imbecilic excuses for grown men that offered out my nine year old son for a fight when he pointed out that his best friend is a Muslim. I am sure they are very proud of themselves".
  photo from Martin Francis blog "Wembley Matters"   

Meanwhile ....Galloping Galloway Enters Fray

CRICKLEWOOD lies partly in the Hampstead and Kilburn parliamentary constituency which straddles the Watling Street border of the boroughs of Camden and Brent. Sitting Labour MP Glenda Jackson is about to vacate the seat at the next election, and as the candidates hoping to replace her line up, a surprising outsider - in every sense -has made an intervention.

Respect MP George Galloway first entered parliament as Labour MP for Glasgow Hillhead, went on to win Bethnal Green for Respect, and now sits as MP for Bradford West, though several councillors there fell out with him and Respect after hearing he might decide to stand for Mayor of London. Since then he has been campaigning for a "No" vote in the Scottish independence referendum, but this week he turned his attention to Hampstead and Kilburn,

Here's the Kilburn Times: 
 Denouncing Lib Dem candidate Maajid Nawaz as “rancid” and Labour hopeful Tulip Siddiq as a “New Labour apologist”, the outspoken MP for Bradford West revealed yesterday his party would be inviting applications from those interested in standing for his left-leaning party.

It comes not long after Mr Nawaz, a former Islamist who now runs a leading anti-extremist organisation, caused outrage among some sectors of the Muslim community after publishing online a cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

Mr Galloway MP was among those condemning him, saying: “No Muslim will ever vote for the Liberal Democrats anywhere ever unless they ditch the provocateur Maajid Nawaz.”

He later added: “Respect will take the Hampstead and Kilburn fight right to rancid Maajid Nawaz and the New Labour apologist for Awami League.”
The latter was a reference to Labour candidate Cllr Siddiq’s family ties with Bangladesh’s current ruling political party the Bangladesh Awami League.
The prospects of a Galloway-backed campaign could make the Hampstead and Kilburn 2015 election battle one of the most animated in the country, with the constituency already known as the most marginal seat in the country.

The last election saw the constituency’s current Labour MP, Glenda Jackson, win with a majority of just 42.

So all Galloway needs now is a candidate, and though I'd hazard a guess that Respect would fare little better than Britain First in the Hampstead and Kilburn constituency, it could make enough of a dent in the Labour vote as to let the Tory in.

I can accept there may be more to Nawaz than a cartoon he tweeted. He is a founder of the Quilliam Foundation which opposes "extremism" and facilitated Tommy Robinson's announcement that he was leaving the EDL. All the same, is this such a burning issue in Hampstead and Kilburn as to bring George Glloway's intervention?

As for the Awami League, in Bangladesh, it is  certainly no worse than some of the regimes which George Galloway has defended, and it has the merit of having prosecuted the enemies of Bangladeshi freedom who committed war crimes in the service of the Pakistan military against their own people.  

But that brings us to the Jamaat e Islami party which took that stand, and which has a well-established presence in George Galloway's old Bethnal Green constituency, where it has been said to influence local politics as well as doing successful fundraising. Surely Galloway is not trying to help them extend their reach into Camden?

If so, Britain First are not the only intruders attempting to divide communities.

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Saying "No!" to Netanyahu, No War Against Iran!

 A JEWISH peace campaign group in the United States has joined others warning against new sanctions on Iran, and is urging supporters to petition senators to resist the drive towards war.

"As I write this, the U.S. Senate is just eight votes shy of a veto-proof bill that could send the U.S. to war over Iran," writes Stephanie Fox, of the West Coast-based Jewish Voice for Peace(JVP) organisation. "This AIPAC-backed bill would torpedo ongoing diplomatic efforts and open the way to military action and further draconian sanctions. The results could be disastrous—for everyone." 

The Obama administration wants to ease sanctions in return for Iran's agreement to curb nuclear development. Israeli prime minister Netanyahu has rejected the Iranian pledge even though his own intelligence chiefs advised that it was a good agreement.

AIPAC, which the peace campaigners see backing the bill to keep up hostility to Iran, is the well-heeled American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a powerful Zionist lobby in Washington which has been used to getting its way.

