|Volume 48 Number 17, June 9, 2018||ARCHIVE||HOME||JBCENTRE||SUBSCRIBE|
For An Anti-War Government!
The British Working Class and People and Its Marxist-Leninist Party Must Set Its Line of March and Keep the Initiative in Its Own Hands
Workers' Weekly Internet Edition: Article Index : ShareThis
70th Anniversary of the NHS:
Paying the Rich through the NHS
Britain and Palestine:
British Government's Continued Support for Zionist Israel Must Be Condemned!
Britain and Palestine:
Emergency Protest Opposes Netanyahu's Visit
Important Public Meeting:
Working for Peace on the Korean Peninsula
At the beginning of the year, the Party hailed the struggles of the people of the world against the imperialist powers, their wars of aggression, their nuclear blackmail and the destruction of all that people hold dear as marks of humanity and civilisation. We hailed the Cuban people, who are solving the problems in being their own decision-makers in the face of the savage US-led blockade. We hailed the Korean people who are fighting to defend their own chosen path and avert nuclear holocaust in the face of US-led hostility and sanctions, which amount to an act of war against the DPRK.
As a fighting contingent of the struggles of the people world-wide, the British working class and people and its Marxist-Leninist Party must set its line of march and keep the initiative in its own hands. It must settle scores with the old framework of action and thinking engendered by the Cold War and instead establish a new reference point, one which centres on the necessity for the alternative and calls for all to join in fighting for an anti-war government in Britain as a contribution to this struggle of the world's people.
At this time, the fight for an anti-war government in Britain is being taken up for solution by the anti-war movement and democratic and peace-loving people across Britain. There is widespread opposition to the pro-war governments of Theresa May and Trump and their warmongering activities right across the world to the devastation and misery they are causing and the great danger of even unthinkable catastrophes that they are planning.
The vital question for the working class and its political leadership is to assess how to move forward to achieve the aim of the anti-war movement for an anti-war government. What must be considered is the fact that society is saddled with old forms of political representation, political institutions and a state power that are used to impose the present pro-war government and its militarisation of the economy and society. The fact that Theresa May could bomb Syria without even any reference to the Cabinet is the most recent example. The calls for "tougher rules" to stop the Prime Minister going to war without consulting Cabinet, or even calls for a "War Powers" Act are not going to stop the ruling elite and its dangerous pro-war direction.
Today the necessity is for a new form of government in which people take decisions in their own name. This new form must express the will of the people and not its negation. What must be ended is the situation where people have to hand over their decision-making power to others. Decision-making power is handed over to those who then betray their interests, or at the very best are forced to compromise and prevented from upholding them. This is done by the present political and state forms which ensure the dominance of private interests of the big corporations in society and a state power in their service which enforces its police power, and not the will of the people.
The stand of an anti-war government, based on internationalist principles and established by the people themselves, would be to end British intervention abroad, end the stationing of British troops on foreign soil, end the arms trade for reactionary ends, abrogate those treaties which are unequal and in favour of exploitation, oppose spurious pretexts for war and intervention such as the so-called "right to protect", end warmongering alliances and remove US bases themselves from Britain.
The conception of an anti-war government is one which encompasses all aspects of society, its economic base, which must be based not on militarisation and austerity and the imposition of the social irresponsibility of private interests, but on identifying the needs of all the collectives of the people, and thereby establishing the ever growing progress and prosperity and well-being of the people.
People cannot have illusions that they should hand over the initiative to any other force. It is the people who are the guarantors of peace, and must take the fight to bring into being an anti-war government into their own hands. We call on everyone to join in this movement, and to settle scores with the warmongers, to avert the danger of war, put an end to the militarisation of the economy, and fight for peace as part of fighting for the renewal of society, empowering the working class and people, defending the rights of all and establishing the institutions of the New.
An exhibition is currently touring called How Come We Didn't Know? It is of images taken and captioned by photographer Marion Macalpine. It demonstrates how private interests are taking over and benefiting from the neo-liberal programme of the government to pay the rich through the health service. From June 4-6 it was being shown at the Winns Gallery in East London, sponsored by Waltham Forest Save Our NHS.
The exhibition highlights how corporate tentacles reach into every corner of the NHS, with £3.1bn of health services being privatised in 2016-17. It points out that the present reorganisation into Integrated Care Systems and Accountable Care Organisations involve outsourcing NHS services, a reorganisation which prompts the title of the exhibition since the government continues to deny the reality of the direction it is taking the NHS. The exhibition explores the diverse forms that privatisation takes, including PFI contracts; private health companies masquerading as NHS including many GP clinics and diagnostic centres; private hospitals which cherry-pick 'low risk' patients; lucrative contracts for highly specialist treatment; healthcare corporations with a history of fraud or tax avoidance; scandalously poor care practice that is no barrier to winning new contracts; private corporations driving government policy and involved in negotiations such as the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. The exhibition highlights critical links between politicians at all levels and private healthcare corporations.
