|Volume 48 Number 21, July 14, 2018||ARCHIVE||HOME||JBCENTRE||SUBSCRIBE|
134th Durham Miners Gala:
Workers' Weekly Internet Edition: Article Index : ShareThis
White Paper on Brexit:
Government Descends into Chaos
EU Summit Meeting in Brussels:
EU Refuses to Treat Refugees and Migrants as Human Beings with Inalienable Rights
For An Anti-War Government!:
No to the Deployment of British Troops in Afghanistan!
134th Durham Miners Gala:
Statement of the Northern Region of RCPB(ML)
On the occasion of this 134th Durham Miners Gala, the Northern Region of RCPB(ML) sends its greetings to the many thousands attending today, July 14. In particular we send our special greetings to the Durham Miners Association (DMA) who continue to organise for the great success of this event, to uphold the dignity of labour despite the closure of all mines in Durham some 25 years ago.
In his message in the Gala programme, Durham Miners Secretary Alan Cummings sets the perspective of the DMA for this year's Gala when he writes: "We need unity because the economic crisis is creating real suffering forcing us to fight on two fronts: Politically to break from the past. To reverse the flow of wealth to the privileged rich and to create a society where the strong look after the weak and everyone receives the full fruits of their labour. At the same time, within our communities, to protect the sick and disabled against the cruel consequences of the Tories' austerity programme and give them practical assistance. ...So at this Gala, this great expression of community and collective action, let us unite and renew our determination to fight for a truly socialist society."
It is precisely this experience of the working class movement and all the movements of the people to fight for the claim of the full fruits of their labour, their jobs, communities, health and other public services that has built a new resistance over recent years. This is a growing resistance against the savage onslaught of the government's neo-liberal direction to wreck civil society, destroy all public authority except the police powers of the state, and impose the dictate of big business and paying the rich. This anti-social offensive which the ruling elite is intensifying is imposing job losses, job insecurity, poverty and homelessness on vast numbers of the population. At this time, the fight for an anti-war government in Britain is also 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 as well as to the devastation and misery they are causing and the great danger of catastrophes that they are planning.
Our experience shows that in order to build a movement that can fight for the interests of the working class and people, the movement has to settle scores with the old politics. A new political movement for the empowerment of the working class and people is needed. Politically to break from the past!
The old politics is still promoted to attempt to block the people's initiative and keep them in check. So for example, in the movement to safeguard the future of the NHS, dividing people on party lines, or within parties themselves, harms the interests of the whole movement to unite around fighting for the new direction for society where health care is a right for all.
Being political means to fight for these politics and these new arrangements, politics which unites people around the aims of the movement regardless of other considerations. The necessity is for a political leadership that brings people together around the modern political programme of the working class for the new, that unites everyone to work out their aims and actions so that they can sort out the problems of society. A new politics that strives to block the power of the ruling elite to deprive the people of their power to resolve the problems in society in their favour. A great expression of community and collective action!
When it is said that we need politics of the many not the few, this is an expression of the fact that the interests and concerns of working people, the many, must give rise to new arrangements which replace the worn-out arrangements of the past which serve private interests and pay the rich, the few. These arrangements are archaic, and frankly would be farcical if they were not such an enemy to the people's concerns. The politics which are required are nothing but the independent politics of the working class!
The Durham Miners Gala is a wonderful celebration and rallying of the working class. The Gala parade carries before it banners inscribed with the words and deeds of generations of miners and the working class to defend their rights, to uphold proletarian internationalism and for the emancipation of labour and to build socialism. In this year of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx, who affirmed that the old relations in society must be replaced by the new relations of socialised humanity, that to change the world, political power is required, let us all pledge to take those words and deeds forward. Let us fight for the new society, for an anti-war government in Britain and an economy which stops paying the rich, that serves the well-being of society and for the recognition of the rights of all.
Build the Independent Politics of the Working Class!
Settle Scores with the Old Politics! Work for the People's Empowerment!