Jewish Voice for Peace, which supports Palestinian rights and opposes Israeli occupation, has the watchword "Israelis and Palestinians, Two Peoples, One Future", but right now it sees the threat of war on Iran as looming large, just when there's a chance of detente. 

  "The good news is that outrage is growing, and 21 senators have come out against pro-war bill S.1881.", says JVP's Stephanie Fox. " But there is a chance it could reach a veto-proof majority. Unless we act now, the 20 senators who have not signed yet could succumb to the march to war. Can you sign this petition to tell them to stand strong?

"This legislation is being pushed by Israel lobby groups who want a pretext for Israel to take military action against Iran. Remarkably, it would pre-commit the United States to military involvement should Israel attack.

"An interim deal brokered by the U.N. Security Council has already begun implementation, with Iran taking steps to roll back its nuclear program in exchange for limited sanctions relief.  But S.1881 (the "Nuclear Weapon-Free Iran Act of 2013") has the support of 59 of 60 co-sponsors needed for it to pass. Eight more and the President won’t be able to veto."

JVP is hoping for at least 15,000 signatures on its petition, and says it will take out ads in a major political news outlet "to show that American Jews and our allies oppose the bill, and support diplomacy over war. "

Jewish Voice for Peace may be only one small voice from American Jewry, and it certainly enjoys but a tiny fraction of the resources and publicity which AIPAC and other lobby organisations command.
But how far can the bigger and better-known organisations claim to be speaking for American Jews on this issue?

In a recent article in Ha'aretz, Chemi Shalev pointed out that in demanding Palestinians recognise the "Jewish" character of the State of Israel as a condition for peace, the Israeli premier was not just denying the rights and status of non-Jewish Israeli citizens, but blurring the distinction between the Israeli nation and the Jewish people worldwide.
'That’s why Netanyahu can tell the U.S. Congress “I speak on behalf of the Jewish people,” That’s how he can openly call on U.S. Jews to “stand up and be counted” in his campaign against U.S. policies on Iran. That’s why he made no effort to correct David Gregory who anointed him “Leader of the Jewish people” on Meet the Press last year.'

(Ben Gurion didn't recognize Israel as the nation state of the entire Jewish people
And why Lieberman’s proposals on ceding 300,000 Israeli Arabs only strengthen Palestinian suspicions of the demand to recognize Israel as a 'Jewish State.'

By Chemi Shalev    Ha'aretz | Jan. 8, 2014  )

This was something Ben Gurion, the founder of the State, was diplomatically careful to avoid, though it became inherant with the Zionist declaration that Israel was the state "of the Jewish people", and insistence on the centrality of Israel to Jewish life. It may be acceptable, or go without complaint for AIPAC and other bodies claiming to lead Jewish people, but the Iran sanctions and war threat is good as any a time to call their bluff.

Here is an opinion piece in Ha'aretz from Peter Beinart:
The only 'leader’ who speaks for American Jews on Iran is Barack Obama
Most American Jews support Obama’s policies on Iran - so in whose name are their so-called 'leaders’ sabotaging his nuclear diplomacy?

Why does this matter? Because in recent months, the press has been filled with headlines like: “White House Briefs Jewish Leaders on Iran Nuclear Deal,” “American Jewish Leaders Censure Nuclear Deal,” and “Obama Urges Jewish Leaders Not to Back Iran Sanctions.”

The implication is that there’s a conflict between the White House, which want a softer line on Iran, and American Jews who - represented by their “leaders” - want a tougher one. It’s an influential storyline. And it’s utter nonsense.

In truth, the only person who can legitimately claim to speak for American Jews on the subject of Iran is the very guy American Jewish “leaders” oppose: Barack Obama. Look at the evidence. In 2012, Mitt Romney slammed Obama for not supporting tougher sanctions against Iran and for not more explicitly pledging that, if sanctions fail to curb Tehran’s nuclear program, the U.S. will attack. In so doing, Romney road-tested the critique leveled by Benjamin Netanyahu and many American Jewish “leaders.”

The result? Obama won 69 percent of the Jewish vote. According to an exit poll by J Street (the only organization to ask such a question), Jewish voters preferred Obama to Romney on Iran by a margin of 58 to 26 percent.