Extracts from the exhibition panels:
"Virgin Care have won NHS contracts valued at £2.5 billion since 2010, including over £1 billion in the year to December 2017... In 2016 Virgin sued the NHS when it failed to win an £82 million 3-year contract for children's community care in Surrey The case was settled in 2017 with secret payments to Virgin estimated at over £2 million. In 2017, Virgin Care ran over 400 NHS services..."
"St Martin's Hospital [Bath] houses the headquarters of Bath Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and, up to 2016, Sirona Care, a social enterprise which took over most of Bath Social Services in 2011. In November 2016, in spite of strong local opposition, Virgin Care was chosen over a consortium led by Sirona for a £700 million contract for social services and most non-hospital health services. This is the first time core adult social work services will be run for profit."
"Ramsay [Health] is the third biggest supplier to the NHS receiving £30 million in revenue in 2010/2011. In 2007, Ramsay Health agreed a 10-year deal with Bromley Hospitals Trust to build a £4.2m 25-bed unit. Just two years into the contract, Ramsay closed the unit saying it was no longer commercially viable, leaving South London Hospitals Trust with overwhelming debts which in turn contributed to proposals to close the nearby successful Lewisham Hospital."
"Serco has many contracts across Government. It is currently being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office over concerns of overcharging millions for electronic tagging by prisoners who were either in prison or dead."
"Spire is a large provider of healthcare to NHS patients. 27% of its income in 2012-13 came from the NHS. Spire Healthcare channels £65 million a year through Luxembourg, almost cancelling out its taxable UK earnings."
"PFI is a scheme through which private corporations build hospitals and then rent them to NHS Trusts over a long period and at such a rent that the NHS ends up paying many times the capital cost of the hospital. PFI imposes much higher debts upon the taxpayer than the actual value of the buildings. These costs have literally bankrupted some trusts. New buildings at the Royal London Hospital cost £1.1bn to build, but the eventual cost through PFI will be £7.1 billion, of which £6.1bn is still to pay with average annual payments of £199m at today's prices until 2049."
"There are many questionable links between the lobbying industry, Big Pharma and NHS England. For instance, the Government has commissioned the Specialist Healthcare Alliance (SHCA) to consult with patients' groups, charities and health organisations to seek their views on plans for a range of NHS services with a total value of £12bn. The SHCA is funded entirely by 13 drug companies."
"Global consultancies have taken a greatly increased role in NHS decision-making at every level. By March 2017, the government had spent £17.6 million on consultants hired to draw up plans for £22 billion NHS cuts. Firms including KPMG, McKinsey and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) made millions of pounds from plans that will lead to the closure or downgrading of NHS hospitals."
"In early 2015, NHS England approved a list of organisations to provide commissioning support, including Capita, KPMG and United Health. These international corporates are now set to determine the rules and run the competitions to decide who gets the contracts for our healthcare in the future."
"Since 2016 the NHS in England has been completely reorganised into 44 new Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships. There was no public debate, no new legislation, no parliamentary scrutiny, no consultation with either NHS professional bodies or local communities - just an unannounced Government-led total restructure of the NHS.... these Partnerships are required to cut the NHS budget by around a fifth (22 billion) by 2020 compared with 2015 costs.... At the same time, the newly restructured services will be ripe for privatisation. New Integrated Care Organisations, which bring together several existing services, will be very attractive to giant US healthcare corporations, risking, ultimately, wholesale sell-off of the NHS."
"Nottinghamshire STP used NHS England's approved list to appoint Capita .. to run a £2.7 million tender. The contract is to develop an ICS which will 'integrate' health and social care services across the STP. Capita used its own approved list to select Centene UK for this work. Centene UK is a subsidiary of Centene, a major US healthcare insurer and provider."
"In Bristol, Care UK have invited GPs to encourage patients to pay privately for operations, bypassing NHS waiting lists for operations like hip and knee joint replacements and cataract operations."
These examples demonstrate how the introduction of the market in health care with the purchaser-provider split is developing into a fully-blown scheme to pay the rich through the health service, and public accountability has been destroyed. This points the way forward for it to be established on a new basis with the people and the health workers and professionals as the decision-makers, establishing this as the new public authority, on the basis that health care is a right.
The photographic exhibition is available for hire by KONP and other NHS campaign groups. It is also available on-line and in a laminated version. If you are interested in using the exhibition to support your local campaign, contact Marion Macalpine on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday 23rd June to Saturday 14th July 2018, Mon to Sat, 10.30am to 4pm, free of charge. St. Thomas Church, The Haymarket (next to the Civic centre), Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7PF
Just a few weeks after the massacre of Palestinian men, women and children during the Great March of Return in Gaza, Prime Minister Theresa May has welcomed Benyamin Netanyahu, head of the Zionist Israeli regime to Britain. Following the recent massacres in Gaza, Zionist Israel has faced international condemnation. Even the British government was forced to utter a few words of concern: during Netanyahu's visit Michael Howard, the former leader of the Conservative Party, suggested that Zionist Israel should adopt other non-lethal methods of suppressing the protests of the Palestinian people. Howard suggested the use of rubber bullets but added that the Zionist regime might perhaps use live ammunition but without killing people. His remarks highlighted the fact that such is the barbarism of the Israeli Zionism that even its most fervent supporters find themselves exposed as defenders of the indefensible.