After the Chequers meeting of the Cabinet on July 6, Theresa May stated that the agreement on the government's position on Brexit "marks the point where ... collective responsibility is fully restored". Within a few days, the Brexit Secretary, David Davis, had resigned, along with two junior ministers from his department, to be followed by Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary. So much for the restoration of collective responsibility or any semblance of anything strong and stable.
On July 12, further chaos ensued when the sitting of the House of Commons was temporarily suspended amid farcical scenes, when the White Paper on Britain's future relationship with the European Union, on which the new Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab was to make a statement, was not ready to be handed out to MPs.
The competing private interests within the Conservative Party, whether it be on the basis of rampant chauvinism, on the basis of links with the financial oligarchy of the City of London, links with the armaments manufacturers, or with US conglomerates or the old powers of Europe, are too great to be sorted out on the basis of dialogue or consensus. Meanwhile the issue of sorting out the problems of the economy or of trade or of any issue which is concern for the people goes unaddressed.
The big European powers are not inclined to help Theresa May in her predicament, nor it appears is the President of the United States. There are too many contradictions in their own ranks, not to speak of those with the US.
The phrase "taking back control" has become the target of ridicule. What is being glossed over, however, is that the working class and people of Britain aspire to have control over the direction over the economy so as to favour the interests of working people and not the mafia-like competing oligopolies. This also goes for the working peoples throughout Europe.
The working class needs to intensify its involvement in sorting out these issues on the basis of what favours them, and working out the kinds of arrangements which will benefit the working people of England, Scotland, Wales as well as Ireland. If there is to be a serious opposition to the government's chaos, let it be a workers' opposition, with its sights set on decision-making power. Only the independent programme of the working class will be able to rise above the profound crisis and contradictions which are besetting the ruling elite.
The recent EU summit meeting in Brussels was dominated by what is presented as the continuing problem of migration to Europe, much of it occurring because of the exodus of refugees and asylum seekers across the Mediterranean Sea from Africa, as well as from Yemen, Syria, Iraq and elsewhere. The EU must be condemned for refusing to recognise the rights of refugees and asylum seekers, not least the right to be treated as human beings.
The main aim of the recent EU summit discussions was to prevent refugees and migrants from reaching Europe's borders and if this fails to repatriate them as soon as possible. The measures proposed by the leaders of the EU member states, including Britain, thus placed most emphasis on strengthening their powers to police Europe's borders and to contain what they see as the problem of migration within the borders of Africa and elsewhere. The EU leaders present the plight of refugees and migrants as a question of criminality, dominated by people smugglers and therefore one that must be dealt with by increasingly draconian police powers. At the same time, they employ this distortion of reality as a justification for further intervention within Africa and elsewhere.
For many years, the exodus of refugees has annually resulted in thousands of deaths as desperate migrants, men, women and children, are forced to embark on hazardous journeys across the Mediterranean in vessels that are often unseaworthy. The upsurge in migration to Europe has been part of a global trend and has been fuelled by the desperate economic and political conditions in many parts of Africa, as well as the insecurity and instability that have been created by the interventionist actions of the big powers in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and elsewhere. This was exacerbated by the NATO invasion of Libya in 2010, which not only created a situation of near anarchy in Libya but also throughout the Sahel region of northern Africa.
In the three years between 2014 and 2017 over 12,000 refugees and migrants lost their lives making the attempt to cross the Mediterranean. Over 700 have already died in the crossing this year. The safety of migrants has been made worse by the actions of the EU which has systematically taken measures to curtail search and rescue missions in the Mediterranean Sea, which has led to a threefold increase in deaths. The recent summit has taken further measures to remove what it refers to as "the incentive to embark on perilous journeys" by establishing EU "regional disembarkation platforms", the main aim of which appear to be to return and repatriate as many migrants as possible.