More recent surveys reveal basically the same thing. A Pew Research Center poll last October found that 52 percent of American Jews approve of Obama’s Iran policy while 35 percent disapprove.

An American Jewish Committee survey that same month found that American Jews support Obama’s “handling Iran’s Nuclear Program” 62-36 percent.

So maybe JVP from being a small minority can claim to be speaking for the "silent majority" this time, at least!

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Chuck out Chuka and co., and Leave the Squatters!

THANKS to sharp-eyed friend Dave Osler for spotting this little gem of Labour front bench wisdom, which he posted for comments on Facebook:  
"The big difference between 1979 and 2013 is that we are all capitalists now. The question is, what sort of capitalism do we want? We embrace free markets but we want competitive and free markets and more responsible capitalism."

- Chuka Umunna, Labour's business spokesman and former corporate lawyer, quoted in today's Financial Times.

Some people have wondered whether "responsible" free market capitalism is one of those impossible things in which you have to believe, or say you believe, if you want to get on in politics, others darkly question whether political careerists really believe anything except the desirability of office.

But to be fair, this is not the first time Chuka Umunna has shown his dedication to the system, and I see no reason to doubt his sincerity. Having just seen him on TV, I expect we'll be seeing more of him, but a bit of news from back in September should suffice. At the time I could hardly believe my ears, and had to check, but here's what one socially conscious blogger said about it:
As homelessness in the capital soars, three senior Labour Party figures have launched an all out attack on homeless people by demanding new laws to protect property developers and landlords from squatters.

At least we can't accuse the Con Dem coalition of failing to do joined up thinking, when knowing the effect of benefit capping, bedroom tax, soaring rents and house prices, they criminalised squatting to prevent people using their own initiative to find a roof over their heads.

The bill was ushered in with lots of media stories about homeowners returning from holiday to find their house squatted, and supposedly undesirable persons cheekily inhabiting luxury mansions. The truth is that of 33 convictions in in the first six months of the new law, three of which led to jail sentences, not one concerned premises which anyone was living in.   
before they were squatted.

Meanwhile, the great Tory policy to which Labour succumbed, of giving tenants the "right to buy" council homes, has ended up with nearly half of them in the hands of private landlords, espcially in London, and being rented to those who can afford it at well above council rents.

Lambeth council, which once had a more enlightened policy on squatters, has had long-term residents evicted from flats so the developers can get to work. But it seems this is not enough. Having blamed squatters for damage to a local library, which the council had left empty for two years on the promise of an entertainment centre, or other development, Labour has turned to the government for help.

Criminalising squatting on commercial premises would give the police something to do, with so little real crime on our streets, and make the task easier for the brave boys in blue like those in the London Borough of Redbridge who, in order to discourage homeless rough sleepers from kipping in a disused council swimming baths were reduced to   
robbing them of food and blankets. 

It could also strengthen the hand of the state for evicting and punishing workers who occupy factories or other workplaces to resist closures and sackings, or rescue backpay and pensions they are owed. (Visteon workers, whose fight still goes on.).

It would certainly hit many community groups that occupy premises to try and maintain services (Friern Barnet library) that are being closed, or organise cultural activities.

At one time we might have expected a Labour council and local MPs to assist such activity. Now it would at least give the lie to David Cameron's mythical belief in the 'Big Society'!

But hey! "We are all capitalists now!" Or so we are told by Labour's business spokesman. About whom,  as no less than the Daily Mail assures its readers, it can be said he is not so much a British Barack Obama as
A "Black Tony Blair"

The only squatters Labour needs to get rid of are those occupying leading positions at national and local levels whose loyalty and faith is dedicated to the capitalist system, maintaining property and poverty to sustain their privilage.

But I am not holding my breath, any more than you do.  

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Friday, January 17, 2014

Two Very Different People

"CONTINUE the rebellion", she told the young.
TWO very different Israelis died this month. From David Cameron to former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, we heard nothing but praise for Ariel Sharon. The Unit 101 commander who destroyed homes at Qibya in 1953, killing 69 villagers, mainly women and children; the Defence Minister who misled his own government into sanctioning all out war in Lebanon in 1982; the man who unleashed the Sabra and Chatila massacres, and the cynical right wing politician whose march on the Temple Mount provoked the Second Intifada to wreck peace talks, were forgotten.