Nevertheless, the British government remains one of the main backers of the Zionist regime. In her discussions with Netanyahu, Prime Minister May also expressed some concern about the murder of Palestinian people but reiterated the government's support for "Israel's right to self-defence". This expression has long been used by Britain, the US and others to mean that from the perspective of the big powers, Israel has the right to deny the Palestinians their rights and most importantly the right toself-determination. It is in that context, but also in the geopolitical interests of the big powers, that Zionist Israel has been armed, financed and supported since its creation in 1948. For this reason, the right of the Palestinian people to resist, to self-defence and to defend their sovereignty is not recognised by Britain and the other big powers. Theresa May openly attacked the legitimate actions of the patriotic government of Gaza led by Hamas. As in the past the British government presents the view that self-defence by the Palestinian people and its government are a justification for Israeli state terrorism.
From this perspective, it is not surprising that the rights of the Palestinian people were not on the agenda of the meetings held between May and Netanyahu. Nor the expansion of Zionist Israel and its illegal settlements. Rather, the main focus was on their shared concerns in the region, highlighting the fact that Zionist Israel continues to be used as a cat's paw by Britain and the other big powers, to facilitate their intervention throughout western Asia. May and Netanyahu therefore discussed the threats to their interests posed by Iran's alleged "destabilising influence", as well as their desire for regime change in Syria.
The British government must be totally condemned for its continual backing of the Zionist regime in Israel, its denial of the rights of the Palestinian people and its continuing interference throughout the region.
The visit of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to Downing Street on June 6 was kept under wraps until the last moment in an attempt to avert the opposition to the Zionist oppression and massacre of the Palestinian people and Britain's support for the Zionist regime. Netanyahu visited Theresa May after visiting the French President, Emmanuel Macron, and the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.
A spirited emergency protest was called at short notice at 1.00pm on June 6 right outside Downing Street. Organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the rally saw activists condemn Israel for its barbaric denial of the rights of the Palestinian people, including the recent cold-blooded killings which have been condemned world-wide.
Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Michelle O'Neill has welcomed the call given by leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn on May 24, 2018, to convene the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference. The British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference was established under an Agreement between the Governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom made on March 8, 1998.
Michelle O'Neill was speaking after attending a lecture delivered by Jeremy Corbyn at Queen's University Belfast on May 24. He had opened his remarks by saying: "It's great to be back in Belfast. This is my first visit as leader of the Labour party, and I am delighted to have the chance to be here for the next couple of days to reach out and talk to people from all communities and all backgrounds to discuss their hopes for the future and listen to their ideas about how all communities can continue to work together to build on the achievements of recent years."
Michelle O'Neill said: "I welcome Jeremy Corbyn's call to convene the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference.
"Sinn Féin has been calling for the conference to be convened so that the two governments, working together, can take decisions to resolve the issues and pave the way for the restoration of power-sharing.
"And unlike the British Conservative party, who have slipped in and out of here without speaking to people and engaging with political leaders on Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn came here today to hear first hand about the disastrous implications of Brexit for border communities in particular.
"Sinn Féin wants the Labour Party to move further.
"We are at a crunch time in the negotiations on Brexit.
"The people of the north voted to remain in the European Union and that democratic decision needs to be respected.
"Our economy can't withstand being outside the Customs Union and the Single Market and we need to see our special circumstances recognised, with no hardening of the border, citizens' rights respected and the Good Friday Agreement protected in all its parts."
Jeremy Corbyn had said in his lecture: "If the current stalemate in Stormont cannot be sorted out in Belfast, I call on the UK government to reconvene the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference. We must step up to find a creative solution, in the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement, that avoids a return to direct Westminster rule and lays the ground for further progress for all communities."
(Sinn Féin Newsroom)
Chairman of the State Affairs Commission Kim Jong Un (left) and President Moon Jae-in (right)
Please attend and mobilise for this important public meeting being held in the context of the critical and momentous developments for peace and reunification on the Korean Peninsula. Support the right of the Korean people to self-determination, independence and peace!
Marx Memorial Library
37a Clerkenwell Green, London EC1R 0DU
Sunday, July 1, 2018, 2.30 pm
The meeting is being held with the participation of a representative of the Embassy of the DPR of Korea in London. Speakers will include representatives of the participating organisations of Friends of Korea, which is an organisation uniting organisations and individuals in Britain working for friendship and understanding with the Korean people. The meeting aims to provide information on the factors favouring reunification and peace on the Korean Peninsula and provide opportunity for questions and discussion.
Hosted by Friends of Korea (Britain)
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