However, in the same period the numbers of refugees who have managed to land in Europe has declined sharply, from over one million in 2015 to just over 172,000 last year. In the first six months of this year only 43,000 people have managed to reach Europe. The EU leaders are now boasting that "illegal border crossings" into the EU have decreased by 95% from 2015. In large part this is because in recent years, the governments of some EU member states have taken unilateral action to try to prevent further mass migration whether from Africa or other non-European regions. For its part the EU has taken measures to support Libyan retention of those seeking refuge in Europe and signed an agreement with Turkey to return some refugees to that country. In turn the government of Turkey, for its part, has sent many refugees back to Syria and Iraq. At the same time Britain, France and the EU have stepped up their intervention in the African continent, using amongst other pretexts the claim that they are combating people-smuggling and establishing alternatives to migration.
The recent EU Summit concluded with further actions along the same lines, also calling for more external capital to flow into Africa, a key contributory factor for the mass impoverishment that currently exists.
The measures enacted by the governments of Britain and the other major powers in Europe do not recognise the right of all human beings to seek refuge from war and devastation, nor the right to food, clothes, shelter and a livelihood. What is more, the big powers do not acknowledge that they and the policies of the EU have been directly responsible for creating the war, instability and poverty which force people to seek refuge far from their homelands. Indeed, the policies of the EU appear to be designed to make the situation worse by creating all the conditions for the further development of people-smuggling and for strengthening the hand of the various militias and authorities in Libya, which have already been condemned by the UN for grave breaches of human rights. At the same time the EU is proposing to establish detention camps in Africa, Europe and elsewhere from where migrants and refugees can be deported back to their homelands. Such death camps already exist in Libya but other African countries have refused to allow them to be established.
The measures taken at the recent EU summit show that there is nothing progressive about an EU which acts as the organisation of the big European monopolies both in Europe and in Africa and elsewhere. It is not the people who are to blame for their plight. The rights of all must be upheld and defended, including the rights of human beings who are migrants, asylum seekers and refugees.
Ahead of the recently concluded NATO summit in Brussels, Theresa May committed 440 more British troops to Afghanistan, increasing the number to 1,090. The troops are described as "non-combat soldiers".
The increase will mark the biggest presence of British military forces in Afghanistan since combat troops were withdrawn by the then Prime Minister David Cameron. It is reported that troops will begin being deployed in August of this year, with the remainder to follow by February, 2019.
The Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, spoke in terms of keeping "lasting peace and stability" in Afghanistan. In practice, military and other intervention in the region has brought nothing but instability and has contributed to war and violence on a global scale.
The deployment appears as a sop to US President Trump in the context of the NATO summit, with Theresa May also declaring that Britain "will continue to make the case for all allies to follow the UK's example and meet the 2% pledge", a reference to Trump's demand that NATO members live up to the target of spending 2% of GDP to the warmongering alliance.
It is evident that support from the President of the United States is not to be forthcoming by such means.
Opposition to Donald Trump's Visit to Britain
Trump arrived in Britain on July 12, and is being kept away from London because of the massive opposition which has been organised to Trump's warmongering and attempts at global dictate.
The demonstration in London on July 13 was on a huge scale, reflecting the broad opposition to President Trump, as well as to the Conservative government for its invitation.
On June 30, tens of thousands of ordinary people marched through London to mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS and to condemn its privatisation. The overwhelming sentiment was expressed in the principle that health care is a right. Many local campaigns, which are the backbone of the resistance to dismantling the NHS, participated, and nurses, doctors and other health workers led the demonstration.
The NHS 70 demonstration thus celebrated the principles underlying a National Health Service, as well as condemning its brutal underfunding and privatisation.
The demonstration ended at Whitehall where Jeremy Corbyn demanded of the government: "In the name of equality, in the name of justice, pay the social care needs that are necessary so people can live with dignity." He continued, "I want to live in a society where we have a health service worthy of the name 'paid for by all of us, for all of us'. It's called socialism." He added, "I want to see the same principles applied in education and in housing."
The movement to safeguard the future of the NHS will certainly continue, as the movement to resist the closure of services is built. A new direction is called for, whereby people and staff are in control. It was this fight that inspired many on the demonstration and will continue to inspire all who are resisting the destruction of the NHS.
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