We were asked to remember Sharon as a man of peace, condemned only by the Kahanists and Gaza settlers whom he moved so he could concentrate on settling the West Bank. Well our memories are not so conveniantly whitewashed.

A very different Israeli died the day before Sharon made his long overdue departure. I'm ashamed to admit I'd never heard of Chavka Folman-Raban until someone mentioned her in the JSG group on Facebook. I don't suppose she'll get much of a mention from the Establishment now. But Chavka was a heroine whose story should be told.

Born in Kielce, Poland, in 1924, she found herself in the Warsaw ghetto with her family after Poland was occupied. Employed for a time as slave labour on farms,   Chavka, a member of the youth movement Dror, soon found other work. With her fair hair and blue eyes she could pass as a Polish "Aryan", and became a courier for the Jewish Fighting Organisation, passing messages between the Warsaw ghetto and Cracow, and smuggling weapons in to the ghetto fighters, While on a mission to Cracow she was captured, and endured the rest of the war in Auschwitz and Ravensbruck. 

In Israel, Chavka became a founder of kibbutz Lochamei Hagetaot (the Ghetto Fighters) in western Galilee. Last year on the anniversary of the ghetto revolt she addressed a gathering there: 

  " On April 19 1943, seventy years ago, the first rebellion in occupied Europe broke out–the Jewish rebellion. I wasn’t part of it. As a courier, I had been arrested during resistance operations in Cracow and had been brought to Auschwitz a number of months earlier.  All of my nearest, most beloved comrades fought from the rooftops, in the fires, from the bunkers. Most of them perished. I hurts me that I can no longer remember all their names. We memorialize only a few. But in my heart I am not parted from them, from the forgotten.

Leave in your hearts and memories a place for them, younger generations. For the beautiful and bold, so young, who fell in the last battle. I wish for the thousands of you before me, lives enriched with love, beauty, laughter, and meaning.

Continue the rebellion. A different rebellion of the here and now against evil, even the evil befalling our own and only beloved country. Rebel against racism and violence and hatred of those who are different. Against inequality, economic gaps, poverty, greed and corruption.   Rebel against the Occupation. No–it is forbidden for us to rule over another people, to oppress another [people]. The most important thing is to achieve peace and an end to the cycle of blood[letting]. My generation dreamed of peace. I so want to achieve it. You have the power to help. All my hopes are with you. If only [you could]...."

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Just how low can they sink?

 JUST how low can this Con Dem coalition or its lackeys sink?
How far do public servants and communicators feel obliged to go in doing the government's dirty work and covering up for it with lies, rather than really serving the public? 

 Ewing's Sarcoma is a form of bone cancer.
"In the United Kingdom, an average of six children per year are diagnosed, mainly males in early stages of puberty. Due to the prevalence of diagnosis during teenage years, there may possibly be a link between the onset of puberty and the early stages of this disease, although no research is currently being conducted to confirm this hypothesis".

We might think the small number of people thus afflicted when they are young and should be able to enjoy life and have a future to look forward to, are entitled to sympathy and decent treatment.

 A person called Chris Nelson has posted this on Facebook:
 It seems the reason this condition is common among young people is nothing to do with any teenage misbehaviour or irresponsibility, but related to rapid bone growth. So unless Chris Nelson's girlfriend is being accused of growing too fast, or eating too much dairy produce or something (for calcium), it is hard to see how she "contributed to her own medical condition".

Looking for more information I thought I'd see what 
 Macmillan Cancer Relief
has to say.

Ewing’s sarcoma is the second most common primary sarcoma in children and young people. This type of cancer is a bone cancer and most commonly occurs in the long bones, ribs, pelvis and spine (vertebral column). Fewer than 30 children in the UK develop Ewing’s sarcoma each year. It usually occurs in the teenage years, and is more common in boys. Although Ewing's sarcoma is a type of bone cancer, it can also occur very rarely in the soft tissues. This is called extraosseous Ewing's sarcoma. Another type of Ewing’s sarcoma is a primitive neuroectodermal tumour (PNET). These can be found in either the bone or soft tissue. Causes of Ewing's sarcoma Back to top The exact causes of primary bone cancer are unknown. The development of Ewing’s sarcoma may be related in some way to times of rapid bone growth, which may explain why more cases are seen in teenagers. Like other cancers, it’s not infectious and cannot be passed on to other people.

Nothing there about people contributing to their own condition.

Just in case we thought this was someone in the Department of Work and Pensions who had got things wrong and was overstepping the mark in their misplaced enthusiasm for making cuts, here is a reminder of what the government wants, and how far it is prepared to go. It comes from blogger Tom Pride, who also drew attention to Chris Nelson's Facebook posting.

03 Saturday Dec 2011
The government has finally done something so outrageous even I can’t be bothered to satirise it.    
The government has decided that cancer patients on chemotherapy will have to undergo tests to prove they can’t work.
This is not satire – it’s true.
Today Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs rejected an amendment which would have exempted cancer patients.
Here’s what Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support said about it:
“We are bitterly disappointed on behalf of the thousands of cancer patients that the Government has today failed to protect. They will now be forced to bear the brunt of the economic crisis.
“Despite mass opposition from Lords, the public, their own supporters and the whole cancer community, the Government has pushed through an unfair proposal which means thousands of cancer patients – still recovering from their illness and therefore too sick to work – will see their income drop by up to £94 a week from April.
“Following press speculation that the Government plans to use the ‘financial privilege’ rule to force through welfare reform, we seek their assurances that this will not be the case. An issue where 89% of the public believes the Government has a moral duty to protect cancer patients from welfare cuts deserves the scrutiny of both Houses.”
- From Pride's Purge blog

  Those who have followed the government's attack on the sick and welfare claimants say it is not just about saving money, nor even the government's thoughtless viciousness towards the poor, but aimed at making health insurance riper and more attractive to the hovering private business interest vultures.

Meanwhile we know that civil servants are under pressure, with attacks on pensions and jobs, removal of union facility time, of tasks to the private sector, and downright bias against showing any sympathy or understanding for the people they deal with. (Except when these are wealthy tax evaders dining with senior officials). All the more reason to separate from those who are keen on doing the government's dirty work, and unite in resistance.  


Friday, January 10, 2014

Solidarity with Workers of Cambodia!

 CAMBODIA'S embassy in London was one of a number around the world that saw protests today in solidarity with striking garment workers.

 On January 3, 2014, the Cambodian government sent military police to attack a demonstration of striking garment workers.  The police opened fire with AK-47 rifles killing five workers and injuring dozens more.

The government has since banned all demonstrations and used military force to clear the streets. At least 39 workers have been detained and are held in unknown locations. Faced with this brutal repression, the unions have called off the strike and workers are returning to work, although they are continuing to press their demands for an increased minimum wage.

The Cambodian garment workers’ strike began on 24 December, following a government announcement that the minimum wage would only rise by £9 to £60 a month, far short of workers’ demands for a living wage of £100 ($160) a month.

The garment industry in Cambodia employs 700,000 people, 90% of whom are women, producing clothes for a huge range of UK high street companies, including H&M, Gap, Marks and Spencer, Tesco and Levis, who profit from the workers’ low pay. 

On January 2 police blocked the route of a workers’ march, then attacked workers, union organisers and bystanders. The following day armed forces fired live ammunition at workers, killing at least four people and injuring many more. 23 people, including a 17 year old, have been arrested, many of whom were severely beaten prior to arrest. Recent reports suggest they are being held in a notorious detention centre some distance from Phnom Penh.

Today's demonstration in London, called at short notice to coincide with worldwide demonstrations at the behest of the Cambodian unions, was supported by War on Want, Labour Behind the Label, and other organisations, including Brent Trades Union Council, whose area includes the embassy. A small delegation was able to enter the embassy and present their demands to the diplomats, who promised to relay them to their government in Phnom Penh. 

See statement from War on Want with more pictures:


Whenever we hear about workers killed, whether it's in a fire or factory collapse in Bangla Desh, or by the military in Cambodia, the same familiar names come up. Firms that are well-known names on evry high street or shopping mall in the West, but make their profits by selling goods made by super-exploited workers in Asian sweatshops.

Campaigners in the West have written to some of these firms that are known to source goods in Cambodia, asking them to condemn the killing of workers. So far without success.

Meanwhile a comrade campaigning in South Korea has told us that his own government urged the Cambodian authorities to get tough with strikers.

He also sent us this piece of information:

American Private Equity Fund Carlyle is behind Yakjin Cambodia INC Who Invited Army to Tame Striking Workers.

The mother firm of the Korean garment firm Yakjin Cambodia INC who called for Army intervention in workers' strike in Cambodia over the last weekend is in fact owned by Carlyle, an American private equity fund giant. Carlyle bought Yakjin Trading Co just before the Christmas in 2013 by establishing a holding company named Yakjin Holdings

. It is reported that about 70% share of Yakjin Holdings is owned by Carlyle. Carlyle is known not only for its size and a wide range of investment across the globe but also for its celebrity board members such as George W Bush Senior, former British PM John Major, Shafiq bin Laden in the past. A week after buying out of Yakjin Trading Co, its Cambodian subsidiary called for Army intervention that killed 4 workers and severely injured many. It is known that Carlyle manages many US state pension funds as well. Need more investigation for global campaign!
Carlyle is known to us as the group which bought up the former Ministry of Defence research wing QinetiQ, with the involvment of former joint intelligence chair Dame Pauline Neville Jones, known inter alia for her Balkan activities and work for Nat West Markets alongside her former boss Lord Hurd.

We must thank the comrade in Korea for bringing this to our notice. And resolve to strengthen links with workers and activists in Korea, Cambodia, the US and everywhere else who face the common enemy.

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Thursday, January 09, 2014

Cameron calls for "Calm" - but Boris Orders Water Cannon

 AFTER angry scenes at the High Court following the Mark Duggan inquest, the young man's family have called for a peaceful and dignified vigil outside Tottenham police station on Saturday.

Mark Duggan, 29, was shot dead by police not far from his home in Tottenham on August 4, 2011. First reports fed to the media by police claimed the officers had fired back after coming under attack.
The jury in the case concluded after hearing witnesses that though Mark Duggan had a gun in the taxi with him, as police alleged, he appeared to have thrown it away as soon the vehicle was stopped. He  did not have a gun in his hand when he was killed.

But the jurors decided under instruction, by a majority of eight to two, that Duggan had not been unlawfully killed..

After the verdict, mark Duggan's mother pamela collapsed and had to be helped from court. 
Speaking outside the court, his aunt, Carole Duggan, said: “The majority of the people in this country know that Mark was executed. We are going to fight until we have no breath left in our body for Mark and his children.”

The family’s solicitor Marcia Willis Stewart said: “On August 4, 2011 an unarmed man was shot down in Tottenham. Today we have had what we can only call a perverse judgment.
“The jury found that he had no gun in his hand and yet he was gunned down. For us that's an unlawful killing.”

And she confirmed that they would be seeking a review of the inquest jury's decision. "We don't know how they reached the conclusion they did," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Thursday.

She said the family did not want to see any more violence or demonstrations, after Duggan's death sparked the 2011 summer riots. But she added: "We will keep coming back with questions. The struggle will go on peacefully. But we will not give peace to the authorities until we get justice. We will just keep asking questions."

It was a vigil after Mark Duggan's death which brought clashes with police, sparking the Summer of riots which swept Britain's cities.

Prime Minister David Cameron has praised the Duggan family's insistence they don't want vioence, and made his own appeal for calm  But London mayor Boris Johnson, said to fancy himself as Cameron's replacement, showed what many will see as a more honest face of the Tory response.

In a letter to Home Secretary Theresa May on Monday, Johnson confirmed that senior officers of the Metropolitan Police are hoping to take delivery of water cannon within a few months, to deal with possible outbreaks of disorder like the rots in 2011.

Up to now water cannon have only been used in Ulster, where six vehicles are still in use. It would be up to the Home Secretary to authorise their use here.

In his letter Johnson writes to his fellow Conservative: “Following the disorder in August 2011, both the Metropolitan police service and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary stated that there are some circumstances where water cannon may be of use in future.”

He added the Metropolitan Police commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, has made assurances that water cannon would be “rarely used and rarely seen”.

It is not known how many vehicles the Metropolitan Police is seeking to introduce but each water cannon is understood to cost in the region  £1.3m and require a dedicated staff of 20 as well as 180 further specially trained officers. A request for Government funds for the equipment has been rejected by May, leading the Mayor's office to confirm that the water cannon will funded by an allocation from the Mayor's office and be solely for the use of the Metropolitan Police.

Ten Fire Stations Closed Down

The Mayor's claim that he is looking after the public looked a bit hollow today, when ten fire stations were closed promptly at 9am, on conclusion of the night shift. Three of the stations being axed were involved in the call to the Apollo Theatre ceiling collapse on December 19. Crews from two of them were at a shout in Camden last night where a family had to be rescued from  a fire.

Fourteen appliances and almost 600 firefighters are to go. Toughened firefighters were in tears as they came off shift this morining, to be greeted by demonstrating supporters at several of the doomed stations.
Speaking at Mayor's Question Time on September 11, Johnson said: "You have to make difficult decisions for the sake of good financial management and in order to have a proper modernised fire service which can continue its fantastic work of driving down the incidence of fire and death by fire."

Paul Embery, regional secretary of the FBU, said: "Mayor Boris Johnson will have blood on his hands. It will be only a matter of time before someone dies because a fire engine did not get to them in time".

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Monday, January 06, 2014

Tory Liars and Labour Lords

ORGREAVE  For those who did not believe Thatcher's lies, the government had other convincing arguments.

HITHERTO secret papers from the Thatcher government have revealed the plans it made before the 1984-5 miners' strike, and confirmed what many of believed from the start, and many more people became convinced of  as time went on.

National Union of Mineworkers' leader Arthur Scargill was telling the TRUTH.

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was LYING.

A document, marked "Not to be photocopied or circulated outside the private office", records a meeting at No10 Downing Street, attended by just seven people, including the Prime Minister Thatcher, the Chancellor, the Energy secretary and the Employment secretary.

The meeting was told the National Coal Board's pit closure programme had "gone better this year than planned: there had been one pit closed every three weeks" and the workforce had shrunk by 10%. The new chairman of the board, Ian MacGregor, who had made his name battling trade unions in the United States, meant to go further.

"Mr MacGregor had it in mind over the three years 1983-85 that a further 75 pits would be closed... There should be no closure list, but a pit-by-pit procedure. The manpower at the end of that time in the industry would be down to 138,000 from its current level of 202,000.

As a result, two-thirds of Welsh miners would become redundant, a third of those in Scotland, almost half of those in north east England, half in South Yorkshire and almost half in the South Midlands. The entire Kent coalfield would close.

The final paragraph of the document read: "It was agreed that no record of this meeting should be circulated."

A week later another document written by a senior civil servant suggested the same small group should meet regularly in future, but that there should be "nothing in writing which clarifies the understandings about strategy which exist between Mr MacGregor and the secretary of state for energy".

"If this document had ever emerged during the strike it would have been devastating for the credibility of Margaret Thatcher" because Mrs Thatcher and Mr MacGregor always maintained there were plans for the closure of only 20 pits, said Nick Jones, who covered the strike for the BBC..

 " It raises in my mind the question of whether there was a cover-up of these figures, and whether when we look back at what actually happened Arthur Scargill was right when he claimed that Ian MacGregor wanted to butcher the industry all along."

In the Morning Star, NUM secretary Chris Kitchen, who was a 17-year old miner at Wheldale colliery in West Yorkshire when the strike began,  said the revelation of MacGregor's hit list came as no surprise. Wrecking the coal-mining industry following the strike paved the way for privatisation of a raft of publicly owned industries - and led to today's energy crisis, soaring fuel bills and economic decline.

"We all knew it was not an industrial dispute, but a political dispute orchestrated by Thatcher and following the blueprint of the Ridley Report to destroy the trade union movement and pave the way for privatisation."

He said Thatcher and the government determined when the strike should be provoked - just as summer was approaching and coal stocks were high."We did not decide the timing of the strike. But the only option was to fight. If you just roll over you have no hope of winning. If you fight at least you have a chance."

Besides strikebreaking plans going back to Tory minister Nicholas Ridley in the 1970s, the newly released documents show the Thatcher cabinet considered using troops to break the strike. This was in July 1984 when it also faced a docks dispute. Fortunately for Thatcher this was avoided, and with it the feared possibility that power workers would react to the military bringing fuel through busted miners' picket lines.

In later years when workers in other industries said "Arthur Scargill was right", they were not just expressing sympathy for the miners and their communities, but ruefully acknowledging that thanks to other unions not backing the NUM, the Thatcher government and big employers were able to take on different sections of workers one slice at a time. Devastating an entire industry and the communities around it was a price the Tories were happy to pay to smash union strength, especially as they favoured finance capital and the City above all else. Globalisation means the rich can export capital and the country can import energy and goods produced in Third World sweatshops. Public services can be milked by private companies, though it is the users who are stigmatised as a burden, as the call is made for more cuts.

With Thatcher finally dead and buried, discussion of the released papers and memories of the strike have quickly led to consideration of who her accomplices were, and how did she get away with it? Neil Greatrex, of the breakaway Union of Democratic Mineworkers(UDM) which led scabbing, is serving time for ripping off miners' sickness charity funds. Serve him right, we agree. But there were others in the shadows who aided and encouraged the UDM, and some may still have managed their stealthy re-entry into the movement.

And what of the TUC? Its leaders refused to support any action in solidarity with the miners, adopting a neutral stand while leaving it to ordinary working people throughout the country to do what they could in collecting food and money for the miners and their families.

As for Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock, he was much readier to denounce the pickets and say he "detested" Arthur Scargill than he had been to condemn Margaret Thatcher. Putting this together with his attack on left-wing councillors like those in Liverpool who resisted the Tories, some people say the rot started in the Labour Party with the leadership of Neil Kinnock. Maybe so, but we should not forget that Kinnock was promoted as the "left-wing" half of the so-called "dream ticket" for leadership. Roy Hattersley, later to find himself overtaken by Blair's party as it moved to the Right , was the other half.

It was to some of the supposed Left - the Communist Party's "Euro"s - that Kinnock looked for ideas, and their part in prettifying Thatcherism, as well as their conduct towards the strike, should be looked at.

After the longest ever run as opposition leader, Kinnock never made it to Prime Minister, becoming instead a European Union commissioner and Baron Kinnock of Bedwellty. It was left to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown to say they followed in Thatcher's footsteps.

 But it is was another Labour Lord who caught my attention, well after the strike was over, by what he said. In 2003, during the Brent East by-election, in London, I was having a cup of tea in Alf Filer's house in Kensal Rise, when who turned up in the road outside but Labour's John Reid, MP, accompanied by a couple of large minders. Reid was serving as Health Minister at the time, and Alf stepped out to challenge him on something happening in a local hospital. I followed,

Possibly misinformed by his minders into thinking that we were supporters of Scargill's Socialist Labour Party (we were actually working with the Socialist Alliance, though the SLP also put up a candidate), Reid said something like  "Tell Arthur Scargill to come up to my constituency and see the damage he did to communities". Seeing us momentarily puzzled by this, he repeated that Scargill should come and see the communities he had ruined.

."But that was Margaret Thatcher!", I replied. Then as Reid looked as though he might have realised he had said something outrageous, I added "Oh I forgot -you lot have joined her", By then the minders were hustling him back into his car.

John Reid had started, like Arthur Scargill, in the Young Communist League. At one time he had a 'Marxist' reputation and an image in the Labour Party as a Glasgow "hard man", He became an adviser to Neil Kinnock. By the time I met him he had evidently softened enough to accept a Tory view of what happened to the mining areas. Anyway he is now Lord Reid of  Cardowan. 

A miner's views on Neil Kinnock

Neil Kinnock's "Favourite Marxist"

  Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign

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